Archive for March 2024

The No-Better-Of Edition Sunday, March 31, 2024

The DOJ’s Antitrust Case Against Apple Is No Blockbuster, by Editorial Board, Washington Post

Yet rules enacting strict control over what is and isn’t welcome on an iPhone usually won’t look arbitrary or targeted in the long story of Apple’s empire. Control is what has always made Apple, well, Apple — even before the company became the behemoth it is today. The tight integration of products and services makes every Apple device simpler to use. It also, the company contends, makes those devices reliable and reliably safe.


Courts haven’t tended to find that companies have a duty to build products that will help their competitors — and they haven’t generally concluded that products must be open by design. For the transformation many competition advocates seek, the country would need different laws.

The Biden Administration Is Picking Winners And Losers In Apple’s Antitrust Case, by Tom Hebert, The Hill

Instead of increasing competition between Apple and other smartphone makers, the practical effect of the Justice Department’s case would be to make iPhones look like Androids. This leaves consumers no better off while giving a massive leg up to Apple’s rivals.

The case is bigger than one company. Will antitrust law promote consumer welfare and competition as it has since the Supreme Court adopted the consumer welfare standard? Or will antitrust law once again become a weapon wielded by companies and special interests against their larger rivals, consumers be damned?

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The fact that a widget can be running while the app is not has finally sunk in to my little head, and I have to make some code adjustment to my hobby project.


Thanks for reading.

The Blogs-and-Counter-Blogs Edition Saturday, March 30, 2024

Screen Time For Kids Is Fine! Unless It's Not, by Matt Reynolds, Wired

Beneath all this worry is a fiendishly difficult question: What impact are smartphones having on our mental health? The answer depends on who you ask. For some, the evidence that smartphones are eroding our well-being is overwhelming. Others counter that it isn’t all that strong. There are blogs, then counter-blogs, each often pointing to the same scientific papers and drawing opposing conclusions.

Into this maelstrom we can now add two books, published within a week of each other, that sit squarely in opposite corners in the fight.

Immersive Reorientation

Watching Apple's MLS Playoffs Immersive Video On The Vision Pro Was My 'Aha' Moment, by Kerry Wan, ZDNet

On one end, the Vision Pro can only stream the 8K footage through 4K-resolution lenses, so the compression (read: blurriness) of finer things like confetti and players' faces is apparent. On the other end, the experience was so immersive that I can see myself watching just about any sport on the Vision Pro, putting any intentions to attend a live event on hold.

Apple’s Immersive Video Problem, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But immersive video doesn’t work with quick cuts, I don’t think. Several times during the MLS highlights video, my head was turned in one direction, taking advantage of the 180-degree immersive space to watch something happening off to my left or right… only for the vantage point to change to a different perspective. Now I was staring at nothing. It would take a few seconds for me to scan my surroundings and re-orient—often times a delay that led me to miss the highlight I was meant to be viewing.

Apple In EU / Apple In Courts

More On The EU’s Market Might, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Photos is not just an app on iOS; it’s the system-level interface to the camera roll. This is integrated throughout the entire iOS system, with per-app permission prompts to grant differing levels of access to your photos. Vestager is saying that to be compliant with the DMA, Apple needs to allow third-party apps to serve as the system-level camera roll. That is a monumental demand, and I honestly don’t even know how such a demand could be squared with system-wide permissions for photo access. This is product design, not mere regulation. Why stop there? Why not mandate that Springboard — the Home Screen — be a replaceable component? Or the entire OS itself? Why are iPhone users required to use iOS? Why are iOS users required to buy iPhones?

While Apple's Key Reason For The Anti-trust Violation Lawsuit From The U.S. Government And Consumers, by Lee Dongin, Jeong Hojun, Maeil Business Newpaper

The average price of 84 app purchase products surveyed was the most expensive at 26,714 won for Apple, followed by 26,396 won for Google and 24,214 won for One Store. When compared based on the average price of One Store, Apple was 10.3% higher and Google was 9.0%.


Yes, You Really Need A Budget, by Adrienne So, Wired

Money provokes a lot of complicated feelings, especially so in a culture that tends to see your salary as a statement of your worth as a person rather than a tool that lets you build the life you want. Instead of pretending those mental hurdles aren't there, YNAB lets you plan for, and around, them.

Journaling App Palmsy Offers Fake Likes From Real Friends, by Will Shanklin, Engadget

As for why you’d want to do such a thing, people who have trouble with typical journaling or mind-mapping apps may find it a more inspiring framework. Or, if your social posting habit has gotten out of hand (or you want a break from it for any other reason), it could serve as a way to wean yourself off and give you the dopamine hit without sharing anything publicly.


Google Says Apple Is Bringing RCS To The iPhone In ‘Fall Of 2024’, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

The Android website has added a new landing page for Google Messages that talks about the first-party messaging experience, while also noting that RCS on the iPhone is coming in fall 2024.

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No matter what happens over at US courts or EU regulators, I do not expect any meaningful price drops of any of the apps I am paying now. We, the customers, have demonstrated the current price is what we are willing to pay, and no developers will be willing to do a race to the bottom again, especially in a mature market.


Thanks for reading.

The Content-Dearth Edition Friday, March 29, 2024

‘2023 MLS Cup Highlights’: 5-Minute Apple Immversive Video For Vision Pro Debuts Tonight, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Perhaps the single most surprising aspect of Apple’s launch plan for Vision Pro is the relative dearth of original immersive content.

Apple Notifying WWDC 2024 Swift Student Challenge Winners, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Students who entered the WWDC 2024 coding challenge can today sign in to Apple's Swift Student Challenge website to find out if they've won. Apple has selected 350 winners, who are eligible to attend the ‌WWDC 2024‌ special event at Apple Park on Monday, June 10.

There are 50 Distinguished Winners who will be invited to Cupertino for a three-day ‌Apple Park‌ event that will include the keynote meetup and two additional days of opportunities to interface with Apple engineers.

