Archive for January 2024

The Sometimes-It-Is-Amazing Edition Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Apple Vision Pro Review: Magic, Until It’s Not, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

It sounds amazing, and sometimes it is. But the Vision Pro also represents a series of really big tradeoffs — tradeoffs that are impossible to ignore. Some of those tradeoffs are very tangible: getting all this tech in a headset means there’s a lot of weight on your face, so Apple chose to use an external battery pack connected by a cable. But there are other, more philosophical tradeoffs as well.

As I’ve been using it for the past few days, I kept coming up with a series of questions — questions about whether the tradeoffs were worth it.

The Vision Pro, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What’s amazing about watching movies in these two apps is that the virtual movie screens look immense, as though you’re really in a movie theater looking at a 100-foot screen. Apple’s presentation in the TV app particularly good, giving you options to simulate perspectives from the front, middle, or back of the theater, as well as from either the floor or balcony levels. (Like Siskel and Ebert, I think I prefer the balcony.) The “Holy shit, this screen looks absolutely immense” effect is particularly good in Apple’s TV app.

Vision Pro Won't Let You Save Web Apps To Your Home Screen, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In addition to not letting you rearrange home screen icons, visionOS 1.0 also doesn’t support the ability to pin web apps to the home screen.

Apple’s New Vision Pro Is A Privacy Mess Waiting To Happen, by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

On a basic level, the Vision Pro might know it’s in a room with four walls and a 12-foot ceiling and window — so far, so good, Jerome says. But then add in that you’ve got a 75-inch television, suggesting you might have more money to spend than someone with a 42-inch set. Since the device can understand objects, it could also detect if you’ve got a crib or a wheelchair or even drug paraphernalia, he says.


Developers tell me apps can get access to a stream of data about users’ movement, right down to the wiggle of a finger.

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley blew my mind when they explained just how revealing data about how your body moves while dancing could be.

Spatial Computing, by John Siracusa, Hypercritical

Is this look-then-gesture interaction any different than using a mouse to “indirectly” manipulate a pointer? Does it leverage our innate spatial abilities to the same extent? Time will tell. But I feel comfortable saying that, in some ways, this kind of Vision Pro interaction is less “direct” than the iPhone’s touch interface, where we see a thing on a screen and then literally place our fingers on it. Will there be any interaction on the Vision Pro that’s as intuitive, efficient, and satisfying as flick-scrolling on an iPhone screen? It’s a high bar to clear, that’s for sure.

Blackbox: Rebooting An Inventive Puzzle Game For visionOS, by Apple

On iOS and iPadOS, Blackbox plays off the familiarity of our devices. But how do you transpose that experience to a device people haven’t tried yet? And how do you break boundaries on a canvas that doesn’t have any? “I do love a good constraint,” says McLeod, “but it has been fun to explore the lifting of that restraint. I’m trying to figure out what makes Blackbox tick on iOS, and how to bring that to visionOS. That requires some creative following of my own rules — and breaking some of them.”

This Mixed Reality DJ-ing App For Apple Vision Pro Blew My Mind, by Raymond Wong, Inverse

Behind me, several record albums floated in the air and curled to my left. I was instructed to grab one and then drop the vinyl onto one of the turntables. I did as told, “pushed” the start button, and the vinyl started spinning. From there I grabbed the needle and placed it on the record and then music started playing. It all felt very natural and real. Not real in the sense that the turntables looked photorealistic (they don’t), but more like instinctual to control. Vision Pro is clearly not for babies or kids, but I do think if it were, they’d instinctively reach out and touch, grab, and pinch virtual objects, the same way they instinctively reach out and touch and swipe on an iPad.

Coming Soon

iOS 17.4 Beta Brings Major App Store Changes In The EU, Including Alternate Stores, by Jason Cross, Macworld

If you live in the European Union, iOS 17.4 is going to be a massive upgrade for you. Apple began beta-testing the update on January 25 and outlined many of the changes in a press release.

The primary aim of this release is to comply with the Digital Markets Act in the EU, which has a deadline of March 6. We expect Apple to release iOS 17.4 sometime close to that date.

Apple Watch Can Ignore Double Tap Gesture When Using Vision Pro, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

watchOS 10.4 and iOS 17.4 betas introduce a new toggle on Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. The new setting is specifically to avoid a conflict between the Apple Watch and Apple Vision Pro when gesturing.


Apple Music 'Replay 2024' Playlist Now Available, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Apple today shared the "Replay 2024" playlist with Apple Music subscribers, allowing you to start tracking all of the songs you've been streaming so far this year. Just like the past few years, this playlist ranks a total of 100 songs based on how many times you've listened to them.

Apple Releases AirPods Pro Firmware Update With These Changes, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

It’s that time again. Apple is releasing another round of somewhat nebulous AirPods firmware updates. This time it’s the AirPods Pro AirPods 2, and AirPods Max hardware that are due for an update.

Ulysses Writing App Adds New Home Screen And Lock Screen Widgets, by CHance Miller, 9to5Mac

The widgets included in Ulysses allow you to create new sheets, open projects, and more, right from your home screen.

Minute-Long Soap Operas Are Here. Is America Ready?, by Claire Moses, New York Times

Think: Lifetime movie cut up into TikTok videos. Think: soap opera, but for the short attention span of the internet age.

The biggest player in this new genre is ReelShort, an app that offers melodramatic content in minute-long, vertically shot episodes and is hoping to bring a successful formula established abroad to the United States by hooking millions of people on its short-form content.


Apple Card Users Earned More Than $1B In Daily Cash In 2023, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

Apple revealed today that users earned more than $1 billion in Daily Cash from spending on Apple Card last year. The tech giant also announced that Apple Card has topped more than 12 million users. Apple Card, which first launched in 2019, is exclusively available in the United States.

40 Years Of The Mac, 40 Years Of Macworld, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Yes, it’s Macworld’s 40th as well. As you might expect from the relative health of the technology and media industries, the story of Macworld does not quite follow the same trajectory as the story of the Mac. (In the earliest days, Macworld was more successful than the Mac!)

As the person who has probably been associated with Macworld for two-thirds of its existence–I joined the staff in the fall of 1997, and I’m writing this in 2024–it’s only appropriate that I take you on a little trip down memory lane.

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I used to buy single issues of computer magazines from book stores, and read all about all the stuff that I cannot afford to buy. Come to think of it, even if I can afford them, I probably couldn't buy most of the stuff in those magazines, since no local retailers imported them to where I were.

Once upon a time, I was excited about all the Mac clones. Hey, finally, maybe there's a Mac that I can afford. Of course, we know how that story ended, and Power Computing never arrived at our shores.


Thanks for reading.

The Uninformed-Public Edition Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Apple Says UK Could 'Secretly Veto' Global Privacy Tools, by Zoe Kleinman, BBC

Apple has attacked proposals for the UK government to pre-approve new security features introduced by global tech firms.

Under the proposed amendments to existing laws, if the UK Home Office declined an update, it then could not be released in any other country, and the public would not be informed.

Apple TV+ Is The New HBO, by Adrienne So, Wired

Right now, the streamer is the only one offering a big slate of exciting shows for your whole family. There’s beloved properties, funny writing, and A-list actors enjoying their work. It’s so good that Gary Oldman has suggested that Slow Horses may be his last gig ever. Way to go out with a bang, Gary. I’ll be watching.

The Next 40, by Craig Hockenberry,

And here’s the thing: developers don’t come up with these ideas unless they have a place to experiment. Seeing multiple windows that contained code, debugging, and other tools led some folks to start thinking about integrating this environment using the new interaction mechanisms.

Those same kind of folks may find inspiration in spatial computing, but will ultimately get thwarted by the restrictions of a single process. An architecture developed for mobile devices with only one app on the screen is now being used for apps on an infinitely large screen.


MLS Season Pass Returns To Apple TV This Year, by Anna Tingley, Rudie Obias, Variety

The 2024 Major League Soccer season is underway and all the soccer matches will be streaming on MLS Season Pass, a service available on the Apple TV app. The MLS Season Pass offers all matches, but traditional cable channels — such as Fox, FS1 and Fox Deportes — will also broadcast select matches throughout the season.

Unsqueeze Is A Metal-powered Video Upscaling App With Support For 8K+ Resolution, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Developer Finn Voorhees has released a really great new video upscaling app that works across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Unsqueeze is designed to increase the resolution of your videos “while preserving sharpness and details.”

CARROT Weather Coming To Apple Vision Pro With Interactive 3D Globe, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

On the Vision Pro, CARROT Weather has added an interactive 3D globe that shows temperatures, wind speeds, and precipitation intensity around the world. The app's developer Brian Mueller described the globe as the "marquee feature" of the app, and said that "it's just really cool being able to look at a globe floating in your living room."

Zoom Meetings Are About To Get Weirder Thanks To The Vision Pro, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Zoom’s Vision Pro app will launch alongside Apple’s new headset on February 2nd and let wearers use its “persona” (a digital avatar based on their face scans) during video calls. Whoever they’re calling will see their facial expressions and hand movements as if they’re not wearing a headset, much like Apple’s FaceTime app for the Vision Pro.


Apple’s EU App Store Changes Open Door For Australia To Improve Digital Platforms Competition, by Josh Taylor, The Guardian

The assistant treasurer and minister for financial services, Stephen Jones, said the government was in the process of finalising a consultation paper “for a potential competition regime and will have more to say shortly”.

In the December, the government said it was “closely monitoring international developments” and would ensure the developed framework was consistent and cohesive with overseas approaches.

Audiobooks Are Booming. Spotify Wants In On The Action., by Alexandra Alter, New York Times

With the addition of Spotify, the audiobook sector grew by 28 percent in that period, the company said. Using figures provided by Spotify, Bookstat estimated that Spotify had a market share of 11 percent, putting it ahead of Apple and behind Audible, which has long been the dominant player in the medium.

“It suggests that they grew the market rather than cannibalizing existing Audible and Apple customers,” said Paul Abbassi, the founder of Bookstat, of the data.

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It will be so cool if virtual things inside visionOS are reflected in mirrors in my room.


Thanks for reading.

The One-Stop-Shop Edition Monday, January 29, 2024

Understanding Apple’s Response To The DMA, by John Voorhees, MacStories

iOS is a complex, integrated system that wasn’t designed to be separated into the component parts required by the DMA. Maybe it shouldn’t have been designed that way over a decade ago, but that’s where we are today, so pulling it apart is complex by its very nature. Just look at the over 600 APIs introduced to make these changes possible. Moreover, no matter what Apple does, its one-stop-shop that handles everything from hosting apps to payment processing is easier than putting those pieces together ad hoc.

Apple Just Made The iPhone Better — But Not By Choice, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

My belief is that the bigger developers will raise concerns about this fee to the EU and the regulators will pressure Apple to scrap it. I don’t expect Apple to give in easily, but there are two possible compromises. The company could raise the threshold from 1 million annual installs to, say, 5 million or 10 million. Or it could remove the fee for developers in the small-business program.

One developer who had a few hundred thousand app installations last year told Power On that there wouldn’t be an incentive to make an app under these terms.

But developers don’t have to. They can just stick with the old 15%-30% fee structure if they want. Those developers just have to agree not to use third-party payment systems or app stores, and embrace the status quo instead — which is just what Apple would have preferred from the start.

On Security

iPhone's Stolen Device Protection Has A Fatal Flaw, But You Can Fix It, by Arin Waichulis, 9to5Mac

Apple deems a location significant based on how often and when a user visits it. This data is typically used for things like Siri Suggestions and Memories in the Photos app, but as it’s also used for Stolen Device Protection, this can be concerning if you frequent a particular bar or cafe, notes popular technology YouTuber ThioJoe in a post on Twitter (X).


Apple Releases Highly-anticipated Chinese New Year Film Via TBWAMedia Arts Lab Shanghai, by Ricki Green, Campaign Brief Asia

During a moment of celebration and reflection, Apple welcomes the year of the Dragon by telling the story of a young girl battling with her insecurities and how she is able to overcome them on her own. Titled “Little Garlic,” the film and Apple send a timely message addressing the insecurity felt by Gen Z in China.

Apple Says 'Hello' To Vision Pro In New Ad As Headset Nears Launch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today promoted the Vision Pro in a new video ad shared on its YouTube channel, ahead of the headset launching in the U.S. this Friday, February 2.

Arc Search Combines Browser, Search Engine, And AI Into Something New And Different, by David Pierce, The Verge

A few minutes ago, I opened the new Arc Search app and typed, “What happened in the Chiefs game.” That game, the AFC Championship, had just wrapped up. Normally, I’d Google it, click on a few links, and read about the game that way. But in Arc Search, I typed the query and tapped the “Browse for me” button instead.


We Keep Making The Same Mistakes With Spreadsheets, Despite Bad Consequences, by Simon Thorne, The Conversation

Spreadsheet blunders aren’t just frustrating personal inconveniences. They can have serious consequences. And in the last few years alone, there have been a myriad of spreadsheet horror stories.

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Yet another annoyances on iOS:

On every play/pause button in every app on my iPhone -- whether it's the Apple Music app, or a third-party audiobook app, or a third-party podcast client app, the behavior is the same. While listening to audio, I can tap and hold on the play/pause button, wait for a suitable to stop the audio (such as the end of a sentence), release the play/pause button, and the audio will immediately pause.

Except for the Now Playing widget on the lock screen. If you tap and hold for a moment longer than a second, release the button doesn't do anything.



Thanks for reading.

The Brand-Promise Edition Sunday, January 28, 2024

Building Under Regulation, by Steven Sinofsky, Hardcore Software

This week Apple detailed the software changes that will appear in an upcoming release of iOS to comply with the European Union Digital Markets Act (DMA). As I read the over 60 pages of the DMA when it was passed (and in drafts before that, little of which changed in the process) my heart sank over the complexity of a regulation so poorly constructed yet so clearly aimed at specific (American) companies and products. As I read through many of the hundreds of pages of Apple documents detailing their compliance implementation my heart sank again. This time was because I so thoroughly could feel the pain and struggle product teams felt in clinging to at best or unwinding at worst the most substantial improvement in computing ever introduced—the promise behind the iPhone since its introduction. The reason the iPhone became so successful was not a fluke. Consumers and customers voted that the value proposition of the product was something they preferred, and they acted by purchasing iPhone and developers responded by building applications for iOS. The regulators have a different view of that promise, so here we are.


