Archive for December 2023

The Year-of-Getting-Weird Edition Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Internet Is About To Get Weird Again, by Anil Dash, Rolling Stone

Across today’s internet, the stores that deliver all the apps on our phones are cracking open, the walls between social media platforms are coming down as the old networks fail, the headlong rush towards AI is making our search engines and work apps weirder (and often worse!). But amidst it all, the human web, the one made by regular people, is resurgent. We are about to see the biggest reshuffling of power on the internet in 25 years, in a way that most of the internet’s current users have never seen before. And while some of the drivers of this change have been hyped up, or even over-hyped, a few of the most important changes haven’t gotten any discussion at all.

Five Productivity Apps To Kick-Start The New Year, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Each app we've chosen for this list has a unique ability to aid Apple device users in various aspects of personal and professional development. From sophisticated task management to habit formation, these apps offer a wide range of functionalities tailored to meet the diverse needs of users seeking to make the most out of the upcoming year.

Your Car Is Tracking You. Abusive Partners May Be, Too., by Kashmir Hill, New York Times

Modern cars have been called “smartphones with wheels” because they are internet-connected and have myriad methods of data collection, from cameras and seat weight sensors to records of how hard you brake and corner. Most drivers don’t realize how much information their cars are collecting and who has access to it, said Jen Caltrider, a privacy researcher at Mozilla who reviewed the privacy policies of more than 25 car brands and found surprising disclosures, such as Nissan saying it might collect information about “sexual activity.”

“People think their car is private,” Ms. Caltrider said. “With a computer, you know where the camera is and you can put tape over it. Once you’ve bought a car and you find it is bad at privacy, what are you supposed to do?”

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Many revolutions around the sun ago, I've made the resolution of not making any more resolutions, and I am sticking to it.

But, with yet another change in the last digit of the year field that I have to remember to fill in correctly in all the cheques I am going to write in the new year, it is also time for me to think what I want to focus on the upcoming orbit.

After giving this some thought, especially in the latter part of the past year, I think I am not ready for major changes yet in my life. On the other hand, major changes will be coming, whether I am ready or not. On a micro level, I'll probably have more time and less money. On a macro level, everyone is having less time. I will never have time to read all the books I want to read, watch all the shows I want to watch. And all those (physical) books and DVDs that I've purchased that someday I will re-read or re-watch? Forget about it. And I still have a ton of hobby ideas in my head for me to decide: what's next, and what's last.

So, my theme will be: Year of Getting Ready.

(If I am lucky, this will be followed by Year of Getting Weird. I hope.)


Three… Two… One… Happy New Year. Thanks for reading.

The Other-Parts-That-Matter Edition Saturday, December 30, 2023

5 Apps Every Science Buff Should Have Installed, by Zainab Falak, SlashGear

Whether you want to learn more about the periodic table, the solar system, the human body, or the latest scientific news and discoveries, these apps have something for you.

Best Budgeting Apps For Individuals, Startups And Small Businesses, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

For individuals, a good budgeting app can help you save money by creating and sticking to a monthly budget. For startups and small businesses, a good budgeting app can help you understand your company’s financial health and make informed decisions. Whichever way you go, the best budgeting app for you will depend on your individual or business needs, so we’ve included a variety of apps to help you find one that works best for you.

6 Great Audiobook Apps That Aren't Audible, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

We have compiled a list of six audiobook apps that we think are worth checking out. The right app for you will likely depend on your listening preferences and budget, so the list includes a variety of apps that follow different models.


New Apple Stores Planned Near Los Angeles, Toronto, And Atlanta, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple is planning new retail stores in the Los Angeles, Toronto, and Atlanta metropolitan areas, according to building permits viewed by MacRumors.

No, I Don’t Want To Know How Many Burritos I Ate This Year, by Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post

For good or for ill, those year-end wraps can give us through-lines. Twenty years later, I still love Sigur Rós, and I read my own stories.

In other words, I am me.

At least, some part of me is still me. But what of the other parts, the ones that matter?

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Counting down to the new year… Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four…

As I've said quite a few times already, I'm extremely likely to be closer to the end than to the start. I think I can live with fewer of these time-related events in my life.


Thanks for reading.

The Portfolio-of-Patents Edition Friday, December 29, 2023

Apple Keeps Chasing The Ultimate Health-tracking Watch—but It Could Take Years, by Dalvin Brown, Aaron Tilley, Wall Street Journal

Legal battles such as Apple’s current fight with Masimo highlight the nature of a highly regulated market where many players have been building one particular type of product for decades, said Ben Bajarin, principal analyst at consumer-technology research firm Creative Strategies. These established companies often have a strong portfolio of patents they can use to defend their markets.


Seven Steps To Fixing Stalled To-Do Tasks, by Michael Lopp, Rands in Repose

Do not add tags, create projects, or create other to-do infrastructure to manage your to-dos better. This is procrastination disguised as productivity.


Beep Beep, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Beeper Mini presenting itself as Messages on a Mac to gain access to iMessage is as dishonest as presenting a forged Amex Platinum Card to gain access to a Centurion Lounge. Centurion Lounges aren’t free and neither is iMessage. And in the same way you’d expect Amex to crack down on a service that granted non-cardholders access to their lounges, Apple has cracked down on Beeper.

Inside Apple's Massive Push To Transform The Mac Into A Gaming Paradise, by Raymond Wong, Inverse

The “magic” of Apple silicon isn’t just performance, says Leland Martin, an Apple software marketing manager. Whereas Apple’s fallout with game developers on the Mac previously came down to not supporting specific computer hardware, Martin says Apple silicon started fresh with a unified hardware platform that not only makes it easier for developers to create Mac games for, but will allow for those games to run on other Apple devices.

“If you look at the Mac lineup just a few years ago, there was a mix of both integrated and discrete GPUs,” Martin says. “That can add complexity when you’re developing games. Because you have multiple different hardware permutations to consider. Today, we’ve effectively eliminated that completely with Apple silicon, creating a unified gaming platform now across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Once a game is designed for one platform, it’s a straightforward process to bring it to the other two. We’re seeing this play out with games like Resident Evil Village that launched first [on Mac] followed by iPhone and iPad.”

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There are things one can control, and there are things one can only influence, and then there are things that one can neither control nor influence. And everyone is saying understanding this distinction is important in order to figure out what the important stuff to do in life, and what are not.

My cocern is that so many things in my life seemed to have moved from the former categories down to the latter categories.


Thanks for reading.

The Malicious-iMessage Edition Thursday, December 28, 2023

4-year Campaign Backdoored iPhones Using Possibly The Most Advanced Exploit Ever, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Over a span of at least four years, Kaspersky said, the infections were delivered in iMessage texts that installed malware through a complex exploit chain without requiring the receiver to take any action.

With that, the devices were infected with full-featured spyware that, among other things, transmitted microphone recordings, photos, geolocation, and other sensitive data to attacker-controlled servers. Although infections didn’t survive a reboot, the unknown attackers kept their campaign alive simply by sending devices a new malicious iMessage text shortly after devices were restarted.

Apple Watch Ban Temporarily Halted Thanks To US Appeals Court, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple has won a temporary pause on the Apple Watch ban thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.


Apple’s victory today puts the watch ban on hold until January 10. Apple has also submitted a software update that it believes will resolve the issue. The decision on whether or not that will satisfy the government is expected on January 12.

Apple Watch Saga Set In Motion By Late-Night Email To Tim Cook, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

While the Lamego email was a key piece of evidence for Masimo’s lawyers, the effort didn’t make much headway with the judge after a senior Apple engineer testified that development of the blood-oxygen feature started in late 2014 — after Lamego had already left. Further, the judge threw out parts of the case relating to Apple’s practice of hiring Masimo employees, saying that “recruiting or hiring employees from another company, including from a competitor, does not on its own constitute improper means.” The judge also dismissed the idea that Apple stole trade secrets, and a jury sided with Apple 6-to-1.


When Masimo filed its initial lawsuit, Apple hadn’t yet brought a blood-oxygen sensor to market. But eight months later, the Apple Watch Series 6 was introduced with the feature — known in the industry as pulse oximetry — as its key new addition. That led Masimo to file a separate complaint with the US International Trade Commission in 2021 alleging that the feature infringed its patents.


10 Things Software Developers Should Learn About Learning, by Neil C. C. Brown, Felienne F. J. Hermans, Lauren E. Margulieux, Communications of the ACM

Decades of research into cognitive psychology, education, and programming education provide strong insights into how we learn. The next 10 sections of this article provide research-backed findings about learning that apply to software developers and discuss their practical implications. This information can help with learning for yourself, teaching junior staff, and recruiting staff.


India Targets Apple Over Its Phone Hacking Notifications, by Gerry Shih and Joseph Menn, Washington Post

In private, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, senior Modi administration officials called Apple’s India representatives to demand that the company help soften the political impact of the warnings. They also summoned an Apple security expert from outside the country to a meeting in New Delhi, where government representatives pressed the Apple official to come up with alternative explanations for the warnings to users, the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

New York Times Sues Microsoft And OpenAI For 'Billions', by Tom Gerken, BBC

The lawsuit claims "millions" of articles published by the New York Times were used without its permission to make ChatGPT smarter, and claims the tool is now competing with the newspaper as a trustworthy information source.

It alleges that when asked about current events, ChatGPT will sometimes generate "verbatim excerpts" from New York Times articles, which cannot be accessed without paying for a subscription.

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Oh gosh, it's almost 2024. I am not prepared.


Thanks for reading.

The Taking-All-Measures Edition Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Apple Says It 'Strongly' Disagrees With Apple Watch Ban, Working On Technical And Legal Solutions To Bring The Devices Back To Market, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a statement to 9to5Mac, an Apple spokesperson said that it strongly disagrees with the ITC’s decision and will be “taking all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the U.S. as soon as possible.”


The company also says that the ITC’s decision has no impact on service and repairs for customers who purchased the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 prior to December 25.


Apple Arcade Says You Should Play These 30 'Essential' Games, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

To close out the year, Apple Arcade is highlighting a collection of “Essential” titles available on the platform. Across five categories, for kids to adults, solo to multiplayer, and more – here are the 30 games Apple thinks you should play.

Apple Reveals Annual Japanese New Year Promotion With Special AirTag, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In addition to a gift card, the first 50,000 customers in Japan who purchase a new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 13, or third-generation iPhone SE from Apple during the promotion will receive a limited-edition AirTag with a "Year of the Dragon" engraving.

Slopes Ski And Ride Tracking iOS App Gets Live Lift And Trail Status Info For 50+ Resorts , by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Slopes on iOS is getting live lift and trail status details for more than 50 resorts in the US and Canada.


Japan To Crack Down On Apple And Google App Store Monopolies, by Ryohei Yasoshima and Riho Nagao, Nikkei Asia

Japan is preparing regulations that would require tech giants like Apple and Google to allow outside app stores and payments on their mobile operating systems, Nikkei has learned, in a bid to curb abuse of their dominant position in the Japanese market.

Legislation slated to be sent to the parliament in 2024 would restrict moves by platform operators to keep users in the operators' own ecosystems and shut out rivals, focusing mainly on four areas: app stores and payments, search, browsers, and operating systems.

As Netflix Reworks Executive Pay, More Changes Could Be Ahead For Hollywood, by Georg Szalai, Hollywood Reporter

Apple kicked off 2023 by unveiling that CEO Tim Cook had requested a pay cut following a drop in shareholder support for his compensation package. Then, on Dec. 8, Netflix disclosed changes to the streaming giant’s executive pay structure. The overhaul was seen as a reaction to a June vote — during the Writers Guild of America strike — when its shareholders symbolically rejected compensation packages for top execs.

Our Digital Lives Are Too Fragile, by Julie J. Lee, Slate

One Friday night at 9 p.m., instead of going out to celebrate my co-worker’s birthday, I found myself glued to the Evernote app. When I’d opened it earlier that evening, hoping to add a new note, I discovered that the app had more or less killed its free tier. With my Cambridge rent, nonprofit salary, and recent parachute out of academia, I couldn’t justify paying the yearly subscription of $129 a year—but I also couldn’t abandon this treasury of my life. My digital notebooks were filled with gems like “films I enjoyed in 2014 (incomplete),” “imperfect regular German verbs,” and “completely f-ing random unordered thoughts/ideas.” I had over 2,000 notes dating all the way back to my junior year of high school. Where would they go, my recipes, poems, and scattered thoughts, now they no longer had a home?

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We are deep in the iTunes-selling-single-songs + music-streaming era. Since my first iPod mini, I've listened to probably thousands and thousands of songs in playlists with shuffle mode turned on.

And yet, often, after specific songs, I still expected the following song to be the next track in an album that I bought back in the eighties and nineties, and was slightly disappointed when it wasn't.


Thanks for reading.