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans New iPad Pro For May As Production Ramps Up Overseas, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s overseas suppliers have ramped up production of the company’s long-anticipated new iPads and a launch is planned for early May, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The release will center on revamped versions of the iPad Pro and iPad Air, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. As Bloomberg News has previously reported, the Pro models will get crisper new OLED displays — short for organic light-emitting diode — while the iPad Air will get a 12.9-inch screen option for the first time.


Our Apple Sports Design Critique, by Sam Gold, Lickability

A few weeks ago, Apple did a surprise announcement of Apple Sports, a new app for sports fans. We do internal design critiques quite often, but we noticed a few things worth mentioning for designers and developers thinking about modern iOS design practices.

This app remixes stock UI components in really interesting ways. We once heard someone say, “design your app for the current iOS version + 1.” So with that lens, we’ve been looking at what the design of Apple Sports can tell us about iOS 18.


iOS 17’s Creepy-Sounding ‘Discoverable By Others’ Journaling Setting Isn’t Actually Creepy, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

When describing features like this, Apple ought to presume that the user is assuming the worst.

Apple Sues Former Employee For Leaking iPhone's Journal App And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The lawsuit alleges that over a five-year period, Aude used his Apple-issued work iPhone to leak information about more than a half-dozen Apple products and policies, including its then-unannounced Journal app and Vision Pro headset, product development policies, strategies for regulatory compliance, employee headcounts, and more.

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Today, I learnt that AppIntent is not too difficult. Onwards to widgets!


Thanks for reading.

The Qi-Too-Unlocked Edition Thursday, March 28, 2024

Surprise! Your iPhone 12 Got An Upgrade To 15W Magnetic Charging With Qi2, by Simon Jary, Macworld

Although it hasn’t officially been announced by Apple, iOS 17.4 appears to have unlocked Qi2 support for the iPhone 12. A series of tests and feedback from Macworld readers prove that the iPhone 12 now works at full 15W wireless charging speed when magnetically connected to a non-MagSafe Qi2 charger.

The Principles Of Wearable Etiquette, by Victoria Song, The Verge

Is it rude to wear a smartwatch if you’re a bridesmaid? Are you a glasshole if you use smart glasses to take a picture of a cute dog on your commute? Am I being unnecessarily cautious because I’m afraid to wear the Vision Pro when alone in public? I’m no etiquette expert, so I decided to ask one for some wearable do’s and don’ts.

The gadget isn’t the problem.

Apple In Courts

The US Is Suing Apple For Anti-competitive Behaviour. But The Company’s Walled-off Tech Ecosystem Has Driven Its Bold Innovation, by Luke Heemsbergen, The Conversation

The department’s lawsuit will face a few big hurdles. Perhaps chief among them: many of the “anti-competitive” systems Apple has built are the very things that enable the bold innovation they’re famous for.

Don't Blame Apple For The US Smartphone Market, Blame The US Carriers, by Philip Berne, TechRadar

Instead of going after Apple for dominating the market, the Justice Department should encourage the US mobile networks to offer more options in stores. The rest of the world has far more options, and the global market is more competitive. If the US carriers are the reason we don’t have the same choice as the rest of the world, maybe it’s the US carriers that are the problem, and not Apple.

Apple Wins Antitrust Suit Over Venmo, Cash App Fees After Judge Tosses Case, by Tristan Greene, Cointelegraph

Essentially, the initial complaint alleges that Apple’s terms of service for products such as Venmo and Cash App to appear on the App Store prohibit those companies from including cryptocurrency features in their products. The judge’s ruling cites the relevant rule (Guideline 3.1.5 in the App Store T.O.S.) and dismisses its applicability in the suit.


Affinity Users Won’t Be Forced Into Paying Subscriptions Following Canva Acquisition, by Jess Weatherbed, The Vege

After Canva’s acquisition of Affinity design software sparked concern regarding the future of its one-time purchase pricing model, both companies are now promising that users won’t be forced into subscribing to the service — ever.


Here’s Our First Look At Apple’s In-the-box iPhone Updating Machine, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

When you buy a new iPhone, there’s usually a software update waiting to be installed as part of the setup process — anything that was released between the time the phone left the factory and got into your hands. In the case of the iPhone 15, that update was critical if you wanted to transfer data from an old device. But spending 20 minutes downloading an update before you can play with your new phone is, in fact, a bummer. What to do.

Apple’s response, it appears, is to build a machine with one job: wirelessly updating iPhones. The image published by iGeneration shows two of these machines stacked one on top of the other, each with six slots. Each compartment has markings to help correctly align phones of different sizes.

5 Years Later, Apple’s Wild Bid To Be A Streaming Giant Has Actually Paid Off, by Ian Carlos Campbell, Inverse

Apple TV+’s success was as much a combination of developing the right shows at the right time as it was leveraging the tight control Apple had over all the screens where its streaming service would be easiest to watch. As the streaming service barrels towards its first decade, the only things that might stand in its way are the allure of advertising and whether Apple’s attempts to juice its own subscription services are fair to customers.

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Can we have heat waves at the equator? It sures feel like it. (And we have been advised to put on sunscreens and use umbrellas.)

And the temperature difference is even more telling this week, it seems, when I ride the escalator up from the underground air-conditioned subway station to the great outdoors -- a.k.a. the non-air-conditioned street level.


Thanks for reading.

The Absolutely-Incredible Edition Wednesday, March 27, 2024

WWDC 2024 Scheduled For June 10–14, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

It will again be free and entirely online, although Apple is also hosting a special event at Apple Park on the first day for some lucky developers who request to attend. Unlike last year, Apple doesn’t say how attendees will be selected.

WWDC 2024: June 10–14, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Absolutely Incredible” with capital letters. No idea what that could mean. A true puzzle for the ages.

