Archive for April 2023

The One-Billion Edition Sunday, April 30, 2023

Apple And Amazon 'Committed' To Big Screen, Says Theaters Boss, by Andrew Marszal, AFP

The two tech giants reportedly each plan to spend $1 billion per year on movies headed first for the big screen.


This week, Sony showed footage from Ridley Scott's upcoming historical epic "Napoleon," and Paramount gave CinemaCon audiences a sneak look at Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon," starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Both films were made by Apple, but will be released in theaters by Sony and Paramount respectively.

Fiery Feeds For iOS Added An In-App Split View Mode That I Wish More iPhone Apps Offered, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Maybe you’re not a fan of this layout (great news: Fiery Feeds has plenty of settings and modes to tweak) but, for me, this is pure, one-handed RSS consumption bliss.

The News Went Viral, by John Herrman, New York Magazine

The death of BuzzFeed News, the unceremonious pivots to nowhere by the bloated social giants, and the ransacking of Twitter by the world’s richest man, however, once again drive home the absurdity of a marriage between the news media and a speculative tech industry that can only conceptualize it as either a threat or as food. The relationship has been broken for a long time.

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I do enjoy watching big-budget movies occasionally, but I also find joy in the lesser-budget films. I don't care about cinemas anymore, but I hope that smaller movies continue to find space in the world of streamers.


Thanks for reading.

The Moving-Money Edition Saturday, April 29, 2023

How Apple Card’s New Savings Account Could Push You To Overspend, by Michelle Singletary, Washington Post

If you are going to park a lot of money for a long time, sure, look for a high-yield deposit account. But if money is moving in and out of your account, the amount you earn in interest isn’t going to be enormous.

Take advantage of cash-back offers and high-yield accounts, but spend just as much of your time making sure you make money moves that don’t start with spending.


'I Use Apple's Cycle Tracking To Monitor My Periods—This Feature Is Why It's Better Than Other Apps', by Leigh Weingus, Parade

While I do think other period-tracking apps are great for people with regular cycles, they can present a challenge for anyone who deals with unpredictability. I love that my Apple Watch not only takes out the guesswork for me but does it in a way that's really easy for me. I don't have to take my temperature or pee on any ovulation sticks, I can just sit around and let it track my heart rate and let me know when my period is coming up. Sounds pretty great, right?

This App Lets You Pin Shortcuts To Your Favorite Albums Right To Your iPhone's Home Screen, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The app, called “Albums: Music Shortcuts,” lets you create shortcuts to your favorite albums directly via widgets on your iPhone or iPad Home Screen.

Spotify Revamps Mac App With New 'Your Library' Sidebar; Here's How It Works, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

After rolling out a major update to Spotify for iPhone earlier this month, Spotify is now updating its desktop app for Mac a new navigation interface.


YOLO (You Only Launch Once), by Chris Wu

After doing it wrong multiple times I finally had an app launch I was happy with.

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As many have observed, Apple TV+ is becoming more like HBO. I am more willing to check out new series on Apple TV+ than, say, Netflix.


Thanks for reading.

The Built-by-Everyone Edition Friday, April 28, 2023

Apple Exec Hails Importance Of Having Apps ‘Built By Everyone’ On App Store, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

Apple continues to be “very much focused” on inclusion and diversity, its head of developer relations has said, even amid concern about whether the technology industry is fair and just.

The company’s commitment to those values partly comes from a “really selfish and practical point of view that to build the best products for everyone, they have to be built by everyone”, Susan Prescott said during an event at Apple’s new offices in Battersea.

The Endless Uses For An Always-on Mac, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The applications change as my needs change, but the flexibility of having an always-on Mac has always served me well. And just knowing that the Mac is there is helpful when I’m considering solutions to various technical problems—because I know that if I can get something running on my Mac, I can keep it running all the time to solve the problem.


Readdle Launches Overhauled Calendars App For Apple Watch With New UI, 6 Watch Faces, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Readdle is out with a major update for its Calendars app on Apple Watch. The release comes with what the company calls an “intuitive and functional” new UI, half a dozen watch faces optimized with its Calendars app complications, a tasks list view, the ability to accept and decline meetings, and more.

YouTube Music Gains Audio Podcasts On iOS And Web, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Google today announced that YouTube Music on the web and the YouTube Music app for iOS devices now offer podcasts in the United States. Users who watch podcasts through the main YouTube app can now continue listening to them through YouTube Music.

Microsoft’s Mice, Keyboards, And Webcams Are Being Discontinued In Favor Of Surface Accessories, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft will no longer manufacture mice, keyboards, and webcams that are Microsoft-branded. Instead, Microsoft is now focusing on its Surface-branded PC accessories, which include mice, keyboards, pens, and more. It brings an end to the legacy of Microsoft-branded PC hardware after the company first launched its first mouse in 1983 and bundled it with Microsoft Word and Notepad.


Report Details Turmoil Behind Siri And Apple's AI Efforts, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Siri and Apple’s use of AI has been severely held back by caution and organizational dysfunction, according to over three dozen former Apple employees who spoke to The Information’s Wayne Ma.

Inside The Chaotic World Of Kids Trying To Play Video Games On School Laptops, by Patrick Klepek, Vice

Kids have been trying to play video games on school computers for as long as computers have cropped up in schools, but decades ago, they jumped through those hoops in a dedicated computer lab, or secretly downloaded homemade games to their TI-83 calculators while pretending to crunch equations. But these days, computers are deeply intertwined into education, and many school age children have regular access to a computer, usually a Chromebook or iPad, as early as 1st grade, when kids are only six or seven years old.

What exists now is an escalating game of whack-a-mole between students, teachers, and IT departments, as kids hopeful to do anything but school work try to find a way to play games.

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I do remember bringing program listings -- on paper! -- to the school's computer lab, type every single line of the BASIC programs, and then just have an afternoon of computer gaming fun.

And at the end of the afternoon, we will just switch off the computer, and the programs will be gone from the RAM.


Thanks for reading.

The One-Screen-Experience Edition Thursday, April 27, 2023

Apple’s Weather Chaos Is Restarting The Weather App Market, by David Pierce, The Verge

With Dark Sky gone and WeatherKit unreliable, a lot of weather apps have started to integrate with multiple sources to make sure they’re always online and to offer the most accurate forecasts everywhere. It presents a tough UI challenge, though: giving users one digestible full-featured forecast is hard enough, let alone five or six slightly different ones.


Weather apps have to walk a tricky line: they have to give you that one-screen experience where you can open the app and get a sense of the weather in a second or two while also offering the kind of depth and knowledge that no built-in app will ever match. And then slowly leading users down the rabbit hole, teaching them how to read radar and compare forecasts.

Apple Empowers Small Businesses To Grow And Serve Their Customers, by Apple

From the inception of an inventive business idea through the planning stages, grand opening, and subsequent growth and expansion, small business entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of Apple hardware, software, and services every day to manage their operations and connect directly with customers.

Should We Trust Apple With Mental Health Data?, by Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge

I’m emphasizing non-screen interventions, particularly for health, because I’ve been watching what happened with research on social media: it makes people feel bad. I love computers (duh, I write online), and I love the stuff people do for them. But I am increasingly convinced we need to get the hell outside because we are weird primates who evolved with outside, not computers. We also need face-to-face time, as we all discovered the hard way in 2020. If you want to feel calmer, happier, and more connected, I feel confident that the best way to do that is to log off. No AI can possibly replicate those needs because, as social animals, what we need is other people.

But even if I am wrong about that — and I might be! — I am still concerned by Apple’s notification approach and its science-blind approach to behavioral health. That 12-hour stand goal on the Apple Watch? Someone just decided that was important. There’s no research behind it, as Apple told me all those years ago, just vibes. The decision to track calories as the default for the Move goal is dangerous for people with eating disorders. The focus on streaks can create compulsive behavior. I am doubtful the subscription services are going to be any better.

On Security

PSA: Google Authenticator's Cloud-Synced 2FA Codes Aren't End-to-End Encrypted, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Earlier this week, Google updated its Authenticator app to enable the backup and syncing of 2FA codes across devices using a Google Account. Now an examination by Mysk security researchers has found that the sensitive one-time passcodes being synced to the cloud aren’t end-to-end encrypted, leaving them potentially exposed to bad actors.


With A New Classical-only App, Apple Frees The Music From Its Metadata, by Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post

Perhaps the most appealing thing about Apple Music Classical is how much it behaves like a classical music fan — tuning the rest of the music world out entirely in favor of focused, attentive, indulgent listening. It feels like an escape from the rest of your phone.

I Really Don’t Want To Read The Comments, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

My larger point is, if there’s something on the Web that annoys you—and maybe only you!—you can probably find a way to turn it off with a Safari extension. And these days, Safari extensions generally work across Mac, iPad, and iPhone, so if you can block something in one place you can probably block it everywhere.

Astropad Studio Gets Apple Pencil Hover Tilt And Azimuth Plus Peer-to-peer Networking, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The two major improvements are tilt and azimuth support with Apple Pencil Hover and the ability to directly connect your iPad and Mac wirelessly for a faster-than-ever and more stable experience.

Windows 11’s Limited iMessage Integration Has Publicly Launched, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Phone Link has been around for a long time, but it previously only worked with Android phones. Now it also works with iPhones, but the feature set is comparatively limited. The basics are more or less here, though—iPhone users can use their Windows PCs to make and take calls, read and respond to text messages, see notifications, and access their iOS contacts list.


Apple Discloses Number Of Monthly Active Users For The App Store In Europe, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Digital Services Act sets out rules to be enforced against “very large online platforms,” which is defined as platforms with 45 million monthly active users or more. Apple says it views the App Store for each of its operating systems as a separate platform, so that only the iPhone iOS App Store would classify as a very large online platform.

However, Apple said that it will “align” all of its App Stores with the Digital Services Act requirements, even though it would only be legally required for the iOS App Store to be in compliance. DSA rules include protecting children from being profiled for advertising purposes, limiting the spread of misinformation, and more. Apple said that the “goals of the DSA align with Apple’s goals to protect consumers from illegal content.”

As Smartphone Upgrades Plummeted, Used iPhones Sold Like Hotcakes, by Scharon Harding, Ars Technica

Because Apple products are expensive, used or refurbished alternatives are popular with shoppers looking to save money but stay in Apple's ecosystem. Used iPhones and other products don't have the same warranties as new devices, but customers who buy refurbished Apple products from Apple directly, for example, can see a limited warranty and purchase AppleCare protection to make the purchase more secure.

What I Learned Unsubscribing From 22 Newspapers, by Charles Jun, Lenfest Institute

It’s not hard to guess why unsubscribing to a service, especially access to local news, would be so tedious. The most gracious interpretation of these cumbersome or downright infuriating experiences would be that a company does not have the bandwidth or resources to improve user experience. The most ungracious is that the company wants to eke out a few more dollars out of a subscriber who may give up cancelling a subscription until the next month, or the month after. After all, they’re leaving, so why keep them happy? Also, how much damage would a complaint about a poor cancellation process cause if potential customers are more interested in reading and supporting local journalism than experiencing a subscription cancellation?

But news organizations aren’t just any e-commerce business. Journalism — especially local journalism — is built on trust. Journalists talk all the time about building trust with their audiences and ensuring that their coverage is representative. That should extend to business practices as well. In many cases, dealing with their subscription is the only direct interaction they have with a publication, and as a result, outlets should treat their audience members with respect — just as they would do a source or other community member.

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Did Apple refuse Ted Lasso to have more episodes this latest season, but allowed the show to have longer -- much longer -- episodes instead?

Yes, perhaps creatively, the stories may demand longer runtime instead of more episodes, but, well, you do know I am still going to break up your episodes and watch them over multiple nights?


Thanks for reading.