The Patent-Infringing Edition Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Apple Watch Import Ban Takes Effect After Biden Administration Passes On Veto, by Blake Brittain, David Shepardson, Samrhitha Arunasalam, Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday declined to veto a government tribunal's decision to ban imports of Apple Watches based on a complaint from medical monitoring technology company Masimo.

The U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) order will go into effect on Dec. 26, barring imports and sales of Apple Watches that use patent-infringing technology for reading blood-oxygen levels. Apple has included the pulse oximeter feature in its smart watches starting with its Series 6 model in 2020.


DaVinci Resolve For iPad Review, by Steve Paris, TechRadar

DaVinci Resolve for iPad is a truly excellent video editor. It’s extremely well adapted to the touch interface (for the most part), with a strong focus on the editing and color grading side of the powerful desktop software.

This Award-winning iPad App Brings You Peace With Its Meditative Puzzles, by Becca Caddy, iMore

So on one level, Unpacking is simply a block-fitting puzzle game. But it also reveals a story with every new item you unpack, which makes it a unique and surprisingly immersive game that’s ideal if you’ve been looking for a puzzle game with a difference.

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I have been adding new titles into my audiobook queue, thanks to Apple TV+, which has kindly provided me with a good reading list, with every book they've decided to adapt into a television show.


Thanks for reading.

The Officially-Halted Edition Monday, December 25, 2023

The 2023 Good Tech Awards, by Kevin Roose, New York Times

I asked Steven Aquino, a freelance journalist who specializes in accessible tech, to recommend his top accessibility breakthroughs of 2023. He recommended Be My Eyes, a company that makes technology for people with impaired vision. In 2023, Be My Eyes announced a feature known as Be My AI, powered by OpenAI’s technology, that allows blind and low-sighted people to aim their smartphone camera at an object and have that object described for them in natural language.

Mr. Aquino also pointed me to Apple’s new Personal Voice feature, which is built into iOS 17 and uses A.I. voice-cloning technology to create a synthetic version of a user’s voice. The feature was designed for people who are at risk of losing their ability to speak, such as those with a recent diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or another degenerative disease, and gives them a way to preserve their speaking voice so that their friends, relatives and loved ones can hear from them long into the future.

Apple Watch Series 9 And Ultra 2 Officially Unavailable In The US As Retail Sales Halt Begins, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

As Apple Stores across the United States start to close for the day, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 sales halt is officially going into effect. Apple removed its flagship Apple Watches from its online store on Thursday, and now they’re also being removed from Apple Stores.

When Apple Stores reopen after Christmas on December 26, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 won’t be available.

Apple Shares New iPhone 15 Plus Ad Touting 'Loooooong Battery Life', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is out with a new ad focused on the iPhone 15 Plus. Called “Miss You,” the ad emphasizes the iPhone 15 Plus battery life – concluding that the device offers “loooooong battery life” alongside its other features.


Mickey Mouse, Long A Symbol In Copyright Wars, To Enter Public Domain: ‘It’s Finally Happening’, by Gene Maddaus, Variety

Mickey Mouse has long been a symbol in the copyright wars. Beyond the practical impact, the expiration — 95 years after his debut in the short film “Steamboat Willie” — is also a major symbolic milestone.

“This is a big one,” said Jennifer Jenkins, director of the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain. “It’s generating so much excitement in the copyright community — it’s finally happening.”

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Most of the time, I hold my iPhone with my left hand. I wish I can get the phone to allow me to pull down the Control Center from the top-left corner, instead of the current top-right.

The majority of the time I use the Control Center to adjust the volume. Yes, I know I can use the volume buttons. But, I have picked up the habit of minimizing the pressing of actual buttons ever since iPhone 3G, where the home button physically died on me.


Thanks for reading.

The Challenging-Year Edition Sunday, December 24, 2023

Puzzle Game ‘Royal Match’ Dethrones ‘Candy Crush’ From Top Of App Store, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Puzzle app Royal Match, developed by a small team in Istanbul, has overtaken Microsoft-owned Candy Crush Saga as the most lucrative mobile game in the world, outshining other smartphone titles during a lacklustre 12 months for the industry.


Royal Match grew so much in what has been another challenging year for mobile games, its creators and investors say, thanks to a focus on quality and mass-market appeal, in a sector that often sees short-term money-spinners launched into Apple’s and Google’s app stores by a few developers on a low budget.

Investigating Apple's Clean Grid Forecast, by Grid Status

Forecasting the emissions of the electrical grid in a specific location is a complex and challenging endeavor with potentially massive impact.

As we close, it’s worth making clear that more interest in the grid and innovation around forecasting is a good thing. However, if we want to move towards a cleaner energy future with opportunities for folks to mitigate their own impact through flexibility, the currently opaque “Grid Forecast” system may turn out to be insufficient.

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Wishing everyone everywhere peace and joy. Thanks for reading.

The Unfortunate-Miscomunication Edition Saturday, December 23, 2023

Robert De Niro Explains Censored Gotham Awards Speech: Apple Asked Martin Scorsese If I ‘Could Dial It Down’, by Jaden Thompson, Variety

Speaking to Rolling Stone, De Niro clarified that he would’ve been open to reviewing the speech had he known about Apple’s wishes beforehand. A source close to the matter revealed to Variety that Apple wanted the speech to focus exclusively on the moviemakers and their accomplishments.


After this article was published, Variety was sent a statement from Martin Scorsese and the filmmaking team behind “Killers of the Flower Moon” regarding De Niro’s speech.

The statement reads, “The Gotham Awards honored the filmmakers and cast with The Historical Icon & Creator tribute, which recognizes significant moments in history and for bringing a story to life in an authentic way on screen. We all wanted to make sure that in the limited time available, the acceptance speech had space to acknowledge our Osage collaborators on-stage and at home, as well as our entire cast and filmmaking team. Apple has been a tremendous partner and there was no censorship. There was an unfortunate miscommunication regarding the final version of the speech. The event was a beautiful moment for our cast and collaborators to be reunited for the first time since the strikes. It was an incredible honor to receive this recognition.”

Robert De Niro’s Number One Priority Is Getting Rid Of Trump, by Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone

What happened was I was working on the speech with a writer, Lewis Friedman, and he gave it to them, and then one of the consultants had put something in the speech about how kids in Oklahoma aren’t even able to read the book Killers of the Flower Moon. And then I didn’t hear anything. They gave me the script, and I looked at the prompter, and I asked after, “What happened?” And they assumed that I had spoken to Marty or somebody about it, but I hadn’t. They assumed that I would be OK with it, and maybe I’m still getting it wrong, and I wasn’t. Marty and I spoke about it the next day and he said, “Yeah, I had sent you a text and [Apple] asked if you could dial it down, respectfully.”

Siri Reads the News

Apple Explores A.I. Deals With News Publishers, by Benjamin Mullin and Tripp Mickle, New York Times

Apple has opened negotiations in recent weeks with major news and publishing organizations, seeking permission to use their material in the company’s development of generative artificial intelligence systems, according to four people familiar with the discussions.

The technology giant has floated multiyear deals worth at least $50 million to license the archives of news articles, said the people with knowledge of talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations. The news organizations contacted by Apple include Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue and The New Yorker; NBC News; and IAC, which owns People, The Daily Beast and Better Homes and Gardens.


New Photomator Updates Makes It Easier To Watermark Images, by Lisa Marie Segarra, PetaPixel

In an age of rampant reposting, often without credit, watermarks remain an increasingly important way for photographers to protect their work. Editing app Photomator just made it easier to add customized watermarks.


Podcasts Are In The Middle Of A Numbers And People Crisis, by Amrita Khalid, The Verge

Both of these events — Apple moving away from auto downloads and Acast cutting ties with Spotify Ad Analytics — signal to me that a change is brewing. As podcasting becomes more corporate and professionalized, advertisers will demand more transparency and accountability. The podcast industry will be forced to step up by giving advertisers more sophisticated, accurate data. But some brands still may not like what they see and go for other forms of digital advertising with a bigger reach.

The Most Important Unsolved Problem In Computer Science, by Jack Murtagh, Scientific American

When the Clay Mathematics Institute put individual $1-million prize bounties on seven unsolved mathematical problems, they may have undervalued one entry—by a lot. If mathematicians were to resolve, in the right way, computer science’s “P versus NP” question, the result could be worth worlds more than $1 million—they’d be cracking most online-security systems, revolutionizing science and even mechanistically solving the other six of the so-called Millennium Problems, all of which were chosen in the year 2000. It’s hard to overstate the stakes surrounding the most important unsolved problem in computer science.

Quantum Computing’s Hard, Cold Reality Check, by Edd Gent, IEEE Spectrum

The quantum computer revolution may be further off and more limited than many have been led to believe. That’s the message coming from a small but vocal set of prominent figures in quantum computing eager to inject a dose of realism into the industry.

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No company has become the next big thing in podcasting, but that doesn't mean podcasting cannot be a profitable business.

Now, can we replicate this to other media businesses?


Thanks for reading.

The Out-of-Warranty Edition Friday, December 22, 2023

Apple Stops Online Sales Of Watches In US; Older Models Can’t Be Fixed, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple has stopped selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States on its online store, just days before a ban related to a patent dispute takes effect.

The company also will no longer be able to repair watch models that are out of warranty, a potential headache for consumers.


Customers who purchase watches before Dec 25 – the day the ban comes into place in the US – and models that are still under warranty are not affected by the replacement prohibition.

Apple's Infinite Loop Store At Former Headquarters Closing Next Month, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today confirmed that it will be permanently closing its Infinite Loop retail store in Cupertino, California on January 20. Infinite Loop served as Apple's headquarters between 1997 and 2017, when its current Apple Park headquarters opened a few miles away.


A wider collection of Apple-branded merchandise is available at the Apple Park Visitor Center, and the location also serves as a traditional Apple retail store. Other features at the Visitor Center include a Caffè Macs coffee bar, a rooftop seating area, and an AR model of the Apple Park campus that is temporarily closed.


Apple Offering Free Two-Hour Delivery For Last-Minute Gifts, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Courier delivery will be used for these orders, and the option usually costs $9 in the United States. Courier deliveries are provided by companies like Uber and Postmates, and the shipping option is available on Apple products in metro areas in the United States and Canada. In Australia, free three-hour delivery is available.

Mellel 6.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The release introduces split view feature for editing two different parts of your document (great for translating, writing commentary, or comparing texts).

This App Makes Saving Travel Photos A Breeze, by Lisa Marie Segarra, PetaPixel

While there are plenty of photo and video organization apps out there, Globetrotter specifically focuses on categorizing images by their time and place of capture, making it especially useful for those who are constantly on the move (or who simply enjoy recollecting road trips, times abroad, and the like).

Zoom On tvOS: Big Screen Video Chatting Needs Some Work, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

This approach has its downsides; for one thing, we’re looking at the TV, but since we still need to reach the trackpad and keyboard, the MacBook (and its camera) is usually on an ottoman in front of us. For another, neither the MacBook microphone nor camera are great, and it requires some awkward positioning to get everything framed up (and audible).

Offloading the call onto the Zoom app on the Apple TV while using my iPhone as the camera and mic seemed like it might simplify matters, but as so often happens with new technology, this is where things started to get sticky.


Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging, by Mike Isaac, New York Times

The Justice Department has taken interest in the case. Beeper Mini met with the department’s antitrust lawyers on Dec. 12, two people familiar with the meeting said. Eric Migicovsky, a co-founder of the app’s parent company, Beeper, declined to comment on the meeting, but the department is in the middle of a four-year-old investigation into Apple’s anticompetitive behavior.

The Federal Trade Commission said in a blog post on Thursday that it would scrutinize “dominant” players that “use privacy and security as a justification to disallow interoperability” between services. The post did not name any companies.

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Did anyone over at Apple proposed the idea of spamming Beeper Mini users with iPhone advertisements… or something worse? Or is Apple not that evil?



Thanks for reading.

The Say-Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Edition Thursday, December 21, 2023

He Stole Hundreds Of iPhones And Looted People’s Life Savings. He Told Us How., by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

“I say, ‘Hey, your phone is locked. What’s the passcode?’ They say, ‘2-3-4-5-6,’ or something. And then I just remember it,” Johnson described. Sometimes he would record people typing their passcodes.


Within minutes of taking the iPhones, Johnson was in the Settings menu, changing the Apple ID password. He’d then use the new password to turn off Find My iPhone so victims couldn’t log in on some other phone or computer to remotely locate—and even erase—the stolen device.

Johnson was changing passwords fast—“faster than you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” he said. “You gotta beat the mice to the cheese.”

Apple Loses Attempt To Halt Apple Watch Sales Ban, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Apple has lost its bid to delay an import and sales ban on the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2. In a filing on Wednesday, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) denied Apple’s motion to stay the ban while awaiting an appeal.

Apple Ramps Up Vision Pro Production, Aiming For Launch By February, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Production of the new headset is running at full speed at facilities in China and has been for several weeks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The goal is for customer-bound units to be ready by the end of January, with the retail debut planned for the following month, the people said.