Apple Set To Unveil AI Strategy At June 10 Worldwide Developers Conference, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple’s artificial intelligence strategy will include a slew of new proactive features to assist users in their daily lives.

The company is not planning to debut its own generative AI chatbot, though. Instead, Apple is holding talks with potential partners like Alphabet’s Google and OpenAI to supply generative AI services, Bloomberg News has reported.

Apple Launches New Developer YouTube Account To Share WWDC 2024 Videos, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In preparation for WWDC 2024, Apple today launched a new Apple Developer YouTube account, which will be used to share WWDC sessions and events that developers can follow along with.

Apple has seeded the new account with a selection of videos from WWDC 2023, and this gives us an idea of the kind of content that we can expect to see during the ‌WWDC 2024‌ season.

Apple To Announce 2024 Swift Student Challenge Winners On March 28, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The annual Swift Student Challenge asks students to create an innovative coding project using the Swift Playgrounds app.

Recent ‘MFA Bombing’ Attacks Targeting Apple Users, by Brian Krebs, Krebs on Security

Several Apple customers recently reported being targeted in elaborate phishing attacks that involve what appears to be a bug in Apple’s password reset feature. In this scenario, a target’s Apple devices are forced to display dozens of system-level prompts that prevent the devices from being used until the recipient responds “Allow” or “Don’t Allow” to each prompt. Assuming the user manages not to fat-finger the wrong button on the umpteenth password reset request, the scammers will then call the victim while spoofing Apple support in the caller ID, saying the user’s account is under attack and that Apple support needs to “verify” a one-time code.

Apple In EU

Apple Turns To Longtime Steve Jobs Disciple To Defend Its ‘Walled Garden’, by Aaron Tilley, Wall Street Journal

Schiller’s strident advocacy is emblematic of Apple’s internal rancor over the fight, which many see as an existential challenge to the “walled garden” of controlled and connected devices and software that dates back to Jobs, the company’s co-founder.

Other Apple executives including Chief Executive Tim Cook have also defended its approach. Cook, who often allows lieutenants to handle their areas of responsibility, defers to Schiller on some App Store matters, people familiar with the company said. Schiller oversees the App Store alongside marketing head Greg Joswiak and services chief Eddy Cue, but Schiller has acted as its most prominent advocate.

Who Wins When Regulators Take On Apple? Maybe No One, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Unfortunately, a lot of the players in the DMA case seem to be squabbling over which company gets more of the money. Epic Games doesn’t want to pay 30 percent to Apple, but not to give it back to the users, Robin Hood-style–it wants the money for itself. It’s a for-profit corporation, after all. The same goes for Spotify and all the rest. Their goal is to change Apple’s ways so that it’s easier for them to make money without Apple getting in the way.


My point is, will all this reform really mean consumers pay less? Or is this just a squabble about which corporation gets to book a larger average revenue per user?

The EU’s Share Of Apple’s Global Revenue, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

It would be a mess, to be sure, but the DMA has already made doing business in the EU a mess for Apple and the other designated gatekeepers. But one can make the case — as Eric Seufert has — that American companies have to at least consider the fact that doing business in the EU isn’t worth the risk of fines so vastly disproportionate to the revenue they generate in the EU.

Apple In Courts

New Antritrust Suit Against Apple Looks Like An Ankle-biter To Me, by Adam Lashinsky, Washington Post

Yet these transgressions ignore two realities. First, developers want to be on the iPhone, and no one is holding a gun to their head to do so. It is well known in Silicon Valley that you develop first for the iPhone — that’s where the money is — and then for Android.

The second reality is that Apple has plenty of competition, much of which it enables to work with its ecosystem. For example: I am a committed Windows and Outlook user, so I use a PC, even though Apple has programs to run Windows and Outlook on Macs. At the same time, I’ve been an iPhone and iPad user for years. I don’t own an Apple Watch, but my beloved, inexpensive Fitbit talks just fine to my phone. And though my daughter and I tease my Android-using wife for ruining our iMessage threads, I spend tons of time in various WhatsApp groups — on my iPhone.

Apple's Practical Fight, by M.G. Siegler, Spyglass

If Apple starts making all the changes to that model, that revenue is at risk. And Apple, already now being viewed as moving from a growth stock to a legacy, dividend-paying stock, fears falling even further in the eyes of Wall Street.

Boohoo, poor $2T company that was a $3T company, right? Who cares? Well, presumably all the 401ks and pension funds that own Apple stock. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Apple has probably been the most important stock in the world the past couple of decades. So this isn't all about the company needing to get bigger for bigger's sake, there's decidedly more weight behind this pressure.


Find Any Photo In Lightroom With The AI-Powered Peakto Search Plugin, by Jeremy Gray, PetaPixel

Cyme, the developer behind the AI-powered macOS photo cataloging app Peakto, has announced a new plugin for Adobe Lightroom that enables photographers to search for specific images and videos in their catalog, no matter how big or disorganized.

Belkin BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 Dock With MagSafe Review, by Simon Jary, Macworld

The Belkin BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 Dock follows the tradition of long-winded names from the Apple-centric tech-accessory company but it’s the minimalist design that sets the aesthetic pulse racing.


Apple Pursuing Ways To Launch TV+ And More In China, Report Says, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Information now reports that Apple has reached a key deal with Tencent to make a number of China’s most popular apps available on Vision Pro.

The report also makes mention that Apple is “pursuing” ways to launch its own content services, like Apple TV+, in China.

iPhone Shipments In China Fell 33% In February, State Data Show, by Bloomberg

The government figures showed foreign brands shipped only about 2.4 million smartphones last month, which was affected by the later timing of the Lunar New Year. Apple accounts for the vast majority of those shipments, as the only overseas player with a meaningful market share. The February decline marks a second consecutive month of lower shipments. In January, the company shipped a total of roughly 5.5 million units, or about 39% fewer handsets than in the prior year, according to China Academy of Information and Communications Technology figures.