Android has the kind of success Microsoft would envy, but not Apple, primarily because with that success came most all the same issues that Microsoft sees (still) with the Windows PC. The security, privacy, abuse, fragility, and other problems of the PC show up on Android at a rate like the PC compared to Macintosh and iPhone. Only this time it is not the lack of motivation bad actors have to exploit iPhone, rather it is the foresight of the Steve Jobs vision for computing. He pushed to have a new kind of computer that further encapsulated and abstracted the computer to make it safer, more reliable, more private, and secure, great battery life, more accessible, more consistent, always easier to use, and so on. These attributes did not happen by accident. They were the process of design and architecture from the very start. These attributes are the brand promise of iPhone as much as the brand promise of Android is openness, ubiquity, low price, choice.

The lesson of the first two decades of the PC and the first almost two decades of smartphones are that these ends of a spectrum are not accidental. These choices are not mutually compatible. You don’t get both. I know this is horrible to say and everyone believes that there is somehow malicious intent to lock people into a closed environment or an unintentional incompetence that permits bad software to invade an ecosystem. Neither of those would be the case. Quite simply, there’s a choice between engineering and architecting for one or the other and once you start you can’t go back. More importantly, the market values and demands both.

That is unless you’re a regulator in Brussels. Then you sit in an amazing government building and decide that it is entirely possible to just by fiat declare that the iPhone should have all the attributes of openness. By all accounts there seemed to be little interest in the brand promise that presumably drew a third of the market to iPhone. In the over 60 pages of DMA, there’s little mention of privacy (just 7 times), security (9 times), performance (3), reliability (once), or battery life (0), or accessibility (just 3).

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I have no desires to have alternate app stores in my iPhone. I just hope that I will not be forced to install alternate app stores in my iPhone by any governments (including my own) or employers in the name of safety (the next pandemic is here! or digital visas! or digital money!) or work productivity.


Thanks for reading.

The Charging-Fees-to-Developers Edition Saturday, January 27, 2024

Apple’s Plans For The DMA In The European Union, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The EC’s obsession with payment processing and commissions blinded them, I think, to the fact that Apple has always had other options for monetization. This Core Technology Fee, based on installations rather than purchases, is one of them.

The CTF disrupts the free/freemium model used by Apple’s biggest rivals and competitors. Meta’s apps are all free: WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and now Threads. Meta has paid Apple effectively nothing for those apps, ever. The YouTube app offers IAP subscriptions but most of Google’s popular iOS apps are just completely free, so Google pays Apple nothing. Spotify has 500 million worldwide users, split 40-60 between paid and free (ad-supported). That means Spotify likely has roughly 100 million free users on iOS — and Spotify pays Apple nothing.


The DMA says Apple can’t make the App Store the exclusive distribution source for iOS apps in the EU, and can’t make its own payment system exclusive for apps from the App Store, either. But I don’t see anything in the DMA that says Apple is prevented from charging fees to developers.

iPad Users Will Miss Out On Third-party App Stores, Browser Engines, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Some of these changes are coming to all of Apple’s platforms, while others are coming only to the iPhone and not the iPad.

There is reason for this nuance. Apple explains that the European Union ruled that iOS is a gatekeeper platform as part of the Digital Markets Act. This applies only to iOS on the iPhone. iPadOS on the iPad is a completely different platform in the eyes of Apple and the European Commission.

Dirty Tricks Or Small Wins: Developers Are Skeptical Of Apple’s App Store Rules, by Emma Roth, The Verge

It’ll take some time to see whether other developers and alternative app stores choose to go along with Apple’s new rules. But perhaps one of the biggest hurdles Apple might have to face in the coming days is whether the EU Commission will actually approve of the company’s changes. The Commission will start evaluating companies’ responses when the DMA goes into effect on March 7th, and Commissioner Thierry Breton has already warned: “If the proposed solutions are not good enough, we will not hesitate to take strong action.”

Coming Soon

SharePlay Music Control Expanding To HomePod And Apple TV, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Starting with iOS 17.4 and tvOS 17.4, currently in beta, Apple has expanded SharePlay music control to HomePod speakers and the Apple TV.


Pestle Cooking App Puts Recipe Discovery On Your Home Screen, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Pestle 1.6 improves the digital cookbook experience with two new widgets and bulk selection support. The first new widget is specifically for coming across recipes you haven’t tried yet. The other will show you recipes based on your meal plan.

This Free Screenwriting App Makes Writing Screenplays And Scripts Very Easy, by Jack Wallen, ZDNet

If you're interested in getting into scriptwriting, I highly recommend you start out with Beat. Not only will it not cost you a penny (unless you are kind enough to offer a donation to the developer), but it's user-friendly and does everything you need as a beginner or intermediate writer for the stage or screen.

Nomad Launches Premium Stand Qi2 For iPhone In All-black Or White/silver, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new Stand Qi2 delivers full 15W wireless power in a full metal and glass design with the option for a slick all-black or white/silver finish.


4 Ways Apple Could Make Life Easier For Elderly Customers—that Would Benefit Us All, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

Yet when the tech help request comes from an elderly family member or friend, and has to do with an iPhone, it’s typically the same thing over and over again: Some of their apps have disappeared from their home screen, and they want to get them back.

In reality, the app hasn’t actually disappeared. The cause of the problem is always the same: They’ve accidentally moved an app’s icon to a new page on their iPhone’s home screen, or more commonly, accidentally moved one app’s icon onto another, creating a home-screen folder.

Apple Takes Messaging Crackdown To Customers’ Macs, by Tripp Mickle, New York Times

“Legally, they’re probably in the clear because of their terms of service, but it’s still kind of crappy,” said Matvei Vevitsis, who noticed this month that he could no longer send his mother iMessages through his 12-inch MacBook.

Apple declined to comment. After The New York Times contacted Apple, some Beeper customers began reporting that they had been unblocked in recent days.

ChatGPT Will Kill Off The Romantic Genius, by Sam Leith, UnHerd

Is it possible, then, that we so fiercely police the distinction between what Large Language Models can do and human creativity because we’re… touchy about it? That we’re worried it may be a temporary distinction of degree rather than a fundamental difference of category; which is to say, no distinction at all?

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If all you want is to force Apple not to be able to collect any money from any third-party developer ever again, then just say it out loud. Don't pretend you know how to fix the problem with alternative app stores or alternative payment gateways or any such whatevers.


Rearranging app icons, and also widgets, on iPhone remains a frustrating experience after so many years. But, looking at all the efforts Apple had been doing to make rearranging windows and contents easier on the different platforms -- Stage Manager, Safari's tabs -- I think I should be somewhat happy that Apple hasn't starting rethinking how app icons can be rearranged.


Thanks for reading.

The Reduce-But-Not-Eliminate Edition Friday, January 26, 2024

Apple Announces Changes To iOS, Safari, And The App Store In The European Union, by Apple

The changes include more than 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, functionality for alternative browser engines, and options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps. Across every change, Apple is introducing new safeguards that reduce — but don’t eliminate — new risks the DMA poses to EU users. With these steps, Apple will continue to deliver the best, most secure experience possible for EU users.

The new options for processing payments and downloading apps on iOS open new avenues for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and harmful content, and other privacy and security threats. That’s why Apple is introducing protections — including Notarization for iOS apps, an authorization for marketplace developers, and disclosures on alternative payments — to reduce risks and deliver the best, most secure experience possible for users in the EU. Even with these safeguards in place, many risks remain.

Apple Changes App Store Rules In The EU, And The World Watches, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

For years, Apple has been preparing for this moment, not just by introducing features like notarization on the Mac, but by denouncing the concept of “sideloading” apps (i.e., loading them from outside the App Store) as a danger to all users. Beginning in March, the entire world will be watching the EU to see if Apple’s warnings were true—or if it was just a smokescreen designed to scare regulators and legislators out of creating laws like the DMA.

Here’s what Apple says is going to change.

This Is How Notarization Will Work For iOS Apps Distributed Through Alternative App Stores, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The malware and virus portion of the notarization process will be automatic, but there will also be a human review to make sure that apps are functioning as advertised.


Notarized apps will be double checked during installation to ensure that they have not been tampered with and that installation was initiated through an authorized web browser. An iOS app that is found to have known malware after it's been installed will be prevented from launching on a user's device and new installations will be revoked.

Apple Is Finally Allowing Full Versions Of Chrome And Firefox To Run On The iPhone, by David Pierce, The Verge

Even in its release announcing the new features, Apple makes clear that it’s mad about them: “This change is a result of the DMA’s requirements, and means that EU users will be confronted with a list of default browsers before they have the opportunity to understand the options available to them,” the company says. “The screen also interrupts EU users’ experience the first time they open Safari intending to navigate to a webpage.” Apple’s argument for the App Store has always amounted to: only Apple can provide a good, safe, happy user experience on the iPhone. Regulators don’t see it that way. And Apple’s furious about it.

Apps Within Apps

Apple Introduces New Options Worldwide For Streaming Game Services And Apps That Provide Access To Mini Apps And Games, by Apple

Today, Apple is introducing new options for how apps globally can deliver in-app experiences to users, including streaming games and mini-programs. Developers can now submit a single app with the capability to stream all of the games offered in their catalog.

Apps will also be able to provide enhanced discovery opportunities for streaming games, mini-apps, mini-games, chatbots, and plug-ins that are found within their apps.

Apple Opens App Store To Game Streaming Services, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Starting today Apple is opening up its App Store to allow game streaming apps and services. This means that services like Xbox Cloud Streaming and GeForce Now, which previously were only accessible on iOS via a web browser, will be able to offer full-featured apps. “Developers can now submit a single app with the capability to stream all of the games offered in their catalog,” Apple wrote in a blog post. These changes apply “worldwide,” according to the company.

On Security

Turn On Stolen Device Protection In iOS 17.3, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Here’s what happens when you turn on Stolen Device Protection. Everything works as before when you’re in a familiar location—home, work, or anywhere your iPhone has determined you use it frequently using the device-based Significant Locations system. You can change your Apple ID password, turn off Find My, access passwords in Keychain, and much more with no new requirements.

However, whenever you’re somewhere deemed unfamiliar, critical changes to your account or device require Face ID or Touch ID authentication, with no passcode alternative or fallback. The most important security actions also require a delay of an hour—shown with a countdown timer—before you perform a second biometric authentication. This delay reduces the chances of an attacker forcing you to authenticate with the threat of violence.

Coming Soon

Full, Automatic Podcast Transcripts Coming To iOS 17.4, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

By default, Apple’s backend systems will find a new episode of a podcast and transcribe it. When a new podcast episode drops, the transcript won’t be available right away—but will appear once Apple has had a chance to consume it.

iOS 17.4 Lets Siri Read Messages In Additional Languages, Not Just The Primary Language, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iOS 17.4 introduces the ability to assign languages to Siri specifically for when it reads your messages to you. Languages can be different than the assigned language used for Siri for all other tasks. This is useful for when you primarily use Siri in one language, but you chat with people using other languages.

Apple Confirms Next-Generation CarPlay Launching In 2024, Reveals New Features In iOS 17.4 Beta, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple this week updated its website to confirm that the first U.S. vehicle models with next-generation CarPlay support will debut in 2024, but it did not provide a more specific timeframe, or indicate when availability will begin in other countries.


Shazam Can Now Identify Songs Within Apps Even With Headphones, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Users can now open the app to identify a song that is playing while wearing headphones. The coolest part is that the new feature works for songs playing around you or in another app, such as Instagram or TikTok.

Weather Up Puts A Fully Interactive Weather App Into An iOS Widget, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The app is introducing fully interactive widgets, where you can tap on the forecast displayed on the widget to see more details about current conditions or the days ahead. The idea, explains developer David Barnard, is to “put a whole weather app in a widget.”

Bezel Helps Me Make Excellent Screen Shares, by Matt Birchler, The Sweet Setup

Bezel is a very simple app that does something I find really useful, but it’s definitely not for everyone. The app lets you connect your iPhone, iPad, or even iPod Touch to your Mac through a wired connection and mirrors your screen to a window on your Mac that looks like your phone or tablet.

Photon Camera 2.0 For iPhone Brings Gray Card Detection And Satisfying 3D White Balance Control, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Pro photography iPhone app Photon Camera has received a notable update today that comes with two advanced features – 3D white balance control and gray card detection.


An Interview With Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters About Strategy And Execution, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

"Not by any unwillingness or lack of desire to do that, but even when you note we look at as close to ubiquity on devices perspective, the decisions that lead to that are we try and be very rigorous about, “What’s the effort to integrate on any given set of devices and what’s the benefit for the members that we serve?”. We have to be careful about making sure that we’re not investing in places that are not really yielding a return, and I would say we’ll see where things go with Vision Pro. Certainly we’re always in discussions with Apple to try and figure that out but right now, the device is so subscale that it’s not really particularly relevant to most of our members."

The Experts: Photographers On 20 Easy, Enjoyable Ways To Vastly Improve Your Pictures, by Sarah Phillips, The Guardian

We are all photographers now, with a phone in our pocket ready to capture life, love and everything in between – which, quite often, is incredibly mundane, such as what we had for lunch. But how can you make sure you are taking the best possible pictures? Here, photographers share their top tips.

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When we first have this internet and world-wide-web thing back in the days, many of us, including me, thought that the days of middlemen are soon to be over.


Thanks for reading.

The Middle-Aged Edition Thursday, January 25, 2024

The Mac Turns 40 — And Keeps On Moving, by Jason Snell, The Verge

As the Mac turns 40, it’s never been more successful — or more irrelevant to Apple’s bottom line. It’s undergone massive changes in the past few years that ensure its survival but also lash it to a hardware design process dominated by the iPhone. Being middle-aged can be complicated.