The company sent an email to software developers on Wednesday encouraging them to “get ready” for the Vision Pro by testing their apps with the latest tools and sending their software to Apple for feedback. It’s another sign of an approaching release.

Aston Martin, Porsche Preview Bespoke Apple CarPlay Interfaces, by Greg S. Fink, Car and Driver

Apple is collaborating with automakers to bring brand-distinct design details to the CarPlay environment. The first brands to openly take advantage of this capability are Porsche and Aston Martin, with both high-end performance vehicle manufacturers previewing the bespoke CarPlay interface that'll feature in upcoming models.

This next-generation CarPlay builds upon previous versions by integrating into all of the displays of a given vehicle and not just the central infotainment screen. Though the familiar CarPlay experience remains, multiple template options and special details ensure the interface reflects the ethos of a given brand.


You Can Run A Generative AI Locally On Your Computer, by David Nield, LifeHacker

You may have already tested out generative AI engines such as ChatGPT and Google Bard. But while it's popular to accesses these tools in the cloud, you can also install them locally on your own computer. There are some real benefits to doing so: It's more private, of course, and you won't get hit by any warnings about the AI being over capacity or unavailable. Also, it's just kind of cool.

Resident Evil 4 Now Available On iPhone, iPad, And Mac, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Compared to the original 2005 title, the updated version includes overhauled graphics, new characters, and updated gameplay elements like crafting items and ammo from resources.

Death Stranding Director's Cut For iPhone, iPad, And Mac Delayed, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Death Stranding Director’s Cut was one of the games highlighted by Apple during the iPhone 15 launch, noting that it would take advantage of the hardware-accelerated ray tracing of the two Pro models.

That was due to be released before the end of the year, but the developer has now said that it needs “just a little more time”.


Apple Updates IT Training For Enterprise Pros, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Just in time for killing time over the holidays, Apple this week updated one of its most essential enterprise products: its Deployment and Management Tutorials, which now cover all the latest iterations of the company's iPhone, Mac, and iPad operating systems.


Apple Develops Breakthrough Method For Running LLMs On iPhones, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple GPT in your pocket? It could be a reality sooner than you think. Apple AI researchers say they have made a key breakthrough in deploying large language models (LLMs) on iPhones and other Apple devices with limited memory by inventing an innovative flash memory utilization technique.

Recapturing Early Internet Whimsy With HTML, by Tiffany Ng, MIT Technology Review

Anchored in the concept of “HTML Energy,” a term coined by artists Laurel Schwulst and Elliott Cost, the movement is anything but a superficial appeal to retro aesthetics. It focuses on the tactile process of coding in HTML, exploring how the language invites self-expression and empowers individuals to claim their share of the web. Taking shape in small Discord channels and digital magazines, among other spaces, the HTML Energy movement is about celebrating the human touch in digital experiences.

2023 In Social Media: The Case For The Fediverse, by David Pierce, The Verge

If 2023 was the year “fediverse” became a buzzword, 2024 will be the year it becomes an industry. (Hopefully one with a better name, but I’ll get over that.) We’ve spent too long living our lives online in someone else’s spaces. What’s next will belong to all of us. All that’s left to do is start posting.

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Let me tell you a long and winding story.

Firstly, you have to know that I am using a Windows 11 machine at work. And I go back into the office for three days a week.

Then, one fine day, while I was searching for some other random stuff on the internet, I came across the news that I can hide the date and time on Windows' taskbar.

So, I was thinking, I always have my iPhone on the desk with me whenever I am working on that Windows machine. No, my beloved iPhone mini doesn't have an always-on display, but I can simply touch the phone, and the lock screen will tell me the date and time immediately. The time is displayed in big fonts right at the top of the screen, while the date -- in smaller fonts -- is just right on top of the time. Perfect!

Since I do like a minimal screen (to some extent), so, what the heck, let's turn off the date and time display on the Windows machine altogether.

Half of this plan went perfectly: whenever I need to see the time, I can just touch my iPhone screen on my desk, and I immediately see the time.

The other part of this plan didn't go that perfectly, though. If the phone is sitting on my desk, not being charged, I will see the date immediately. However, if the phone is being charged, the line of text where the date is displayed will be replaced by the charging percentage instead. I have to wait... and wait... and wait, before iOS replaces that line of text back to the current date.

(And, for reasons I don't understand, sometimes instead of the current date, iOS will replace the date field with "Swipe up to unlock" text, and I will not know the date at all.)

So, at the end of this story, I've just added a lock screen widget below the time that do nothing but just show me the current date.

So much for minmalism.


Thanks for reading.

The Incorrect-Content Edition Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Apple Releases macOS 14.2.1, iOS 17.2.1, iOS 16.74, And iPadOS 16.7.4, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Apple has released minor updates to macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. With iOS 17.2.1 (iPadOS isn’t included this time, unusually), iOS 16.74, and iPadOS 16.7.4, the onscreen release notes admit only to unspecified “important bug fixes” and don’t mention security updates.

With macOS 14.2.1 Sonoma, however, there are security notes, which say the release fixes a bug where “a user who shares their screen may unintentionally share the incorrect content.”

2023 In The Smart Home: Matter’s Broken Promises, by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, The Verge

This year was the year we started to get actual Matter devices and the year the big smart home platforms (slowly) began to adopt it. Backed by all the big names — Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, Ikea, Comcast, Philips Hue, LG, and more — Matter is meant to make the smart home easier.

It hasn’t.


iOS 16.7.4 Update Fixes Issue That Prevented Built-In Apps From Being Reinstalled, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Alongside iOS 17.2.1, Apple today released iOS 16.7.4 and iPadOS 16.7.4 updates that fix an issue with built-in apps. In some cases, if a user deleted a built-in Apple app on a device running iOS or iPadOS 16.7.3 or earlier, the app would not be able to be reinstalled.

Verizon Roadside Assistance Now Works With Apple's Satellite Connection, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As of iOS 17.2, U.S. customers that have a Verizon SIM can connect to Verizon via satellite to get roadside assistance on the iPhone, with this option joining the already existing AAA roadside assistance option that Apple announced as part of iOS 17.

Apple Releases New Firmware For AirPods 3, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's AirPods firmware updates do not come with details on new features, so it is unclear what might be included in the software.

Next Apple Watch Activity Challenge Set For New Year In January, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The fitness challenge for the next Apple Watch Activity Challenge is unchanged from the Ring in the New Year Challenge since 2017: “Let’s go for it in 2024. Earn this award by closing all three rings for seven days in a row in January.”


Apple News Exec On Importance Of Publisher Partnerships As The Athletic Joins Paid-for Product, by Bron Maher, Press Gazette

Asked if changes to commission rates had been involved in the Athletic partnership, Cue said: “Nothing’s really changed – from the very beginning of when we started, [commission rates] get paid and allocated based on readership and what people are doing on the site and we share the revenue.”


But he said: “We’ve always wanted to build a product that [can be] monetise[d] for news providers. We think it’s incredibly important for society to have successful news entities out there, and so one of our main objectives in this when we got started was to get people to pay and to be able to share a lot of that revenue with the news providers.”

Why The Apple Watch Is Being Banned — And How Apple Can Avoid It, by Victoria Song, The Verge

A hail mary veto is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean Apple is just going to accept an import ban on a $17 billion segment of its business. Apple spokesperson Nikki Rothberg told The Verge in a statement that the company was “pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers.” That means the watch is going back on sale one way or another — it’s just a question of what path Apple takes.


The SE points to one way for Apple to sidestep the import ban altogether. According to both Brittingham and Levi, Apple could redesign its Apple Watch to avoid the infringed patents until the appeals process is done. Theoretically, all Apple has to do is push out a firmware update that disables the SpO2 sensor and then it could go right back to importing Apple Watches for sale.

Apple Declines To Appeal UK Ruling That Revives Antitrust Probe Into Browser And Cloud Gaming Restrictions, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple has decided to not appeal a UK court ruling that revives a comprehensive antitrust investigation into its dominance in mobile browsers and cloud gaming, meaning it will commence in January.

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Check calendar. Good, no Teams meeting for the rest of the week while working from home where I can use my Mac and my big screen to do presentations. Okay, I think I can delay today's macOS update.

Yes, of all the OS updates on all my Apple devices, the one that I most worried about is still macOS. I'm still scheduling updates on days where I know I have free time afterwards to solve any unforeseen problems.

No, I did not encounter any problems for many macOS updates already. But, you know, habits.


Thanks for reading.

The Oxygen-Saturation Edition Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Apple To Halt Apple Watch Series 9 And Apple Watch Ultra 2 Sales In The US This Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The move comes following an ITC ruling as part of a long-running patent dispute between Apple and medical technology company Masimo around the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor technology.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 will no longer be available to order from Apple’s website in the U.S. after 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 21. In-store inventory will no longer be available from Apple retail locations after December 24.

Apple Plans Rescue For US$17 Billion Watch Business In Face Of Ban, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Engineers at the company are racing to make changes to algorithms on the device that measure a user’s blood oxygen level – a feature that Masimo has argued infringes its patents. They are adjusting how the technology determines oxygen saturation and presents the data to customers, according to sources familiar with the work.


Work within Apple suggests that the company believes software changes – rather than a more complicated hardware overhaul – will be enough to bring the device back to store shelves. But the patents at the heart of the dispute are mostly related to hardware, including how light is emitted into the skin to measure the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood.


Apple News+ Now Includes Sports Coverage From The Athletic, Wirecutter Coming Soon, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced a new partnership with The Athletic and Wirecutter, which will see their content included in the Apple News app. The Athletic sports coverage is now accessible to News+ subscribers, and Wirecutter product review articles will be coming to the News app for all users early next year.

Notably, these publications are owned by The New York Times, which pulled its content from the News app more than three years ago.

OmniFocus 4.0.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

OmniFocus 4 redesigns its Fluid outline layout to provide quick access to the item details most relevant to you, brings inline editing for adding new items or quickly editing an existing item without leaving the outline, enables you to customize which fields are included in the redesigned Inspector, and allows Forecast items to be structured as a single flexible list.

Definitive Apple Store Field Guide 'Facades' App Gets Major Update, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The comprehensive and definitive Apple Retail field guide now features a timeline view with grand opening details and store opening gifts, custom lists, visit receipts, search filters, and much more.

Adonit Note+ 2 Review: Affordable Stylus Delivers Pressure Sensitivity… Kind Of, by Josephine Watson, Creative Bloq

If you’re a fan of Adonit’s first-generation Note+ stylus, get excited; the second generation is here; the Adonit Note+ 2 comes equipped with improvements galore, offering 2,048 pressure levels, two shortcut buttons, and interchangeable nibs of varying hardness.

Eve Announces New Matter Outlet, Light Switch And Blinds, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Smart home company Eve Systems today announced several new Matter-enabled smart home devices, including the new Eve Energy Outlet and updated versions of the Eve Light Switch and Eve Motion Blinds. With Matter integration, all of the devices work with HomeKit.


Apple TestFlight Servers From 2012 To 2015 Leak, Containing Terabytes Of Data, by Liv Ngan, Eurogamer

Data scraped from the servers for Apple's TestFlight service circa 2012 to 2015 have been leaked, giving access to tens of thousands of iOS apps and games.


TestFlight is a service for developers to release iOS apps for testing. Files on Apple's servers were found archived via Wayback Machine and then shared anonymously to X (née Twitter). Links to the archives can be found quite easily by entering "TestFlight leak" into your chosen search engine.

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It is surprising to me that all the backstage maneuvers -- and I assume there are backstage maneuvers -- are not working to allow Apple to continue selling the Apple Watch.

What I am not surprised is Apple willingess to not make a last minute licensing deal when they think they are in the right.

Sometimes, they do end up to be correct. Sometimes, like the butterfly keyboard fiasco, not that much.


Thanks for reading.

The Wearable-Business Edition Monday, December 18, 2023

Apple’s 2024 Will Be About Moving Beyond The iPhone, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

But it will be the company’s wearables business — including the upcoming Vision Pro, AirPods and Apple Watch — that take center stage. The Vision Pro marks a new category for Apple, while the earbuds and smartwatch are poised to get some of their biggest upgrades ever.


Apple is readying a major software-based development: hearing aid functionality. The company plans to release that feature later next year, and it could be the start of something big. Apple believes its take on the hearing aid has the potential to upend a multibillion-dollar industry.

iOS 17.2 And tvOS 17.2 Kill TV Show And Movie Wishlists With No Warning, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With iOS 17.2, iPadOS 17.2, and tvOS 17.2, Apple removed the option to purchase TV shows and movies from the iTunes Store apps, redirecting customers to the Apple TV app instead. Unfortunately, Apple's move to consolidate purchasing and viewing in the ‌Apple TV‌ app has done away with wishlists, and customers who used the feature got no warning about their elimination.