Happy Birthday APFS, 7 Years Old Today, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Although APFS has certainly had its moments over the last seven years, Apple’s gambles have paid off, and proved key to the success of Apple silicon Macs. Had there been no APFS, many of the fundamental technologies like Secure Boot and the Signed System Volume (SSV) would have been far tougher if not impossible to implement. Macs and Apple’s devices had been in dire need of a modern file system for years; while there was a time when it looked as if that could have been ZFS, in 2014 Apple decided to write its own file system from scratch, with Dominic Giampaolo as lead engineer.

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All I wanted to add a few lines to my hobby project and call it a day. But the simulator refuses to run. And the error message dialog box was less than useful to me. And StackOverflow wasn't working for this problem.

In the end, I went in to delete all the simulators one by one, and launch a new one. Seems to be working now, I think.

Now, what was the few lines I wanted to add…


Thanks for reading.

The A-Bit-More-Nuance Edition Tuesday, March 26, 2024

macOS 14.4.1 Sonoma And macOS 13.6.6 Ventura Fix Bugs And Vulnerabilities, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Today, Apple released macOS 14.4.1 Sonoma and macOS 13.6.6 Ventura. Given the bugs and security vulnerabilities they fix, it seems less likely that any other operating systems will receive parallel updates.

Apple doesn’t detail the bug fixes in macOS 13.6.6, but the release notes for macOS 14.4.1 say it resolves some high-profile problems.

A Disk So Full, It Couldn’t Be Restored, by Glenn Fleishman, Six Colors

Turned out, my kid had managed a neat trick, though they were not alone: they had filled macOS’s startup volume storage so full that the operating system was incapable of deleting files in any fashion.


I hate to think what people without decades of Mac experience do when confronted with systemic, cascading failures like this when I felt helpless despite what I thought I knew and all the answers I searched for and found on forums.

Let’s Talk About That 3% Number, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

Basically, with this pricing you need an average ticket of approximately $3 or more to always come out ahead compared to the App Store’s small business pricing, and you can get to that fabled “merchant pay 3%” number at around a $300 average ticket.


My point here is mostly to explain how the 3% number is well-meaning, but is not a perfect comparison to the 15% and 30% numbers we talk about with the App Store; there's just a bit more nuance.

Apple In EU

Is The US Calling Time On Apple’s Smartphone Domination?, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

The EU’s enforcement has been swift and clear. It may not be the resolution Apple would prefer, but the process for getting there is smoother, cheaper and far less in hock to the vagaries of chance that a court system inherently presents. As the US case drags on, maybe even Apple will come round to that?

European Commission Opens DMA Non-Compliance Investigations Against Google, Apple, And Meta, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The EC is edging closer and closer to saying that successful platforms have no right to monetize their IP on those platforms. That’s exactly what a lot of anti-capitalist critics of these companies have been rooting for, but it would be a radical step.

Apple In Courts

Understanding The DOJ’s Antitrust Complaint Against Apple, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Defining the market that Apple is accused of monopolizing will be the first and one of the biggest battles of this dispute. Experts will be hired, millions of dollars will be spent, and we’ll all debate the finer points of smartphone economics. Trust me, it’ll be as fun and exciting as it sounds.


Proving intention isn’t easy, and I suspect the reality is somewhere in the middle, where compromises on things like privacy and security have been made by Apple in the name of other priorities in some circumstances. But it can also be true that privacy, security, and consumer preferences are still important values and goals of the company. Separating the sincere from the pretense will be hard absent some some ‘smoking gun’ email or other evidence.

DOJ Blames Apple For Lack Of Super Apps Like WeChat In US, by Austin Carr, Bloomberg

I find the DOJ’s argument surprising. The conventional wisdom is that super apps never took off stateside because, by the time WeChat’s approach boomed in China, Western consumers were already accustomed to single-purpose apps. (There were also unique regulatory and economic conditions in Asia that likely contributed to the WeChat phenomenon.) Cramming too many features inside one app usually proved clumsy for users, one reason Zuckerberg unbundled Facebook and its Messenger chat, kept WhatsApp and Instagram detached, and launched separate offerings for (short-lived) newspaper and video services.


If mini programs ever truly catch on and a US equivalent of WeChat wraps up all my beloved services in one easily portable app, then maybe it would be faster to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone. I’d certainly enjoy installing one all-encompassing app instead of a series of individual ones. But then again, if a single app were that good and universal, my guess is the DOJ would have concerns about it too.

Consumers Sue Apple, Taking Page From US Justice Department Lawsuit, by Mike Scarcella, Reuters

At least three proposed class actions have been filed since Friday in California and New Jersey federal courts by iPhone owners who claim Apple inflated the cost of its products through anticompetitive conduct.

The lawsuits, seeking to represent millions of consumers, mirror the Justice Department's claims that Apple violated U.S. antitrust law by suppressing technology for messaging apps, digital wallets and other items that would have increased competition in the market for smartphones.


Apple Journal's 'Discoverable By Others' Setting: How It Works, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This feature isn’t automatically sharing your name and location information with everyone around you. Instead, it’s simply using the presence of your device to make Journal app suggestions better for the people around you.

Apple Outlines 'Reasons To Upgrade' Your iPhone On New Website, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Each comparison shows what new features someone with an older ‌iPhone‌ will get when upgrading to the ‌iPhone 15‌ lineup.


How Adobe’s Bet On Non-exploitative AI Is Paying Off, by Melissa Heikkilä, MIT Technology Review

Adobe wants to reap the benefits of generative AI while still “recognizing that these are built on the back of human labor. And we have to figure out how to fairly compensate people for that labor now and in the future,” says Ely Greenfield, Adobe’s chief technology officer for digital media.


Adobe trained Firefly on content that had an explicit license allowing AI training, which means the bulk of the training data comes from Adobe’s library of stock photos, says Greenfield. The company offers creators extra compensation when material is used to train AI models, he adds.