Greg Joswiak On The Mac’s Enduring Appeal, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

"The Mac is the foundation of Apple…and today 40 years later it remains a critical part of our business that we continue to invest in. Through all of its changes and evolutions over the years, we couldn’t be more proud to say that the Mac is more popular and relevant than ever. The pace of innovation with Mac has also been nothing short of incredible. Since the introduction of Apple silicon for Mac in 2020, we’ve introduced 11 new M-series chips and 15 new Mac devices to our lineup. Apple silicon changed everything — from performance and battery life to the look and feel of every Mac. And the feedback we’re getting from both long-term users and new to Mac customers has been unanimously positive. It’s exciting to see more people switching to Mac than ever before. The Mac will always be part of Apple. It’s a product that runs deep within the company, and defines who we are."

Mac At 40: The Eras Tour, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Before I started writing my piece on the Mac’s 40th anniversary for The Verge, I was thinking of different ways to plot out the arc of the Mac’s history. I ended up going with the fact that the Mac has been the underdog for most of its existence, but I also considered plotting the Mac’s history as defined by the Mac’s four distinct processor eras.

40 Years Later, The Original Mac Is More Amazing Than Ever, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

But if all the first Mac inspires is nostalgia, we’ve lost sight of how daring it was. Unlike Apple’s first blockbuster PC, the Apple II, it had a built-in display but no integrated keyboard. It also sacrificed most of the Apple II’s defining features, such as its dazzling color graphics and expansion slots.

In retrospect, it’s among the gutsiest gambits Apple ever made. Imagine the company introducing a new smartphone that has virtually nothing in common with the iPhone. You can’t—or at least it strains my imagination.

Steve Jobs Archive Wants Your Mac Memories As It Marks 40 Years Of The Macintosh, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

What better way to mark the 40th anniversary of the Macintosh introduction than by sharing your Mac memories with the Steve Jobs Archive? The Archive is asking Mac users to answer one question: What did the Mac make possible for you?

On Privacy

Research Reveals How iPhone Push Notifications Leak User Data, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Mysk highlighted how certain iOS apps exploit a feature introduced in iOS 10 that is designed to allow apps to customize push notifications. This feature, initially intended to enable apps to enrich notifications with additional content or decrypt encrypted messages, has seemingly been repurposed by some developers for more secretive activities. According to Mysk's findings, various popular applications, including TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Bing, are using the short background execution time granted for notification customization to send analytics information.


Apple Launches uniquely-Aussie Tale For 'Relax, It’s iPhone' Work Via TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Sydney, by Ricki Green, Campaign Brief

“Swoop” showcases the durability of the device’s Ceramic Shield through a uniquely-Australian tale of an office worker attempting to escape an oncoming magpie.

Amie Is A Beautiful, Simple Calendar App With Really Big Dreams, by David Pierce, The Verge

The first thing that drew me to Amie was that it’s set up to be a combination of a task list and a calendar. You have lists of tasks in the left sidebar, and you then drag tasks into the calendar to give them a time slot. Each calendar event is like its own task, too, and you can check them off as you go through your day. A lot of smart productivity people will tell you that time blocking is the best strategy for being productive and that the best way to make sure you get something done is to put it on your calendar. Amie incentivizes good behavior on that front, and I like having a view of my time and my tasks right next to each other.


Why Making Face Computers Cool Isn’t Easy, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

To better understand how an Apple face computer may (or may not) fit into our lives in the future, it’s worth taking this moment to look back at the many face computers I’ve worn that set the scene for the Vision Pro.

What Could Bring Apple Down?, by The Economist

Nevertheless, Apple’s boss would be unwise to dismiss the new year’s niggles. For they point to larger challenges for the company. These fall into three broad categories: antitrust and legal issues; slowing iPhone sales; and growing geopolitical tensions. None of these is existential right now. But each carries with it a risk of causing a big upset.

Bottom of the Page

I'm lucky that I've owned (at least) a Mac in each of the four eras. The first Mac I've bought come with a television tuner and I can watch over-the-air television, and the latest Mac I've bought come with Apple TV and I can watch all sorts of television.

(If you really want to know, they are Quarda 630 and MacBook Air M2 respectively.)


Thanks for reading.

The Rear-Casing Edition Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Apple Macintosh Was First Released 40 Years Ago: These People Are Still Using The Ageing Computers, by Chris Baraniuk, BBC

The original Macintosh can still sell for as much as a modern computer. And for collectors they are a piece of computing history, with the signatures of the team who built it moulded into the plastic of the rear casing.

Some Mac 128K owners, however, use the devices to play quirky games like Frogger or Lode Runner on their treasured machines. All in black and white. The first Macintosh with a colour screen, the Macintosh II, only arrived in 1987.

After 40 Years, The Mac Is Immortal, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Despite all the fears over the years: that Apple didn’t care about the platform, that it would be subsumed into iOS, that its best days were behind it, the Mac–as Phil Schiller notably said to this very publication on the occasion of the computer’s 30th anniversary—”keeps going forever.” With 40 years behind the computer, that half-century mark may seem a tantalizing prospect–but in the end, it’s just a waystation on the road to immortality.

Apple Launching 2024 Swift Student Challenge On February 5, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Swift Student Challenge tasks students with creating an innovative coding project using the Swift Playgrounds app. Apple plans to select 350 winners for this year's challenge, and there will be a category that recognizes a total of 50 Distinguished Winners for standout submissions.

Distinguished Winners will be invited to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, where they will be able to connect with their peers and the Apple team, while all winners will be granted a free one-year membership in the Apple Developer program.

Eight Secure Ways To Share Sensitive Information Over The Internet, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

What should you do when faced with the need to share sensitive information over the Internet? The answer depends on the nature of the information you’re sharing, the systems available to you, and the technical capabilities of the recipient.

Apple At Hollywood

Apple TV+ Scores 13 Oscar Nominations For 'Killers Of The Flower Moon' And 'Napoleon', by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Martin Scorsese epic Killers of the Flower Moon led Apple’s haul, including the prestigious Best Picture nod and Lily Gladstone for Best Actress. Ridley Scott’s Napoleon scored nominations for costume design, production design and visual effects.

Apple TV+ Lays Off Eight Staffers In Kids Area, by Nellie Andreeva, Deadline

Apple TV+‘s Kids operations underwent layoffs today. The cuts impacted eight people across music, production, development, a fraction of the overall staff involved in kids content, Deadline has learned.

The layoffs come amid a shift at Apple TV+, which sunsetted its deal with Skydance Animation and is ramping up its own animated film pipeline, starting with the recently announced first original Peanuts feature film under the streamer’s long-term deal with WildBrain.


Apple Releases Updated Firmware For First-Generation AirPods Pro, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple today introduced a new firmware update for the first-generation AirPods Pro. The new firmware is the same 6A321 version that was released for the third-generation AirPods last week and is up from the 6A300 firmware introduced last September.

Day One Adds 'Shared Journals' Feature For Collaboration With Friends And Family, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Day One describes this as “a new way for you to safely share life’s moments with friends and family, while upholding the privacy and security you trust.”

Now Playing: Customizable Mac Music Status Via Sleeve 2, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What made me instantly buy Sleeve was its extensive capability to customize the currently playing track information. You can choose to show album art at a wide range of sizes (or omit it entirely), with your choice of corner rounding. You can choose display track name, album name, and artist name, and display them in a variety of fonts and weights.


Another Business Falls Prey To An Apple Maps Wipeout. This Time The Entire Street's Missing, by Daniel Miles, ABC News

So having a major retailer telling her customers that the business was temporarily closed was more than a slight annoyance for Ms Ridout.

"It's just bloody ridiculous. I feel helpless like I've been taken hostage," she said.

"I'm angry at the fact that some massive corporation has the right to essentially wipe me off the map like I don't matter.

Apple Fights To Block Masimo’s New Watch On Heels Of Import Ban, by Christopher Yasiejko, Bloomberg Law

While Apple Inc. pulled every available lever to fight an import ban of its flagship Apple Watch models, the company also has been working to stymie Masimo Corp.’s looming launch of its Freedom watch.

Masimo, a maker of medical technologies, calls the Freedom “a more elegant smartwatch” that includes the patented blood-oxygen measurement technology at the heart of the long-running patent and trade secrets fight between the companies.

Bottom of the Page

Yet another little thing that annoys me: I get a nice and useful volume control directly on my iPhone's lock screen when I uses AirPlay. Why can't I get that same nice and useful volume control when listening on my iPhone's speakers or AirPods?


Thanks for reading.

The Access-Limitation Edition Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Apple Releases iOS 17.3 And iPadOS 17.3 With Stolen Device Protection, Collaborative Apple Music Playlists And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With iOS 17.3, Apple is adding Stolen Device Protection to the iPhone, limiting access to private information just in case someone gets ahold of both your iPhone and your passcode. It requires biometric authentication to do things like access passwords, turn off Lost Mode, make purchases in Safari, and more.

The update also includes support for AirPlaying content directly to some hotel room TVs, creating collaborative Apple Music playlists with friends and family, and more.

macOS Sonoma 14.3 Is Now Available With Apple Music Collaborative Playlists And More, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

Along with collaborative playlists, users can make emoji reactions to tracks. Apple also updated the AppleCare & Warranty section in the General System Settings to show coverage of all devices signed into your Apple ID.

Apple Releases watchOS 10.3 With New Watch Face, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The watchOS 10.3 update includes a new Unity Bloom watch face to celebrate Black History Month.

System for Your Stuff

How To Organize Your Tech And Purge That Random Box Of Cables, by Simon Hill, Wired

I won’t lie to you. It’s not fun to purge your random cable collection, sorting stuff into labeled boxes, and letting go of old gadgets you no longer use. But you can benefit from my experience, and I promise it will make your life easier. It’s tough to start, but once you have a system, you will never return to the chaos.


Apple Music Classical Briefly Updated With CarPlay Icon Before Being Pulled After App Crash, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple updated its Apple Music Classical app today with “stability and performance enhancements” that briefly appeared to include CarPlay support. However, the app crashed when launching from the CarPlay interface. Now the app has been updated to remove Classical from the CarPlay app launcher.

Bookends 14.2.8, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Sonny Software has released Bookends 14.2.8 with support for those with an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) identifier. The reference management tool now enables you to explore your own publications and their relationships with others, plus receive a notification when new citations are added.


Attaching ZEISS Optical Inserts To Apple Vision Pro Requires Pairing, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

After attaching the optical inserts magnetically to the headset, users will have to “scan the pairing code on the card inside ZEISS Optical Inserts box to finalize the pairing process.”

The code in question appears to be an App Clip code that triggers a system action to pair the ZEISS lenses to the Apple Vision Pro. It’s unclear at this point what exactly this pairing process does and what it verifies.

Apple Music To Pay Higher Royalties For Spatial Audio Tracks, by Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

In a letter sent out by Apple Music to its partners on Monday (Jan. 22) and obtained by Billboard, the streamer revealed that beginning with month-end royalty payments in January, music available in Spatial Audio — which is supported by Dolby Atmos — will receive a royalty rate up to 10% higher than content not available in the format.

Apple Maps Wrongly Lists Restaurant 'Permanently Closed' Which Owner Says Has Cost Him Thousands, by Bree Dwyer, AZBC News

"I use the Android system on the phone and I use the Microsoft system at home, which means I cannot see anything that's on the Apple system at all," he said.

Mr Pyatt called the tech company and spoke to a customer service representative.

He said he was told they could not help him because he was not an Apple customer.

Apple Pays $12mn Antitrust Fine Into Russia’s State Budget, by Anastasia Stognei, Financial Times

Apple and the US Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Apple stopped sales of its physical products in 2022, but its App Store and some of its subscription services still operate. At the end of 2022, Apple gave up its office in the centre of Moscow, though it still has two legal entities that operate in the country.

Bottom of the Page

I do have some old cables that I probably want to just throw.

Not lightning cables though. I hope I can still keep my iPhone 12 mini around for a little while. And, also, my keyboard and mouse and AirPods case are all still working fine for, I also hope, a few more years.


Thanks for reading.

The Native-Support Edition Monday, January 22, 2024

These Third-Party Apps Are Optimized For Apple Vision Pro So Far, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Ahead of the Apple Vision Pro launching on February 2, developers are in the process of preparing their apps for the mixed reality headset. So far, around 250 apps with native support for visionOS have been submitted to Apple, according to a source.

Apple’s Testy Developer Relationships Threaten To Hamper Vision Pro, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The success of Apple Inc.’s Vision Pro, like many new technology platforms, will largely depend on support from third-party apps and services. And that’s an area where the device still faces plenty of questions.

Kuo: Apple Has Already Sold Up To 180,000 Vision Pro Headsets, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

While the instant sell-out and extended shipping times appear to be positive at first glance, Kuo cautioned that shipping dates remain unchanged 48 hours after pre-orders opened, indicating that demand may be quickly tapering off after core enthusiasts placed their orders.


Keeping Your Plants Alive Just Got Easier With These Incredible Apps, by Camille Moore, House Digest

Over the last several years, plant care apps have become a fun and convenient way for people to keep their plants happy and healthy. These apps offer a wide range of features aimed at educating and empowering plant lovers. Whether you're just getting started or have been planting for years, you'll find that these apps can be useful tools.

Can You Fix The Magic Mouse By Sticking It Into An Ergonomic Shoe?, by Wes Davis, The Verge

Does this thing totally ruin the sleek Apple aesthetic? Absolutely! And I’m not even remotely convinced by its cheap-feeling plastic that it will last longer than a few months before it just stops working. Yet, somehow, it’s exactly what the Magic Mouse needs.

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Thanks to Mr Mark Gurman, I'm reminded today that there is an App Store hidden in the iMessage app. Which I haven't really thought about in so many moons.

I wonder if this may be the first App Store that Apple terminates?


Thanks for reading.

The Location-History Edition Sunday, January 21, 2024

Apple Closes Its ‘Mothership’ Infinite Loop Retail Store For Good, by Ryan Macasero, The Mercury News

“The Infinite Loop store has always really held a special place in the hearts of the Apple community. And I think it’s because of the history of the campus,” said Michael Steeber, a technology writer-turned-developer.


“When you think about the Infinite Loop, not just the store, but the campus, that’s where the original iPod was created, and that’s where the original iPhone and iPad were also made. So a lot of people. … They make a point to visit that store, right? And they come out to see it because they know what the history is behind the location,” Steeber said.