Apple Responds To Claim "Active Listening" Can Hear Your Phone Conversations And Use Them To Target You With Advertising — Calls It A 'Clear Violation' Of App Store Guidelines, by James Bentley, iMore

Last week, we reported that a marketing company called Cox Media Group Local Solutions claimed they could listen to users’ conversations through phones and other devices and sold that information to others. Apple has contacted iMore to clarify that this would be a “clear violation’ of its App Store guidelines.

As we said in our original report, Apple is known to take its privacy very seriously but CMG didn't make it clear how it gleams data and what from, other than nebulously stating it comes from 'smartphones, smart TVs, and other devices'

Adobe Abandons $20 Billion Acquisition Of Figma, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

Following mounting pressure from regulators in the UK and EU, Adobe and Figma announced on Monday that both companies are mutually terminating their merger agreement, which would have seen Adobe acquire the Figma product design platform for $20 billion.

Mickey, Disney, And The Public Domain: A 95-year Love Triangle, by Jennifer Jenkins, Center of the Study of the Public Domain

Disney is both an emblem of term extension and its erosion of the public domain, and one of the strongest use-cases in favor of the maintenance of a rich public domain. Mickey is the symbol of both tendencies. Ironies abound. It may not be exactly the same as an oil company relying on solar power to run its rigs, but it is definitely in the same “massive irony” zip code. All of this makes the year when copyright finally expires over Mickey Mouse highly symbolic. The love triangle between Mickey, Disney, and the public domain is about to evolve, and perhaps even resolve, in real time.

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In the year 2024, I suspect the release of Vision Pro is going to eclipse everything else that Apple does. All the resources in Apple has probably been devoted mostly to the headset, and maybe, as rumormongered by Bloomberg, the other platforms -- phones and Macs -- will be relatively 'minor'?

But, then, all the iPads has not been updated at all this year. New iPads will definitely be arriving next year, and they will be impressive upgrades, right?

That's my expectation for now, and I am planning my wallet accordingly. Nowadays, I mostly use iPads for watching television, so it is not a must-upgrade for me. But then, AirPods -- they'll run out of battery eventually don't they? :-)

(Also: still not buying iCars.)


Thanks for reading.

The Hopes-and-Dreams Edition Sunday, December 17, 2023

The iPhone’s Notes App Is The Purest Reflection Of Our Messy Existence, by Adrienne So, Wired

Surprisingly, the simplest app on the iPhone is the one that is the most trusted repository of all our hopes and dreams. If you want to know who someone truly is—what they eat, what books they read, what movies they watch, or how furious they get inside their own minds—you should probably check their Notes app.


Notes is simple. Notes is serene. When I’m writing in Notes, I’m not tinkering with the best way to clip web content or writing in Markdown or worrying about the level of encryption. When you have to write a note, even the tiniest bit of friction, like trying to decide if you want checkboxes or bullets, can stop you from jotting something down.

Apple Makes It Easier For App Makers To Compete For Your Dollars, by Wes Davis, The Verge

Apple announced a pilot program called “contingent pricing for subscriptions” yesterday that will let App Store developers automatically offer discounted subscriptions for users of other apps. Developers, the company says, will be able to base this on subscriptions “from one developer or two different developers,” which lets them not only to entice customers they already have to their other apps, but also compete by offering deals to their competitors’ subscribers.


In the EU, where Apple will soon allow third-party app stores, simply having a store won’t be enough — Apple will have to make it attractive for developers and customers, too. That means helping developers make the most money they can for their efforts, and giving them more ways to compete for customers is part of that.


The Epic Question: How Google Lost When Apple Won, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

In fact, market definition was arguably the deciding factor in the Apple case, when Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers singlehandedly decided the proper market definition was “digital mobile gaming transactions,” a market where Apple’s 30 percent cut looked relatively fair, since Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo nominally charge the same rate.

But in this case, the jury got to choose the relevant market for themselves — it was a write-in option on the verdict form — and the judge was publicly skeptical of Google’s market definitions, casting serious doubt on the idea that “digital transactions” made sense as an antitrust market at all.

In the end, the jury decided to go with Epic’s chosen market definitions: Android app distribution and Android in-app billing services. From there, it was a lot easier to agree Google had monopoly power — and now, it’s up to the judge to decide what penalties it should incur.

The Curious Case Of Epic Games: How The Developer Beat Google But Not Apple, by Mack DeGeurin, The Guardian

Donato instructed members of the jury that they “may” infer that any missing evidence from Google related to the case may reflect poorly on Google. Van Dyke called the direction “rare and significant”; other experts agreed that the instruction may have swayed the jury in favor of Epic.

Szabo criticized Donato’s instructions to the jury for leaving too much up to the imagination. The jury, he argued, was essentially allowed to conjure up damning evidence in their minds that may not have existed.

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I've spend half an afternoon trying to debug my washing machin. Yes, it was relatively easy to do a google, but it was not easy to google for additional things to try after all the easy (and duplicated all over the place) stuff are attempted.

Yes, in the end, my washing machine is working. But I am not sure if the problem will come back. And the idea of getting a backup has crossed my mind.


Thanks for reading.

The Familiar-Buttons-Different-Results Edition Saturday, December 16, 2023

Why Did Apple Change The watchOS 10 Interface?, by David Shayer, TidBITS

While watchOS 10 has enjoyed a generally positive reception—the Snoopy watch face is particularly popular—there has been some grumbling about how Apple redefined established actions to trigger new behaviors. It’s safe to assume that inside Apple, people also grumbled as familiar button presses generated entirely different results. But after using internal builds of watchOS 10 for months, Apple obviously decided the changes were worthwhile.

Apple Explains Why It Is Focusing On Making iMacs, iPhones And Other Products Work Together, by David Phelan, Independent

Apple has built Continuity features for years, with AirDrop an early example. It means you can transfer documents between devices simply. Stephen Tonna, who manages to be both intensely focused and almost casually relaxed at the same time, explains how it arrived.

“If you remember, when we originally introduced AirDrop, it was because we were in that transition as an industry of going fully wireless and replacing the USB drive. We have long since moved on from that. AirDrop is still the easiest, fastest, most seamless way of transferring content between devices and when have an iPhone with lots of photos and you want to quickly share those, it is the best way to do that.” AirDrop works wherever you are – there’s no need for set-up, pairing devices, checking you’re on the same network or any other faff. In fact, you don’t even need to be anywhere near a wifi network, because it creates its own connection.

iOS 17.2 Update Puts An End To Flipper Zero's iPhone Shenanigans, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

Apple has finally closed off the ability of the Flipper Zero pen-testing tool to flood iPhones with so many popups that the handset would lock up and require a reboot.


StopTheMadness Pro Launches As A Powerful Safari Extension To Help You ‘Take Back Your Web Browser’, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

For those unfamiliar, StopTheMadness is designed to give you back control of the Safari web browsing experience. [...] This includes things like stopping videos from autoplaying, showing native Safari video playback controls, cracking down on tracking tags, and much more. StopTheMadness Pro builds on that foundation of features with things like iCloud syncing of your settings, hiding page elements, platform-specific settings, presets, and much more.


Apple And Cyber Startup Corellium Settle Four-Year Court Battle, by Thomas Brewster, Forbes

After four years of court hearings and plenty of controversy, Apple and cyber startup Corellium are settling a copyright lawsuit. Terms have not been disclosed.

The suit was filed in 2019, with Apple claiming that Corellium had illegally replicated iOS by creating software that created virtual versions of iPhones so they could be probed by security researchers and app developers. Apple alleged Corellium had breached the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) too by breaking the law’s “anti-circumvention” provision that makes it “unlawful to circumvent technological measures used to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted works.” The tech giant demanded that Corellium cease selling its software and that it pay Apple for any profits lost as a result of the copies being made.

Apple Settles Family Sharing Subscription Lawsuit, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over Family Sharing, and will pay out $25 million to put an end to the case. First filed in 2019, the lawsuit accused Apple of misrepresenting the way that subscriptions to third-party apps worked with the Family Sharing feature.

Apple Sued With Visa, Mastercard In Card-fee Antitrust Case, by Mike Scarcella, Reuters

Apple, Visa and Mastercard have been hit with a new proposed class action that accuses them of conspiring to thwart competition for point-of-sale payment card network services, causing merchants to pay artificially higher fees for credit and debit transactions. [...] The complaint said Visa and Mastercard had paid Apple what amounted to a “very large and ongoing cash bribe” of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

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The one Continuity feature I appreciate most: the ability to copy-and-paste across different devices.


Thanks for reading.

The Fear-of-Wiping-Out Edition Friday, December 15, 2023

The Case For Clipboard Managers, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The magic moment of using a clipboard manager comes when you realize you need to access something that’s not the One True Item on the clipboard. If you’re using the standard Mac clipboard and you copy something priceless and then, a minute later, copy something useless—welp, too bad, the priceless thing is gone, and it’s never coming back. A good clipboard manager lets you use a keyboard shortcut or a menu item to view your previous clipboards, choose the item you want to fish out and bring it back.


It gets better. Once you know that copying something to your clipboard doesn’t destroy what’s there, your use of the clipboard can become far more extensive. You lose the fear of wiping out something important, replaced with confidence that you can grab something in case you want it later and stash it away in the clipboard history.

Why Vision Pro Will Change Photography, by Om Malik

We are so used to looking at photos zoomed in — on the screens of our phones or our laptops. We never quite experience the magnificence of the entirety of the photos in our daily lives. This is exactly the opposite — there is a whole new appreciation of being there. And that’s why I believe we are going to be thinking about our photography very differently.


Apple Releases iTunes For Windows 12.13.1 With Security Fixes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes, there are no notable new features, but the new version of iTunes should be installed as soon as possible because of the security improvements.

The Latest Apple Watch Integration Makes Custom Workouts Less Of A Headache, by Victoria Song, The Verge

The holiday season is arguably not for training. The major races of the year are done! Yet Apple and TrainingPeaks are getting a head start on next year’s resolutions with a new integration that lets you directly import custom workouts to the watch.


Apple Is Making A Murderbot Series Starring Alexander Skarsgård, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Another day, another sci-fi announcement from Apple TV Plus. The streamer is continuing to expand its presence in the genre with the news that it’s adapting The Murderbot Diaries novels from author Martha Wells.

EU Asks Apple, Google To Clarify App Store Risk Management, by Bart Meijer, Reuters

The EU's list of questions also concerns transparency-related issues linked to recommender systems and online advertisements, the commission said, adding that potential next steps include the opening of formal proceedings.

FTC Investigating Adobe Over Making It Too Hard To Cancel, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The FTC is investigating Adobe, after widespread consumer complaints that the company makes it too hard to cancel app subscriptions.

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All my OSes have been updated. Nothing went wrong. Time to get back to work?


Thanks for reading.

The Problem-Troubleshoot Edition Thursday, December 14, 2023

Apple Self Service Repair Adds Remote Diagnostics And Supports New Devices, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Apple announced that it has expanded its Self Service Repair program with a new remote diagnostic tool that enables users to troubleshoot problems with iPhones and Macs with Apple silicon. In addition, Apple extended Self Service Repair support to the iPhone 15 lineup and Macs powered by the M2 family of chips. Self Service Repair is now available in 24 additional European countries, bringing the overall support count to 35 Apple products in 33 countries and 24 languages.

Apple Collecting Data To Improve Augmented Reality Location Accuracy In Maps, by Juli Clover

When using augmented reality features in Maps, including immersive walking directions or the refine location option, Apple collects information on "feature points" that represent the shape and appearance of stationary objects like buildings. The data does not include photos or images, and the feature points collected are not readable by a person.


The comparison between the feature points and the ‌Apple Maps‌ reference data allows Maps to pinpoint a user location and provide detailed walking directions with AR context.


Apple’s Journal App: Journaling For All?, by Niléane, MacStories

The design and the interface of the Journal app are welcoming, easy to understand, and the proactive suggestions truly make a difference in overcoming the usual obstacles people can face when getting started. This is where Apple’s Journal app is already excelling, despite its shortcomings.

Apple Now Selling Standalone USB-C AirPods Pro Case For $99, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today began selling a MagSafe USB-C AirPods Pro 2 Case on a standalone basis, allowing customers who own the Lightning charging case to upgrade to USB-C.

The New Pixelmator Pro Update Enables A Full HDR Image Editing Workflow, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The new Pixelmator Pro update, version 3.5, brings full support for HDR image content. With the new Pixelmator, users can shoot HDR photos on their iPhone, edit with HDR layers inside Pixelmator Pro and then export into a variety of standard HDR image formats.


Apple To Be Hit By EU Antitrust Order In Fight With Spotify - Bloomberg News, by Yuvraj Malik, Reuters

EU authorities are putting the finishing touches to a decision that would prohibit Apple's practice of blocking music services from pushing their users away from App Store to alternative subscription options, the report said, citing people familiar with the investigation.

The decision is slated for early next year and Apple could face a fine of as much as 10% of its annual sales, Bloomberg reported.