The 'MacIntosh Studio' Is An Ingenious Dock For A Mac Studio And iPad Mini, by Mark Wilson, TechRadar

It may not be functionally anything more than a dock and an elaborate desk tidy, but the 'MacIntosh Studio' is full of neat little touches.

Canva Strikes Biggest Acquisition Yet In Chase To Take On Adobe, by Olivia Poh, Bloomberg

Canva Inc. acquired the Affinity suite of creative software popular with Mac users, securing its biggest acquisition to date in an effort to compete with Adobe Inc.

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Just like Apple devices nowadays can optimize batteries by not charging to the full amount, perhaps Apple should start to consider 'optimizing' storage by leaving some space free?


I believe people who are operating e-commerce sites know that the 3% figure is not entirely accurate, especially for low-cost purchases. Which was why the 99-cents iTunes songs were so interesting when Apple first started selling.


Thanks for reading.

The Scale-is-the-Thing Edition Monday, March 25, 2024

Apple, Meta, And Google Targeted By EU In DMA Non-compliance Investigations, by Jon Porter, The Verge

In particular, the Commission plans to investigate Google and Apple’s anti-steering rules in their app stores and whether Google is guilty of self-preferencing its own services within its search engine. Apple’s browser choice screen for iOS is also being investigated as well as Meta’s “pay or consent model” for ad targeting. In a press conference, the Commission said it plans to conclude the investigations in the next 12 months.

Additionally, the EU regulator is also looking into the fee structure Apple announced for distributing apps outside of the App Store, as well as whether Amazon is self-preferencing its own products on its store.

Even If Apple Doesn't Have A Monopoly Over Android, It Clearly Wants One, by Ben Schoon, 9to5Google

Scale is the thing that makes all of this a very different conversation. When you control half of the market, you can’t lock things down so hard. Apple’s choices with things like APIs and the App Store are directly hostile towards even the idea of competition, and have been for a long time. [...]

Similarly, Apple’s policies and choices arguably benefitted users in the earlier days, but as the company has grown and the iPhone has really dominated, especially the US market, those policies have started to become a hindrance.

Spotify Adds Video Learning Courses In Latest Experiment, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Spotify’s UK users are getting access to a fourth category of content to sit alongside its existing library of songs, podcasts and audiobooks: online courses. The company is today launching a new experiment that’ll see video-based lessons from BBC Maestro, Skillshare, Thinkific, and PlayVirtuoso made available via Spotify’s apps on mobile and desktop.

Anker MagGo Power Bank (10K) Review: Qi2 Comes To The iPhone, by Thomas Bergbold, Macworld

With the Anker MagGo Power Bank (10K), you get a reliable power bank that’s well thought out. The stand is a practical extra and the display is a plus point that you won’t want to do without after a short period of use.

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This is something that I don't quite understand: If it takes the EU Commission many months just to determine if the gatekeepers are complying, how on earth are the gatekeepers even expected to figure out if they themselves are complying?

Or is this whole DMA thing just to confuse everybody into giving in as much as possible just to avoid the fines?


Thanks for reading.

The Enormous-Toolkit Edition Sunday, March 24, 2024

Apple Vision Pro To Hit Mainland China This Year, State Media Says, by Reuters

Cook revealed the headset's China launch plan in response to a media question on the sidelines of the China Development Forum in Beijing, CCTV finance said on its Weibo social account.

Apple’s Cook Tells China Forum AI’s Crucial For Climate Battle, by Bloomberg

Tim Cook said artificial intelligence is an essential tool for businesses committed to reducing carbon footprints, as the Apple Inc. chief executive officer joined a climate change dialogue Sunday at a forum in Beijing, continuing a week of public displays of his company’s commitment to China.


“We are making great progress, we are not there yet, and the road ahead requires more innovation,” Cook said on the company’s environmental goal. Artificial intelligence “provides an enormous toolkit for every company that’s wishing to be carbon neutral or to lower their emissions by a substantial amount,” he said.

China Woos CEOs Of Apple, Chipmakers, Pharma Giants As Geopolitical Tensions Mount: ‘The Risk-reward Has Changed’, by Bloomberg

Wang told Apple’s Cook when they met Friday that China is willing to work with the US to create a fair, stable and predictable business environment for American and Chinese companies.

Apple’s Cook said his company would invest further in applied research in China.

Apple in Courts

The Chamber Of Progress Scuttles Its Pre-Buttal, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

It is probably true that business complaints were the primary drivers of the DoJ’s action, though. An annotation I added to one part about payment apps in the complaint reads “sounds like a bank wrote this”. But protesting this on the grounds of corporate involvement is pretty rich coming from the guy who runs a lobbying firm arguing for the positions of even bigger corporations. Are we really supposed to be mad if Tile benefits?


That lots of people buy iPhones is not inherently a vote of confidence in each detail of the entire package. If some of those things changed a little bit — the U.S. government’s suit is not a massive overhaul of the way the iPhone works — I doubt people would stop liking or trusting the product.

Here's How Your iPhone Could Get Worse If The DOJ's Antitrust Lawsuit Succeeds, by Grace Kay, Business Insider

Venture capitalist and tech analyst Benedict Evans said there's risks to letting developers have the kind of freedom the DOJ is calling for.

"You seriously want to let any developer do whatever they want to a device that billions of people carry around every day?" Evans wrote on Threads, discussing those in favor of forcing Apple to open up its app ecosystem to third-party app stores and side-loading.

