The Won't-Have-to-Call Edition Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Apple Expanding Self-Service Repair Program To iPhone 14 Lineup And More Macs, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its self-service repair program will be expanding to the iPhone 14 lineup, 13-inch MacBook Air with the M2 chip, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips starting June 21.

Apple Just Fixed The Most Annoying Part Of Its Self Service Repair Program, by Chris Welch, The Verge

But perhaps more importantly, the company seems to be responding to feedback by eliminating needless friction from the process. The “System Configuration” validation step that’s required after repairs — and involves calling Apple on the phone — has been criticized as burdensome. With the new changes, you won’t have to call the company’s repair support team anymore.

“Self Service Repair users can now initiate System Configuration by placing their devices into Diagnostics mode and following onscreen prompts,” Apple wrote in today’s press release. “Users no longer need to contact the Self Service Repair support team to run the final step of a repair, but the team will still be available to assist as needed.” No more time-wasting phone calls? Sounds like the right move, Apple.

Apple Services

Stuck In A Podcast Bubble? Apple Podcasts Just Made Discovering New Shows Much Easier, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Ever get stuck in a podcast bubble? Apple Podcasts search just got a big refresh that helps surface great shows from the vast catalog through new subcategories. Apple is also adding new ways to discover podcasts by language and more.

iPhone App Store Rolling Out New Ad Format, Visible On Today Tab Without Scrolling, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced it is officially rolling out a new ad format for the App Store. The new Today tab format is more compact than the previous full-height card design but is viewable immediately upon opening the tab on the iPhone. The previous design required the user to scroll down the page to see it.

A nonsponsored slot continues to take the first position, but the ad placement is now always above the fold. The new format also allows Apple to make it easier for advertisers to submit campaigns and get approved more quickly.

Coming This Fall

'Sign In With iPhone' Passkey Support Comes To Apple․com, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

You can now forgo entering your password on and domains thanks to newly added passkey support. When running iOS 17 on an iPhone, any Apple site on the web can rely instead on Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate your login.

As part of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma, your Apple ID is automatically assigned a passkey that can be used for iCloud and Apple sites.


Google Chrome On iOS Will Let You Search With Just Your Camera Soon, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Google is adding some more features to its Chrome iOS browser to tempt iPhone users away from Safari. Chrome on iOS is getting built-in Google Lens support soon, which will allow Chrome users to search for anything they see using just their camera. Translations are also being improved, alongside better calendar entry support and a new mini Google Maps view.

Spotify Launches New Desktop Experience For Mac And PC With Three-column UI, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Spotify is out today with an overhaul for its desktop experience. The new UI brings redesigned ‘Your Library’ and ‘Now Playing’ sections to align more with the iOS/Android Spotify app and make it more seamless to “explore, curate, listen to, and organize Spotify on a computer or web browser.”


The iPad Was Meant To Revolutionize Accessibility. What Happened?, by Julie Kim, MIT Technology Review

Most AAC companies were started by experts in technology development, not distribution. For at least the last three decades, they’ve developed their products as FDA-approved medical devices to increase the chances that Medicaid, private health insurers, and school districts will pay for them. To compensate for the small market size, developers backed into a convoluted business model that required a physician or licensed speech pathologist to formally “prescribe” the device, strategically (and astronomically) priced to subsidize the cost of its development.

Before 2010, companies building their own AAC hardware and software from scratch could get away with keeping their pricing strategy opaque. But when Apple mass-produced a better version of the hardware they’d been developing in house, the smoke and mirrors disappeared, exposing a system that looks a lot like price gouging.

But it would be too easy to call AAC companies the villain; considering they operate in the same market-driven system as the most popular consumer technology products in the world, it’s a minor miracle they even exist. And the problem of jacking up products’ prices to cover the cost of their development is hardly unique. All too often—in the absence of a public or private entity that proactively funds highly specialized technology with the potential to change, even save, a small number of lives—some form of price gouging is the norm.

EU Wants “Readily Removable” Batteries In Devices Soon—but What Does That Mean?, by Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica

Let's take it as a given that prying at a delicate screen or glass back with strong solvents on hand doesn't meet the definition of "readily removable." We might also accept that "readily" includes the "without professional tools" provision. What counts as a "professional tool?"

Here again, is a fairly wide range. Are an iFixit heating tube, guitar pick, and spudger professional tools? Apple's Self Service Repair program, which has you rent a suitcase with custom tools and use specialized software to register parts, might seem to hit the mark of "professional tools." Some might hope that this language all but heralds the return of pre-iPhone cellphones, the kind with a back you could remove with your thumb and spare batteries you could keep in a bag. That seems unlikely, but it's also not excluded by the language.

The Grievous iPhone Design Flaw That Makes Us All Look Like Absolute Lunatics, by Dan Kois, Slate!

Bottom of the Page

Okay, Apple. Looks like AAC is another Sherlock opportunity. Go ahead.


Thanks for reading.