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I don't think Apple, as a platform owner, can get away with competing with third-party apps and services while collecting the thirty percent from the same third-party apps and services. Among all the stuff that regulators and courts throw at Apple, this is the one that I believe Apple is on the shakiest ground.


Thanks for reading.

The Win-for-Security Edition Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Apple Launches Stolen Device Protection For iPhone With iOS 17.3 Beta, Here's How It Works, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has thoughtfully created a two-tier system of how Stolen Device Protection works that offers a balance of user friendliness while enhancing sercurity.

For example, with the feature turned on, actions like using passwords or passkeys, applying for an Apple Card, turning off Lost Mode, erasing an iPhone, and using payment methods saved with iPhone will require biometric authentication – no passcode fallback when away from familiar locations.

iOS 17.3, Now In Beta, Includes New ‘Stolen Device Protection’ Feature, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Stern and Nguyen reported a series of stories this year detailing how thieves — in some cases, organized crime rings — were taking advantage of the god-like powers of your device passcode, the first in February and the follow-up in April. The gist of it is that your device passcode/passphrase controls the keys to your entire digital kingdom. With the phone and your passcode, you can reset your iCloud account password and access the passwords saved in your keychain. Thieves were scamming people to glean their passcodes, then stealing their phones. This granted thieves access not just to the phones’ contents, but to the victims’ banking accounts. And resetting the victims’ iCloud passwords prevented the victims from remotely wiping, locking, or finding the stolen devices.


But overall, this new feature clearly seems like a win for security — and a triumph of Joanna Stern and Nicole Nguyen’s investigative reporting.

Text Better

Beeper Vs. iMessage Is A Fight About How Tech Works — And Who’s Really In Charge, by David Pierce, The Verge

Messaging should be more open, but it’s too important to only be open via elaborate hacks and bolted-on systems. It’s certainly possible that some good old-fashioned adversarial interoperability could create an industry of better cross-platform messaging tools like Beeper and others, but what we really need is better cross-platform protocols underneath those tools. I want Apple to protect my messages! I just don’t want them stuck on my Apple devices forever.

The Beeper Mini Saga, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

And to be honest, while I appreciate some apps have more features than iMessage and would allow me to text better with my Android friends than SMS or even RCS, I'm just much more drawn to a solution that makes my phone number my single point of contact, and not a user account through someone like Meta or even Apple.


Apple Unveils New Limited-Edition Beats Studio Pro, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The headphones feature beige ear cups and a black headband with Stüssy branding.

Apple Unveils The Most Downloaded App Store Apps And Games Of The Year, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Following last month’s announcement of the 2023 App Store Award winners, Apple has now shared an in-depth look at the most popular apps for the year. In a press release, Apple recognizes “the most popular apps and games of 2023, with year-end charts localized for users in more than 35 countries and regions.”

Apple Arcade Adding These New Games In January After Price Increase, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced three new games coming to Apple Arcade in January, including Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom, Cornsweeper, and Blackjack by MobilityWare+. All games on Apple Arcade are ad-free and do not offer in-app purchases.

Flighty's Year-in-review Features Recap Your Flight History, Delay Stats, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Popular flight tracking app Flighty has been updated today with a collection of new year-in-review features. This includes your “2023 Flighty Passport,” breaking down all of your flight stats for the year. There are new “Delay Report” and “Aircraft Report” year-in-review features as well.

WhatsApp’s New Pinned Messages Make It Easy To Keep Group Chats On Task, by Wes Davis, The Verge

This feature is begging to be added to all direct messaging chat apps, given the deeply frustrating experience of trying to plan anything in a busy group chat in iMessage or, worse, an SMS thread. Between threads polluted with thoughts broken into multiple messages or strewn with unrelated jokes, asides, and GIFs, it’s so easy to miss key information about what’s going on. Pinning messages anywhere would be manna from heaven.


Apple Now Requires A Judge's Consent To Hand Over Push Notification Data, by Raphael Satter, Reuters

Apple has said it now requires a judge's order to hand over information about its customers' push notification to law enforcement, putting the iPhone maker's policy in line with rival Google and raising the hurdle officials must clear to get app data about users.

Welcome To The Ad-free Internet, by The Economist

Whoever pays to opt out of ads tends for now to be wealthier than those who sit through them. Among those paying for news online, eight out of ten are from medium- or high-income households, according to the Reuters Institute. As well as having more money, the wealthy tend to be more privacy-conscious: the richest users are likeliest to decline to be tracked on their iPhones, says Mr Seufert.

Still, early indications are that, in TV at least, the difference may not be big. In America the highest-earning households make up 9% of ad-supported subscribers and 11% of ad-free ones, finds Antenna. Mr Wieser suggests that, as consumers are squeezed and spend less on nights out, they may in fact be more inclined to pay for ad-free TV.

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Paying subscription money, I'm thinking, and still am getting advertisment bombarded at you seems wrong… until I remember newspaper and magazine subscriptions used to be come with advertisements. (I said 'used to', because I haven't read a dead-tree newspaper or magazines in ages.)

But, I also remembered, there were advertisements that I used to enjoy seeing. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed an advertisement on YouTube. (Nor can I remember the advertisers. But that may be due to failing memory as I age. :-))


Thanks for reading.

The More-Secure-than-Tiny-Locks Edition Tuesday, December 12, 2023

iOS 17.2 Arrives With New Journal App And Spatial Video Capture Support, by Jon Porter and Wes Davis, The Verge

The update includes Apple’s new Journal app, which is designed to get you writing about events in your life with prompts that draw from data on your phone as well as the option to record spatial videos.

Apple’s Journal App May Be The Only Thing To Keep You Sane This Holiday, by Florence Ion, Gizmodo

How is Apple’s Journal any different from writing anywhere else? For one, it’s more secure than one of those tiny metal locks for notebooks that you can pry open with a pin. In all seriousness, I could link a dozen studies about how journaling can help ease anxiety and encourage you to work through complicated feelings. But whether you feel like working through it on your iPhone is entirely up to you. The point is that Apple offers a native way to connect with that inner side, so you rely on your device for that emotional release.

iOS 17.2’s Journal App Offers Introspection, Surface-deep, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

In the end, Journal feels a bit like Apple applied its trademark fixation on privacy to social networking: it’s a social network of one person, for one person. Which is perhaps admirable (and yes, oh-so-very Apple) in an age where we may spend way too much time broadcasting every thought we have. Can the Journal app steal time, attention, mindshare from the routine dopamine hits of the endless scroll? It might not be a bad thing if it did, but I think that the company has an uphill climb ahead of it.

AirPlay In Hotel Rooms Officially Delayed Until 2024, by Jason Cross, Macworld

Now that iOS 17.2 is out, any previously-mentioned iOS 17 features that we don’t yet have are going to come in 2024. Apply may begin beta testing iOS 17.3 any minute now, but the actual release is definitely not coming until the new year.

That means two key features—Apple Music collaborative playlists and AirPlay in select hotels—aren’t going to be here in time for the busy holiday travel season.

Siri On Your Watch

Apple Releases watchOS 10.2 With Health Data Support For Siri, Swipe To Change Watch Face Option And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The watchOS 10.2 update adds support for using Siri to access and record data in the Health app on the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Users can ask ‌Siri‌ questions like "How did I sleep last night?" or "How many steps have I taken this week?"

Why Siri's New Health Features Are A Big Deal For The Apple Watch, by Lisa Eadicicco, CNET

According to Caldbeck, Siri support for health-related queries on the watch has been a highly requested feature. But the company waited for the Series 9 and Ultra 2 because it wanted to make sure such requests could be processed locally with low latency. That means data doesn't have to leave your watch for the request to be fulfilled.

Katie Skinner, senior manager for user privacy engineering at Apple, said the company's health products are designed with four privacy principles in mind: data minimization; on-device processing; transparency; and control and security. These principles are broad enough to apply to new and updated products as the industry changes, as evidenced by Apple's decision to wait until the Apple Watch could process Siri requests locally before supporting health requests.

Enhanced AutoFill

Apple Releases macOS Sonoma 14.2 With Enhanced AutoFill, New Widgets, Apple Music Updates And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

‌macOS Sonoma‌ 14.2 introduces an Enhanced AutoFill feature for PDFs, which Apple announced earlier this year. It automatically identifies common fields like name and address, allowing them to be autofilled similar to a website.

Streaming Hub

tvOS 17.2 Launches With Revamped TV App Alongside HomePod Software Update, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The revamped design includes a more sidebar-centric navigation interface. The update also begins the discontinuation of the iTunes Movies and TV Shows apps on tvOS.

The Apple TV App Is Trying To Be A One-stop Shop For All Your Streaming Entertainment, by Amrita Khalid,, The Verge

Prior to the update, it was easy for live sports and other streaming sources to get buried under Apple’s TV Plus original programming. The new interface does more to highlight this third-party content, which is part of the tech giant’s rumored plan to make the Apple TV app a streaming hub for everything, not just Apple TV Plus.

On Security

Beeper’s iMessage App For Android Is Back — But It’s A Downgrade, by Chris Welch, The Verge

See, Beeper Mini works a little differently this time: you must now sign in with an Apple ID, whereas previously it would automatically register you to iMessage via your phone number. Beeper says it’s working on a fix to restore phone number registration with iMessage, but until then, your friends won’t be able to send iMessages directly to your phone number. Instead, the blue bubbles will have to come to and from your email address. That’s not nearly as convenient, but at the end of the day, it’s still iMessage.

Beeper Mini Is Back, But Without Phone Number Registration, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Beeper can (and does!) vouch for the privacy and security of their client app, but Apple can’t. Beeper is correctly arguing that Beeper Mini does not (and cannot) compromise the security of the iMessage protocol, but that doesn’t mean that its existence doesn’t open security concerns for Apple and Apple users.


Bridges Is A Mac App That Lets You Save, Customize And Organize Links, by Becca Caddy, iMore

With Bridges you can save a link and then give it your own custom title as you move it into a folder of your choosing – this in itself will instantly make your link saving less fuss-free.


When Streaming Came To Prison, by Lyle C. May, Slate

In 2021, while watching a Super Bowl commercial on a TV bolted to the wall of a cell block, I saw something I had never seen before. A checkered black-and-white square appeared at the center of the screen. The weird little square—which I now understand was a QR code—made no sense to me or my incarcerated peers, and no one from the commercial was explaining it. I vaguely recalled seeing similar symbols in magazines and on some products from the prison canteen, but not what they were for.

When I finally asked a friend on the outside about the mysterious symbol, she explained that people took pictures of it to gain access to information. I felt ignorant and out of touch. My primary source for information about tech in the outside world—TV commercials—had failed me.

Apple Offers To Let Rivals Access Tap-and-go Tech In EU Antitrust Case, Sources Say,familiar%20with%20the%20matter%20said.), by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Apple has offered to let rivals access its tap-and-go mobile payments systems used for mobile wallets, three people familiar with the matter said, a move that could settle EU antitrust charges and stave off a possible hefty fine.

The EU competition enforcer last year charged Apple with curbing rivals' access to its tap-and-go technology, Near-Field Communication (NFC), making it difficult for them to develop rival services on Apple devices.

Epic Win: Jury Decides Google Has Illegal Monopoly In App Store Fight, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

But Epic v. Google turned out to be a very different case. It hinged on secret revenue sharing deals between Google, smartphone makers, and big game developers, ones that Google execs internally believed were designed to keep rival app stores down. It showed that Google was running scared of Epic specifically. And it was all decided by a jury, unlike the Apple ruling.

Mind you, we don’t know what Epic has actually won quite yet — that’s up to Judge James Donato, who’ll decide what the appropriate remedies might be. Epic never sued for monetary damages; it wants the court to tell Google that every app developer has total freedom to introduce its own app stores and its own billing systems on Android, and we don’t yet know how or even whether the judge might grant those wishes.

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As The Verge noted in the report on Epic v. Google, we shall have to wait for the judge to decide on remedies to get a better understanding on how Apple might be affected by this case, even though Apple has essentially won the case against Epic in the other case. Even then, there will be appeals and appeals and appeals before anything is decided.

But, I suspect, the things Apple will be forced to do against its desires will mostly be determined by EU regulators instead. Whatever happens in U.S. courts will quickly be overtaken by events across the Atlantic.

It does seem that Apple will be forced to allow for alternative app stores on iPhones. The fighting ground between Apple and regulators will probably be what the company can impose on app stores operators, due to technology, security, and privacy. Given the track records of regulators on technical issues, I predict Apple will be able to water down a lot of these potential impacts on its business model.


Thanks for reading.

The Silver-Haired-Goofball Edition Monday, December 11, 2023

Apple’s Next CEO: A Look At Tim Cook’s Possible Successors, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

If I were a betting man, I’d place my wager on Craig Federighi as being the most likely to be named Apple’s next CEO. Aside from Cook, Federighi is probably the most recognizable face at Apple. The public may know him as that silver-haired goofball in the company’s keynote videos, but inside Apple, he’s one of the critical components of the leadership team.