216. United States V. Apple (Complaint), by Steven Sinofsky, Hardcore Software

The problem is for the case that uniformly all of these are product choices that are entirely consistent not only with what other companies do (like Google’s Android + Samsung) but also with Apple’s own history. A key part of US antitrust law that the DOJ has to overcome is not just to prove Apple has a monopoly, but that it acted illegally to maintain the monopoly. When a company has consistent behavior as it rose from 0% to 50% share, the burden will be on the DOJ to argue that the same behavior is now anticompetitive in a specific legal sense. In other words, a lot of what the DOJ will be arguing is that product choices Apple clearly made to up-level the iPhone offering in terms of security, privacy, reliability, battery life, and more since the introduction of the App Store when the phone was at 10% share are today anticompetitive. The existence of another type of smartphone or ideas for how another type of smartphone should be ideally designed is not enough to prove Apple is being anticompetitive. These design points are not about what you might do today, but what Apple has been doing since inception of their products.


One of the biggest flaws with this case is presuming that phones are PCs, and that Apple should have built a PC-like operating system, meaning that a phone should just be a PC when it comes to installing software and enabling access to devices and the workings of the OS. This is a technically illiterate position to take. Dumb too. It ignores the progress of abstraction, the heart and soul of computing. Much of this argument falls apart as the complaint even claims that Apple knows what to do since it did so on Mac. It is so dumb I won’t even quote the filing to spare embarrassing DOJ further. Perhaps people are confused because Apple used a PC OS as the foundation of iPhone, but as we all know software always has capabilities that are not made available from one layer to the next. That’s the whole point of abstraction.

Acclaimed Tech Columnist Mossberg Says The DOJ's Claim Of An Apple Monopoly Is 'Laughable', by Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert, Business Insider

While insiders and analysts across the tech industry have speculated the US might end up settling — as they did in a similar antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s — not everyone is convinced the suit is a slam dunk for the DOJ.

"Calling Apple a 'monopoly' in phones is laughable," iconic tech journalist Walt Mossberg wrote in a series of posts on Threads. "Every independent analyst estimates iPhone market share at a little over 50% in the US and a little under 25% globally. That's not a monopoly."

The Case Against Apple Weaponizes The Cult Of Cupertino, by Lauren Goode, Wired

Legal experts say this social stigma argument will need much stronger support to hold up in court, because it doesn’t fit with traditional definitions of antitrust. “What is Apple actually precluding here? It’s almost like a coolness factor when a company successfully creates a network effect for itself, and I’ve never seen that integrated into an antitrust claim before,” says Paul Swanson, a litigation partner at Holland & Hart LLP in Denver, Colorado, who focuses on technology and antitrust. “This is going to be an interesting case for antitrust law.”


Kovacic believes that as the case continues, the DOJ will have to bring forward new evidence and arguments to stand up the cultural aspects of its suit. That could involve tapping theories of economics and the psychology of human behavior to attempt to explain why some technology consumers may unconsciously favor certain products they are emotionally attached to. More likely, he says, the DOJ will have to present contemporaneous business notes that show Apple’s anxiety about competitive apps or emerging technologies, and how the company responded in apparently dubious ways.

Justice Department Risks Picking The Wrong Fight With Apple, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

There are very real concerns with some of Apple’s practices. But the Justice Department spends less time on those issues, focusing instead on half-baked claims that suggest a lack of familiarity with modern technology.

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Highlight of my day: I've had two doughnuts for dinner. And a cup of Ribena.


Thanks for reading.

The Works-the-Same Edition Saturday, March 23, 2024

Digital Wallets And The “Only Apple Pay Does This” Mythology, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

One, you probably saw this coming, but this is not unique to Apple Pay as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Paze work the same.

Two, while the DPAN changes between merchants, it is always the same for subsequent transactions at the same merchant. So yes, while this does block data brokers from easily buying transaction data from a bunch of different merchants and figuring out shopping trends across those merchants, it does nothing to stop a single merchant from seeing your transaction history with just the DPAN provided by Apple Pay. If that Target story from forever ago about Target knowing a teen was pregnant based on their Target purchase history, Apple Pay doesn’t stop someone like Target from being able to track that. And yes, it’s the same with the other digital wallets out there.

A Love Letter To My Notes App, by Kimberlie Mitchell, Her Campus

You memo pad, you. You are everything to me. You hold 660 of my original thoughts. That would be too much for anyone to bear, yet you do it with grace and efficiency.

Apple In Courts

Why The DOJ’s Case Against Apple Has Everything To Do With Microsoft In The ’90s, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

The complaint, as a whole, paints a picture of Apple in a similar moment to Microsoft at the height of its power. Microsoft saw the rise of the web coming and realized its dominance was threatened. The DOJ portrays Apple seeing a similar problem as the iPhone gained success: “Apple’s internal documents show that, soon after the iPhone’s introduction and notwithstanding its success, the company began to fear that disintermediation of its platform and the commoditization of the iPhone would threaten Apple’s substantial profits from iPhone sales and related revenue streams.”

4 Internal Apple Emails That Helped The DOJ Build Its Case, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Apple has denied it acts illegally, with spokesperson Fred Sainz saying that the suit “threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.” But key parts of the suit use the words of Apple’s own executives against the company. The DOJ lawsuit quotes internal emails to argue that Apple knowingly restricts users and developers in unfair ways.

Smartwatches Shouldn’t Make You Choose Between Apple And Android, by Victoria Song, The Verge

It’s hard to blame Google, Samsung, and other smartwatch makers. The iPhone-Apple Watch connection is so well established, why put in all that effort to serve customers who don’t want to be lured away? Plus, it’s not like they can deliver the same exact experience even if they wanted to. As the DOJ complaint notes, Apple limits API access to third-party smartwatch makers. Say you have a Garmin smartwatch. You’ll be able to send quick replies if it’s paired to an Android phone but not an iPhone. This is the case with all platform-agnostic smartwatches. Whenever I ask companies about this, they give me the equivalent of a shrug and say that’s up to Apple.

‘Even Stronger’ Than Imagined: DOJ’s Sweeping Apple Lawsuit Draws Expert Praise, by Lauren Feiner, The Verge

Allensworth thinks that DOJ’s strategy was informed by Epic v. Apple. Rather than limiting the relevant market to devices that run Apple’s operating system, prosecutors decided to pick the smartphone market as its battleground, “which is an easy case to make on the market definition side, but sets up a bigger fight on the monopoly power side,” according to Allensworth. “There will be a big fight over whether or not that 65–70 percent gives them monopoly power.”