'New Driver' iPhone 15 Ad Highlights Automatic Check In, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple today premiered an iPhone 15 ad entitled "New Driver" on its YouTube channel, using the stress of being a parent of a new teenage driver to highlight the Check In feature of the Messages app in iOS 17.


The Vision Pro’s First Killer App Is The Web, Whether Apple Likes It Or Not, by David Pierce, The Verge

A powerful, deeply integrated desktop-class browser will make the Vision Pro useful and powerful from day one. Apple should embrace Safari, allow other desktop-class browsers, and treat the Vision Pro like the power user platform it is. No one has yet seen enough of Safari for visionOS to know if it is all of those things, though — and I’m not sure whether Apple wants it to be. Because here’s the real question for Apple: which is more important, getting the Vision Pro off to a good start or protecting the sanctity of its App Store control at all costs? As Apple tries to create a platform shift to face computers, I’m not sure it can have it both ways.

Let Apple Be Apple — Consumers Don’t Need DOJ Intervention, by Stephen Kent, The Hill

It’s one thing to maliciously penalize or seek to inconvenience consumers for having a mixed assortment of technology from Apple, LG, Samsung, Nokia and Google. It’s another thing entirely for the government to say that Apple has to design its products for Samsung to piggyback on and then offer to their loyal customers as a perk of not doing business with Apple. Investigators are spending taxpayer dollars to find out why the Apple Watch works more smoothly with the iPhone than with rival brands.

The Inside Story Of PC Magazine, PC World, And Macworld’s Origins, As Told By David Bunnell, by technologizer

I can only describe what followed as a moment of divine intervention. A little voice inside my head whispered, “Take a chance, tell them you know about the Macintosh and you’d really like to publish Macworld.”

“How about we publish Macworld?” I said.

“Macworld, about the Macintosh, that’s a great idea,” Fred answered.”But how did you know about the Macintosh?”

“Bill Gates told me.”

“Well, we’re glad he did.” The whole room lit up, and thus Macworld was conceived.

Bottom of the Page

I miss the ability to, after watching a movie, read what Mr Roger Ebert's thoughts about the movie I've just watched.


Thanks for reading.

The For-the-Rest-of-Us Edition Saturday, January 20, 2024

Apple Shares The Secret Of Why The 40-Year-Old Mac Still Rules, by Steven Levy, Wired

“It’s hard to imagine there being an Apple and not having a Mac,” says Joswiak. “It is in our blood—it's a product that defines who we are.” Federighi takes a shot at explaining why, in an industry where the standard is ephemeral, the machine that Steve Jobs introduced might be immortal. “The Mac has been able to absorb and integrate the industry’s innovations,” he says. “With each major technology wave, from graphical computing to the internet to even creating tools for mobile, the Mac has taken potential and turned it into intuitive creative tools for the rest of us. With seemingly disruptive waves like spatial computing and AI, the Mac will renew itself over and over.”

Mac At 40: User Experience Was The Innovation That Launched A Technology Revolution, by Jacob O. Wobbrock, The Conversation

It turns out that designing for usability, efficiency, accessibility, elegance and delight pays off. Apple’s market capitalization is now over US$2.8 trillion, and its brand is every bit associated with the term “design” as the best New York or Milan fashion houses are. Apple turned technology into fashion, and it did it through user experience.

It began with the Macintosh.

Spatial Time

Apple Releases A Guided Tour Of Vision Pro And Shares A Making Of Video, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple has released a guided tour of Vision Pro on its website that walks through a bunch of its features. Whether or not you’re planning to purchase Apple Vision Pro, this video is worth taking the time to watch. It’s about ten minutes long and covers many of the device’s core features from the perspective of someone using it for the first time.

Apple Vision Pro Delivery Dates Slip To Mid-March, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The Vision Pro launches in the United States on Friday, February 2, but those now placing an online pre-order will not receive the headset until around the middle of March for all three storage capacities. This delivery time frame is likely to get pushed back even further as more people place orders.

Apple Vision Pro Available With These Three Storage Options, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

While the existence of a 256GB model was confirmed upon Apple's announcement of the headset's release date earlier this month, the other specific storage options and their price points were unknown until pre-orders opened earlier today.

Apple Vision Pro Accessories: $200 Travel Case, $200 Battery, $200 Light Seal, And More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple Vision Pro is now available for pre-order, and so are lots of accessories for Apple’s first spatial computer. The price for most things? $200 each. That’s how much extra light seals, batteries, and the Vision Pro carrying case costs.

Apple Vision Pro Custom Engraving Offered On Optical Inserts From ZEISS, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

It’s a great way to be certain that your optical inserts are yours in a multi optical insert household.

Belkin And Spigen Debut Apple Vision Pro Accessories, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Belkin worked with Apple to design a Battery Holder for the Vision Pro Battery Pack. [...] Spigen has debuted a Vision Pro pouch that offers protection for the device when it's not in use.

Vision Pro Apps: Why Some Big Brands Have Actively Opted Out, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Some of them may have simply decided that the VP experience would reflect poorly on their app, but that it didn’t justify the work to fix, any more than a native app would. Better, then, to simply block it.

Second – and likely a much bigger factor – they don’t want the support headache. Given that Vision Pro users will represent an infinitesimally small segment of the user base, but potentially generate a disproportionate number of support requests, developers may consider it too much hassle.

Coming Soon

Apple Re-Adds Access To iTunes TV Show And Movie Wishlists In iOS 17.3, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With Apple's over-the-air update, iPhones and iPads running the iOS 17.3 beta will now have a "Go to Your Wish List" button under the Movie and TV Show sections, which provides access to everything that's been added to the list in the past.


Apple Hongdae Now Open In South Korea, by Apple

Apple Hongdae opened today in the center of a bustling university neighborhood in Seoul, marking Apple’s 100th retail location in the Asia-Pacific region. This new space invites customers in Korea to discover and shop Apple’s incredible lineup of products, and receive best-in-class support from dedicated team members.

Apple Offers To Open iPhone NFC Payments To Third-party Providers After EU Investigation, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Apple will let third-party mobile wallet and payment providers access the iPhone’s NFC capabilities in concessions meant to address a European Commission antitrust investigation, the regulator announced today. The Commission is now seeking feedback on the commitments, which would end Apple Pay and Apple Wallet’s exclusive access to the iPhone’s NFC payment features. It’s the latest development in the nearly four year-old investigation.

Bottom of the Page

I am using four of Apple's six major platforms on a daily basis. (Depending on how one counts, those numbers may be off by one or two.)

But, if you force me to just use one of them, I will definitely choose my Macintosh. This is where the real fun is; this is where I feel the most creative and most efficient. I've been actively using a Mac for almost thirty years now -- about three quarter of the product's current lifetime. And I see myself continue to be a Mac user for many more years.

I certainly hope Apple will continue to push this platform, and will not be afraid of cannibalizing its other platforms.


Thanks for reading.

The Battery-Notification Edition Friday, January 19, 2024

“The Full Impact Of Fruit Destruction”: How Halfbrick Cultivated Super Fruit Ninja On Apple Vision Pro, by Apple

Fruit Ninja has a juicy history that stretches back more than a decade, but Samantha Turner, lead gameplay programmer at the game’s Halfbrick Studios, says the Apple Vision Pro version — Super Fruit Ninja on Apple Arcade — is truly bananas. “When it first came out, Fruit Ninja kind of gave new life to the touchscreen,” she notes, “and I think we have the potential to do something very special here.”

Apple Sees Surgery, Training As Future Vision Pro Growth Areas, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In a video sent to employees this week, Apple executives Mike Rockwell and Alan Dye discussed the product’s development, as well as potential growth areas for the still-nascent technology. Bloomberg News obtained a transcript of the conversation, which came just before Apple began accepting preorders for the Vision Pro on Friday.

When asked about some “cool” ways that people could use the $3,499 Vision Pro, Rockwell cited health care, training and education as key areas.

The One Part Of Apple Vision Pro That Apple Doesn’t Want You To See, by Lauren Goode, Wired

Apple seems to not want you to notice the battery. The external battery pack barely appears on the product page on Apple's website, showing up only at the end of a photo gallery at the bottom of the page. And in demo sessions this week, Apple told journalists they were not allowed to snap photos or capture any video of the hardware, an unusual rule for a press briefing. Instead, the company had its own photographer take photos during the Vision Pro demos. Every photo you’ve seen this week of reporters sitting on a couch while wearing the headset were shot by Apple.

Notably, the battery pack doesn’t appear in any of them.

YouTube And Spotify Won’t Launch Apple Vision Pro Apps, Joining Netflix, by Mark Gurman and Ashley Carman, Bloomberg

YouTube and Spotify declined to say why they bowed out of supporting the $3,499 device. Spotify doesn’t offer an app on competing headsets, such as Meta Platforms Inc.’s Quest, though YouTube does. Spotify also has been embroiled in a fight with Apple over App Store policies, but the decision on the Vision Pro isn’t related to that, according to the person familiar, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

YouTube And Spotify Are Not Launching Vision Pro Apps Either, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Regarding Netflix’s pass on Vision Pro, a little birdie informed me that until this week, the Netflix iPad app was available for those with access to Vision Pro hardware, and it worked just fine. This birdie still has the Netflix iPad app installed on their Vision Pro. Perhaps people at Netflix would disagree with just how well it worked — I don’t know — but I get the strong impression that the decision was political/strategic/spiteful, not technical. [...]

This isn’t a dealbreaker — watching Netflix through Safari should be OK (albeit without offline downloads, a huge factor for using Vision Pro on airplanes), and many people think of YouTube as a website, not an app. But there’s no way around it: this is a bad look for Apple, not for Netflix or Google. The buck stops with Tim Cook on this. He should have been on the horn with Ted Sarandos and Sundar Pichai and worked this out. It’s his company that’s launching a $3,500 headset.

On App Stores

Apple Excludes Video And News Partners From New App Store Rules Around External Payments, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple Video Partners already pay a 15% commission rate to Apple when customers sign up through IAP and their customers are allowed to transact within their app on things like rentals and purchases using the payment method on file with the company, if the customer had already signed up with a payment method outside the app.

News Partners, meanwhile, also qualify for a commission rate of 15% from day one, instead of year two, as with other subscription offerings.

‘Like The Sixth Finger In An AI-Rendered Hand’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Developer uncertainty regarding the viability of selling Mac software is the last thing needed for a platform that is already facing a dearth of new original native software. Apple doesn’t have to make a platform-destructive money-grab policy change to ruin the Mac. They can ruin it simply by planting the seed of doubt that they might.


Apple’s Newest App Can Make Your Travels More Memorable — Here's How, by Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure

While being immersed in a new destination, travelers can capture the moment in a multitude of ways in order to create a rich memory.

BBEdit Shows How To Add Generative AI To Apple Platforms, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

What’s important about BBEdit’s approach is that the company has implemented the tech in a way that should be of the most use to its customers, particularly developers. The manner of this hints at the kind of narrow and defined implementations that will emerge as the most useful business cases for the tech.

Beautiful Minimalist Apple Accessories Inspired By Architecture And Art, by JC Torres, Yanko Design

Minimalist design, though sometimes plain-looking, doesn’t exactly mean “boring,” especially when they take inspiration from some of mankind’s creative achievements to give these products an interesting visual and functional spin.


How Platforms Killed Pitchfork, by Casey Newton, Platformer

Before Spotify, when presented with a new album, we would ask: why listen to this? After Spotify, we asked: why not?

It’s hard to overstate what a challenge this posed to music criticism. As consumers of criticism, we came to Pitchfork to ask one question — is this worth listening to? — and got an entire education in return. But once that question lost its meaning, we had fewer and fewer reasons to seek out criticism on a daily basis.

Bottom of the Page

Happy Apple Vision Pro pre-order day.

Someday, we will either look back at this day fondly as the start of the spatial computing era…

Or we will look back at this day through a footnote in Wikipedia, together with OpenDoc and Pippin.



Thanks for reading.

The Amplifying-Diversity Edition Thursday, January 18, 2024

Apple Unveils 2024 Black Unity Collection And Announces Six REJI Grantees, by Apple

In Washington, D.C.’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood, the office of children’s literature nonprofit Shout Mouse Press is abuzz with the voices of passionate young people sitting before countless stacks of books on tall white shelves. Last year, Apple awarded Shout Mouse a grant through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) in recognition of the nonprofit’s commitment to amplifying diverse youth voices.

With the launch of the 2024 Black Unity Collection, Apple is awarding grants to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Studio Museum in Harlem, Battersea Arts Centre, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Ghetto Film School, and the National Museum of African American Music. Apple’s support for these organizations is a continuation of REJI grants that resource organizations committed to providing economic, educational, and creative opportunities in communities of color around the world.

Apple Launches New Black Unity Apple Watch Face, Sport Band, And iPhone Wallpaper, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today unveiled its new 2024 Black Unity collection for Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad. That includes a new watch band to buy, as well as a new watch face and iOS Lock Screen wallpaper.

Watch Update

Apple Says It Will Begin Selling Apple Watch Series 9 And Ultra 2 Without The Blood Oxygen Feature Tomorrow, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Earlier today, a US appeals court rejected Apple’s request to pause the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 ban as the company appeals an ITC ruling that the Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor infringes on two patents held by medical device company Masimo.


The company tells 9to5Mac that it will begin selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 in the United States without the blood oxygen feature tomorrow.

How To Find Out If An Apple Watch Series 9 Model Has The Blood Oxygen Feature Available, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The way to find out if the Apple Watch you are buying has blood oxygen feature disabled or not is by checking the part number. Apple says that new watches with blood oxygen disabled have part numbers that end with the string ‘LW/A’.

On App Stores

Apple Opens Gates To $1.1 Trillion In App Payments — For A Steep Price, by Eva Dou, Washington Post

Apple said in its filing that it is fully compliant with court orders as of Jan. 16 and defended the 27 percent rate as fair recompense for helping iPhone users discover apps and creating a “safe environment” by reviewing the software. “All App Store developers … benefit from (among other things) Apple’s platform integrity, proprietary tools and technologies protected by intellectual property,” Apple’s filing said. Apple declined to comment beyond its statement to the court.