Federighi also has another thing going for him: his age. At 56, he’s the youngest on this list. That means he’s also likely to stick around as CEO the longest. And after the 63-year-old Cook leaves, employees and investors are going to want long-term stability at the company, not a CEO who may retire just five years after being appointed.

Tim Cook Risks His Legacy On A Pricy Product In An Unproven Market, by Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

If Tim Cook retired today, he would go down as one of the decade’s most successful CEOs. Under his leadership, Apple’s market cap has grown 700%, its iPhone business remains strong, and he has built a robust services business, with music, TV and gaming products, to bring in revenue untied to hardware sales. He also introduced the wildly successful Apple Watch and AirPods.


But now Cook wants to add to his legacy the one thing he hasn’t done yet that Jobs did routinely: launch a truly breakthrough hardware product.

Coming Soon?

Apple Is Working On Cleaning Up Its Confusing iPad Lineup, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple is working to bring that same clarity to the iPad. For starters, it wants to reduce the confusion between the iPad Pro and the Air. The Pro is set for major changes, including an OLED screen, updated design, M3 chip and revamped Magic Keyboard attachment. That will make it unmistakably the highest-end model.

In terms of screen sizes, the two models will be similar — but the Pro will get you slightly more real estate. The iPad Air will come in 10.9-inch and 12.9-inch configurations, while the Pro will be 11 and 13 inches. This mirrors the approach with the MacBook Air and Pro, where the latter model has a slightly larger screen.


Beware Of iPhone ‘One Twelve’ Social Media Trend, by Maiya Turner, Jocelina Joiner, KDAF

What happens is the user says “one twelve,” triggering Siri to initiate a 911 call, with the AI assistant saying, “Calling emergency services on speaker.”

Swipe Right On Privacy, by Grace Woodruff, Slate

Once you decide what you want to do, Permission Slip takes over and begins working on your behalf—the app sends emails and can fill out company-specific privacy request forms, while tracking the progress of your request and following up with you once the request is processed.


Why Floor Sitting Is The New Standing Desk, by Rebecca Onion, Slate

I have no idea whether I’ll live longer, or get better at my formal exercise endeavors, because of this new habit. But floor sitting—and its close cousins, squatting and kneeling—feels great. Something about the feedback between my muscles and joints, gravity, and the floor keeps things feeling smoother than they do when I arrange myself in a 90-degree angle in a traditional chair for hours on end.


Beeper? I Hardly Knew Her., by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What I meant by it being “untenable” for Apple to look the other way at Beeper Mini wasn’t that Beeper made legitimate use of iMessage insecure. That’s part of the point of end-to-end encryption. But it was untenable perception-wise for Apple to allow unauthorized client software on a messaging platform heralded first and foremost for its privacy and security. Apple had even lost control over new account signups. That couldn’t stand, and that seems so obvious to me that I found it hard to believe Migicovsky truly believed Apple would allow it.

Here's A Warrant Showing The U.S. Government Is Monitoring Push Notifications, by Joseph Cox, 404 Media

The letter does not disclose the legal mechanism used by governments to demand this data from Apple or Google. But the court record reviewed by 404 Media does include some specifics around push notification demands. Court Watch shared the record with 404 Media. The record is a search warrant application from May 2020 related to the investigation of a person suspected of theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

PETA’s 2023 Company Of The Year Goes To …, by Elena Waldman, Peta

The company’s decision to say “adIOS” to leather—a cruelly obtained coproduct of the meat industry—will spare countless animals and help mitigate the climate catastrophe. The brand will instead offer leather-free accessories, allowing compassionate consumers to feel good about purchasing animal and eco-friendly products.

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First, you decide if you want more features at a higher price, or less features at a lower price. Then you decide on your mix of screen size and storage size and what-have you. That's a straight-forward decision-making tree on almost every single Apple products. Phones: regular or Pro. Watches: regular or Ultra. Laptops: Air or Pro. The place where the decision-tree gets a bit complicated is with desktops, where you also have to decide if you want a built-in screen (okay, only iMacs for you) or not (Mini or Studio), or if you are really really really special (Pro then!).

And, of course, iPads. Where the equations are not simple, and more expensive versions may have less features than the cheaper version, if you happen to value certain features. It's a mess!


Thanks for reading.

The Cannot-Verify Edition Sunday, December 10, 2023

Apple Responds To The Beeper iMessage Saga: ‘We Took Steps To Protect Our Users’, by David Pierce, The Verge

The company’s stance here is fairly predictable: it says it’s simply trying to do right by users, and protect the privacy and security of their iMessages.


Beeper says its process works with no compromise to your encryption or privacy; the company’s documentation says that no one can read the contents of your messages other than you. But Apple can’t verify that, and says it poses risks for users and the people they chat with.

Apple Confirms It Closed The Mechanism Used By Beeper Mini, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

There are plenty of end-to-end encrypted messaging apps available for iOS and Android, like Signal and WhatsApp, so the premise that “iPhone users can’t talk to Android users except through unencrypted messages” is also complete nonsense. This is basically a U.S. problem, and the most common reasons cited for cross-platform compatibility — media quality, group chats, and privacy — are resolved for everyone if we choose a different app.

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The interesting thing -- maybe not surprising, though -- is that Google does not have a popular cross-platform end-to-end-encrypted messaging app either.


Thanks for reading.

The Simple-List-of-Entries Edition Saturday, December 9, 2023

Apple Journal Might Help You Finally Start Journaling, by Khamosh Pathak, Lifehacker

Apple takes a simplistic approach to journaling, and I've enjoyed using the app for what it is. In short, it’s a simple list of entries. You can create a new blank entry, and it will be logged with the date and time. From there, add some text, locations, photos, or record some audio. Things do get more interesting once you start using Apple’s suggestions and prompts—or "reflections," as Apple calls them. Apple will ask you what the best part of your week was, or to reflect on the last time you made something. These prompts get you thinking about elements of your day you might not ordinarily think to write about.


You Should Take More Breaks During Work. Here’s How To Make Time For Yourself., by Kaitlyn Wells, New York Times

First, figure out your brain’s ideal routine so that you can create a work environment that will boost your productivity. Then you’ll feel less guilty about taking your well-deserved breaks. To get the most out of your respite, set timers and boundaries to ensure that work won’t seep into your downtime. And spend the time far from your desk to give your brain a much-needed reset.

To find some worthwhile approaches to optimizing breaks, I reviewed studies, grilled my Wirecutter colleagues on their routines, and spoke with productivity experts. Here’s how to build better breaks for yourself.

Backbone One USB-C Controller Grip Is A Perfect Gaming Accessory For iPhone 15, by Rikka Altland, 9to5toys

In what has to be the perfect opportunity to try out the new gaming accessory, I’ve been trying out the new release and have to say I’m finally sold on controller grips – especially ones as good as the Backbone One.


Apple's iPhone, Watch Product Design Chief Tang Tan To Leave In Shake-up, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Tang Tan, whose title is vice president of product design, is leaving in February, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the move isn’t public. Tan reports to John Ternus, senior vice president of hardware engineering, and the division is reshuffling duties to handle the transition.


People familiar with Apple’s operations say the Tan departure is a blow, and that he made critical decisions about Apple’s most important products. Beyond the iPhone, his work on the Watch and AirPods helped turn those devices into major growth drivers for the Cupertino, California-based company.

Apple Cuts Off Beeper Mini's Access After Launch Of Service That Brought iMessage To Android, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky responded to TechCrunch’s inquiry about Beeper Mini’s status by pointing us to the X post acknowledging the outage, and providing more detail. Asked if possibly Apple found a way to cut off Beeper Mini’s ability to function, he replied, “Yes, all data indicates that.”

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I am not surprised.


Thanks for reading.

The Personal-Stories Edition Friday, December 8, 2023

“We’re Trying To Drive Change": Meet Three App Store Award-winning Teams, by Apple

For the team behind the hidden-object game Finding Hannah, their win for Cultural Impact is especially meaningful. “We’re trying to drive change on the design level by bringing more personal stories to a mainstream audience,” says Franziska Zeiner, cofounder and managing director of the Fein Games studio, from her Berlin office. “Finding Hannah is a story that crosses three generations, and each faces the question: How truly free are we as women?

With Ancient Board Game Collection, Klemens Strasser Goes Back In Time, by Apple

Klemens Strasser will be the first to tell you that prior to launching his Ancient Board Game Collection, he wasn’t especially skilled at Hnefatafl. “Everybody knows chess and everybody knows backgammon,” says the indie developer from his home office in Austria, “but, yeah, I didn’t really know that one.”

Today, Strasser runs what may well be the hottest Hnefatafl game in town. The Apple Design Award finalist for Inclusivity Ancient Board Game Collection comprises nine games that reach back not years or decades but centuries — Hnefatafl (or Viking chess) is said to be nearly 1,700 years old, while the Italian game Latrunculi is closer to 2,000. And while games like Konane, Gomoku, and Five Field Kono might not be household names, Strasser’s collection gives them fresh life through splashy visuals, a Renaissance faire soundtrack, efficient onboarding, and even a bit of history.

Report: 2.6 Billion Personal Records Compromised By Data Breaches In Past Two Years — Underscoring Need For End‑to‑end Encryption, by Apple

Today Apple published an independent study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Dr. Stuart Madnick that found clear and compelling proof that data breaches have become an epidemic, threatening sensitive and personal consumer data the world over. The total number of data breaches more than tripled between 2013 and 2022 — exposing 2.6 billion personal records in the past two years alone — and has continued to get worse in 2023. The findings underscore that strong protections against data breaches in the cloud, like end-to-end encryption, have only grown more essential since last year’s report and the launch of Advanced Data Protection for iCloud.

Coming Soon

iOS 17.2 Adds NameDrop-Like Feature For Sharing Boarding Passes, Movie Tickets, And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

While it is already possible to share many Wallet app passes via AirDrop, Messages, Mail, and more through the iOS sharing menu, this new feature aims to provide a quicker and more convenient method. It works similarly to NameDrop, an iOS 17 feature that lets users quickly share contact information by bringing two iPhones together.


If You Own A 16-inch MacBook Pro, Your Power Adapter Just Got Its First-ever Update, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Before you ask, no, we have no idea what it does. But we do know it brings the version number to 1.4.73 and the build number to 10M5237. Apple doesn’t document this kind of firmware update with release notes so we don’t know what bug fixes or features it brings.

Screens 5 Enhances The Best VNC Remote Desktop App, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Screens 5 also introduces new toolbar controls on iPhone and iPad, Mac lock screen enhancements, and better ways to organize remote desktops.

Mammoth, An X And Threads Competitor, Embraces News, Curation, And More In Latest Release, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

With Mammoth 2, the app is introducing other features that will make Mastodon easier to use, including personalized follow suggestions, curated “smart lists” that help you track topics of interests, and integration with trusted sources for news, to give the app more of a Twitter-like feel.

Google Calls Drive Data Loss “Fixed,” Locks Forum Threads Saying Otherwise, by Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

Of the few replies before Google locked the thread, most suggested that Google's fix did not work. One user calls the fix "complete BS," adding, "The “solution” doesn’t work for most people." Another says, "Google Drive DELETED my files so they are not available for recovery. This "fix" is not a fix!" There are lots of other reports of the fix not working, and not many that say they got their files back. The idea that Drive would have months-old copies of files in the app data folder is hard to believe.


25 Free Compute Hours Of Xcode Cloud Per Month Extended For All Apple Developers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

First announced at WWDC 21, Xcode Cloud is Apple’s continuous integration system for developers. In 2022, we saw Apple expand the availability to all developers and offer 25 free compute hours of service per month. Now Apple has announced it is extending the free compute hours of Xcode Cloud for all registered Apple Developers indefinitely.

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It's the weekend (soon-ish). I think it's time for me to get back into Xcode, and start ripping half-baked stuff.


Thanks for reading.

The Common-Holes Edition Thursday, December 7, 2023

On macOS, It’s Best To Start With The Default, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The more I think of it, the more I realize that Apple has identified the most common holes in macOS functionality and has systematically eliminated those holes for the broadest section of its Mac customers. Tools that once filled gaps are now just nice-to-have upgrades from the base Apple functionality.


So that’s my advice for people getting new Macs who don’t carry that legacy with them: Start with what’s there and then explore when you find where the built-in tools can’t meet your needs.

One Year In, It’s Clear The iPhone's Satellite SOS Feature Is Saving Lives, by Mary Beth “Mouse” Skylis, Backpacker

In a conventional rescue setting, Goldsworthy explains, it could take an hour or more just for someone to find cell service and call for help after witnessing an accident. Once they’re able to connect with law enforcement, the SAR team still has to respond, which takes even more time. The ability to summon help by smartphone via satellite cuts out the middleman, drastically improving emergency response times.