DOJ Lawsuit Against Apple Is Headline Grabber With Limited Near-term Impact, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Morgan Stanley analysts said Friday that the current lawsuit could also favor Apple, as many similar allegations have already been ruled on by a judge in the Apple vs Epic case, with the ruling stating that Apple does not violate antitrust laws. The DOJ filing also only makes a relatively passing mention of Apple’s $10 billion-plus search deal with Google and doesn’t cite the App Store as one of its five principal examples of monopolistic behavior.

Quick Thoughts On DoJ V. Apple, by M.G. Siegler, Spyglass

I have to imagine Apple's case is going to be pretty strong here. If nothing else, their market position simply doesn't scream monopoly – let alone illegal monopoly – on the surface. According to recent estimates, the iPhone has something between 50 to 60 percent market share in the US. This isn't Microsoft Windows with 90 percent+ market share. And yes, there's obviously more to it than just market share. But that fundamental aspect is going to linger over this entire case. You can disagree with the current laws and definitions (profit share, anyone?), but it's hard to see a world in which the smartphone market isn't competitive from a pure market share perspective.

Breaking Down The DOJ's Claim That Apple Killed The Amazon Fire Phone (And Others) , by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Essentially, the DOJ is arguing that any company which tried and failed to make a smartphone failed because of Apple’s dominance.

Apple iPhone Is Not A Monopoly – And You Really Don't Want The US Government To Win, by Lance Ulanoff, TechRadar

It seems to me that the DOJ is confusing ‘monopoly’ with ‘ecosystem.’ Apple's full-stack control, from silicon to components to platform to consumer hardware, is almost unmatched in the industry. The Apple ecosystem, and the considerable consumer benefits it offers, springs directly from that control.


Crossover For Mac Review, by Cliff Joseph, Macworld

Codeweavers is one of the simplest ways to run Windows apps on a Mac, and you don’t even need Windows.

What The Tech App Of The Day: Radio Garden, by WAKA Action 8 News

As a fan of all types of music, I’ve enjoyed Radio Garden more than any of the various streaming apps as I can discover music and bands I’d never even heard about.


There's A Funny Reason Why Every AirTag In The World Updated At The Same Time, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

Apple entered the dates incorrectly in the system, causing the update to be released to all AirTags at once.

Apple In Talks With China's Baidu For iOS 18 Generative AI Partnership, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Today, the Wall Street Journal says Apple also held talks with Baidu, to license its models. This would likely be intended to serve AI requests to Apple customers in China, as Chinese law requires models to be approved by its regulator before they are allowed to be used.

Apple Scraps In-House Effort To Make Watch Displays, Cuts Jobs, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In recent weeks, the company has ceased an in-house effort to create screens with microLED technology, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The displays, which featured brighter and more vibrant visuals, would have been added to a future version of the Apple Watch — before potentially going into other products.

But the cost and complexity of the effort ultimately proved too great. So Apple is now reorganizing the teams that handle display engineering and eliminating several dozen roles in the US and Asia, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

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I am having a hard time motivating myself to work on my hobby project.

Is it still a hobby?


Thanks for reading.

The Side-Channel Edition Friday, March 22, 2024

Unpatchable Vulnerability In Apple Chip Leaks Secret Encryption Keys, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

A newly discovered vulnerability baked into Apple’s M-series of chips allows attackers to extract secret keys from Macs when they perform widely used cryptographic operations, academic researchers have revealed in a paper published Thursday.

The flaw—a side channel allowing end-to-end key extractions when Apple chips run implementations of widely used cryptographic protocols—can’t be patched directly because it stems from the microarchitectural design of the silicon itself. Instead, it can only be mitigated by building defenses into third-party cryptographic software that could drastically degrade M-series performance when executing cryptographic operations, particularly on the earlier M1 and M2 generations. The vulnerability can be exploited when the targeted cryptographic operation and the malicious application with normal user system privileges run on the same CPU cluster.

Apple In Courts

US Sues Apple For Illegal Monopoly Over Smartphones, by Lauren Feiner, The Verge

The US Department of Justice and 16 state and district attorneys general accused Apple of operating an illegal monopoly in the smartphone market in a new antitrust lawsuit.

The DOJ and states are accusing Apple of driving up prices for consumers and developers at the expense of making users more reliant on its iPhones. It alleges that Apple “selectively” imposes contractual restrictions on developers and withholds critical ways of accessing the phone, according to a release.

Apple's iMessage Encryption Puts Its Security Practices In The DOJ's Crosshairs, by Andy Greenberg, Andrew Couts, Wired

For well over a decade, Apple has been praised by privacy advocates for its decision in 2011 to end-to-end encrypt iMessage, securing users' communications on the default texting app for all its devices so thoroughly that even Apple itself can't read their messages. Years before WhatsApp switched on end-to-end encryption in 2016, and before Signal—now widely considered the most private end-to-end encrypted messaging platform—even existed, Apple quietly led the way with that security feature, baking it into a core piece of the Apple ecosystem.

So it's ironic that, now that the US Department of Justice has hit Apple with a landmark antitrust lawsuit, alleging that it has sought for years to monopolize the smartphone market and gravely harmed consumers in the process, iMessage's end-to-end encryption has become Exhibit A for an argument about Apple's privacy hypocrisy—that Apple's allegedly anticompetitive practices have denied users not only better prices, features, and innovation, but also better digital security.

The Lock-in Problem At The Heart Of The Apple Monopoly Lawsuit, by Victoria Song, The Verge

We’ve all known for years about green bubbles and that you can’t bring your Apple Watch to an Android phone. What the DOJ is saying is that, altogether, this series of protective policies makes it extremely difficult for an iPhone user to leave its walled garden, limiting competition so much that it breaks the law.