Apple Turned Its Epic Defeat Into Another App Store Victory, by Paresh Dave, Wired

Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a Vanderbilt Law School professor who’s followed Epic’s case, says it would be fair to call Apple’s new linking rule “bad faith” because it “basically recreates the system the courts found anticompetitive.” But though the judge wouldn’t want a remedy that undermines her ruling, it’s difficult to predict how she would rule on a challenge from Epic.

A new set of appeals all the way to the US Supreme Court is possible. But the case turned on California’s unfair competition law, and the Supreme Court generally tries to stay out of state issues. Its taking up Epic’s appeal had been a long shot, says Herbert Hovenkamp, a University of Pennsylvania law professor with antitrust expertise.

Coming To Grips With Apple’s Seemingly Unshakable Sense Of Entitlement To Its Commissions From Third-Party iOS Apps, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Apple should have been looking for ways to lessen regulatory and legislative pressure over the past few years, and in today’s climate that’s more true than ever. But instead, their stance has seemingly been “Bring it on.” Confrontational, not conciliatory, conceding not an inch. Rather than take a sure win with most of what they could want, Apple is seemingly hell-bent on trying to keep everything. To win in chess all you need is to capture your opponent’s king. Apple seemingly wants to capture every last piece on the board — even while playing in a tournament where the referees (regulators) are known to look askance at blatant poor sportsmanship (greed).


Apple Releases Special AirPods Pro And More For Year Of The Dragon, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year on February 10, Apple has released limited-edition second-generation AirPods Pro with a Year of the Dragon engraving on its online store in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Macao. They are also available in South Korea, where it is the Year of the Blue Dragon.

Apple Selling 'Year Of The Dragon' iPhone And AirTag Gear From OtterBox And Mophie, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Three new products from Mophie and OtterBox let you add some Lunar New Year flair to your Apple gear.

How I Automate Focus Modes To Keep Distractions To A Minimum, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Now, as I write this, I’m realizing that maybe I could do with fewer Focus Modes since all of my modes are trying to do the same thing and have most of the same settings: let messages from my immediate family through, but nothing else. Maybe simplifying my Focus Modes will be a future project. But for now, I’ve got what I want: I don’t see interrupting messages until I’m done doing what I’m doing. It’s better this way. I recommend it!

Notion’s New Calendar App Is Designed To Keep Your Meetings Organized, by David Pierce, The Verge

Notion users have been asking for an integrated calendar system for years. Now, Notion is delivering: it’s launching Notion Calendar, a standalone app that integrates with all of your databases and notes in Notion. It’s yet another way Notion is attempting to be the only app your company needs to do pretty much everything.


Apple Hongdae To Welcome Its First Customers This Saturday, January 20, In South Korea , by Apple

Apple today previewed Apple Hongdae, the seventh retail store in South Korea and the 100th Apple Store location in the Asia-Pacific region. Located in the center of a bustling university neighborhood in Seoul, Apple Hongdae will offer an exciting space for students, their families, and the local community to discover and shop Apple’s incredible lineup of products and services, receive exceptional support from highly knowledgeable team members, and participate in free Today at Apple sessions to learn how to get the most out of their products.

Apple's Vision Pro Won't Launch With Netflix App, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Rather than designing a Vision Pro app — or even just supporting its existing iPad app on the platform — Netflix is essentially taking a pass. The company, which competes with Apple in streaming, said in a statement that users interested in watching its content on the device can do so from the web.


The fact that Netflix isn’t even willing to support the iPad approach suggests that it’s taking a wait-and-see stance with the headset. It’s also a bit of a reversal for the company, which said in July that it would support its iPad app on the Vision Pro.

Music Streaming Platforms Must Pay Artists More, Says EU, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

A resolution to address concerns regarding inadequate streaming royalties for artists and biased recommendation algorithms was adopted by members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Wednesday, highlighting that no existing EU rules currently apply to music streaming services, despite being the most popular way to consume audio.

Bottom of the Page

Did the EU regulators predict the 27% commission that Apple is now charging for linking-out, and is okay with that percentage for alternate app stores and sideloaded apps, or are there late-night sessions on how to build a case to limit prices that Apple can charge?

After all, it will not be an easy task to justify that a company cannot charge a 'fair' amount for using its APIs, I think?


Thanks for reading.

The Commission-Will-Apply Edition Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Supreme Court Rejects Epic V. Apple Antitrust Case, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

The Supreme Court has denied a request to hear an antitrust dispute between Apple and Fortnite publisher Epic Games. It rejected two petitions, one from each company, this morning — leaving the case largely, but not entirely, a win for Apple.

StoreKit And Review Guideline Update, by Apple

If you’re considering using this entitlement along with in‑app purchase, which continues to be required for the purchase of digital goods and services within your app — it’s important to understand that some App Store features, such as Ask to Buy or Family Sharing, won’t be available to your customers when they make purchases on your website. Apple also won’t be able to assist customers with refunds, purchase history, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services. You will be responsible for addressing such issues with customers.

A commission will apply to digital purchases facilitated through the StoreKit Purchase Link Entitlement (US).

Post-SCOTUS Ruling, Apple Releases Guidelines For ‘External Purchase Links’ In iOS Apps (Spoiler: They Still Demand The Same Commissions), by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again now, and I’m sure I’ll have to say it again in the future: Apple’s 30/15 percent commissions from App Store purchases and subscriptions are not payment processing fees. They include payment processing fees, but most of those commissions are, in Apple’s view, their way of monetizing their intellectual property. And they see the entire iOS platform as their IP.

Apple Slaps Epic Games With $73 MILLION Legal Bill Following Fortnite Trial — And It Could Have Been Even More, by Tammy Rogers, iMore

Apple originally said it spent $82,971,401 on the case, and then adjusted that number down to $81,560,362. Apple then gave Epic a 10% discount because the former lost one of the nine counts, making the final total a cool $73,404,326.

Sitting in an Immersive Fantasy Environment

Apple Announces Streaming Services And Sports Apps Available On Vision Pro At Launch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today listed some streaming, video, and sports apps that will be available on the Vision Pro when the headset launches on February 2, including Disney+, ESPN, MLB, PGA Tour, Max, Discovery+, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Fubo, Crunchyroll, Red Bull TV, IMAX, TikTok, and MUBI.

The Apple Vision Pro Has A “Guest” Mode For Your Friends To Try It, by Emma Roth, The Verge

In a press release on Tuesday, Apple says you can let a “guest user” who’s not registered to the device try out certain apps and experiences, without needing to set up an account on the device.

Disney Has A Good Disney+ App For VisionOS, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Does it make the movie you’re watching any better to see it while sitting in an immersive fantasy environment? No, of course not. But it’s a lot of fun, because it’s so intricately detailed and well-done.

Apple Vision Pro App Store Launches, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Developers are now able to release apps for the Vision Pro and have those apps appear in the Vision Pro App Store. Consumers don't yet have access to the Vision Pro headset, but reviewers who have the device on hand will be able to try out third-party apps created for the headset.

Apple Vision Pro Receives FCC Approval Ahead Of Launch, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

It is not unusual for new Apple devices to lack FCC approval until close to their launch date as it can take quite a bit of time for Apple to get products cleared.

On Security

A Flaw In Millions Of Apple, AMD, And Qualcomm GPUs Could Expose AI Data, by Lily Hay Newman, Matt Burgess, Wired

However, since GPUs were designed for raw graphics processing power, they haven’t been architected to the same degree with data privacy as a priority. As generative AI and other machine learning applications expand the uses of these chips, though, researchers from New York–based security firm Trail of Bits say that vulnerabilities in GPUs are an increasingly urgent concern.

Beware, All Windows And Mac Devices Possibly At Risk - Dangerous Opera Security Flaw Could Have Allowed Hackers To Run Any File They Want, by Sead Fadilpašić, TechRadar

Opera, a popular Chromium-based browser, was found carrying a vulnerability that would allow hackers to install pretty much any file on both Windows and macOS operating systems.

Bottom of the Page

Are there any government or regulators that claim that Apple cannot charge money from developers who want to use Apple's APIs?


Thanks for reading.

The Removing-Features Edition Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Apple Readies Apple Watch Series 9 Ban Workaround By Disabling Blood Oxygen Functionality, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a filing on Monday with the Federal Circuit, attorneys for Masimo say that “U.S. Customs and Border Protection decided that Apple’s redesign falls outside the scope of” the ITC ruling. Apple’s redesign, however, is to remove the pulse oximetry features from newly sold devices.

We’re waiting on more details from Apple on this situation. In the interim, what this means is that Apple can keep selling the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, but those devices will no longer “contain pulse oximetry features.” This applies only in the United States.


Our First Look At Apple’s New Journal App, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

For free, you can gain access to a number of quick and easy journal creation features. If you’ve been looking to start journaling, Journal provides the most accessible option ever on any Apple platform.

But the fact Journaling Suggestions are available across iOS in any journaling app means Apple may have propped up its journaling competition better than ever. Journal’s single best feature can also be had in Day One, where you can also have a plethora of premium journaling features in one of our favorite apps ever made.

Timing 2024.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The update introduces Reminders app integration, which can display completed reminders on the timeline and suggest their titles when creating time entries.

HBO's Max Streaming Service To Natively Support Vision Pro At Launch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Warner Bros. Discovery employee Adam Bader said the Max app will natively support the visionOS operating system, allowing it to take full advantage of the Vision Pro's immersive capabilities.


Apple May Have Cut One Of Vision Pro's Features Ahead Of Its Launch, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

More specifically, the video no longer shows the Open Sky Environment feature, which would let users replace the view of their ceiling with a virtual sky.

Bottom of the Page

Time passes both swiftly and slowly. There are things in my life that happend a few months ago that seemed to be just yesterday, and there are things that happend in the same time period that seemed to be forever ago.


Thanks for reading.

The Longer-than-Your-Favorite-Sitcom Edition Monday, January 15, 2024

Apple Vision Pro’s Lengthy Sales Pitch Will Include 25-Minute Demo, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

So Apple has prepared its most sophisticated sales pitch ever, including a demo lasting up to 25 minutes — longer than it takes to watch your favorite sitcom.


The Vision Pros in Apple retail stores also will be preloaded with various third-party apps that are launching with the device next month. The goal of the demos is giving users an experience that’s compelling but not exhausting — ideally leaving them itching for more.

Why The M2 Is More Advanced That It Seemed, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

Not having bfloat16 support in hardware isn’t the end of the world, nor does it mean your M1 Mac is already obsolete. What it does mean, though, is that as more and heavier AI is rolled out in the coming years, some of those features will run noticeably more slowly on it.

Apple Offers Rare iPhone 15 Discount In China Amid Demand Fears, by Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is offering discounts of as much as 500 yuan ($70) on its latest iPhones in China for the first time in years, a rare cut that may deepen fears about dwindling demand for its marquee device.

Apple quietly introduced the savings on its official Chinese website on Monday. The deal runs from Jan. 18 to Jan. 21 ahead of the Lunar New Year shopping season, and the iPhone discount is equivalent to about 5% off its top-of-the-line gadget.


The Surprising Antidote To Impostor Syndrome, by Kelly M. Justice, Slate

So, here’s my tip: Instead of expecting yourself to be an expert all the time, embrace an identity as a voyager on your professional adventure.


As Always, Apple Homepage Honors Martin Luther King, Jr, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

As it does every year on Martin Luther King Jr Day, Apple has devoted its homepage to remembering and honoring the US civil rights pioneer.

The Incredible Shrinking Podcast Industry, by Max Tani, Semafor

But privately, reactions to the change have ranged from mild annoyance to legitimate alarm. Some advertising deals were inked under the assumption that shows had audiences they no longer have. The update also means that some shows could struggle to meet minimum download agreements. The fact that no major podcasts would talk about how much they lost is a sign that many big shows aren’t ready to admit how much their audiences have shrunk.

Bottom of the Page

I hope Apple will not just be showing off big-name third-party visionOS developers in the Apple Vision Pro demo, but will also include indie developers as well as weird, unexpected visionOS apps.


Thanks for reading.

The Have-Any-Idea Edition Sunday, January 14, 2024

Margrethe Vestager Met With Tim Cook Yesterday, But I Doubt Anything Happened, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Basically, I don’t think much will change for E.U. users, or for developers. But a lot of people — including Vestager and the European Commission — expect a lot to change. It’s just not clear at all exactly what Apple needs to allow to comply with the DMA, nor do any of us outside Cupertino have any idea what Apple plans to do.

Apple To Shutter 121-Person San Diego AI Team In Reorganization, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The group, which also has offices in China, India, Ireland and Spain, is responsible for improving Siri by listening to queries to the voice service and determining if it heard and handled questions accurately. [...]

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the relocation decision, saying the company is bringing its “Data Operations Annotations teams in the US together at our campus in Austin, where a majority of the team is already based.” She added that “everyone currently employed will have the opportunity to continue their role with Apple in Austin.”

Apple Is Still Keeping Secret How Many — Or Few — People Watch Its MLS Telecasts, by Jonathan Tannenwald, Philadelphia Inquirer

The only thing resembling data that anyone had given out before Thursday came from Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services. Cue said at last November’s Soccerex business conference that “we’ve had more than a million viewers to watch the biggest games this season.”

Cue also notably said “nobody expected that,” which raised some eyebrows. The last MLS Cup final before Apple’s deal started, 2022′s Union-LAFC epic, drew 2.155 million viewers just in the United States. So one million viewers seems like a low bar for a global telecast on a big brand’s platform, even if it’s a subscription streaming package.


How To Start Taking Notes With Goodnotes 6 On Your iPad, by Alex Blake, TechRadar

These days, apps of all shapes and sizes are putting artificial intelligence (AI) to use. Popular note-taking app Goodnotes is no different, and Goodnotes 6 comes with a slate of AI-enhanced features that make writing and doodling an absolute breeze.