The Easy-and-Frictionless Edition Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Apple’s New Banking Features Feel Too Easy To Use, Too Hard To Resist, by Sara Morrison, Vox

Do you want the company that makes your phone to be your bank, too? That’s the question some people are surely asking themselves now that Apple has rolled out its new Apple Card savings account, which comes with a 4.15 percent interest rate — well above what most traditional banks are offering.

It’s also not traditional because, unlike any other savings accounts out there, this one is baked into the operating system of your phone, as is the Apple Card, the credit card you must have in order to get the savings account. Thanks to digital banking and financial technology, or fintech, financial services have become so easy and frictionless that you can make important decisions about a lot of your money with just a few taps. Those could be applying for a credit card, sending money to friends, or using buy now, pay later services.

Festival Style's Must Have? Good Hearing Health, by Sam Cole, Highsnobiety

Now, I know what you're thinking – "who the hell wears AirPods to a festival?" While I'm inclined to agree that someone sporting their earbuds while bass music rips through the crowd would spin me out somewhat, hear me out.

The key to protecting your hearing through the use of earplugs, or in this case, the Air Pods Pro (2nd Generation), is the amount of noise reduction or attenuation that they offer.

On Security

Hackers Are Using A Fake PDF Viewer To Infect Macs With Malware — How To Stay Safe, by Anthony Spadafora, Tom's Guide

The BlueNoroff hackers are using an unsigned application called “Internal PDF” to infect vulnerable Macs with the RustBucket malware. However, this internal PDF viewer app is just the first stage of the infection.

Coming Soon?

Amazon Just Spoiled The Next Beats Earbuds Before Apple Could Even Announce Them, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Well, there's not much left for Beats to "announce" after this. On Tuesday evening, Amazon prematurely published a retail listing for the rumored Beats Studio Buds Plus. The page contains every last detail about the buds: among other upgrades, they have more powerful active noise cancellation than the original Studio Buds, better air venting, and an improved transparency mode.

2023 Apple Watch Pride Edition Face And Band Unearthed In Code, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple’s 2023 Pride watch face and band will stick with a rainbow of colors, but dispersed in confetti-like pill shapes that are vaguely reminiscent of the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island. As with previous Pride styles, it’s likely the watch face will animate when interacted with.

Apple Is Reportedly Developing An AI-powered Health Coaching Service, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

Apple is developing an AI-powered health coaching service code named Quartz, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The tech giant is reportedly also working on technology for tracking emotions and plans to roll out an iPad version of the iPhone Health app this year.

The AI-powered health coaching service is designed to help users stay motivated to exercise, improve their eating habits and sleep better. The idea behind the service is to use AI and information from a user’s Apple Watch to develop coaching programs specially tailored for them. As with Apple’s other services, the health coaching service is expected to have a monthly fee.


Apple Mac Mini M2 Review, by Jon Musgrave, MusicRadar

With a wealth of configuration options and prices to tempt everyone from entry-level dabblers to power users, the Mac mini has come of age.

Slack Launches 'Canvas' As A New Hub To 'Create, Organize And Share Essential Information', by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Slack has announced that it’s starting to roll out a new user-facing feature called “canvases” to solve the issue of how to “manage, find and share knowledge and team resources.”


Shift Happens: Writing About The History Of Keyboards, by Allison Arieff, MIT Technology Review

When the designer and typographer Marcin Wichary stumbled upon a tiny museum just outside Barcelona five years ago, the experience tipped his interest in the history of technology into an obsession with a very particular part of it: the keyboard.

“I have never seen so many typewriters under one roof. Not even close,” he shared on Twitter at the time. “At this point, I literally have tears in my eyes. I’m not kidding. This feels like a miracle.”

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I have been marred with the experience with Java, and I still do not believe in cross-platform user-interface frameworks.

Sorry, SwiftUI. You have not convinced me yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Organizing-Life Edition Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Meet The People Who Use Notion To Plan Their Whole Lives, by Rhiannon Williams, MIT Technology Review

Joshua Bergen is a very productive person.

His secret is the workspace app Notion. Bergen, a product manager living in Vancouver, uses it to plan trips abroad in meticulous detail, with notes and timelines. He uses it to curate lists of the movies and TV shows he’s watched, and records what he thought of them. It’s also a handy way to keep tabs on his 3D-printing projects, map snowboarding runs, and quickly update his cute list of the funny things his kid has said.

It might sound strange, but Bergen is one of a growing number of people using Notion, software intended for work, to organize their personal lives. They’re using it in a myriad of different ways, from tracking their meditation habits and weekly schedules to logging their water intake and sharing grocery lists.

On App Stores

Apple Prevails In Antitrust Battle Over The Future Of The App Store, by Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court’s 2021 decision that Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, failed to prove that Apple’s App Store policies constituted anticompetitive conduct in violation of federal antitrust laws. The Court, however, upheld the lower court’s ruling that Apple ran afoul of California competition laws because it forces developers to use Apple’s payment processing service without allowing them to tell customers about cheaper alternatives.

The appeals court decision could mark a blow to the federal government’s efforts to challenge alleged monopoly behavior in Silicon Valley, amid ongoing litigation with tech giants including Google and Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

Apple Declares 'Resounding Victory' After Decision Reached In Epic Games Appeal, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

"Today's decision reaffirms Apple's resounding victory in this case, with nine of 10 claims having been decided in Apple's favor," an Apple spokesman told CNBC. "For the second time in two years, a federal court has ruled that Apple abides by antitrust laws at the state and federal levels."


Apple Magic Mouse (2023): Undeniably Stylish, Unforgivably Designed, by Beren Neale, Creative Bloq

The Apple Magic Mouse is so frustrating because it is so close to being brilliant, and yet falls short on a couple of really simple features. And Apple continues to make it this way because the company bets that Apple fans are willing to accept a few niggles for the near perfection of other features. That's a hell of a gamble, and, in my opinion, totally unnecessary. The Magic Mouse may just be Apple's most divisive product currently on sale.

How To Use Little Snitch Mini To See Which Mac Apps Are Connected To The Internet, by Justin Pot, Popular Science

This simple program will show you, at a glance, which apps are connected to the web and where those connections are in the world. This can help you spot fishy situations.


Apple Says CarPlay Now Available In Over 800 Vehicle Models As GM Plans To Phase Out Support In EVs, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

CarPlay is now available in more than 800 vehicle models sold in the U.S., according to a recently updated page on Apple’s website. Until last week, the page said the in-car software platform was available in more than 600 vehicle models. Apple added many 2023 and 2024 vehicle models to the list as part of the update.

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I haven't been using my iPad for too much things nowadays. It's mostly consumption stuff: watching movies, reading books and RSS feeds, as well as playing Backgammon. However, if I ever get back to my iPad for writing, I'd probably investigate getting a bluetooth keyboard and an iPad stand that allow me to work in portrait mode.

I think Apple got it right with the first iPad dock that oriented the device in a portrait position. Everyone should get more vertical space.

(I suppose my frustration of using my work Windows laptop, with all the title bars and tab bars and menu bars and ribbons and status bar and task bar, is getting on my nerve. So many frigging bars.)


Thanks for reading.

The Beleaguered-Institutiions Edition Monday, April 24, 2023

Can Apple Really Help Fix Banking?, by Rana Foroohar, Financial Times

But the fact that Apple looks, smells and acts like a bank raises questions about the disruptive effects of fintech, and of Big Tech in general. Silicon Valley loves regulatory arbitrage — move fast and break things in whatever sector you want to disrupt (retail, healthcare, banking, transportation, to name a few) before policymakers realise that you aren’t actually playing by the same rules as other industry participants. It’s how start-ups in healthcare get round HIPAA rules and crypto companies continue to dupe investors.

Should Apple hasten the exodus of deposits from the traditional banking sector in ways that start to undermine already beleaguered financial institutions, I suspect that regulators will take a closer look at the business model. The company will also have to be careful to avoid compromising consumer data in ways that trigger antitrust issues.

Are You Ready To Give Apple All Of Your Money?, by Dan Moren, Macworld

I, for one, would be delighted to see Apple becoming a significant enough player in the financial industry to wield that influence in improving my banking experience. What if transferring funds was as easy as Apple Pay? What if I never needed to write another paper check in my life? All of those feel like pain points that Apple could help solve if it bent its will to the task; and maybe, based on what it’s done so far, it’s got just such an idea in mind.

On Security

The Dark Side Of The Mac App Store: How Scam Apps And Shady Developers Are Preying On Users, by Privacy1St, Medium

In the last 30 days, I have been closely monitoring the Mac App Store and have made a disturbing discovery. In the midst of the OpenAI frenzy, several apps have surfaced that are copying the iconic OpenAI logo and color scheme in order to mislead unsuspecting MacOS App Store users. But that’s not all — I also found that some developers are abusing Apple’s Developer Agreements by spamming multiple accounts and flooding the store with nearly identical applications. This creates a “cartel” style environment and unfair competition for other developers.


Apple Music Classical Aims To Reach Music Lovers The Streaming Revolution Left Behind, by Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR

In my exploration of Apple Music Classical, the app usually gave me the results I sought on the first search attempt. For popular pieces of music, such as Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" — for which there are 817 (!) recordings available — the app provides a brief text introduction to the work, a human curator-recommended "Editor's Choice" recording, several "popular recordings" of the piece, and then a list of some related works, including recordings of other Beethoven works for piano, as well as suggestions of other pieces by other composers (Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Saint-Saens) that might appeal as well.


According to Gruber, Apple's research has found that far from being music snobs, classical fans actually listen to many more kinds of music than listeners to other music genres. "What we found," he says, "is that classical customers are not sitting in an elite corner somewhere. They're actually the biggest music fans there are. They're the ones who listen to the widest variety of genres, way above the average of your average listener of music."


Hey Apple, Where Are Your Chatbots?, by Tim Culpan and Parmy Olson, Bloonberg

Apple in the last six months seems to have avoided jumping into the ChatGPT race by continuing to hire specialists in vision-recognition instead of large-language model technology, according to estimates by analytics firm, which recently scanned the LinkedIn profiles of newly hired AI researchers at large technology firms. Vision recognition is an AI field where computers identify images, and that expertise would dovetail more with Apple’s work on a mixed-reality headset. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple’s own ethos also makes a foray into building large language models more challenging. Executives led by Cook constantly bang their own drum about privacy and security, while tightening Apple’s own ecosystem to limit the flow of personal data. Yet the language models that power ChatGPT vacuum up vast amounts of information, often from opaque sources, in order to mimic what a human might create. This approach is anathema to Apple’s more conservative approach to data collation and usage.

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I'm not sure I buy the argument that Apple need to jump into 'the ChatGPT race.' I still do not see how a first-party general-purpose large-language model can make Apple's platforms better.

Can ChatGPT make Apple Music Classical? I don't think so.


Thanks for reading.

The A-Better-World Edition Sunday, April 23, 2023

Jane Goodall On Why It’s ‘Desperately Important To Give People Hope’ With Apple TV+ Series ‘Jane’, by Julia MacCary, Variety

I hope that it will encourage them to actually think more about endangered species — to think about the fact that if we’re not careful, many of these species will disappear. I hope it also will encourage young people to join our Roots and Shoots program, which is in 68 countries. It’s about young people choosing projects to help — animals, people and the environment — deciding what they want to do, working out what they can do, rolling up their sleeves and taking action.

So if this Jane Garcia encourages real-life activities, it’ll be great. I hope it will encourage young people to join in the effort to make this a better world, to choose projects that will help to save the environment before it’s too late.

Do You Have ADHD? This Web Browser Is Designed To Make It Easier To Focus, by Laya Neelakandan, Fast Company

The browser, whose third version was released in March, is designed to eliminate distractions and centralizes apps to optimize productivity. Pushkarev says he has always found it odd that there wasn’t a web browser tailored to knowledge workers.