“The GPS position is coming right off of the phone, so it’s extremely accurate,” said Goldsworthy. This allows first responders to identify exactly where the victim is, and to arrange a response team based off of the details the device provides.

Encrypting Notifications

Governments Spying On Apple, Google Users Through Push Notifications - US Senator, by Raphael Satter, Reuters

In a letter to the Department of Justice, Senator Ron Wyden said foreign officials were demanding the data from Alphabet's Google and Apple. Although details were sparse, the letter lays out yet another path by which governments can track smartphones.


Earlier this year French developer David Libeau said users and developers were often unaware of how their apps emitted data to the U.S. tech giants via push notifications, calling them "a privacy nightmare."

Apple Admits To Secretly Giving Governments Push Notification Data, by Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica

Apple has since confirmed in a statement provided to Ars that the US federal government "prohibited" the company "from sharing any information," but now that Wyden has outed the feds, Apple has updated its transparency reporting and will "detail these kinds of requests" in a separate section on push notifications in its next report. Ars verified that Apple's law enforcement guidelines now notes that push notification records "may be obtained with a subpoena or greater legal process."

Apple Just Confirmed Governments Are Spying On People’s Phones With Push Notifications, by Jules Roscoe, Motherboard

Apple advises its developers to encrypt any sensitive data sent through a push notification, but does not require this practice. An Apple spokesperson told Motherboard that the company was “committed to transparency” and had “long been a supporter of efforts to ensure that providers are able to disclose as much information as possible to their users.” The spokesperson said that Apple had updated its law enforcement guidelines and would begin to break out the requests for push notifications that it had received in its next transparency report.

Encrypting Messages

Apple Set To Avoid EU Crackdown Over iMessage, Report Says, by Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s iMessage service looks set to win a carve out from new European Union antitrust rules to rein in Big Tech platforms after watchdogs tentatively concluded that it isn’t popular enough with business users to warrant being hit by the regulation.

European Commission officials are leaning toward the reprieve for Apple as part of a five-month market investigation which concludes in February, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bloomberg: ‘Apple Set To Avoid EU Crackdown Over iMessage Service’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The elephant in the room with this particular issue is that the interoperability demands of the DMA between E2EE messaging platforms make no technical sense whatsoever. It’s all just hand-waving on the part of the EU bureaucrats who are demanding it. They have no idea what E2EE really means. They just want to demand that a WhatsApp user should be able to send a message to someone on iMessage or Facebook Messenger. Just make it happen.

Coming Soon?

Apple Readies New iPads And M3 MacBook Air To Combat 2024 Sales Slump, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The iPad Air, which is the company’s mid-tier tablet, currently comes with a 10.9-inch screen. For next year’s release, the company will add a version that’s about 12.9 inches, matching the size of what’s currently the biggest iPad Pro.


The new Pro models are currently scheduled to be announced at the same time as the iPad Air. The OLED screens show a wider range of colors and will give the company’s tablets the same display technology used in the iPhone since 2017. The high-end tablet will get the M3 chip that was introduced with the MacBook Pro in October.

Gurman Predicts Big March For Apple: New iPads Pro And Air, M3 MacBook Airs, And New iPad Peripherals, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

A big iPad Air is interesting, and I suspect will prove popular. No word, alas, on a new iPad Mini though. (I wish Apple would drop the “Mini” brand and just make the iPad Air in three sizes: mini, regular, and large, with identical specs.)


The Boundless Creativity Of Your iPhone With The Reeflex Apps, by Gary McIntyre, Fstoppers

With its user-friendly interface, it effortlessly blends with the impressive features of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, providing a wide range of manual controls that take your photography skills to a whole new level. The app boasts an impressive user-friendly design, catering to beginners and experienced photographers alike. Its interface feels natural to navigate, providing easy access to a wide range of powerful tools without overwhelming the user.

Google Has A Fix For Missing Drive Files On Desktop, by Emma Roth, The Verge

After downloading and opening the latest version of Google Drive for Windows or macOS, Google says to run the app’s recovery tool. To do this, click the Drive icon in the menu bar or system tray. From there, press and hold Shift, click Settings, and select “Recover from backups.” If all goes well, you’ll receive a notice that says “Recovery has started.” Google will put all the recovered files into a new folder named “Google Drive recovery” once the process is complete.


Apple Joins AI Fray With Release Of Model Framework, by Emilia David, The Verge

Apple, which many had considered very conservative in its approach to AI, quietly released frameworks and model libraries designed to run on its chips and maybe bring generative AI apps to MacBooks.

The company’s machine learning research team released MLX, a machine learning framework where developers can build models that run efficiently on Apple Silicon and deep learning model library MLX Data. Both are accessible through open-source repositories like GitHub and PyPI.


Forums Of Pain, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

I think Google’s dependence on support forums is a huge part of this problem. The company has notoriously poor service. Only people who pay for a support plan are able to get help from a real person, and not by phone or even live chat. For most people, Google’s primary suggestion is to post on its forum. Google even frames it as an instruction to “contact us via our forum” — but you are not really contacting Google, are you? You are contacting some person named Alex who lives in Springfield and has no idea what is going on, either, but says you should try restarting your computer.

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You know what, I've always filed in the back of my mind that someday I will try out a clipboard manager on my Mac. Especially since I do do quite a bit of copy-and-paste every day. (Do you think I type out all these words here?)

But, I've never pulled the trigger. And I've never added this to-do item in my to-do app, even in my someday-maybe list.

I do have a scratch.txt textfile that is always opened in BBEdit. Maybe that's the reason why I never felt frustrated enough to try out a 'real' clipboard manager.

Someday, maybe.


Thanks for reading.

The Just-Fine Edition Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Apple Podcasts Announces 'Wiser Than Me With Julia Louis-Dreyfus' As 2023 Show Of The Year, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

"Wiser Than Me" debuted in April 2023 and has since garnered acclaim for its distinctive approach featuring interviews with notable women such as Jane Fonda and Carol Burnett. The podcast explores the themes of life experiences, wisdom, and societal impact.

The Casualties Of The Podcasting Bloodbath, by Scott Nover, Slate

In interviews with podcast executives, a number of rationales came up: Undiversified revenue streams, overreliance on prestige shows, a chilled market for podcast-related IP, hesitance from heel-dragging marketers, and of course a big reality check for the biggest tech companies that, while podcasts will continue to growth, nothing could make a $20 million deal with Harry and Meghan profitable.

But look again, and you’ll notice that the middle class of podcasting—between the tech conglomerates and the dudes-in-basements crowd—is doing just fine. Unfortunately, for tech companies and the companies funding serious audio journalism, fine might not be good enough.

On Security

How 'Fake' Lockdown Mode Can Fool iPhone Users Into A False Sense Of Security, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

Jamf’s demonstration is a proof of concept. “This is not a flaw in Lockdown Mode or an iOS vulnerability, per se; it is a post-exploitation tampering technique that allows the malware to visually fool the user into believing that their phone is running in Lockdown Mode,” said Jamf. The researchers also point out that this technique has not been observed in the wild.

Coming Soon

iOS 17.2 Release Notes: Every New Feature And Change, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Alongside the iOS 17.2 RC, Apple has shared the full release notes for the update with details on every new feature, bug fixes, and more.

New Apple Journal App Is Right Around The Corner In iOS 17.2, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Apple seeded the release candidate for iOS 17.2 to developers Tuesday, signaling that beta testing for the upcoming operating system is almost over. The highlight of the update will be the new Journal app that Apple announced last summer.

iOS 17.2 Unlocks Qi2 Wireless Charging Support On Older iPhone Models, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

iOS 17.2 unlocks a significant new feature for iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 users: support for Qi2 wireless charging. This comes after the iPhone 15 was announced as the first Qi2-enabled iPhone and before the first Qi2 accessories hit the market this month.

Apple Music Collaborative Playlists Not Coming In iOS 17.2, Likely Due To Abuse And Spam Problems, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Code seen by 9to5Mac suggests that Apple pulled collaborative Apple Music playlists from iOS 17.2 due to concerns around abuse and spam. Apple is still working on the feature and adding new precautions to cut down on these issues, including adding limits on how many “pending requests” a playlist owner can have.


Apple Arcade Gains Disney Dreamlight Valley, Puzzle & Dragons Story, And Sonic Dream Team, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Disney Dreamlight Valley is a life simulation game starring Disney characters, and it has previously been available on console platforms. The Apple Arcade version of the game includes the base version and the A Rift in Time expansion that is a paid option on other platforms.

Apple Releases Fifth 2nd-gen AirPods Pro Firmware Update In Less Than 2 Months, by Michael Simon, Macworld

When iOS 17 arrived in September, it brought a slew of new features including adaptive audio and conversation awareness. It also brought a slew of firmware updates, with no fewer than four arriving since September. And now Apple has released another one, bringing the iOS 17 total to five.

Apple Design Award Winner SwingVision Makes Its Pickleball Debut, by Laura Rosenberg, 9to5Mac

SwingVision, an Apple Design Award-winning app in innovation, today introduced its expansion into pickleball. Initially an app meant to act as a tennis coach helping users to perfect every aspect of their game, SwingVision is making its way into America’s fastest-growing sport.

Twelve South Launches 'ButterFly' 2-in-1 MagSafe Charger For iPhone And Apple Watch, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Twelve South says that when closed, the ButterFly is about the size of an AirPods Pro case. When unfolded, a small strip of vegan leather connects the magnetic fast charger for Apple Watch and MagSafe-compatible charger for iPhones or AirPods.


There’s A New iMessage For Android App — And It Actually Works, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Beeper Mini joins a growing list of apps trying to hack the iMessage experience onto Android, but Migicovsky is adamant that Beeper Mini is not like the other services out there: it is directly sending iMessages.


Its developers figured out how to register a phone number with iMessage, send messages directly to Apple’s servers, and have messages sent back to your phone natively inside the app. It was a tricky process that involved deconstructing Apple’s messaging pipeline from start to finish. Beeper’s team had to figure out where to send the messages, what the messages needed to look like, and how to pull them back down from the cloud. The hardest part, Migicovsky said, was cracking what is essentially Apple’s padlock on the whole system: a check to see whether the connected device is a genuine Apple product.

Apple-Paramount Bundle Would Be Another Hail Mary Streaming Play, by Tyler Aquilina, Variety

For smaller streamers, any incremental subscriber reach gained from these bundling deals is essential, given the massive costs of operating an SVOD and Wall Street’s scrutiny of streaming profits (or the lack thereof). Even Apple, whose streaming investments are routinely described as a “rounding error” for the $2.9 trillion company, seems to be feeling the pressure in the wake of its massive spending on not one but two $200 million-plus historical epics.

Apple Moves Towards India-made iPhone Batteries In Push Away From China, by Qianer Liu, Financial Times

The world’s most valuable company has informed component suppliers of its preference to source batteries for the forthcoming iPhone 16 from Indian factories, according to two people close to Apple.

Battery manufacturers, such as Desay of China, have been encouraged to establish new factories in India, while Simplo Technology, a Taiwanese battery supplier for Apple, has been asked to scale up production in India for future orders, said three people familiar with the situation.

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I wonder if Apple know I've not been using Xcode much lately, but spending more time with BBedit and PHP codes on a different hobby project?


Thanks for reading.

The Moving-Art Edition Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Halide Says It Will Never Support Video, So It’s Launching Kino Instead, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

Halide cofounder Ben Sandofsky has a message for everyone who’s asked if video capture will be added to the popular iPhone photography app: “Never.” Lux, the development team behind Halide, is instead working on Kino — a new, dedicated video capture app for iPhones that aims to provide professional recording features now that Apple supports log video encoding. Its release is scheduled for February... if all goes as planned.

Comixology Was Never Going To Save Comics, But It Tried, by Susana Polo, Polygon

Arguably, the tension between Comixology and its corporate mothership has been there since the 2014 acquisition of the digital comics platform. After Amazon acquired the app from its founders, the company removed the ability to purchase comics from all iOS versions of Comixology, so as not to pay app store fees to its biggest tech competitor, Apple.

But this isn’t a clear-cut case of a huge monopoly throwing its weight around a small industry. Comixology was already a monopoly. It’s monopolies all the way down.


iOS 17 Bug Switches Apps While Typing - How To Fix, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

An increasing number of iPhone users are reporting a persistent iOS 17 bug that causes the app switcher to suddenly appear when they are typing on the screen. If you have experienced this frustrating issue, you are not alone.

Apple Music Users Experiencing Bug With 'Add Playlist Songs' Setting, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In recent weeks, many Apple Music subscribers have reported that the "Add Playlist Songs" setting is broken on the iPhone, iPad, and sometimes the Mac. After a user toggles off the setting, the bug can cause it to turn back on, resulting in any songs that a user adds to a playlist being added to their music library in an unwanted manner.

MarsEdit 5.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Red Sweater Software has released MarsEdit 5.1 with support for Mastodon, enabling you to download, edit, and publish to any Mastodon service.