Instagram’s Co-founders Are Shutting Down Their Artifact News App, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Artifact, the news app created by Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, is shutting down just a year after launch. The app used an AI-driven approach to suggest news that users might like to read, but it seems it didn’t catch on with enough people for the Artifact team to continue making the app.


CES 2024 Was All About Interoperability Beyond The Smart Home, by Emma Roth, The Verge

But perhaps the most significant shift toward interoperability at CES was the widespread support for Qi2: the charging standard that could finally allow both Android phones and iPhones to wirelessly charge with the same chargers at the same 15W rate. Things are still early — only the iPhone 13, 14, and 15 support the standard so far. However, Qi2-compatible Android devices are bound to show up soon, and many Android phone cases already come with magnetic charging support.

Bottom of the Page

I don't think Apple will volunteer to do anything extra at all to satisfy regulators and their need to… well… regulate. No matter what Apple does, someone will claim that the company is not doing enough. Might as well wait for actual rulings to come down and do the bare minimum.


Thanks for reading.

The Face-ID-Needed Edition Saturday, January 13, 2024

Apple Vision Pro Ordering Process: iPhone Or iPad With Face ID Needed, 'Valid, Unexpired Prescription' For Optical Inserts, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple Vision Pro pre-orders are a week away, and Apple is sharing new information about the buying process. An iPhone or iPad with Face ID will be needed to determine the best fitting hardware at checkout. For those who wear glasses, Apple has also shared more details about the process for ordering ZEISS optical inserts.

How M1 Macs May Lag Behind, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

But not all M-series chips are equal in this respect: M1 chips have more limited support for recent AI/ML features, including what has become a near-universal format for floating-point numbers, bfloat16. Without that, Macs with M1 chips are likely to remain at a significant disadvantage when running AI and ML functions.

WhatsApp Is Finally Starting To Dominate In The United States. Here’s Why, by Alex Kantrowitz, The Wrap

Meta wants this to work, sees momentum, and is pushing hard to capitalize. And so perhaps this ends with WhatsApp assuming the leadership role in the U.S. that it currently occupies globally. The possibility is less farfetched than it was in even the recent past.


This iPhone App Demystifies Complicated Maths Problems, by Becca Caddy, iMore

Photomath isn’t just an iPhone app, I like to think of it as an educational tool that’ll help you master complicated maths problems for good. That’s because it’s made to help those looking for a deeper, process-oriented understanding of mathematics rather than just spitting out answers.

Top 28 Mac Games, by Cliff Joseph, Macworld

Even before the changes that Sonoma brought, and contrary to popular belief, Mac gamers already have plenty of top games titles to choose from – indeed, the most difficult part is narrowing down the options, and then finding the money to buy and time to play them. We can’t help with the latter, but the first problem is right up our alley. In this article we’ve collected the best Mac games for your delectation – including some of the best new games.


Tim Cook Meets EU Antitrust Chief Ahead Of iPhone App Sideloading Deadline, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The meeting focused on European competition policy and digital regulation. On X (formerly Twitter), Vestager explained that she stressed Apple's impending obligation to allow users to install third-party app stores and sideload apps under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). They also spoke about ongoing investigations involving Apple, such as a complaint raised by Spotify against Apple Music, but Vestager declined to provide more specific detail of the discussion.

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Tribunal Decisions In Apple-Masimo Patent Dispute, by Arsheeya Bajwa, Reuters

A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld two earlier decisions by a patent tribunal that favored Masimo in its intellectual property dispute with Apple over blood oxygen sensors in newer Apple Watch models.

Polestar CEO Promises To Keep Apple CarPlay And Android Auto Around, by Kirsten Korosec, TechCrunch

On the sidelines of CES 2024, Ingenlath committed to sticking with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the middleware that allows drivers to project their smartphone onto the car’s infotainment display. He went a step further and questioned automakers that have. GM, for instance, decided not to make the new 2024 Chevy Blazer EV compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

“It’s still too important for our customers to have the choice,” Ingenlath said during an interview at CES 2024. He later added that, in his view, removing the option isn’t the right way of treating customers.

Bottom of the Page

Maybe, just maybe, hidden right inside the source code repository for the App Store app, there is a branch that already contains the buying process for the iCar.

And, for every year which Apple is still working on that car, some poor programmer will have to dig the code out and merge it with the new branch, fix all the new bugs and add in all the new iOS features, and then check all the code back in just to wait for yet another year.



Thanks for reading.

The Hash-Functions Edition Friday, January 12, 2024

Attack Of The Week: Airdrop Tracing, by Matthew Green, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering

For a variety of mildly defensible reasons — which I will come back to in a moment — Apple does not use a secure PSI protocol to solve their AirDrop problem. Instead they did the thing that every software developer does when faced with the choice of doing complicated cryptography or “hacking something together in time for the next ship date”: they threw together their own solution using hash functions.


Hence there is a legitimate question about whether it’s politically wise for Apple to make a big technical improvement to their AirDrop privacy, right at the moment that the lack of privacy is being viewed as an asset by authorities in China. Even if this attack isn’t really that critical to law enforcement within China, the decision to “fix” it could very well be seen as a slap in the face.

Realizing Their Vision: How Djay Designed For visionOS, by Apple

“The first time I experienced the device was really emotional. I wanted to be a DJ since I was a child. And suddenly here were these turntables, and the night sky, and the stars above me, and this light show in the desert. I felt like, ‘This is the culmination of everything. This is the feeling I’ve been wanting people to experience.’”

An iPhone Fell 16,000 Feet. Its Screen Didn’t Break. How?, by Anna Gibbs, Slate

Many smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony, and Google, opt to use the popular Gorilla Glass made by Corning Incorporated. That glass relies on a “really clever trick” called ion exchange, says Wilkinson. The glass is placed in a molten potassium bath, where the small silica atoms present in the glass’s molecular structure switch places with the larger potassium ions in the bath. The potassium ions are physically bigger, and better fill up the space, thus making the glass stronger.

The past few generations of Apple iPhones, starting with the iPhone 12, have used a different technology, called Ceramic Shield, also created by Corning. Apple has claimed (and some reviews have anecdotally borne out) that this kind of screen is more durable than previous iPhone screens. While the exact science is proprietary, Wilkinson thinks Corning likely grows tiny crystals, then creates the glass around the crystals, something called a glass-ceramic. If a crack does happen, it will run into a crystal, making it unable to propagate in a straight line and less likely to shatter the whole screen.

Retiring At 75

Al Gore And James Bell To Retire From Apple's Board Of Directors, Dr. Wanda Austin To Join, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple, Dr. Austin brings "decades of science and technology experience" to the role, and she has a track record of "advancing innovation and shaping corporate strategy."

Al Gore Is Officially Too Old To Serve On Apple’s Board, by Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Apple has a longstanding policy that its directors cannot stand for reelection after reaching the age of 75. That means it’s time for Gore, who is now 75, to retire, the company announced Thursday.


Apple Releases Magic Keyboard Firmware Update With Fix For Bluetooth Security Vulnerability, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has released a new firmware update for its Magic Keyboard accessory. The company says that this update addresses a Bluetooth security vulnerability and is available now for a handful of different wireless Magic Keyboard versions.


Apple says that firmware updates are automatically delivered in the background while the Magic Keyboard is actively paired to a device running macOS, iOS, iPadOS, or tvOS.

Apple Clarifies How Many Items Can Be Tracked In Find My, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today confirmed that up to 32 items can be added to the Find My app on the iPhone and iPad, up from a previous limit of 16.

Killers Of The Flower Moon Movie Is Now Available To Watch On Apple TV+, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Killers of the Flower Moon was the first Apple Original Films release to get a wide theatrical run at cinemas, before streaming on Apple TV+.

Up Ahead Lets You Track The Important Things In Life, by Matt Birchler, The Sweet Setup

For me it comes down to two main things that draw me to this app:
1. The app nails pretty much all the details.
2. It’s an app full of nothing but things I’m looking forward to.


My New Apartment’s Most Aggravating Feature, by Lane Brown, Curbed

Well, here is how things have been going: Every time I arrive at my building’s front door, and then again at the door to my apartment, I have to take out my iPhone, unlock it, pull up the Latch app, and hold the phone over a Bluetooth sensor, usually for two or three seconds but occasionally as long as eight. The whole process takes at least twice as long as it has ever taken me to unlock a normal door. It’s not much time in the general scope of life, granted, but when I’m standing there waiting to be let into my own home, it’s an eternity.

And that’s just when Latch works as it’s supposed to. Sometimes the app freezes and I have to close and restart it before it will activate the sensor. Other times, my phone mistakes the lock for a credit-card reader and launches Apple Pay. Now and then (this tends to happen when my arms are full of perishable groceries or I’m being dragged through my hallway by my impatient dog), the app will log me out and demand that I reenter my email and password before I can open anything. If I forget my phone at home or my battery dies, I have to track down a building-maintenance person to let me in. If I can’t find one, I’m locked out.

From The DF Archive: Are There Any Tetris Games For Mac?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What a sad state of affairs. A hearty fuck you to The Tetris Company for ruthlessly shutting down hobbyist clones while refusing to license a decent official just-plain-Tetris Mac app.

The Barcode Engineered Its Own Downfall, by Saahil Desai, The Atlantic

When the barcode officially turns 50 this summer, it won’t get a national holiday in its honor or a grand parade down Fifth Avenue with floats in the shape of laser scanners. There is no statue of IBM’s barcode czar, George Laurer; no Halloween costume for Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, who patented the first barcode; no foundation named after Alan Haberman, who brought together the committee of grocery execs. Perhaps the humble barcode and its creators deserve such an honor. During the design process, IBM and every other company that vyed for America’s symbol supremacy agreed to forgo profit and put the winning symbol in the public domain, part of “the greatest-ever example of industry cooperation with no government oversight,” Frith said.

Bottom of the Page

I wish there are more podcast-listening apps, especially ones that does not rely on a server sitting somewhere for the app to function.


Thanks for reading.

The Indisputably-Adjudicated Edition Thursday, January 11, 2024

China Firm Reportedly Cracks AirDrop Using A Flaw Apple Has Known About Since 2019, by Halyna Kubiv, Macworld

The problem with AirDrop is that the protocol requests the address and phone number verified via the Apple ID from the sender’s device and the recipient’s device when establishing a connection if these are not in the address book of both parties. Although they are stored as hash values, they are fairly easy to decipher: the phone number consists only of digits and is easy to decode using a brute-force attack. For emails, attackers guess the usual alias structures, then search for possible matches in dictionaries and databases of leaked emails.

According to Heinrich, it was only a matter of time before the security gaps in AirDrop were abused. However, the researchers have so far only intercepted the data during transmission attempts. The fact that the personal data of AirDrop contacts is stored locally on the iPhone was previously unknown.

The Continuity Camera And ‘Unlock With Apple Watch’ Conspiracy, by Niléane, MacStories

Now I was convinced. The ‘Auto Unlock with Apple Watch’ feature seems to be somehow related to a background system service that is also responsible for Continuity Camera — and flipping the switch on and off causes that service to reset in some way.

ITC Files Opposition To Apple's Request To Stay Apple Watch Sales Ban: 'Apple Presents A Weak And Unconvincing Case', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In its response, filed on Wednesday with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the ITC said that Apple’s arguments “amount to little more than an indisputably adjudicated infringer requesting permission to continue infringing the asserted patents.

Can Banks Benefit From The DOJ's Pressure On Apple Pay?, by John Adams, American Banker

If Apple Pay is forced to enable more direct competition, Apple would remain a formidable competitor. The iPhone would still be Apple's home court with a decade head start on enrolling consumers to use Apple Pay, rather than the enrollments coming via a bank-supported mobile wallet.

"I could see issuing banks offering their own wallets, but they may lack the flexibility of a true multi-account and multi-institution wallet," Press said. "Ultimately, alternatives to Apple Pay would have to be distinctly better in terms of user experience, or offer some kind of financial advantage to users, in order to garner broad adoption."

Bottom of the Page

With SwiftUI, suddenly, everthing is an animation opportunity. I have to figure out when to use them, and when not to use them in my hobby project. I long for something like the good old Inside Macintosh books that I can read.


Thanks for reading.

The Presence-Computing Edition Wednesday, January 10, 2024

How To Think About Apple And Spatial Computing, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

The name tells us that Apple’s intention is that a coming range of Vision devices will become a full-fledged computer platform in their own right. These are not ephemeral devices.


In theory, at least, it means the Apple product might become a fantastic tool for managing incredibly complex projects using Gantt charts as long as the room you are in. You’ll zoom in and out, and (conceivably) take meetings, explore 3D interactive project assets, and more from wherever you happen to be. These technologies combine the best of presence with powerful computing.

Tim Cook Wants You To Call The Apple Vision Pro 'Spatial Computing.' But What's That?, by Peter Kafka, Business Insider

The generous way to interpret this instruction: It's Apple's device, and Apple is free to use any terms it wants to describe it. If Apple wanted to call the Vision Pro a "mind-blowing into-the-future awesome thing on your head," they could do that, too.


But if you're bearish on Apple's new headset (Apple doesn't want developers calling it "headset, either, by the way) then you'd look at its insistence on "spatial computing" — a technical term that won't mean anything to a normal person — and conclude that Apple doesn't know how to tell you, a normal person, what Vision Pro is, why you'd want to use it, or why you'd pay (at least) $3,500 for it.


Apple Music Classical Expanding To More Countries Later This Month, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple Music Classical will be available in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao starting January 24.

BBEdit 15 Adds ChatGPT Support, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The big new feature is the addition of support for ChatGPT via the same Worksheet interface BBEdit has used to interact with a command-line shell for many years. Like a Shell Worksheet, a ChatGPT Worksheet is an interactive BBEdit document: It looks like a regular text window (because it is one!), but when you type a command and press a hotkey (it’s Enter by default), that command is sent directly to ChatGPT, and the result appears right below it in the same document.

4 Truly Free Fitness Apps To Keep You In Shape All Winter, by Doug Aamoth, Fast Company

It’s hard to find truly free apps nowadays, but they’re still out there. And if you’re looking to stay in shape during the long winter months, here are some excellent fitness apps that won’t cost you a penny.