What's That Bird? Merlin Bird ID App Works Magic, by Roman Feeser, CBS News

"Birds are really important because they are indicators of environmental health; basically, what's good for birds is good for humans," said Jesse Barry, program manager of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University.

"Birds are really the canaries in the coal mine in a lot of ways," she said. "They're helping us understand the health of the planet. Right now, all the indicators are pointing to bird populations declining. And so, that's a really critical warning sign for us right now."

But hope is not lost. Barry and her team at Cornell have given all of humankind a chance at redemption – and it's sitting in the palm of our hands, quite literally.

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I've been listening to a ton of "Boléro, M. 81" over at Apple Music Classical today.

No, I am not sophisticated nor appreciative enough to discern the difference between the different performances.

Maybe when Siri gains additional power, it will be able to teach me?


Thanks for reading.

The Technical-Groundwork Edition Saturday, April 22, 2023

Will Apple Take A Big Bite Out Of The Banks?, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

The iPhone maker is playing a long game in finance and payments, say three former Apple employees, and its current moves are laying the technical groundwork for taking a bigger share of the market.


“Right now, they can’t upset banks, and they can’t separate network partners — it’s too important for distribution at the start,” says a former Apple employee. “But you can imagine that the pendulum swings: as more and more people use Apple Pay . . . then the leverage moves into Apple’s camp and they can make other plays that aren’t so dependent on the banks.”

Apple Rolls Out Support For Contactless Payments Acceptance On iPhones To Merchants In Taiwan, by Tom Phillips, NFCW

Merchants in Taiwan have become the first outside the USA to be able to accept in-store contactless payments on iPhones using Apple’s Tap to Pay software point of sale (sPOS) feature.

Coming Soon?

Three Unreleased Mac Models Appear In Apple's Find My Configuration File, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

The list in Apple’s configuration file relates to overriding “separation monitoring,” which suggests these could be desktop Mac models that do not need to be actively tracked via ‌Find My‌ for separation from the user as portable Macs do.


Hyperduck Leverages The Power Of URL Schemes To Control Your Mac From An iPhone Or iPad, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Hyperduck is a recent utility from Sindre Sorhus for sending URLs from an iPhone or iPad to your Mac that has some very interesting applications. Hyperduck hasn’t replaced my use of AirDrop, Handoff, and other Apple technologies that move data between devices, but it has extended those features in meaningful ways and has quickly worked its way into my everyday computing life.

Typinator 9, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Ergonis has released Typinator 9, a major new version with a fresh, modern user interface, a new app icon, and Spanish language support.

Why This 11-port Dock Is Perfect For Professionals Who Travel, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

But if you need power, performance, and reliability, and you're shuffling gigabytes of important data from storage cards and backup drives, or you want to hook up your device to an external display, then the OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock is worth looking at.


'Can't Wait To Return!' Says Apple CEO Tim Cook As India Visit Comes To An End, by HindustanTimes

On the last day of his trip, Cook visited some app developers to experience their technology.

"It's great to see so many developers across India pursuing their passion and sharing their ideas with users around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting Hitwicket, India's top-rated cricket app, Prayoga, an AR-based yoga app, and LookUp, an easy-to-use dictionary app," Cook tweeted.

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iCloud is 'infamous' for having sync not work, and with no error messages, and no buttons to force a sync.

Now that I am starting to work on iCloud syncing for my hobby project, I am realising that sync sometimes also does not work, and there are no error messages, and there are no APIs (I think) to force a sync.


Thanks for reading.

The Adding-New-Music Edition Friday, April 21, 2023

Apple's New Classical Music App Ignores Most Of The World, by Parker Hall, Wired

For its part, Apple says anything artists and labels call classical music, when added to Apple Music, can be included. I have indeed found Ravi Shankar (though few other non-Western classical musicians) on the app. What is and isn’t called classical music in the industry and world at large is a problem that stems well beyond Apple. Search for classical music on Spotify or YouTube and you'll largely be confronted with Western classical music. But as we grow into a world where music will increasingly be tagged, cataloged, and imported for us to stream, it's important we make other classical music easier to find.


If Apple decides to add new music to the current interface, there's a question of where it could even go in the current design. How would such music be categorized? The “Eras” section of the app has only European classical timelines and labels. The instruments you can say you prefer are all European classical. The composers with featured images drawn up by Apple are all in the Western classical tradition. Building a taxonomy to encompass both Western and non-Western classical music would only make sorting more complex.

How The Streaming Era Turned Music Into Sludge, by Morgan Meaker, Wired

Twenty years ago, the iTunes Music Store reshaped how we listen, but we have now arrived at another turning point blurring the definition of music. AI threatens to turbocharge sludge, making it easier than ever to produce. But if the people want sludge, why not give them sludge?

Coming Soon?

WSJ: Apple Planning To Release Journaling App, Codenamed 'Jurassic', by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple is planning to launch a Day One-style iPhone journaling app to let users compile their daily activities, as part of its efforts in the physical and mental health market, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Pocket City 2 Is A Mobile SimCity But Better, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

Did you play SimCity on a floppy disk? Are you uncomfortable with the “theft” part of Grand Theft Auto but you love running around and playing mini-games? Did you quit checking Twitter and suddenly find yourself looking for things to do on your phone?

Boy, do I have a game recommendation for you. I’d like to introduce you to my newest guilty pleasure: Pocket City 2.

This App Solves One Of The Most Annoying Things About iPhone Safari’s Address Bar, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The app is essentially a custom keyboard for your iPhone and iPad that focuses entirely on navigating through URLs.


Adware For Apple Services In iOS, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Promotions for services I might want? Maybe, but Apple should be extremely conservative about presenting them — especially in push notifications. Promotions for services I already pay for? That shouldn’t happen.

Grieving Mum Wins 13-month Apple Feud After Death Of Son, 30, by Rachel Alexander, StokeoStokeonTrentLive

Kate said: “Apple have treated us horribly. They would not tell me what I needed to send in to prove I am Davey’s next-of-kin. How am I supposed to send stuff if they won’t tell me what it is?

Can ActivityPub Save The Internet?, by David Pierce, The Verge

After nearly two decades of fighting for this vision of the internet, the people who believed in federation feel like they’re finally going to win. The change they imagine still requires a lot of user education — and a lot of work to make this stuff work for users. But the fundamental shift, from platforms to protocols, appears to have momentum in a way it never has before. For decades, the open web has always run into endpoints: things were handed off to SMS or email or a third party like Facebook or Twitter. Thanks to standards like ActivityPub, Dash says, “now it’s the web all the way down.”

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I certainly hope that Apple Music comes in more additional flavors, besides Apple Music Classical. Okay, perhaps many music genres does not require any additional or different set of meta-data. But it will be nice if I can just easily go to a particular genre directly, rather than, currently, switch to "Browse" tab, wait for page to load, scroll all the way down, tap on "Browse by Category", search and then, finally, tap on the desired genre.

Also, having entire universe songs in a particular language, say, Mandarin, classified under one genre, C-Pop, is, well, not that great.

Yes, I know Apple is busy building the Android app, and, hopefully the iPad and macOS (and Reality OS?) apps too. Sure, those are important too. But after that, can we have more specialized versions of Apple Music app?


Thanks for reading.

The Closer-Than-Ever Edition Thursday, April 20, 2023

Apple Announces Major Progress Toward Climate Goals Ahead Of Earth Day, by Apple

Already carbon neutral for its global corporate operations, Apple has decreased its comprehensive carbon footprint by over 45 percent since 2015, even as the company’s revenue has grown by over 68 percent during that same period. In total last year, the company’s extensive environmental efforts — including expanding renewable energy across its global supply chain, and building products with recycled and other low-carbon materials — avoided more than 28 million metric tons of carbon.

“We are closer than ever to achieving our vision of Apple 2030 — our ambitious goal to make every product carbon neutral by 2030 — and we are thrilled to celebrate the tremendous progress with our customers this Earth Day,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “Our customers can use their Apple devices knowing they are made with the environment in mind — that means more clean energy, more industry-leading durability, even greater efficiency, and more recycled and low-carbon materials than ever before.

Apple Responds To Report About Thieves Permanently Locking Out iPhone Users, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a statement shared in response to the report, Apple said it is “always investigating additional protections against emerging threats like this one.”

“We sympathize with people who have had this experience and we take all attacks on our users very seriously, no matter how rare,” an Apple spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal. “We work tirelessly every day to protect our users’ accounts and data, and are always investigating additional protections against emerging threats like this one.”

Apple In India

Apple Saket Now Open In New Delhi, by Apple

Presented in a roundtable-style format for an even more personalized experience, Apple Saket’s Today at Apple sessions are designed for everyone from photographers and musicians to first-time Apple customers.

Apple Crosses Final Frontier With India Retail, Production Push, by Ryosuke Hanada and Rei Nakafuji, Nikkei Asia

Cook was in New Delhi on Wednesday to meet with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"We share your vision of the positive impact technology can make on India’s future -- from education and developers to manufacturing and the environment, we’re committed to growing and investing across the country," Cook tweeted afterward.


Glucomate Is A New iPhone App For Analyzing And Spotting Trends From Glucose Monitoring Data, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Indie developer Zach Simone from Sydney, Australia, has launched a new iPhone app that’s rather personal for him. Zach lives with Type 1 diabetes and uses a continuous glucose monitor with Apple Health support to manage it.

The challenge, though, is knowing how to make use of all the data as it builds up. That’s a challenge Zach wants to solve with his new app called Glucomate.

Voicemod Now Available On Mac With Real-time AI Voice Changing And Soundboards, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Voicemod, a popular voice changer and soundboard, is now available on macOS. Voicemod is widely used by streamers, gamers, and content creators to trigger sound effects through soundboards or for pitch-shifting and fun real-time voice changes.

Second Emergency Chrome For Mac Update Targets New Zero-day Flaw, by Michael Simon, Macworld

The 112.0.5615.137 update for Chrome for Mac fixes eight security flaws, including at least one that may have been actively exploited.


Get Ready To Help Customers Resolve Billing Issues Without Leaving Your App, by Apple

Starting this summer, if an auto-renewable subscription doesn’t renew due to a billing issue, a system-provided sheet appears in your app with a prompt that lets customers update their payment method for their Apple ID. No action is required to adopt this feature.


AI Drake Just Set An Impossible Legal Trap For Google, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

Instead, UMG and Getty Images and publishers around the world are claiming that collecting all the training data for the AI is copyright infringement: that ingesting Drake’s entire catalog, or every Getty photo, or the contents of every Wall Street Journal article (or whatever) to train an AI to make more photos or Drake songs or news articles is unauthorized copying. That would make the fake Drake songs created by that AI unauthorized “derivative works,” and, phew, we’re still squarely in the realm of copyright law that everyone understands. (Or, well, pretends to understand.)

The problem is that Google, Microsoft, StabilityAI, and every other AI company are all claiming that those training copies are fair use — and by “fair” they do not mean “fair as determined by an argument in an internet comments section,” but “fair” as in “fair as determined by a court on a case-by-case application of 17 United States Code §107 which lays out a four-factor test for fair use that is as contentious and unpredictable as anything in American political life.”

The Hacker, by Maddy Crowell, Columbia Journalism Review

Runa Sandvik was living in London when she first heard about the hack—and it stunned her. She was twenty-five at the time, a cybersecurity expert working for a grassroots operation aiming to help anonymize the internet. A few years later, she was called into an interview at the Times headquarters for a new role: head of information security. Sandvik was told that the newsroom wanted to hire someone who could ward off the possibility of another major attack and help reporters deal with cybersecurity threats as they arose. Sandvik was the obvious person for the job. “She’s been the first in so many instances,” Susan McGregor, a researcher at Columbia University’s Data Science Institute, told me. “She appreciates the vagaries of journalism and what it looks like to work through censorship resistance from inside a news organization.”