Dynamic Island Diet: Calory App Adds Meal Fasting Feature With Live Activities And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

For those unfamiliar, Calory is an iPhone and Apple Watch app that lets you count calories, track macros, and more. The focus is on making the process as simple and easy as possible, and this week’s addition of fasting support keeps in line with that focus.

Ride Into My DM's: Strava Unveils New Messaging Feature, by Betsy Welch, Outside

On Monday morning, global fitness tracking platform Strava launched a new messaging feature. Allegedly over two years in the making, the new feature will allow users — or ‘athletes,’ as the brand refers to them — to send both direct and group messages.

While Strava claims that it “definitely heard the community ask for messaging for some time,” the launch also comes curiously close to some interesting press.

Mophie Makes Its MagSafe Travel Charger Even Better With Apple Watch Fast Charging, by Rikka Altland, 9to5Toys

Mophie has achieved an even closer level of near perfection with the refreshed 3-in-1 MagSafe travel charger now that it has Apple Watch fast charging.


London's Battersea Power Station Transformed For Christmas With Giant 'Drawn On iPad' Animation, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Battersea Power Station, home of London’s latest Apple retail store, is decorated for Christmas with an enormous moving art display projected on the front. Reasonably named “Bigger Christmas Trees,” it was created by artist David Hockney on an iPad.

Apple Warns India's EU-style Charger Rules Will Hit Local Production Target, by Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil, Reuters

In a closed-door Nov. 28 meeting chaired by India's IT ministry, Apple asked officials to exempt existing iPhone models from the rules, warning it will otherwise struggle to meet production targets set under India's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, according to the meeting minutes seen by Reuters.

Spotify Is Screwed, by Amanda Hoover, Wired

“It’s too cheap,” says Dyson. “To have access to every single piece of music that’s ever been released—and ever will be released—for $10 a month is just astounding.” The same is true of Spotify today as was true when it was founded 17 years ago: it’s a business that’s good for listeners and labels, but bad for both streamers and artists.

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In the past two days, I've encountered two bugs with the Shortcuts widget on my iPhone.

Yesterday, one of my Shortcuts widget changed from the two-buttons variety to the single-button version. Today, a different Shortcuts widget stopped responding to any of my taps, refusing to run any of my shortcuts no matter how hard I pressed on them.

Shortcuts on iPhone, as well as the Shortcuts widget, brings me such joy and convenience that losing the ability to use them, even temporary, was such a frustration.


Thanks for reading.

The No-Weather Edition Monday, December 4, 2023

How Weather Apps Are Trying To Be More Accurate, by Suzanne Bearne, BBC

He suggests that the lack of financial backing for such new weather app firms is, ironically due to weather. More specifically - because the Silicon Valley region of northern California, home to many tech investors, does not typically suffer from climate extremes.

"It's notable that Silicon Valley does not have [changeable] weather, meaning that its venture capitalists don't think about investing in it," he says.


How I Use The iPhone To Listen To Music While Biking, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

I often like to listen to music or podcasts while riding, which would generally be a job for the AirPods Pro. However, it’s illegal to cover both ears while biking in New York State, and I don’t relish trying to explain Transparency Mode and Adaptive Audio to a state trooper. Dropping to a single earbud is legal and functional, but I hit on a different approach that I prefer—playing music through my iPhone’s speakers while it’s mounted on my handlebars.

Zoom Videoconferencing App Now Available On Apple TV, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

As promised earlier this year, the popular video meetings app Zoom is now available on the Apple TV 4K. Of course, the Apple TV box itself does not have a camera, so the app relies on using your iPhone with a stand like the Belkin MagSafe Mount to take advantage of the Continuity Camera feature.

Let Me Tell You About The Best Way To Read Books, by Fortesa Latifi, Slate

Obviously, everyone knows that libraries are a thing, but Libby brings the concept of “borrowing from a publicly funded supply of books” into our age of convenience and multimedia.

WhatsApp To Let iOS Users Share Pictures And Videos In Original Quality, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature on iOS that allows users to share photos and videos as a document to preserve their original quality.


Where Is Apple’s Proposed ‘Next-gen CarPlay’?, by Lloyd Coombes, iMore

As would be expected from car manufacturers, they're hesitant to allow a third party to be so tightly integrated with a customer’s vehicle — especially with a company that appears to have its sights set on building its own vehicle in the future.

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Remember when we were all promised self-driving cars by 2020? :-)


Thanks for reading.

The One-in-Three Edition Sunday, December 3, 2023

LumaFusion Review, by Steve Paris, TechRadar

LumaTouch has done an impeccable job packing in professional-grade video editing tools into an app like this. And somehow, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

I Used Apple's Best iPhone App Of 2023 To Level Up My Hiking This Year – And It’s Better Than Strava For Walks, by Matt Evans, TechRadar

One of the best fitness apps, the choice of AllTrails is a fantastic representation of how our tech can work with us to make the outside world easier to access.

Filmic's Entire Staff Laid Off By Parent Company Bending Spoons, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

Considered for years as the best video capture application for mobile devices, the team behind Filmic Pro and presumably Filmic Firstlight — the company’s photo-focused app — has been let go. Rumors arose last month that Bending Spoons performed a round of layoffs that affected the operations, maintenance, and development and brought those functions in-house. The layoffs were confirmed to PetaPixel by sources close to the matter who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the brand.

Is This The End Of ‘Intel Inside’?, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

The threats to Intel are so numerous that it’s worth summing them up: The Mac and Google’s Chromebooks are already eating the market share of Windows-based, Intel-powered devices. As for Windows-based devices, all signs point to their increasingly being based on non-Intel processors. Finally, Windows is likely to run on the cloud in the future, where it will also run on non-Intel chips.

Apple has moved almost entirely away from Intel’s chips, which it used for over a decade for all of its desktop and notebook computers. At the same time, its overall market share for desktops and notebooks has climbed from around 12% of devices in the U.S. in 2013 to nearly one in three today, according to Statcounter.

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Since Windows has always been the great Mac OS copying machine, my prediction is Microsoft will abandon Intel and move onto Arm chips sooner rather than later.

But, I am no expert in chip design and operating system architecting, but I think Microsoft should instead buy Intel and optimize the chips for Windows operations?


Thanks for reading.

The Very-Efficient Edition Saturday, December 2, 2023

Inside Apple’s Chip Lab, Home To The Most ‘Profound Change’ At The Company In Decades, by Katie Tarasov, CNBC

"We have thousands of engineers," Srouji said. "But if you look at the portfolio of chips we do: very lean, actually. Very efficient."

Unlike traditional chipmakers, Apple is not making silicon for other companies.

"Because we're not really selling chips outside, we focus on the product," Srouji said. "That gives us freedom to optimize, and the scalable architecture lets us reuse pieces between different products."

Apple Celebrating Taylor Swift With Free 'Eras Experience' In New York City, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Taylor Swift was crowned the “Apple Music Artist of the Year” a few weeks ago, and the festivities aren’t stopping anytime soon. Apple today announced that it will be holding a free “Taylor Swift Eras Experience” in New York City next week on December 8 and December 9.

Apple is quick to point out, however, that Taylor Swift herself won’t be in attendance.

Selena Gomez Celebrates Taylor Swift Becoming Apple Music’s Artist Of The Year, by Hannah Dailey, Billboard

“I think it’s pretty obvious why Taylor is the artist of the year,” Gomez says in a self-filmed clip posted by Apple Music Friday (Dec. 1) on social media. “She has done so much for her community and fans.”


Apple iPhone 15 Ad Highlights Portrait Camera Capabilities, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a new iPhone 15 ad that focuses on some of the camera capabilities of the device, such as the option to snap an image and then adjust the focus during the editing process.

The BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 Dock Is Belkin's Best Charger Yet, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Though the name is similar to many of the existing chargers that Belkin offers, it actually features one of Belkin's most thoughtful and unique designs to date.


RIP RSR?, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

I suspect that Apple’s engineers have greater aspirations for RSRs in the future, but for the moment they’ll continue to deliver early fixes for serious vulnerabilities in software like Safari and WebKit that’s already delivered in cryptexes. Even if they do require the reboot that hadn’t been intended when advertised for Ventura.

Report: Apple In Talks To Offer Combined Streaming Bundle Of Apple TV+ And Paramount+, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The notion of a cross-platform streaming bundle is becoming increasingly common, as streamers experiment with new ways to attract and retain subscribers. Today’s Wall Street Journal report says talks between Apple and Paramount are still in the preliminary stages and it did not detail exactly what the Apple and Paramount bundle would look like, if a deal comes to fruition.

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Well, today they may be talking about doing a streaming bundle, but tomorrow they may be talking about one buying the other.

But if Apple TV+ couldn't work with Jon Steward, can they work with Steven Colbert? (You know who is hiding under his desk, right?)


Thanks for reading.

The Voice-Samples Edition Friday, December 1, 2023

Apple Releases Taika Waititi-directed Film Promoting Speech Accessibility Tools, by Shelly Brisbin, Six Colors

The film tells the story of a furry little character searching everywhere for his lost voice, with the aid of his friend, a young girl. There’s also an ebook, where the story appears in words and illustrations. Both are available now.

The film’s effectiveness and emotional impact does not come from the centering of disability, but from the lithe writing, imaginative visual vocabulary and trippy score, which is made up mostly of human voice samples. Like the best Apple promotional films, it is about what it’s about, far more than the products it inevitably promotes.

A Disability Advocate Preserves His Voice With iPhone, by Apple

Ingham has facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), which causes progressive muscle degeneration starting in the face, shoulders, and arms, and can ultimately lead to the inability to speak, feed oneself, or in some cases, blink the eyes. In 2013, he began using a wheelchair, and in recent years he has noticed changes in his voice.


In the future, it is possible Ingham may not be able to use his speaking voice at all. “I’m very aware on a professional level that using my voice is getting harder. I am aware that when I get more fatigued, I get quieter, harder to understand,” he says, noting the cognitive dissonance of a progressive condition. “But on a human level, I put that out of my mind, because what can one do about it?”


Apple Releases iOS 17.1.2 And macOS Sonoma 14.1.2, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple has released the iOS 17.1.2 software update for iPhone. Apple has also released macOS Sonoma 14.1.2. Both updates are described as security updates in the release notes.

Apple Adds New Features To Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Motion, Compressor, And Logic Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released updates for its Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Motion, Compressor, and Logic Pro software, introducing new features and optimizations. Apple announced the Final Cut Pro updates for iPad and Mac earlier this month and has now launched them.

Apple Marks World AIDS Day With (RED), by Apple

Over the last 17 years, Apple customers have helped raise more than a quarter of a billion dollars, giving millions of people access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and HIV testing, and helping HIV-positive mothers prevent passing the virus on to their babies.

This year, Apple is making it both easy and fun to support (RED) and the Global Fund with customer purchases.

iA Writer Can Now Track What You Or ChatGPT Wrote, by Jon Porter, The Verge

iA Writer 7, the latest version of the minimalist multi-platform writing software, has a new feature that’s designed to clearly mark text contributed by generative AI systems like ChatGPT. While your own words appear in black, you can choose for AI-generated text copied into your iA document to be greyed out. Then, as you tweak and edit the AI additions you can easily keep track of how much text is your original work and how much is artificially generated.

Steam Drops macOS Mojave Support, Effectively Ending Life For Many 32-bit Games, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

While most of the Steam game library for Mac is 64-bit, there are many 32-bit Mac games that never got updated. If you bought them and install them through Steam, continued access is not guaranteed, even if you're still running High Sierra or Mojave.


Apple Plans To Package US-fabbed Apple Silicon In US, TSMC Plant Not A ‘Paperweight’, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

In 2021, Apple committed to investing $430 billion in the US economy over a five year period. Now the company has detailed plans to bring Apple silicon packaging to Arizona as part of that investment. The announcement seems to refute an earlier report that Apple silicon fabbed by TSMC in the US would still need to be packaged in Taiwan.

Specifically, Apple says it will be the “first and largest customer” of Amkor’s advanced silicon packaging facility in Peoria, Arizona. Amkor will be responsible for packaging Apple silicon that TSMC fabs at its Arizona location.

Ouch: UK Regulators To Investigate Apple After It Loses Appeal, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Things moved relatively fast, but Apple appealed the decision to launch the investigation on the basis that the CMA inquiry began too late. The Competition Appeal Tribunal subsequently upheld Apple’s argument in March. The CMA then appealed that judgment and succeeded when the UK Court of Appeal overturned that decision today.

This effectively means the investigation will take place. If the agency finds against Apple, it could impose remedies that include insisting browsers be able to use rendering engines other than WebKit or mandating inclusion of cloud games services within the App Store.

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I think in order for my hobby project to move ahead, I may need to cut stuff that that other people may need so that I can focus on stuff that I want. Still deciding.

(I am jealous of other people who can focus on their weekend projects to get them running.)


Thanks for reading.