Apple Wins An Emmy For ‘The Greatest’, by Sabrina Sanchez, Campaign

The campaign, created in-house by Apple’s London team, raised awareness of the brand's accessibility features on iPhone, iPad and other devices to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The winning video starred real people with disabilities using Apple’s accessibility features to facilitate day-to-day activities.

Make The Indie Web Easier, by Giles Turnbull

We need more self-hosted platforms for personal publishing that aren’t Wordpress. And don’t point me to Hugo or Netlify or Eleventy or all those things - all of them are great, but none of them are simple enough. We need web publishing tools that do not require users to open the Terminal at all. And we need lots of them.

The iPhone SOS App Saved My Thru-Hike—and Possibly My Life, by Grayson Haver Currin, Outside

I had no easy way out to town, and I had not seen another hiker in at least 24 hours. It was time to pull the technological ripcord: send an SOS, if I could figure out how. Because we’ve always been so close to one another on trail, Tina and I have rarely used a Garmin inReach or the like. They’re bulky and expensive, and they just seemed unnecessary. A year earlier, though, we had both purchased an iPhone 14 before beginning the Arizona Trail. Their much-ballyhooed satellite addition—essentially, allowing you to text emergency services and transmit your location via satellite—offered a last resort should we never be able to help one another out of some sort of mortal fix, like right now.

With shivering hands, I started the demo, learning to trace the horizon above the canyon walls with the top of my phone to track satellites. The display guided me through an example conversation with emergency services. Finally, I was ready to try it. “I am thru-hiking the Continental Divide Trail,” I typed at 9:10 A.M. “My wife and I accidentally got on different paths. Has there been an injury reported near Creede, Co?”

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In an alternate timeline, we will all be publishing our little websites on iCloud using iWeb, and we will be complaining about Apple taking thirty-percent of our iAd revenue, and that reviewers on iReview are slow and arbitrary and don't understand the art we've created.

(Did that give Apple any more Service revenue ideas?)


Thanks for reading.

The Putting-On-Headsets Edition Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Vision Pro Launching On February 2, Pre-orders Begin Next Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced more details on Vision Pro availability. In a press release today, Apple announced that Vision Pro will be available beginning Friday, February 2 at all Apple Store locations in the United States. It will also be available from Apple’s Online Store.

Pre-orders for Vision Pro will begin Friday, January 19 at 5 a.m. PT.

Apple Increases Vision Pro Battery Life Estimate For Video Playback, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

“The external battery supports up to 2 hours of general use, and up to 2.5 hours of video playback,” Apple says. “Video playback tested in conjunction with an Environment, using 2D movie content purchased from the Apple TV app.”

This certainly isn’t a dramatic change in Vision Pro battery life, but it means users will be able to watch longer films, more TV episodes, or more YouTube videos before they have to connect to power.

Apple Vision Pro Is Getting Three ‘Spatial Games’ Including Fruit Ninja , by Giovanni Colantonio , Digital Trends

The Apple Vision Pro will get three “spatial games” when it launches on February 2. Game Room, Super Fruit Ninja, and Apple Arcade standout What the Golf? will all launch on the platform, though Apple hasn’t shared many details about them yet.

Apple Vision Pro Prescription Lenses Will Cost $149 Extra, by Richard Lawler, The Verge

Apple says that readers will cost $99, while prescription lenses are $149. Footnotes from Apple indicate that both are available only online, not in stores, a “valid prescription is required,” and not all prescriptions are supported.

Apple Shares New 'Get Ready' Vision Pro Ad With Clips From Star Wars, Back To The Future, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

On the heels of announcing pre-order and launch date information this morning, Apple has shared a new ad for Vision Pro. The fast-paced ad features clips of characters in popular movies and TV shows over the years putting on “headsets” of varying different designs.

It’s also a play on the first iPhone ad from 2007.

Apple: Developers Shouldn't Refer To visionOS Apps As AR Or VR, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company is asking developers not to refer to visionOS apps using terms such as AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), XR (extended reality), or MR (mixed reality). Instead, Apple says that visionOS apps are “spatial computing apps.”

The request is somewhat contradictory, since Apple itself has been referring to Vision Pro as a product with augmented and virtual reality technologies.

Xcode Is Officially Ready For Apple Vision Pro Apps, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Released today, the one new change in Xcode 15.2 is “support for the visionOS SDK to create apps for Apple Vision Pro.”

On App Stores

Apple Disputes EU Rules Labelling Its 5 App Stores As One Service, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

The European Commission made "material factual errors, in concluding that the applicant's five App Stores are a single core platform service," Apple said in its plea to the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second-highest.

The company in its argument to the EU competition enforcer said it operates five App Stores on iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple TVs and Apple Watches, with each designed to distribute apps for a specific operating system and Apple device.

On Security

China Says It Cracked Apple AirDrop To Identify Message Sources, by Bloomberg

A Chinese state-backed institution has devised a way to identify users who send messages via Apple Inc.’s popular AirDrop feature, Beijing’s government claims, as part of broader efforts to root out undesirable content.

The Beijing institute developed the technique to crack an iPhone’s encrypted device log to identify the numbers and emails of senders who share AirDrop content, the city’s judicial bureau said in an online post. Police have identified multiple suspects via that method, the agency said, without disclosing if anyone was arrested.


Apple Opening New Store In Korea, Special Wallpaper Available Now, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has announced that it will be opening a new retail store in the Hongdae neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea on Saturday, January 20 at 10 a.m. local time. To celebrate the occasion, Apple has released a special wallpaper for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac that can be downloaded for free by visiting the store's page.

Clear 2 Is A Whimsical To-do List App A Decade In The Making, by David Pierce, The Verge

You can certainly use Clear to make to-do lists — you can set a reminder on any item, which is handy — but it’s really not a task manager app like Todoist or Things. Those apps have tags and recurrences and projects and big ideas about getting things done. Clear, Ryu says, is instead meant to simply be a private place for your thoughts. “I feel like thoughts deserve a beautiful vessel,” he says, “and we really go out of our way to make Clear a beautiful vessel, not just visually or aesthetically but to feel satisfying to fill up.” The app itself suggests you use it for making a gratitude list, ranking your favorite Pixar movies, keeping a dream diary, and more.

Authy Is Shutting Down Its Desktop App, by Emma Roth, The Verge

If you have a Mac with M1 or M2 silicon, Authy says you’ll still be able to download the iOS version of the app on your device. Otherwise, Authy recommends switching to the mobile version instead.


37signals Resubmits Its Calendar App, Includes Dates In Apple History To Get Past App Review, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

It’s a real bummer to feel like I’ve been ripped off by a much bigger company as they pitch something I’ve worked hard on as a free feature in their app. There’s some irony there.

Heartbreaking: David Heinemeier Hansson Makes A Great Point, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

What a dick.

The primary story remains Apple’s unpredictable policing of the App Store, capriciously rejecting apps from even well-known developers. But the secondary narrative here is of bullies: Apple, yes, but also Hansson. It should have been easy for both Apple and Hansson to make this situation look good in the face of yet another dumb App Review move, but neither chose that route.

This iPhone Fell Out Of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282, by Wes Davis, The Verge

Game designer Sean Bates found an iPhone in a bush Sunday that had fallen from Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 when it lost a part of its fuselage shortly after takeoff. The phone was undamaged, still on, and had the end of a sheared-off charging cable plugged in. Bates posted pictures of his discovery that afternoon, one of which included the screen showing a still-open email with a baggage receipt.

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I really liked the iPhone introduction commercial, where you see clips and clips of people saying 'hello' to their soon-to-be-obsoleted phones, to be replaced by the iPhone where we talk and text and whatsapp and signal and wechat and teams and zoom and facetime.

I feel the Vision Pro commercial, where you see clips and clips of people… er… putting on googles and helmets to… well… get ready to be bring down the death star and gather the infinity stones and go back to the future? Or is Apple telling us to put on the headset to play games where we pretend to be pilots or superheros or time-travelling scientists?

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, this commercial really doesn't matter.


Thanks for reading.

The Not-Too-Ambitious Edition Monday, January 8, 2024

It Took Me 4 Months To Understand How To Use The iPhone 15 Pro's Action Button — Here's Why I Had It Wrong For So Long, by Richard Priday, Tom's Guide

If there's a lesson to take from all this, I think it's that you are often better off setting up your phone for how you actually use it, not how you want to use it.


I still think the Action button is a good and versatile addition to the iPhone. There are over two dozen possible uses that we found for the Action button, but a user may not find each use equally as handy or necessary to have quick access to. Get too ambitious for your particular needs, and you may find that the feature hinders more than it helps, as it did for me.

After Three Years Without A Case, This Is My iPhone Now, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Yes, I've dropped it more than once. No, it's never smashed, but wear and tear have appeared -- though in interesting, perhaps incomprehensible places.

Here, then, is what it looks like after three perfectly functional years.

Apple’s Biggest Challenges In 2024 Have Little To Do With The iPhone, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

[Vision Pro] is already shipping in small quantities to warehouses across the US before distribution to Apple retail stores, with the company believing it’ll have enough supply stateside by the end of January for a launch by February. I expect Apple to make an announcement related to the Vision Pro in the next week or so to take some of the spotlight away from CES, which begins Tuesday in Las Vegas.


[W]hile Apple said the Vision Pro won’t launch until “later” in 2024 in other countries, I wouldn’t anticipate that to actually be that much later. The company is considering China, Canada and the UK as some of the first markets to receive the headset.


I Did An Apple Fitness+ Walking Workout And Was Surprised By How Much I Enjoyed It—here's How You Can Try It For Free, by Harry Bullmore, Fit&Well

The concept is simple: Famous folks go for a walk while recording a chat about their lives and playing a few of their favorite songs. You get to listen along at a later date while getting in some steps of your own.

As someone who loves high-intensity exercise, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this walking workout, but I actually got a lot out of my 39-minute stroll with Marvel star Simu Liu. Here's everything I noticed during my mini-hike.

The Castro Podcast App And Its Website Is Gone, by Wes Davis, The Verge

Longtime iOS podcasts app Castro has been down since Friday and its website no longer exists a month after the team behind Castro denied rumors that the app was shutting down. Users started reporting on Friday that they’re unable to download new episodes or access Castro’s website. When The Verge reached out to the contacts that were listed on Castro’s site, all of our emails were returned as undeliverable because the domain could not be found.


Spotify’s Editorial Playlists Are Losing Influence Amid AI Expansion, by Ashley Carman, Bloomberg

These days, the same music industry sources who in the late 2010s learned to obsess over what was included and excluded from key Spotify playlists have started noticing something else — it no longer seems to matter as much.

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I don't have an Action button on any of my devices. currently. If I do, however, I am tempted to program it to be my Play/Pause button, just like the similar button on the many iPods I've used previously.


Thanks for reading.

The Submitted-Claims Edition Sunday, January 7, 2024

iPads, Mangroves, And Aspirations: How Apple Is Touching Lives In India, by Nandagopal Rajan, Bijin Jose, THe Indian Express

Today, most schools in India, especially the IB Boards, have included technologies such as iPads and notebooks in their teaching methodology. While this has given students from recognised schools an edge over their peers from schools in socially backward quarters, it has also widened the gap between the educational and learning abilities among them. Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit organisation, that was set up in 1991 as an after-school centre has been working towards bridging this gap. In 2014, the organisation partnered with Apple to integrate technological support in their schools across Mumbai and Pune.

At Sitaram Mill Compound School, iPads are introduced to students right from kindergarten. While they start with relatively simple applications such as the Book Creator, they move on to more applications as they progress through grades. “Each day, these students look forward to classes, especially to learn more about the apps that are making learning a fun experience,” added Patel, who highlighted the fact that they usually don’t have access to any gadgets at their homes.

StoryGraph Is The Goodreads Alternative Worth Switching To, by Sadie Gennis, Polygon

Because rather than try to sell you books or gamify the industry, StoryGraph seems focused on genuinely trying to provide readers a fun space to find, celebrate, track, and connect over books they love (or, in some cases, don’t). How can you beat that?

Apple Starts Sending 'Batterygate' Settlement Payments To iPhone Users, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple in 2020 agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit in the U.S. that accused the company of "secretly throttling" some iPhone models, and payouts finally started going out this week to individuals who submitted a claim.

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It rained all day over here, and so I stayed in and worked on my hobby project while watching some movies.

Okay, watched some movies while occasionally worked on my hobby project.

Learnt about capsules and other kinds of shapes. Not sure if I'll use any of them.


Thanks for reading.

The Non-Linear-Shuffling Edition Saturday, January 6, 2024

A Second Life For My Beloved Dog, by Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic

Instead of a memorial photo of Peggy, I opted to try a newer, “dynamic” wallpaper feature called “Photo Shuffle.” Every so often, my iPhone would change my wallpaper and home screen to an image it had grabbed from my camera roll. To help it along, I could offer parameters for the photo choice. Knowing that Apple’s Photos app uses image-recognition software to identify cats and dogs in the camera roll, I chose a “Pets” filter.

Grief is not linear, and neither is Photo Shuffle. Over the next few months, I watched the photos change in and out at random—always with a dog in focus. Many of the stills were pictures I didn’t remember taking, ones I’d passed over or missed in my melancholic, late-night scrolling. So many were chaotic, blurred streaks of fur and tongues curiously sniffing a lens or bounding out of frame; a lot were objectively bad photos, which I found made them especially funny as iPhone wallpaper. Peggy wasn’t the only subject—our other dog, Steve, a winsome and serious-faced cattle dog, shared screen time—but being First Dog meant that Peggy had been photographed much more. She took on a starring role: Peggy wet from a beach swim, regal Peggy posing under the Christmas tree, puppy Peggy, manic post-fetch Peggy with a yard’s length of tongue sticking out of her mouth. Sad photos inevitably cropped up: Peggy in the hospital, Peggy’s last car ride, Peggy and Steve side by side on our lawn, enjoying what would be their last sunset together.

‘I Hope It Makes Everyone Want To Jump!’: Michelle Z Simmons’ Best Phone Picture, by Grace Holliday, The Guardian

[Michelle Z Simmons] hopes the photo will encourage others to “pick up their phone and head out to someplace unexpected with someone unexpected. I also hope it makes everyone want to jump!”