“It comes back to being really curious about things and really enjoying the puzzle that goes into figuring out how to secure a system or a person,” Sandvik told me recently. Now thirty-six, Sandvik lives in New York with her husband, Michael, who is also in cybersecurity. She departed from the Times a few years ago and has since started her own consulting firm, Granitt, where she advises journalists and other at-risk people (lawyers, activists) on how to keep their data safe from hackers—many of them the hired hands of authoritarian regimes. Sandvik is originally from Oslo; the name of her company is the Norwegian word for granite. “I wanted the name to reflect the work I do,” she said. “Something consistent and stable and solid.”

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I'm sure we will see more pictures and videos of Apple in India during the upcoming WWDC keynotes, won't we? Maybe the lucky WWDC in-person attendees (as well as the press) may get to experience India in all its colors, sounds, and dimensions? (Did anyone notice anybody from Apple filming in some special VR cameras?)


Thanks for reading.

The Listening-Out Edition Wednesday, April 19, 2023

HomePod Can Now Notify You When It Hears Your Smoke Detector Alarm, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The promised Sound Recognition feature is launching today on HomePod and HomePod mini. When enabled, your HomePod will listen out for your home’s existing smoke and carbon monoxide detector. When it hears the alarm, the HomePod will send a notification to your iPhone via the Home app.

Coming Soon?

Apple's AR/VR Headset To Feature Sports, Gaming, iPad Apps And Workouts, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

A big part of the effort is adapting iPad apps for the new headset, which blends virtual and augmented reality. Users will be able to access millions of existing apps from third-party developers via the new 3D interface, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are still under wraps.

The push will include optimized versions of the Safari web browser and Apple’s services for calendars, contacts, files, home control, mail, maps, messaging, notes, photos and reminders, as well as its music, news, stocks and weather apps. There also will be a version of the FaceTime conferencing service and Apple’s TV app. The features will look similar to their iPad counterparts.


LumaFusion Adds Automated Multicam Editing On iOS And iPad OS, by Jeremy Gray, PetaPixel

LumaTouch has released LumaFusion Multicam Studio, an add-on to LumaFusion that enables videographers to sync, switch, and edit clips from multiple camera and audio sources within LumaFusion on iOS and iPad OS devices.

Heart Analyzer App For iPhone And Apple Watch Overhauled With New 'Dashboard' And More For Your Health Data, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Heart Analyzer is a popular iPhone and Apple Watch app that takes data from the Health app and provides more insight, additional trend information, and more. Today, a new update is rolling out to Heart Analyzer with an all-new Dashboard view, new charts, redesigned Apple Watch complications, and more.

Vivaldi 6.0 Web Browser Introduces Tab Workspaces And Custom Icons, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Similar in functionality to virtual desktops, the new Workspaces feature is designed to further enhance the browser’s powerful tab management by letting users organize tabs by category into separate workspaces and switch easily between them.


Apple Saket Will Open This Thursday, April 20, In New Delhi, by Apple

Apple Saket welcomes customers through a uniquely designed curved storefront with white oak tables displaying Apple’s products and accessories, as well as a feature wall manufactured in India.

Why India Is So Important To Apple, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

India could echo the role China has played in Apple's business for the last 15 years: A massive market with an expanding middle class to power sales growth, and potentially a home base for the production of millions of Apple devices.

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This week's episode of Schmigadoon! over at Apple TV+ is so great, and it was so much fun with that concluding song. I will not spoil it for you, but it was already so obvious from last week's episode that this is where they are going. You don't have Annie and Sweeney Todd as neighbors for nothing.


Thanks for reading.

The Brand-Recognition Edition Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Apple Card Savings Account Available Starting Today With 4.15% Interest Rate, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that the long-awaited Apple Card Savings feature is available starting today with an initial APY of 4.15%. The savings account has no fees, no minimum deposits, and no minimum balance requirements.

Apple Wants To Be 'Top Of Wallet' With New Savings Account, Expert Says. Here's How Its 4.15% Offer Compares To Top Rates, by Lorie Konish, CNBC

Apple's 4.15% savings account now lands in 11th place on Bankrate's rankings, he said.

Still, Apple may have an advantage when it comes to the top offerings for rates due to its brand recognition, Rossman said.

Apple In India

Apple In Mumbai: Tim Cook Inaugurates First Store In India, by BBC

Videos showed Mr Cook waving to customers and opening the store's doors as employees clapped and cheered.

He also greeted customers who visited the store and posed for selfies with some of them.

Mr Cook will also attend the opening of a second store in the capital Delhi on Thursday.

Apple Opens Its First Retail Store In India But Customer Challenges Persist, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Despite local iPhone assembly and the company’s contract partners reaping the rewards of New Delhi’s generous incentives, Apple products, including the iPhone, remain prohibitively expensive in India in a move that has stunned analysts who thought Apple will pass on the incentives to customers.


Moreover, even after paying a hefty price, Apple customers in India do not get access to scores of services. Several popular Apple services, such as News+, Fitness+, and Apple Pay, remain unavailable to Indian consumers. The Apple Card and its accompanying savings account feature in the U.S. are also absent from the Indian market. Apple Maps and Siri offer fewer features to Indian customers.

On Security

Newly Discovered LockBit Mac Ransomware Doesn't Work—Yet, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

For now, Wardle notes that LockBit's macOS encryptors seem to be in a very early phase and still have fundamental development issues like crashing on launch. And to create truly effective attack tools, LockBit will need to figure out how to circumvent macOS protections, including validity checks that Apple has added in recent years for running new software on Macs.

“In some sense, Apple is ahead of the threat, as recent versions of macOS ship with a myriad of built-in security mechanisms aimed to directly thwart, or at least reduce the impact of, ransomware attacks,” Wardle says. “However, well-funded ransomware groups will continue to evolve their malicious creations.”

NSO Hacked iPhones Without User Clicks In 3 New Ways, Researchers Say, by Joseph Menn, Washington Post

Israeli spyware maker NSO Group deployed at least three new “zero-click” hacks against iPhones last year, finding ways to penetrate some of Apple’s latest software, researchers at Citizen Lab have discovered.

The attacks struck phones with iOS 15 and early versions of iOS 16 operating software, Citizen Lab said in a report Tuesday. The lab, based at the University of Toronto, shared its results with Apple, which has now fixed the flaws that NSO had been exploiting.


Apple Launches All-new ‘Apple Trade In’ Website In Time For Earth Day, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new website comes just in time for Earth Day, and Apple explains on the environmental benefits of trading in old devices.

Adobe Lightroom Gains AI-powered Denoise, Curves In Masking, New Adaptive Presets, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Adobe is out with a major spring update for Lightroom today that includes new Sensei AI-powered improvements to make photo and video editing more intuitive and seamless. New capabilities are available with the latest adaptive presets, there are now Curves in masking, a new AI Denoise tool, and more.

Google Pushes Emergency Chrome For Mac Update To Fix Actively Exploited Flaw, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Google has labeled the vulnerability as high risk and urges all users to update to version v112.0.5615.121. The update, which arrived on April 14, includes two security fixes, one of which is divulged as a type confusion bug in V8 discovered by Google’s Threat Analysis Group on April 11. Google says it is aware that the vulnerability has been exploited in the wild but declined to provide specific details.

Outlook For Mac’s New Profiles Separate Work And Personal Emails With Colorful Themes, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft has started rolling out a new profiles feature in Outlook for Mac that lets you easily separate out work and personal email accounts with different colored themes.


33 Years Of TidBITS: Handcrafted Content From Humans, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

I can’t compete with all the tech reporters at the likes of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, nor do I have the loose-lipped industry sources that whisper secrets to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. But unlike me, they won’t delve into the murky details of the File Provider extension for cloud storage services or explain how to resolve nagging problems with a Level 2 clean install.


Porn On Amazon's Kindle App Prompts Warnings From Apple, Alphabet, by Greg Bensinger, Reuters

Reuters learned of the issue when two families told Reuters their pre-teen sons downloaded the explicit material via Amazon's Kindle Unlimited e-book subscription service and viewed the full-color photographs on the Kindle iPhone app. Pornography also is available through Amazon's Kindle online store and viewable on versions of the Kindle app.


Referring to Amazon, Apple said, “We’ve shared these concerns with the developer and are working with them to ensure their app is compliant with our guidelines.”

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It's a thundery night here where I am, and the rumblings have been going on for quite a while already. And I have to say, I still cannot get used to listening to the thunders on my AirPods Pro with the noise canceling turned on. They sounded surreal.

(I was walking from the subway station back to my flat… with an audiobook playing in my ears… with accompanying thunders.)


Thanks for reading.

The Serving-Humanity Edition Monday, April 17, 2023

Apple Tops 1 Million Developer Jobs In India, 'Excited To Build On Our Long-standing History', Says Tim Cook, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Apple chief executive Tim Cook is visiting India this week to launch the stores and meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as many business leaders to talk about the company’s growing commitment to India.

“At Apple, our mission is to enrich lives and empower people around the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement Monday. “India has such a beautiful culture and an incredible energy, and we’re excited to build on our long-standing history — supporting our customers, investing in local communities, and working together to build a better future with innovations that serve humanity.”

Apple BKC In Mumbai Opens For Customers This Tuesday, by Apple

Apple BKC will offer a special Today at Apple series, “Mumbai Rising,” running from Tuesday, April 18 — the store’s opening day — through the summer. Bringing visitors, local artists, and creatives together, these free sessions featuring Apple products and services will offer hands-on activities that celebrate the local community and culture.


Apple BKC features more than 100 team members who collectively speak over 20 languages.

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans To Launch More Than Just Its New Headset At WWDC, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The mixed-reality headset will be the star of the show, but the annual conference will be packed with other products too. That includes new Mac laptops and the biggest update to the Apple Watch’s software since the first version was introduced in 2015, I’m told.


Apple has several new models in the works: a 15-inch MacBook Air, an updated 13-inch MacBook Air, an entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, a refreshed 24-inch iMac, the first Mac Pro with in-house chips and updated high-end MacBook Pro models. All of these should go on sale either this year or in early 2024. There are also two Mac Studio follow-ups planned, but their timing is less clear.


Apple Music Classical Is Everything I've Wanted Spotify To Be, by Dhruv Bhutani, Android Authority

Apple Music Classical is a clear example of an app built by people who genuinely care about music. It’s an app that trusts you, the music listener, to know your mood, educate yourself about the nuance of specific pieces or movements, and immerse yourself in an artist’s works. It’s also a great starting point for balancing discovery with curation.


Apple Music Classical is proof that a better music listening experience can co-exist with the chaos of streaming recommendations. But will any other service learn from it? That’s the million-dollar question.


How Dicey Rumors Get From Apple's Secret Labs To Your Computer Screen, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Rumors, like sausage and political policy, are a little less magical when you see exactly how they’re made, so join me on this journey inside the rumor mill. You may never look at them the same way again.

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If Apple is going to introduce new Reality at the upcoming WWDC, yes, the keynote will be jam-packed.

However, I will not be surprised if the new VR/AR headset does not get introduced at all. Not because of technology or the rumored objections from the design team, but Apple may also want to be cautious in introducing new (expensive) platforms in the time of economic uncertainties.

What I will find surprising is if iPadOS does not gain lock-screen customization that is equivalent, if not more, than what we have on iPhones today.


Thanks for reading.

The Reducing-Carbon-Footprint Edition Sunday, April 16, 2023

How Apple Is Making The Chips That Power Its Computers – And Why Its Macs Are Turning Green, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

But it also says that it has paid off in other ways, too. The new chips are not only more powerful but also less power-hungry, doing their work far more efficiently than before.

That helps in obvious ways, such as vastly increasing the time between charges of its devices even with the same-sized battery. But there are more subtle and arguably more important ways that helps – such as cutting down the amount of energy used by its devices, and in so doing helping reduce the carbon footprint both of Apple and the people who used its products.

The End Of Computer Magazines In America, by Harry McCracken, Technologizer

But I’m not writing this article because the dead-tree versions of Maximum PC and MacLife are no more. I’m writing it because they were the last two extant U.S. computer magazines that had managed to cling to life until now. With their abandonment of print, the computer magazine era has officially ended.

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Once upon a time, I was spending so much money on magazines to get back so little reading material. (With an occasional CDs filled with shareware.)


Thanks for reading.

The Compatibility-Validation Edition Saturday, April 15, 2023

Apple Makes Headway On New Mac Laptops As It Grapples With Slump, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Mac maker has begun testing the new machines with third-party apps from the App Store to validate their compatibility, according to developer logs shared with Bloomberg News. That’s a necessary step in the run-up to the launch of a new device.

Apple is counting on the new machines to entice shoppers after the worst Mac slump since the dot-com bust in 2000. Shipments plunged more than 40% in the first quarter, according to IDC, making the Mac a laggard even in an industry suffering a sharp downturn across the board. Apple had telegraphed that the quarter would be weak, but it won’t provide its actual results for the period until May 4.

Spark Review, by Justin Pot, PC Magazine

Unlike many competitors, Spark offers a refreshing experience because it's built entirely around email—not productivity apps, notes, or to-do lists. Gmail and other popular email apps keep adding more features, trying to expand boring old email into something else. If that's not what you want, I recommend Spark, which gives you great keyboard shortcuts, excellent features for organizing messages, and a lovely interface. Spark is also easy to recommend if you're looking for a more focused email client.

Todoist For Mac Gains AI Assistant To Level Up Your GTD Powers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Popular getting things done (GTD) app Todoist has received an AI upgrade that’s aiming to make it easier than ever to accomplish your tasks. That includes suggesting tasks, making them more actionable, and getting tips to complete them.

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In my humble opinion, there are two groups of potential MacBook customers that Apple has not served well traditionally: customers who want a low-cost but good laptop, and customers who want an ultra-portable laptop.

The MacBook Air started life as an ultra-portable laptop. Then, iPhones and iPads came along. And MacBook Air morphed into the low-cost option, but not low-cost enough as Apple claimed they didn't know how.

It's time Apple start to learn how for both groups of customers.


Thanks for reading.

The All-Over-the-Place Edition Friday, April 14, 2023

Forget iPhone 15 Buttons, The Whole Apple Rumor Mill Needs To Hit The Reset Button, by Jason Cross, Macworld

But lately, it seems even our most reliable analysts, leakers, and supply chain watchers are all over the place. Their predictions disagree with one another and then turn around entirely.


Either way, nothing is real until Apple says it’s real.

Apple, Canal+ Sign Landmark, Multi-Year Deal To Bring AppleTV+ To All Subscribers In France, More Territories, by Elsa Keslassy, Variety

Under the pact, Apple TV+ will be available at no extra cost to Canal+ subs from April 20. Canal+ customers can seamlessly and easily access the films and series of Apple TV+ directly on their existing set-top box — with no separate app or subscription necessary. This is a multi-territory agreement for France, French speaking-Switzerland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.


Farrago 2 Soundboard For Mac Arrives With 50 New Features Including Shortcuts And Stream Deck Integration, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Audio playback in version 2.0 is refined with a new way to preview and test clips using a secondary audio output and better fade controls. Those are part of a new built-in editor that also lets you cut and crop audio without leaving the app.

Review: Twelve South's New HiRise Pro Hides A MagSafe Charger In A Premium MacBook Stand, by Rikka Altland, 9to5Toys

It’s one of the sturdier MacBook stands I have used over the years and delivers a premium design to match.

Drawing A Blank, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app blanks out your TV screen until you press a button on the Apple TV remote. That way, you can listen to music or a podcast through an Apple TV without also watching the album art or screensavers.


Actually, Charging Your Phone In A Public USB Port Is Fine, by Heather Tal Murphy, Slate

All of this is to say, make sure you have a fully charged portable charger with you at all times. Buy a USB “condom”—as many call hacker-prevention devices—and consider bringing a cord that can be plugged into an actual electrical outlet. But if you can’t, because you are a normal human and your phone is dying, just know that it will probably be OK if you use a public USB port.

Apple Takes A Bite Out Of India, by Rishi Iyengar, Foreign Policy

Apple’s tightrope walk between the world’s two most populous countries (and biggest tech markets) will likely define not only its own future prospects, but also technology supply chains more broadly.

Apple Emailed Staff At 7 A.m. Surveying Them About Hybrid Work After Threatening To Discipline Employees Not Going In 3 Days A Week, by Sam Tabahriti, Insider

Apple sent a survey to corporate employees at 7 a.m. Wednesday asking for their views about hybrid work after threatening to discipline anyone not coming into the office at least three days a week.

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Are there even more versions of iPhones this year, and that's why they are confusing the heck out of all the rumormongers?


Thanks for reading.

The Notes-to-Himself Edition Thursday, April 13, 2023

‘Make Something Wonderful’, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The highlight of the book, however, is his Stanford commencement address from 2005. It’s a remarkable speech to begin with, one that will likely be quoted for years to come. But the book also provides Jobs’s notes to himself as he began planning what to say in the speech! (He just kept sending himself emails whenever he thought of something, and because of that quirk, we get to peek inside his thought process.)

7 Most Beautiful Apple Stores In Asia, by Margaux Levy, Tatler

These Apple stores in Asia have become incredible architectural landmarks due to their modern future-thinking designs and minimalist interiors. The majority of these retail stores have been the results of longtime collaborators and global architectural firm Foster + Partners, who have dreamt up architecturally stunning spaces that say true to the brand ethos. Whether designed by Foster + Partners or other notable firms around the world, it is needless to say that each of these destination stores is indeed become the epitome of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s dictum that “form follows function”.

Making Stuff

Apple Will Use 100 Percent Recycled Cobalt In Batteries By 2025, by Apple

Apple today announced a major acceleration of its work to expand recycled materials across its products, including a new 2025 target to use 100 percent recycled cobalt in all Apple-designed batteries. Additionally, by 2025, magnets in Apple devices will use entirely recycled rare earth elements, and all Apple-designed printed circuit boards will use 100 percent recycled tin soldering and 100 percent recycled gold plating.

Apple In Talks With Suppliers To Make MacBooks In Thailand, by Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

Apple is in talks with suppliers to make MacBooks in Thailand as the company continues to expand its manufacturing footprint outside of China amid geopolitical uncertainties.


The Apple suppliers involved in the talks already have manufacturing complexes in Thailand for other clients and are discussing possible assembly and production of components and modules for MacBooks, according to sources from three suppliers directly involved in the conversations with Apple.

Apple Leads Charge As India's Smartphone Exports Double In Record Surge, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

The surge in smartphone exports can be attributed to New Delhi’s concerted efforts and substantial financial incentives, which aim to encourage smartphone manufacturers to expand their operations in India as the South Asian market races to bolster local infrastructure.


Apple Releases tvOS 16.4.1 With Performance Improvements For Apple TV And HomePod, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The build number for tvOS 16.4.1 and HomePod Software 16.4.1 is 20L498. Apple’s release notes for the updates simply say that they contain “performance and stability improvements.”

Pixelmator Photo Rebrands To Photomator, Adds AI Masking Tools, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

Pixelmator Photo is being rebranded as Photomator and is getting a series of updates including selective adjustments — including artificial intelligence-powered automatic subject, background, and sky selections — linear and radial gradient masks, brush selections, and more.

Lasso Review: Rassle Control Of Your Mac's Finder Windows, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

If you want more efficiency, control, and speed in managing windows across one or more displays, Apple’s lack of interest has left room for Lasso, a single-minded utility designed to let you use a grid to move and resize windows quickly.

Truecaller Brings Live Caller ID To iPhone... But With A Catch, by Jagmeet Singh, TechCrunch

To use the new feature, Truecaller subscribers on an iPhone running on iOS 16 or above will be to access live caller ID support by saying, “Hey Siri, Search Truecaller.” This will allow Siri to capture the number appearing on the screen, search for it on the app, then show the result to the user.


Apple’s Local Tax Arrangement With Hometown Comes Under Fire, by Laura Mahoney, Bloomberg

Although Apple isn’t named in the city staff report, the company is Cupertino’s largest source of sales tax revenue. According to the audit, revenue will drop to $11.4 million in the current fiscal year from $42.1 million, and Cupertino may be required to return money to the state that it has received in previous years. The city may have to cut staff and other spending to cover the shortfall.

“This decline in revenue is due to a change in sales tax distributions based on the anticipated outcome of a state audit of one of the city’s taxpayers,” Cupertino said in a written statement. The city is taking early action to inform the council members and community “in preparation for developing budget-balancing strategies as we prepare next year’s budget.”

The End Of The Music Business, by Ethan Iverson, The Nation

Enough money is being made by streaming for some to claim that the music industry is “back” from the nadir of the late 2000s. Others note that Apple Music is simply a loss leader for the company and that Spotify has yet to turn a profit. I’ve heard that new pop artists actively seek endorsement deals to advertise nonmusical products as soon as they’ve acquired management who can ask around on their behalf. Does video game music actually pay? Can we get a gig on Fortnite?

We are a long way from understanding the ramifications of having it all available at the click of a button. Still, music will survive. After all, there was plenty of music before Caruso sold a million records in 1903. If the music industry only lasted a century, so be it. It’s up to the musicians to make the music, no matter what.

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You know what else is missing with Apple Music Classical? Some nice widgets.

Not that the widgets from Apple Music are that great, but at least I can use third-party apps and their widgets with Apple Music. Not so with Apple Music Classical.


Thanks for reading.

The Trend-is-Important Edition Wednesday, April 12, 2023

What Good Are Wearable Computers If The Data Is Wrong?, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

Whether you’re using devices to measure your progress in losing weight, getting more sleep or taking more footsteps, what you need to know is whether the numbers are going up or down. But don’t take them too seriously, because all sorts of factors could be throwing them off — a loose wrist strap, a faulty sensor or, as in my case, imperfect algorithms.

“It’s the trend that’s important, not the absolute number, because this stuff’s not accurate,” Dr. Adams said.

Why No One Is Angry About Apple Taking 30% Of Podcast Subscriptions, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

I'm not mad at all about Apple's 30% cut of podcast revenue, and I don't really know anyone who is. Yes, I'm sure everyone would love to see that number go down, but the entire point is that if you don't like Apple's terms for podcast revenue share, then you can do something else. Apple doesn't even have a "you can sell it online, but you also need to sell it in Apple Podcasts." Oh, they also don't have a clause that prevents podcasters from linking out to their payment pages in show notes!

AirPods Firmware

Apple Releases New Firmware For AirPods, AirPods Max And AirPods Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple does not offer immediately available release notes on what’s included in refreshed firmware updates for the AirPods.

AirPods Users Without A Nearby Apple Device Can Visit An Apple Store To Update Firmware, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Android users and PC users will not be able to install firmware updates from their devices because Apple does not make any kind of AirPods management app for those platforms.

On Security

Mercenary Spyware Hacked iPhone Victims With Rogue Calendar Invites, Researchers Say, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, TechCrunch

Hackers using spyware made by a little known cyber mercenary company used malicious calendar invites to hack the iPhones of journalists, political opposition figures and an NGO worker, according to two reports.

Researchers at Microsoft and the digital rights group Citizen Lab analyzed samples of malware they say was created by QuaDream, an Israeli spyware maker that has been reported to develop zero-click exploits — meaning hacking tools that don’t require the target to click on malicious links — for iPhones.