Fixing Macs Door To Door, by Mathew Duggan

I was hired to do something that I haven't seen anyone else talk about on the Internet and wanted to record before it was lost to time. It was a weird program, a throwback to the pre-Apple Store days of Apple Mac support that was called AppleCare Dispatch. [...]

Basically if you owned a desktop Mac and lived in certain geographic areas, when you contacted AppleCare to get warranty support they could send someone like me out with a part. Normally they'd do this only for customers who were extremely upset or had a store repair go poorly. I'd get a notice that AppleCare was dispatching a part, we'd get it from FedEx and then I'd fill a backpack full of tools and head out to you on foot.


Tot Is The Only Mac App You'll Ever Need For Note-taking, by Becca Caddy, iMore

There’s plenty you can tweak and change to ensure it works well for you, but all you see is a clean design that works incredibly well.

This New iPhone App Could Save You From An Apple Music Disaster, by Alex Blake, TechRadar

Called Rewind, the app from iOS developer Feel Good Tech enables you to recover music and playlists that you have accidentally deleted from your Apple Music library. That could save you hours of rebuilding, especially if you’ve lost a playlist containing hundreds of tracks.


U.S. Moves Closer To Filing Sweeping Antitrust Case Against Apple, by David McCabe, Tripp Mickle, New York Times

The agency is focused on how Apple has used its control over its hardware and software to make it more difficult for consumers to ditch the company’s devices, as well as for rivals to compete, said the people, who spoke anonymously because the investigation was active.

Specifically, investigators have examined how the Apple Watch works better with the iPhone than with other brands, as well as how Apple locks competitors out of its iMessage service. They have also scrutinized Apple’s payments system for the iPhone, which blocks other financial firms from offering similar services, these people said.

Apple’s Rejection Of Hey Calendar App Revives An Old Feud, by Amrita Khalid, The Verge

[Apple] was rejecting a standalone iOS app for Hey Calendar, because non-paying users couldn’t do anything when they opened the app up.

EU's Vestager To Meet Big Tech CEOs In The US Next Week, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

The meetings will focus on European digital regulation and competition policy.

The meeting with Cook comes as the iPhone maker last year offered to let rivals access its tap-and-go mobile payments systems used for mobile wallets in an effort to settle Vestager's investigation and stave off a possible hefty fine.

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Once I've decided that I am going to make my hobby project just for me, and not one that is anything close to a model citizen on the OS platform, it seems some barrier has broken inside my heart, and I am having fun again.



Thanks for reading.

The Tech-Testing Edition Friday, January 5, 2024

Evaluating New Features In The iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9, And AirPods Pro, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Unlike the typical vacationer, I’d focus only on brand-new features and ignore everything else about the devices (at least for this piece). My idea was to treat the trip as a tech-testing lab but with a touristy spin. Would the products be helpful sidekicks as I spent time with loved ones and went on lengthy hikes in New Hampshire’s gorgeous Monadnock region?

What follows is structured a bit like a scorecard. I will go feature by feature and describe how I fared with it, for better or for worse, before rendering a verdict.

Napoleon Crossed A Major Box Office Milestone, But Will Apple Do This Again? , by Ryan Scott, /Film

Under normal circumstances, a movie with a $200 million budget (not accounting for marketing) making just over $200 million at the box office would not be considered a success by any means as theaters keep about half of the money from ticket sales. Plus, Apple is paying Sony a distribution fee. But the circumstances here are anything but normal as we're potentially approaching a new normal for these major streaming services, particularly the ones owned by much larger tech companies.

‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’ Gets Streaming Date On Apple TV+, by Anna Tingley, Variety

After releasing on digital and on-demand last month, Martin Scorsese‘s star-studded crime epic “Killers of the Flower Moon” will finally be able to stream on Apple TV+ starting Jan. 12.


Apple Fitness+ Offers More Ways Than Ever To Stay Active And Mindful In The New Year, by Apple

Starting January 8, the service will offer a new sound meditation theme; a workout program featuring world-renowned golfer Rose Zhang; an Artist Spotlight series celebrating the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show; Time to Walk on Apple Podcasts; and more.

Apple Card Savings Account Receives Another Rate Increase, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's rate now matches that offered by popular high-yield savings accounts from American Express and Discover, but there are still some other options that offer even higher APYs.

Long Exposure Photos On An iPhone: Spectre App Tested, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Alongside shallow depth of field, long exposures have been one of the two main reasons for me to carry a standalone camera at least some of the time. Spectre doesn’t completely replace the need for that, given the mix of constraints imposed by the small sensor of the iPhone and the software limitations of the app.

However, it’s fantastic to have that capability available all the time, and the results are honestly very impressive.

These Are The Best Clipboard Managers For Your Mac, by Pranay Parab, Lifehacker

Unfortunately your Mac limits the number of items in the clipboard to exactly one. This means that the next time you accidentally hit Command + C instead of Command + V, you lose access to the previously copied item, and if you want it back, you'll have to copy it all over again. If you'd like to store more than one item at a time in your Mac's clipboard, consider using a clipboard manager.

Clicks Is A Physical Keyboard For iPhone, by Ben Schoon, 9to5Mac

The iPhone is the device that pushed the mobile industry away from physical keyboards, but nothing can truly replace that tactile experience. Launching next month, “Clicks” aims to add a physical keyboard to your iPhone with support for keyboard shortcuts and backlighting too.


Apple Agrees To Settle Lawsuit Over iTunes Gift Card Scam, by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Apple has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the company of knowingly letting scammers exploit its gift cards, and keep stolen funds for itself.


According to the complaint, Apple would typically deposit only 70% of the stolen funds into fraudsters' bank accounts, and keep 30% for itself as a "commission" for knowingly converting stolen codes into dollars.

US Regulator Denies Apple, Disney Bids To Skip Votes On AI, by Ross Kerber, Reuters

Apple and Disney cannot avoid shareholder votes about their use of artificial intelligence put forward by a labor group, the top U.S. securities regulator has ruled.


At Apple, the group asked for a report on the company's use of AI "in its business operations and disclose any ethical guidelines that the company has adopted regarding the company’s use of AI technology." In a similar request, it also asked Disney to report on its board's role overseeing AI usage.

My Parents’ Dementia Felt Like The End Of Joy. Then Came The Robots, by Kat McGowan, Wired

The robot-makers are a shaft of light at the bottom of the well. The gizmos they’re working on may be far in the future, but these scientists and engineers are already inventing something more important: a new attitude about dementia. They look head-on at this human experience and see creative opportunities, new ways to connect, new ways to have fun. And, of course, they have cool robots. Lots and lots of robots. With those machines, they’re trying to answer the question I’m obsessed with: What could a good life with dementia look like?

Is Optimism Wired Or Tired?, by Om Malik

Writing about science and technology for a technology-first magazine means that you have to be biased toward optimism. I have written about technology, the business of technology, and the implications of technology for multiple publications. I continue to write with an optimist’s view of the future, but I am never blind to the perils of what we build. It is because I believe that optimism is the key ingredient for the future we want to build.

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The last time I used a mobile phone with an alphanumeric keyboard, it was on a device running PalmOS. And I never missed keyboard.

It's not that I am good at typing on glass. It's just that I realize there is no point in doing any serious typing with a mobile phone.

Of course, if you look at the history of apps that I've downloaded, from SSH clients to text editors, you'd know that I don't believe what I realized.


Thanks for reading.

The Apple-Watching Edition Thursday, January 4, 2024

2024 May Finally Be The Year Of Something Other Than The iPhone, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Last year was a little quiet for Apple, but 2024 is going to be loud. The launch of the Vision Pro, a new product running a new operating system in a new category (for Apple), more or less guarantees it. But there’s a lot more than the release of the Vision Pro to Apple’s 2024.

Let’s take a look at what this year will offer through the lens of your longtime Apple-watching columnist and his somewhat cloudy crystal ball. How better to think about the future, after all, than to predict it on a website?

The Apple iPhone's New Emergency Satellite Feature Is Saving Lives, But Should I Rely On It?, by Evan Quarnstrom, The Inertia

You should consider if you are hiking in remote or well-trafficked areas, which countries you plan to use your device in, and the risk level of the activities you partake in. As for me, all signs from my research seem to be pointing towards acquiring a satellite device and not depending solely on the iPhone. However, we’ll see if my minimalistically driven brain will actually shell out the cash for a new device, or simply be content upgrading my iPhone.


Apple Back To School Sale Starts In Australia, by Karen Haslam, Macworld

Apple started its Higher Education Offer in Australia and New Zealand on January 4, 2024. This deal will run until March 13, 2024. This year the company is giving away vouchers rather than AirPods, which was the giveaway in those countries in 2023.

Freeform Is The Best iOS App You're Not Using, by David Nield, Lifehacker

While it offers plenty of helpful features, Freeform doesn't quite seem to be getting the attention it deserves—so we're going to guide you through what the app is capable of on the iPhone and the different ways you might find a use for it.


An Unreasonable Investment, by Michael Lopp, Rands In Repose

You want some free leadership advice? You build yourself by building… by helping others. The selfless act of helping humans will teach you more about being a credible leader than any book.

Your career is not your job. It’s the humans you help along the way.


Apple Still Selling These Old And Often Forgotten Products In 2024, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

While the majority of Apple's product lineup has been updated over the past few years, there are a handful of devices and accessories that are quite old. Below, we highlight seven of the oldest and most obscure products that Apple still sells in 2024.

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The design of Apple's EarPod was one of the most comfortable earphone for me. I have no idea how many of these I've purchased throughout the iPod era -- because that thing broke so often. But I still went back to it, because, it seems, no other earphone manufactural did anything similar.

Nowadays, my go-to is the AirPods Pro 2. I sure hope Apple doesn't mess up with the next version.


Thanks for reading.

The Tax-Form Edition Wednesday, January 3, 2024

PSA: Look Out For Apple Card Savings 1099 Tax Forms And Here's Who Will Get Them, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple’s first savings product launched last year in the US for Apple Card customers and with 2023 wrapped up, Apple is preparing to send 1099-INT tax forms. Here’s when they’re coming and who should expect one.

App Of The Year: All Trails, by KWCH

Hikers love an adventure, but not the kind of adventure you get from picking the wrong trail. Is it too steep? Is it paved or rocky? What do other hikers recommend? This app called “All Trails” has all the answers when you tap the screen.

Keychron’s K3 Max Is A Sleek And Superb Wireless Keyboard, by Mark Sparrow, Forbes

It looks great and the switches are very responsive. Connecting via wireless, Bluetooth or USB makes the K3 Max an incredibly versatile keyboard. The compact layout means more desk space for a mouse or graphics tablet.

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I have never been to any Macworld Expo in my life. So I don't think not having an expo this time of the year.

I do miss a live Steve Jobs keynote though.


Thanks for reading.

The Workable-Alternative Edition Tuesday, January 2, 2024

What It’s Like To Use Apple’s Lockdown Mode, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

“It's a great additional layer of security for Apple to offer,” says longtime Mac security researcher and Objective-See Foundation founder Patrick Wardle. “But balancing security and usability is super tough, and it shows that usability is king for most people—myself included. I turned off Lockdown Mode because it blocked the feature where two-factor SMS codes show up as an autofill option in websites, forms, etc. I think Apple did a great job with it, yet as soon as it impacted a feature that I love and use a lot, I turned it off.”

For some, it's the loss of shared albums in Photos. For others, it's the limitations of enjoying a meme with friends. But if you really need Lockdown Mode for your digital safety and personal protection, it's a workable alternative to throwing your phone in the ocean.

The Ultimate Guide To Time Blocking, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

Time blocking is a simple practice that you can use to regain control of your day and make sure that you are spending your time effectively on the things that are important to you. Using time-blocking, you can get to the end of the day and feel a sense of accomplishment instead of despair from only getting through 5 of the 25 things on your task list. By learning to choose the right task at the best time, you will actually feel like you have extra time to work with.

Apple’s €77bn-a-year Services Business Faces Legal Reckoning, by Michael Acton, Financial Times

Together, the legal and regulatory actions spanning two of Apple’s biggest markets represent the biggest threat to the company’s business in years.

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I think I see a future where there are multiple levels of lockdown on the iPhone, and most of the sensible choices does not include third-party app stores.


Thanks for reading.

The Not-Burdened-with-Ads Edition Monday, January 1, 2024

8 Great Apple Arcade Games For Your iPhone Or iPad, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Apple Arcade remains one of the best deals in gaming — even after getting a price bump. Since launch, the service has steadily grown with a mix of original mobile releases and App Store classics, none of which are burdened with the ads or in-app purchases that so often plague smartphone games. 2023 was a particularly strong year for new additions, with everything from daily word games for the Wordle-obsessed to cozy adventures to relax with. If you just picked up a new Apple device, or are using the subscription service for the very first time, here are some great places to start.

How To Meal Plan With Pestle And Make 2024 Your Healthiest Year Yet, by Karen S Freeman, iMore

It's really gotten me to try new recipes and plan out meals better than before. Here's how you can use Pestle to help you meal plan and make 2024 your healthiest year yet.

The 5 Best Planner Apps To Keep You Organized, by Sandra Dawes-Chatha, MakeUseOf

Using a digital planner can help you stay organized and on task without carrying a notebook. Regardless of how detailed or simple you want your planner to be, there’s a planning app that can meet your needs.

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Hey, it's 2024.

I know this is the year of the Vision Pro, but personally, I am more interested in what Apple has to say about the new iPads. The longer the wait, the bigger the expectations, right? Either that, or there aren't many new ideas on how to advance the iPad line hardware-wise? It's already perfect as it is?

Also, Mac computers. Apple has stated, again and again, that all Mac computers will be powerful enough to play all the advance games that, surely, are coming to the platform. So, will we ever see a computer -- just like the previous MacBook -- that prioritizes portability (and adorable-ness) over performance? I certainly will like a Mac that is as portable as the iPad, but given the direction that Apple seems to be taking, I am not holding my breath for a mini laptop, or a Mac nano.

And I predict this will not be the year of the iCar. :-)


Thanks for reading.