Apple's April Apple Watch Activity Challenges To Celebrate Earth Day And International Dance Day, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

To earn the Earth Day award, Apple Watch owners will need to do a workout that lasts for 30 minutes or more.

Ulysses 30, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Ulysses has issued version 30 of its eponymous writing app, giving the macOS version the capability to scribble on images and add annotations to PDFs.


Simplified iOS 16.4 Beta Installation Method Expands To Latest macOS Ventura 13.4 And watchOS 9.5 Betas, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Developers and public beta testers enrolled in Apple’s respective programs can toggle on beta updates directly from System Settings on the Mac, and the Software Update section in the Watch app on iPhone.


Apple Expands Innovative Restore Fund For Carbon Removal, by Apple

Apple today announced a major expansion of its Restore Fund, doubling the company’s total commitment to advancing high-quality, nature-based carbon removal projects. First launched in 2021 with an up to $200 million commitment with Conservation International and Goldman Sachs, the Restore Fund is now set to grow with an additional fund, including new investment from Apple, and a new portfolio of carbon removal projects. Apple created the Restore Fund to encourage global investment to protect and restore critical ecosystems and scale natural carbon removal solutions. This approach also helps address residual emissions businesses cannot yet avoid or reduce with existing technology.

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Today, on my hobby project, I am frustrated by SwiftUI.

I will not tell you what I am frustrated by my work projects.

Time for Ted Lasso.


Thanks for reading.

The Pretty-Dumb Edition Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Using Smart Speakers While Temporarily Blind, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Reasoning that these are screenless computers of a sort, I wondered to what extent they might fill in for the screened gadgetry I could no longer use. Could they be my HAL 9000 minus the psychosis, my Samantha from the film Her, my J.A.R.V.I.S. from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe?

Spoiler alert: smart speakers are still pretty dumb.

I have organized this story into categories—podcasts, news, voice calls, music, books, and Web search—each denoting a computer use that I tried to replicate on my smart speakers, with varying degrees of success.

More OS Updates

macOS Monterey 12.6.5 And Big Sur 11.7.6, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Apple has released macOS Monterey 12.6.5 and macOS Big Sur 11.7.6 to patch a security vulnerability that could allow arbitrary code execution with kernel privileges.

iOS 15.7.5 And iPadOS 15.7.5 Address Serious Security Vulnerabilities, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Both are actively being exploited in the wild, so I recommend updating older devices that can’t run iOS 16 right away.

On Security

The iPhone Protects Against 'Juice Jacking' At Charging Stations But It's Not Foolproof, by Jason Cross, Macworld

The Denver FBI office recently tweeted a warning not to use public USB phone charging stations, and it seems like a good excuse to remind everyone about this sound advice: Never plug your iPhone, iPad, or Mac into any USB device or cable you do not control.


Apple does its best to reduce this threat, but these protections are never perfect. On an iPhone or iPad, you might see a “Trust this Computer” prompt when plugging into a public USB charging port. If you see this, do not select “Trust” and instead immediately disconnect your iPhone. You may instead see an “accessory not supported” warning. Again, your best bet is to remove your device if you see either of these prompts.

Apple In India

Apple BKC Opens April 18 And Apple Saket Opens April 20, by Apple

The barricade for Apple Saket was revealed this morning and features a unique design that takes inspiration from Delhi’s many gates, each signifying a new chapter to the city’s storied past. The colorful artwork celebrates Apple’s second store in India — located right in the nation’s capital.

Tim Cook To Open First Apple Stores In India In Pivot Beyond China, by Sankalp Phartiyal and Saritha Rai, loomberg

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has scheduled a trip to open the iPhone maker’s first stores in India next week, underscoring the company’s ambitions for the country as a growth market and manufacturing base.

Do Flagship Apple Stores Exist?, by Michael Steeber, Tabletops

By now you’ve heard that Apple will soon open its first store in India at Mumbai’s Jio World Drive, a shopping mall in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). You’ve probably also heard that this won’t be just any old store. No, it’ll be a special store. The kind of store any city would be proud to have. It’ll be a flagship store that carries flagship status. That’s exciting! But there’s one problem. Do flagship Apple Stores actually exist?


Find Your Inner Ted Lasso With These New Apple Fitness+ 'Workouts To Believe In', by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

A new collection of workouts has arrived on Apple Fitness+. Instead of a traditional theme, the new workouts are all inspired by the Apple TV+ hit Ted Lasso.

You Can Read The New Steve Jobs Book For Free Online, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

The Steve Jobs Archive has published Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs in his own words — a new free ebook containing a curated collection of photographs, emails, speeches, and interviews from the Apple co-founder, some of which have never previously been seen by the public.

Make Something Wonderful is available to read now on the Archive’s website via a custom page designed by Jony Ive’s creative agency LoveFrom and is even set in LoveFrom’s custom typeface. The website allows readers to navigate through the book’s table of contents using a scroll bar labeled with subsections. An ebook version is also available on Apple Books, from participating libraries via the Libby app, or through a direct download from the Steve Jobs Archive.

CarPlay Learns How To Order Pizza While You Drive, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In today’s edition of “things you didn’t know you needed,” Domino’s has announced that you can now order ahead using CarPlay. Using the updated Domino’s app via CarPlay, you can use a simple “Tap to Order” feature to place an order without using your phone at all.


In Defense Of Annoying Stickers That Come On PCs, And Why I Might Get One For My Mac, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

I'm not against pristine, sticker-less computers. But for the sticker-loving weirdos like me, the holographic Apple Silicon stickers are a fun throwback and a way to add just a touch of old-school PC to our speedy, efficient Macs.

GM, CarPlay, And iPhones, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If GM is only going to support its own automotive software system, they ought to be willing and able to do the entire thing themselves, with confidence that they’ll provide a best-in-class experience for owners. Otherwise this seems like a data grab by Google — collecting location, search, and music/podcast listening data from every driver of every vehicle GM eventually sells with this system — and a SaaS revenue grab by GM.

Katie Cotton, Who Led Apple’s Media Strategy For 18 Years, Dies, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Katie Cotton, a longtime Apple Inc. communications chief who served as a steward for the company’s iconic brand during the Steve Jobs era and beyond, has died.


Cotton was named Apple’s vice president of communications in 1996 and stayed in that role until her retirement in 2014, crafting the company’s media strategy and helping orchestrate its groundbreaking launch events. She worked behind the scenes as a champion of Apple’s brand and famously protected Jobs through his health decline.

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Apple should do a Learn VoiceOver While You Can Still See class in its stores. I will sign up for that class, because I just know my old eyes are going to give up one day.

Also, it will help a lot of us better appreciate all the accessibility stuff Apple has built into all its platforms.


Thanks for reading.

The Thread-the-Needle Edition Monday, April 10, 2023

Apple Continues Efforts To Keep Retail Stores From Unionizing, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The latest round of meetings was consistent across all of Apple’s US stores, with the corporate side of the company issuing a prepared message to be read to staffers. During the gatherings, management used the state of the Towson store as a bit of a cautionary tale — in what some employees saw as a scare tactic and others as the company simply laying out the facts.


The company did attempt to thread the needle in its messaging, telling employees it believes in the right to vote — but that it just wants them to be fully informed about what they’re voting for. While Apple didn’t say it, the underlying message to the company’s tens of thousands of retail employees was clear: If your store unionizes, you may be at a disadvantage.

Google, Facebook, Amazon And 19 Other Brands Can Not Open Shops Near Apple Mumbai’s Store, by Livemint

As per the agreement, Apple will have a lease of over 11 years with the Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio World Drive Mall. The Apple Store will be located in a space of around 20,800 square feet.

'StopTheFonts' Is New Safari Extension To Block Custom Web And Improve Privacy, Speed, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Indie developer Jeff Johnson is out with a new Safari extension that aims to block web fonts different than the installed fonts on your device. Dubbed “StopTheFonts,” the extension is highly-customizable, allowing you to create rules for different websites, block all web fonts by default, and more.

Two Types Of Software Engineers, by Thorsten Ball, Register Spill

It's embracing the fact that people are not machines and no matter how often they say they're rational thinkers, you still know that even the strongest choose-the-best-tool-for-the-job advocates will sometimes choose a tool because, well, the GIF in the README was cooler.

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I've just heard my first advertisement by Apple Music Classical, in a podcast, read by the host. In fact, this is probably the first advertisement I've heard from Apple in a podcast.

Maybe Apple is diverting some of its advertising money away from a particular social media web site?


Thanks for reading.

The Massive-Presnce Edition Sunday, April 9, 2023

These Apps Can Help You Brainstorm And Plan Events With Friends, Family, by J.D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Thanks to apps that support collaboration, you can get all parties together in the same online whiteboard, calendar, document or other file. And you can get started with free software that may already be on your phone, tablet and computer. Here’s an overview.

Gardening Help In The Palm Of Your Hand: 5 Apps, Phone Tips, by Jessica Damiano, Associated Press

The latest crop of gardening apps and cellphone features may surprise you with their expert garden-planning and planting advice, pest and disease troubleshooting, instant plant and insect identification, and even integrated artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Apple's Irish Subsidiary Profit Rises To $69.3 Billion, by Bloomberg

Apple's main Irish-registered company made pre-tax profits of $69.3 billion last year, as its income soared to $222.8 billion, company filings show.

Apple At Heart Of US-China Selective Decoupling, Gallagher Says, by Daniel Flatley, Bloomberg

“Apple’s at the heart of what is the most complex aspect of this competition, which is companies that have a massive presence in China are going have to deal with the fact that some form of selective economic decoupling is inevitable,” Gallagher said in a phone interview. “It’s going to continue.”

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In a world where one can subscribe for a month of streaming movies (and television shows and maybe even sports entertainment) for less than twenty bucks and watch many many movies, why is the purchase and, more importantly, rental prices in iTunes store still so high?


Thanks for reading.

The Blink-of-an-Eye Edition Saturday, April 8, 2023

iOS 16.4.1, iPadOS 16.4.1, And macOS 13.3.1 Address Serious Security Vulnerabilities, Fix Bugs, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Why the quick release? The security notes say that the updates block two vulnerabilities Apple says are actively being exploited in the wild. One vulnerability would allow an app to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges; the other could allow maliciously crafted Web content to execute arbitrary code.


iOS 16.4.1 and iPadOS 16.4.1 also address a problem that caused Siri to fail to respond in some cases, and macOS 13.3.1 resolves an issue that could prevent you from using Auto Unlock with your Apple Watch.

The Sudden Death And Rebirth Of Tweetbot, by Rob Dubbin, The Verge

Haddad’s three-person company, Tapbots, handled all of this as gracefully as one could expect anyone to handle a straightforward attack on their livelihood. Ten or so days after the app had its plug pulled, the team issued a stout elegy for their creation, without flinching from saying that they’d “invested over 10 years building Tweetbot for Twitter and it was shut down in a blink of an eye.” Tapbots’ tribute joined sentiments from its heartbroken superusers, who’d happily paid a few bucks per year for access to its artisanal iconography and expertly rounded corners. (“One of the very best apps I’ve ever used,” eulogized Apple ultra-blogger John Gruber.) Like many other Twitter members disappointed by the company’s mercurial policymaking and ego-driven roadmap, Tapbots surveyed the wreckage and chose to migrate. With a grim but dignified paragraph break, Tapbots announced a new focus for the company: Ivory, a fledgling Mastodon client built on all it had learned from creating Tweetbot as well as much of its code.


This Is What It Looks Like To Be Colorblind, by Andy Baio, The Verge

For some people, colorblindness is a serious liability that closes doors on career dreams. It’s hard to become a pilot, train conductor, or pathologist if you can’t differentiate colors in critical instruments, signals, or tissue samples. For others, it seriously impacts their day-to-day ability to do their jobs, like surveyors spotting flags, doctors looking at skin conditions, or electricians looking for colored wires.

But for me, it’s just a lifelong series of unnecessarily confusing interactions, demonstrating that the world wasn’t designed for people like me.

Six Simple Technologies That Quietly Make Life Better, by Shira Ovide, Washington Post

It’s corny but true: The simple things matter most — in life and in your tech.


Most of these technologies are not new or fancy. They’re not promising flying cars. And that’s what makes them marvelous.

How Teachers Choose Apps For Their Classrooms, by Lauraine Langreo, EducationWeek

Educators consider some benchmarks much more important than others, the study found. They value apps that feature a development team that includes child-development experts, educational consultants, and subject-specific experts. They also value apps that provide scaffolding by reinforcing skills or concepts taught in class and align with curriculum standards rather than those based on a learning theory (for example, an app that says it’s based on discovery and experimentation) or those that provide feedback that guides students toward the right answers.

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I appreciate I can pack so many books (e- and audio-) into a little pocket.


Thanks for reading.

The Space-for-Curiosity Edition Friday, April 7, 2023

Apple Music Classical Shows Spotify's Weakness For The Genre, by Jonny Walfisz, Euronews

“I’ve been working with Apple to help solve the problems of classical music streaming,” says Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood. “They’ve come up with a really elegant set of solutions to the unique problems that hinder the search for - and collection of - digital classical music.”


“Classical music - and all of culture - is fundamentally about connection, about forging bonds of understanding across time and space,” said Yo-Yo Ma. “It’s innovations like this that make that connection possible, that give us space for our curiosity to run, to rediscover the familiar, and to rejoice in the unexpected.”

General Motors Hates Your iPhone, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I get the impulse to want to control everything that happens in your car, if you’re an automaker. But given the fact that the smartphone is everyone’s real ride-or-die, the best choice is to integrate tightly with the supercomputer we all keep in our pockets, not to say “let them eat Bluetooth” and be happy degrading the customer experience in the interest of control and incremental revenue.


I Tried Apple Music Classical For A Week – It’s Great But Needs Two Big Improvements, by Harry McKerrell, What Hi-Fi?

Yes, there are interface aspects that could be improved and a lack of downloads is a bore, but overall the picture is an overwhelmingly positive one. If you’re yet to decide on which streaming service is right for you, the idea of getting Apple Music and its classical companion in one cohesive subscription package is an undeniably attractive one.

Apple Maps Redesign Expands To Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, And Slovenia, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its revamped Maps app is rolling out across Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia. The new experience provides more detailed road coverage, better navigation, custom-designed 3D models of popular landmarks, Flyover, and more.


Apple (Re)invents The iPod, by Harri Weber, TechCrunch

The iPod is dead, but our great yearning for devices that do less? That lives on.

Apps Allow Apple Pay More Accessible In Korea Without NFC Terminal, by Pulse

Apple Pay is expected to reach Korean consumers faster with the increasing popularity of a phone-to-phone payment method, which allows vendors or sellers to install a payment app on their own mobile phones for iPhone users even without a near-field communication (NFC) terminal for Apple’s payment service.

Why Is Apple’s Next Earnings Report Coming So Late?, by Eric J. Savitz, Barron's

Apple has scheduled its March quarter earnings announcement for May 4, which is not exactly a huge breaking news event—except the date is unusually late, and that has investors wondering if there’s a reason for the longer-than-usual delay.

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Hey, Apple, now that you have realized the power of meta-data, how about letting your customer harness the power too? How about allow us to create powerful really-smart playlist that can take advantage of all the metadata you have in the entire Apple Music universe?


Thanks for reading.

The Still-be-There Edition Thursday, April 6, 2023

Your Phone Is Ruining Your Vacation, by Emily Stewart, Vox

For all the ways modern technology can improve our vacations, it can also make them worse. It’s an obvious point that checking your work emails when you’re supposed to be off sucks. What’s perhaps not so obvious is that posting to Instagram when you’re on a boat floating by a glacier in Patagonia kind of does, too. When you’re back at the hotel, Instagram and the picture you just took will still be there for the posting, but the glacier won’t (not only because you left, but also, eventually, because of climate change).

Apple Directs Users Not To Hang Up On Operators In Accidental Crash Detection Calls, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Crash Detection support site continues to suggest that users should dismiss an alert if they are able to do so, but Apple appears to want to put a stop to iPhone users canceling or hanging up on an already-started emergency call and leaving emergency responders wondering what happened.

WWDC 2023 In-person Event: Apple Begins Notifying Developers And Students Selected To Attend, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is notifying developers and students chosen to attend WWDC 2023 via email. You can also check your status and RSVP if chosen via your account on Apple’s website. Apple says that everyone will be notified of their status by April 5 at 6:00 p.m. PDT.


Apple’s New Classical Platform Offers Easier Points Of Entry For Both Hardcore Listeners And The Merely Middlebrow: App Review, by Tim Greiving, Variety

The mere act of sifting through the proverbial crates of classical music is an overwhelming and confusing exercise, partly because it is such a catch-all net for multiple centuries’ worth of composers and compositions and a multitude of repeat interpretations of the same pieces. It also doesn’t help that all classical pieces are saddled with the same uselessly foggy names like “Symphony no. 6” and “Opus 53” and “Movement IV: Andante.”

The app goes a long way in its role as a guide through this mess. For total newbies — or middlebrow morons like myself — the ability to browse by that host of categories above is helpful. There are also loads of curated playlists and “Essential Albums” that let the app take the wheel.

OWC miniStack STX Review: Big Storage And Expandability In A Tiny Package, by Simon Jary, Macworld

Save money on Apple’s expensive custom-built internal storage options with this smart hub that boasts both a hard-drive bay and fast SSD enclosure, plus four Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Klack App Brings Delightful Mechanical Keyboard Sound Effects To Your Mac, by Michael, 9to5Mac

Do you like the sound of a mechanical keyboard but don’t necessarily want to use one? Or maybe you’d prefer to use one but can’t when you’re traveling with your MacBook? A polished new app called Klack brings satisfying and realistic mechanical keyboard sound effects to your Mac.


The Bitcoin Whitepaper Is Hidden In Every Modern Copy Of macOS, by Andy Baio, Waxy

Of all the documents in the world, why was the Bitcoin whitepaper chosen? Is there a secret Bitcoin maxi working at Apple? The filename is “simpledoc.pdf,” and it’s only 184 KB. Maybe it was just a convenient, lightweight multipage PDF for testing purposes, never meant to be seen by end users.

Apple Music Trademark Application Blocked By U.S. Appeals Court, by Blake Brittain, Reuters

Both sides agreed that Apple's mark would likely confuse consumers. But a U.S. Trademark Office tribunal ruled for Apple in 2021, finding it had earlier rights to the name based on a 1968 "Apple" trademark for sound recordings it purchased from Apple Corps in 2007.

A unanimous Federal Circuit panel reversed the decision to dismiss Bertini's opposition Tuesday. It said Apple could not "tack" its trademark rights for live performances to the Apple Corps trademark for sound recordings, a different category of goods.

Apple And Global Suppliers Expand Renewable Energy To 13.7 Gigawatts, by Apple

Apple today announced its manufacturing partners now support over 13 gigawatts of renewable electricity around the world, a nearly 30 percent increase in the last year. In total, more than 250 suppliers operating across 28 countries are committed to using renewable energy for all Apple production by 2030. This represents more than 85 percent of the company’s direct manufacturing spend and more than 20 gigawatts in commitments.

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I've just watched the first episode of the new season of Schmigadoon! (over at Apple TV+), and all I have to say: wow! If this is of any indication of the rest of the season, then I'd have to say this is even better than the first season.

(And if you have not watched this show before, I'd suggest start at season 1. Don't skip.)


Thanks for reading.

The External-Home Edition Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Mac Home Directory Bug Is Blocking User Logins On macOS Ventura 13.3, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

If you’re a macOS Ventura user and you’ve set up your user account with the Home directory saved to an external storage device, you should wait before updating to version 13.3. A number of users who set up their Macs this way have found that they cannot access their accounts after installing the update.

Latest iPadOS And macOS Updates Break Universal Control And Handoff For Many Users, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

These users indicate that the feature was working as normal prior to Apple releasing the updates last week.

For some users, these problems also extend to other features that are powered by Handoff, such as universal copy and paste and Apple Watch Unlock.


Soulver Smart Calculator App Lands On iPad With iCloud Sync, Multitasking Support, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Soulver for iPad offers all of the same powerful features as the Mac app, including live data, natural language calculations, and more.

Satechi Stand & Hub With SSD Review: Fixing The Mac Mini's Shortcomings, by Simon Jary, Macworld

This affordable and good-looking hub-stand for the Mac mini offers a range of useful front-facing ports missing from the Mac mini itself, and inexpensive internal storage–though it doesn’t support faster NVMe M.2 SSDs.


Richmond Homeowner Says 'Find My iPhone' App Mistake Causing Angry Residents To Come To His House, by Brooke Taylor, KTRK

A homeowner in Richmond said almost a dozen people keep knocking on his door at all hours of the day and night, claiming he stole their lost items because of what he said is a mistake on the "Find My iPhone" app.


Schuster shared proof of him reaching out to Apple Support many times, as early as 2022. He called them, messaged them, and filed a formal report which is listed as closed. He said it has never been resolved, and another person came knocking just a few days ago.

Apple Sales Executive Leaves For Role At Defense Department, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. sales executive Doug Beck is leaving the iPhone maker for a senior role at the US Defense Department, extending a wave of key departures at the company.


vBeck is one of fewer than 20 executives to report directly to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook. He managed sales to governments, health institutions and schools, serving as one of the Cupertino, California-based company’s two sales chiefs.

Apple Readies Opening Of Its First Retail Store In India, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Apple is gearing up to open its first retail store in India to the public later this month, roughly two decades after the company began selling products and services in the South Asian nation that has grown to become the second largest internet market.

The iPhone-maker on Wednesday shared the barricade of its first retail store in India, called Apple BKC, that is situated at Jio World Drive Mall in Mumbai.

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Is this a new thing for Apple TV+, that they are now releasing new episodes on two days a week, instead of just once a week? Can Apple sustain this, as all the other media companies seem to be laying off people and cutting down productions? And that there is a writer strikes looming ahead?

Well, I'm not complaining here. This is not a complain.


Thanks for reading.

The Deep-End Edition Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Apple’s New Classical Music Streaming Service Has A Philly Accent — And Some Flaws, by Peter Dobrin, The Philadelphia Inquirer

But the biggest challenge in using Apple Music Classical is confronting that vast catalog, and that’s by design.

Classical music, because of its age and size, may be the deep end of the musical pool. We Philadelphians, however, can wade into it with an advantage. Put the city’s name in the Apple Music Classical search field and feel the civic pride. You get not just thousands of tracks of the Philadelphia Orchestra, but also our choirs and early-music groups — and of course, performers past and present from Marian Anderson to Jonathan Biss.

The Case Of The iPhone Case Poll, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I’m not a materials engineer and I have no suggestions for a material to replace glass. I’m just saying that ideally, Apple would find a material that looks good, feels good, isn’t slippery, allows inductive charging and wireless signals to pass through, and is crack and scratch-resistant. Also: lightweight. At the moment, only unobtainium seemingly fits the bill.


Apple To Cut Small Number Of Jobs In Some Corporate Retail Teams - Bloomberg News, by Arunima Kumar, Reuters

Apple Inc is eliminating a small number of roles within its corporate retail teams, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The layoffs would impact what Apple calls its development and preservation teams, the report said, adding that the number of positions being eliminated could not be ascertained and was likely very small.

From 'The Brick' To The iPhone, The Cellphone Celebrates 50 Years, by Michelle Delgado, Smithsonian Magazine

“Hi, Joel? It’s Marty Cooper.”

Engineer Martin Cooper cradled a bulky object to his ear, listening. The gray device had two rows of numbered buttons between the ear and mouthpiece. An antenna poked from the top, reaching skyward to pick up invisible signals from the city’s jangling atmosphere. Next to the sidewalk, cars and taxis zipped down Sixth Avenue through midtown Manhattan. It was April 3, 1973, and Cooper had just placed the world’s first cellphone call.

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Will everyone fly over to Apple Park, put on a headset, and watch the WWDC keynote video alone in their own reality? :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Heart-of-the-Public-Image Edition Monday, April 3, 2023

Tim Cook On Shaping The Future Of Apple, by Zach Baron, GQ

He is not a leader who is drawn to crisis or conflict, two climates his predecessor, Steve Jobs, seemed to at times thrive in. “I try not to let the urgent take over the day,” Cook says. Regular meetings, different standing engagements with different parts of the company. He likes to ask questions. “I’m curious, and I’m curious about how things work,” he says. He does this not to intimidate, though there is perhaps a standard, an expectation of those working for him, lurking there as well: “If something’s really shallow, you find that people can’t explain it very well.” Like Jobs once did, he sometimes takes meetings on the move, walking around the campus. Most days, he leaves the office at 6:30 or 7 p.m. The overall sensation he attempts to impart is one of normalcy, of proportion, despite the fact that most days, Apple, which employs about 165,000 people, is the most valuable company in the world.


Under the banner of privacy, Apple has also forbidden companies who use their App Store to direct users out of the Apple ecosystem in order to collect money from them, even as Apple takes a commission on the transactions that happen within the store. Recently, Apple’s prohibition on what is called “sideloading” has drawn scrutiny from governments all over the world, on the grounds that the practice is anticompetitive. Cook dismisses this critique. “The App Store we developed was about creating a trusted place where developers and users could come together in a two-sided transaction,” Cook says. “And in order for that to happen, in order for the trust to be on the consumer side, we think privacy and security are vital. And otherwise, people don’t come to a store if they begin to think that their credit cards can be ripped off, if they begin to think their data can be ripped off. And if you run a different play in a world which had sideloading, what we believe is you wind up degrading the trust and confidence of users in a significant way. You begin having all these security and privacy issues.”

Perhaps you think this is unconvincing; perhaps you believe every word. But Cook has been uncommonly successful at placing values—the idea that Apple is about more than products, more than share price—at the heart of the public image of the company. Three years ago, Apple announced its intention to be carbon neutral throughout its supply chain by 2030. This announcement, in itself, represented a fundamental change in Apple’s DNA. “We are a secretive company,” Cook says. “We like to hold what we do to ourselves until it’s time to come out and talk about it. But we’ve rewired ourselves on the values side. And so now, think about the environment—we talk about what we’re going to look like in 2030. We talk about our road maps to get there. We kind of want those items to be stolen.” Cook does a lot of this work with Jackson. “I met with a lot of CEOs in my day,” Jackson says about her time heading the EPA. “And they all wanted to know what they had to do to make me go away. Occasionally, they wanted me to write a rule that would help them make more money. Or at least make them not lose money. And I respect all of that. But I think he’s been incredible in bringing to this task this idea that this is an all-of-Apple endeavor to really figure out how to be, like he always says, a ripple in the pond.”


Why Can’t More Music Apps Be Like Apple Music Classical?, by Alex Cranz, The Verge

While classical music certainly has a need for a vast array of metadata, I like to think most other music does, too. People like to listen to the works of a single producer, and when they search for Stephen Sondheim, they should be able to just see all the musicals he composed as neatly as I can see all the works of Antonín Dvořák in Music Classical.


Apple is foisting spatial audio upon us, and Spotify is trying to get us to care about podcasts, and YouTube Music is quick to give us a video and remind us of its origins in the main app. But Music Classical remembers that a lot of us are giant nerds, and we just want to go down rabbit holes with our faves.

Your iPhone Has A Free Built-in Plant Identifier You Probably Didn't Know About – It Might Be Apple's Best Secret Feature, by Lilith Hudson, Livingetc

Dubbed 'Visual Look Up' by Apple, it's supported on all models of the iPhone from the SE 2nd generation and later. The technology works by identifying the visual image of a flower, shrub, or insect and telling you the official name of that specific wildlife, allowing you to plan your landscaping ideas like a pro.


Spotify Downplays HomePod Support, But Promises To Add AirPlay 2 Yet Again, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In 2019, Spotify accused Apple of anticompetitive behavior in a complaint filed in the EU. Alongside the complaint, Spotify launched a “Time to Play Fair” website that lists alleged examples of Apple’s unfair practices, including preventing Spotify from natively supporting the HomePod. Yet, nearly three years after Spotify has been able to support the HomePod without any further action from Apple, it has yet to follow through.

Spotify has repeatedly promised to update its iPhone and iPad app with AirPlay 2 support, but it has failed to deliver so far. AirPlay 2 launched in 2018 with enhancements to the original AirPlay protocol, including multi-room audio and improved buffering.

The Rest Of The Auto Industry Still Loves CarPlay And Android Auto, by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

The rest of the auto industry gets it. The Verge reached out to all the major automakers to see if any were planning on following GM in ditching CarPlay and Android Auto, and unsurprisingly, none have responded in the affirmative.

All Mixed Up: How The Shuffle Button Came To Define Modern-day Media Consumption., by Natalie Weiner, The Verge

Shuffle satisfied the human attraction to novelty and surprise. With randomness, there is possibility: it makes sense, then, that the first literal shuffle buttons were on ’70s-era handheld blackjack games for shuffling the virtual deck. When you put a playlist, or your library, on shuffle, you might get lucky and hear exactly the thing you want to hear with the added satisfaction of not knowing it was coming.

It’s also just easier. “Eliminating the need for choice, yet guaranteeing familiarity, it relieves you of the burden of desire itself,” wrote Simon Reynolds of the shuffle function in his book Retromania. The logical extreme of shuffle-as-innovation came with the 2005 iPod Shuffle, Apple’s budget MP3 player, which (despite its name) would play all a user’s music in order or on shuffle by default because it lacked a screen and thus the capacity for a user to select which music it would play.

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The hobby project that I am working on… still working on, is all about shuffling.

I do like the shuffle button.


Thanks for reading.

The Memoir-and-Scrapbook Edition Sunday, April 2, 2023

Steve Jobs Has A New ‘Memoir,’ More Than 11 Years After His Death, by Christina Passariello, Washington Post

Steve Jobs never lived to be an old wise man.

But running Apple and Pixar, tumbling and thriving, earned him a lot of wisdom in his 56 years. Now, a small group of his family, friends and former colleagues have collected it into “Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs in his own words,” available free to the public online starting on April 11. Somewhere between a posthumous memoir and a scrapbook album, it is told through notes and drafts Jobs emailed to himself, excerpts of letters and speeches, oral histories and interviews, photos and mementos. (Some physical copies are being produced for Apple and Disney employees, but that format won’t be for sale to the general public.)


In the last email to himself included in the book, from September 2010, Jobs reflects on the fact that the world he lives in — the food he eats, the language he speaks, the medical treatment he receives — were all invented and grown by others. “I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well being,” he wrote. The final words are “Sent from my iPad.”


I Wanted To Hate The New App Apple Music Classical — But For The Most Part I Couldn’t, by Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune

All things told, Apple Music Classical is a gamble, and that gamble will likely only pay off for a highly self-selecting audience base. But I’m part of that audience, however begrudgingly.

So, take my money, I guess. Apple Classical is the best we’ve got for now.

This App Has Helped Me Fall In Love With Books All Over Again, by Lucy Pearson,

It ensures I never lose my childhood enthusiasm for books, all the while being able to navigate this passion in a digital world – Goodreads.


What The Duck! If Autocorrect Is So Smart, Why Are The Corrections So Wrong?, by Jessica Guynn, USA Today

Autocorrect is always on by default, so we’re often oblivious when it saves our bacon. But the autocorrect bloopers worthy of the BuzzFeed Hall of Fame? Those we notice.

"Because it’s usually pretty accurate, people notice when it’s not doing something it seems like it should have learned,” Myers said. “Fundamentally people want autocorrect to read their minds. Happily that is not what the computer is able to do, and hopefully it never will.”

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I was having fun with Apple Music Classical over the weekend.

I've listened to a few albums over the two days I was playing around with the app. True, I could have listened to the same albums over at Apple Music too. However, having all the Classical music albums front and center once I launch the app certainly beats what I used to do over at Apple Music: Launch the app, tap on "Browse", scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, tap on "Browse by Category", scroll, scroll, tap on "Classical."

I've also tried out searching on the new app. And that's how I ended up with Monster Mash: Search on Danny Elfman. Found Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Play Themes from Beetlejuice. Go to album page. Notice Monster Mash.

I'm just a beginning listener of Classical music, so I can't tell you how great (or how not great) the metadata and the search are.

But, yeah, I am having fun.


Thanks for reading.

The As-the-Moment-Requires Edition Saturday, April 1, 2023

I Made iPhone Focus Modes For My Real Life And I Couldn't Be Happier, by Philip Berne, TechRadar

There are subtle differences, but both iOS and Android allow you to make your own custom focus modes, so I started to think about the situations where I could use my phone’s automated help to keep me on task, or maybe off task, as the moment requires.

These modes can help you get started making your own fun Focus setting, so let me explain what Focus lets you do and where you can find it. On every phone, Focus is under your Settings menu. There is a list of preset Focus modes, but you can always customize those modes and create your own.


Apple Removing Keynote App's Presentation Sharing Feature In Future Update, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple plans to remove the Keynote Live feature in a future version of its Keynote app, according to a new support document. The feature allows for a presentation to be played over the internet in the Keynote app on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Scrivener 3.3.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The long-form writing tool now supports generating PDF files in the PDF/X-1a format (required by certain self-publishing services), updates the Ebook Compile format to preserve indents in tables of contents, and improves DOCX export to be more careful about avoiding duplicate image data.

Varlens App Review: Bringing The Film Experience To The iPhone, by Ted Kritsonis, PetaPixel

Anything that fosters creativity for mobile photographers in such a user-friendly way is worthy of consideration. If you’re down to learn more and shoot better on an iPhone, this is one app that can help.

I Tried The Reflect Orb & Now I Actually Meditate, by Carolyn Steber, Bustle

I don’t know if I loved the Orb, the lights, the data, or all of the above, but something about the physical object and the biofeedback magically inspired me to meditate for a whole week. It was so satisfying to pick up the Orb for a few minutes and check in with myself.


Apple Gangnam Now Open In South Korea, by Apple

Apple Gangnam opened today in the heart of Seoul’s bustling, world-famous Gangnam District. This new space invites customers to discover Apple’s incredible lineup of products and services, and receive best-in-class support from highly knowledgeable specialists.

GM Kills More Than CarPlay Support, It Kills Choice, by Roberto Baldwin, Ars Technica

Today, news dropped that GM would be phasing out CarPlay support in future EVs. In its partnership with Google, it hopes that all the features you get from mirroring your iPhone can be replaced with an Android Automotive feature. GM, like Toyota before it, wants to control the digital real estate in its vehicles. It’s a revenue-based and walled-garden (ironically against Apple) decision that will cost them.

Apple Wins Appeal Against UK's Decision To Investigate Its Mobile Browser, by Paul Sandle, Reuters

The CAT endorsed Apple's argument, saying that in declining to take action at that time only in the expectation of receiving further powers it might well be said that the CMA "erred in law".

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I wish Focus mode works in real life. Nowadays, people still disturb me when I put on headphones and pretend to work. :-)


Thanks for reading.