Apple’s War On Streaming And Super Apps Helped Set It Up For An Antitrust Battle, by Emma Roth, The Verge

However, the DOJ’s lawsuit claims that Apple doesn’t want users or companies in the US to benefit from super apps. It notes that during a board of directors presentation, Apple cited super apps as a “major headwind” to boosting iPhone sales in countries where they’re popular because of “[l]ow stickiness” and “[l]ow switching costs.” If someone benefits from using a super app, they don’t necessarily need to be tied to any one ecosystem — like Apple’s.

The iPhone maker sees super apps as “‘fundamentally disruptive’ to ‘existing app distribution and development paradigms’ and ultimately Apple’s monopoly power,” the lawsuit reads. That’s why it’s allegedly blocking developers from putting them on the App Store by requiring super apps to display mini programs in a “flat, text-only list” rather than as individual icons or tiles. The company also doesn’t allow super apps to categorize mini programs in their apps, preventing them from showing recently played games or a list of titles from the same developer.

Apple CarPlay Is Anticompetitive, Too, US Lawsuit Alleges, by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

“By applying the same playbook of restrictions to CarPlay, Apple further locks-in the power of the iPhone by preventing the development of other disintermediating technologies that interoperate with the phone but reside off device,” the lawsuit says.

The inclusion of CarPlay, as well as digital key functions through Apple’s Wallet feature, came as a surprise to some analysts, who say that the DOJ may be misunderstanding the utility and functions of the phone-mirroring system.

Apple Slams DOJ Case As Misguided Attempt To Turn iPhone Into Android, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

In a briefing with journalists following the DOJ’s announcement this morning, Apple dismissed these market definitions as gerrymandering on the part of government lawyers trying to make a monopoly case stick where it argues there is none.


The wider argument Apple is making is the suit targets an experience consumers value, which drives loyalty and leads them to prefer iPhones over Android smartphones in the first place — something it suggests the DOJ’s case entirely fails to factor in. And by seeking to undo core differentiating (and valued) features of its mobile ecosystem a successful outcome for the government would result in reduced consumer choice.

Apple Responds To Major Lawsuit Filed By U.S. Department Of Justice, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a statement shared with MacRumors, Apple said the lawsuit is "wrong on the facts and the law," and the company vowed to "vigorously defend" itself.

Apple Says It Spent Three Years Trying To Bring Apple Watch To Android, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In response to the DOJ’s assertion, Apple confirmed for the first time that it at one point considered Android support for the Apple Watch. After a three-year investigation, Apple says that it determined an Apple Watch with Android support wasn’t doable because of technical limitations. As such, it scrapped the idea.

Apple's iPhone Is Not A Monopoly Like Windows Was A Monopoly, by Matt Rosoff, TechCrunch

The key section in the DOJ’s case begins on page 66, entitled, “Apple has monopoly power in the smartphone and performance smartphone markets.” The argument comes down to barriers to entry.


But in terms of barriers to entry, Apple could argue that product differentiation and integration is not the same as foreclosing competition. A fully integrated platform with built-in apps for particular features like web browsing and videoconferencing is easy and convenient and customers choose it, and continue to choose it, because they prefer it, not because they’d like to switch to Android and are blocked by artificial barriers.

U.S. Versus Apple: A First Reaction, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What I’ve learned in observing three decades of government interaction with tech is that the most likely outcome is one that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I could create a list of Apple behaviors that I consider to be anticompetitive and unfriendly to consumers, but many of them are barely touched on in this document.

So my prediction is that this will be a long, drawn-out process that will end up with Apple changing some of its policies. Some of those changes will be substantial and will alter how the company operates; others will be pointless and cause no appreciable effect; and still others will degrade the experience of iPhone users without increasing competition. Meanwhile, other Apple policies that stifle competition, degrade the user experience, and cost users money will just go on as usual, unchanged and unchallenged.

The Antitrust Case Against Apple Argues It Has A Stranglehold On The Future, by Makena Kelly, Vittoria Elliott, Wired

The Department of Justice said Thursday that any potential remedy was on the table for Apple—implying that even breaking up the company is a possibility. But Allensworth says it is unlikely the government would pursue that outcome. The proposed remedies could more likely force Apple to change its "technological and contractual restrictions on app development, and on interoperability with other phones,” she says. “That is something that could be very meaningful, if that remedy were fully realized and overseen in a good way. But it still leaves Apple basically in control of the ecosystem,” Allensworth says.

Paul Swanson, antitrust partner at the law firm Holland & Hart, sees potential difficulties ahead for the suit. “They're alleging that Apple is excluding competition in the smartphone market by making their products stickier, by making it very attractive to stay within their ecosystem. And the way that Apple does that, according to the DOJ, is that it doesn't cooperate nicely with other companies,” he says. But Swanson says antitrust laws don’t generally require companies to work with others. “A business doesn't violate antitrust laws by terminating or refusing to work with another business.”


Apple Releases iOS 17.4.1 And iPadOS 17.4.1 With Bug Fixes And Security Improvements, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes, the iOS 17.4.1 update includes important security updates and bug fixes.

iPadOS 17.4.1 Fixes QR Code Scanning Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The iPadOS 17.4.1 update that Apple released this morning addresses a bug that could prevent certain iPads from being able to scan QR codes.

Apple Releases visionOS 1.1.1 With Bug Fixes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes for the update, visionOS 1.1.1 introduces "important bug fixes and security updates." The software is recommended for all users.

Alfred 5.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Running with Crayons jumps to version 5.5 of its Alfred with new workflow components and improvements for the keyboard-driven launcher.

Retrobatch 2.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Flying Meat has released Retrobatch 2.1, bringing a new Lookup Table (LUT) node to the bulk image processing utility to alter the color and tone of images.

Use The 'Days Since' App To Quit Your Bad Habits, by Khamosh Pathak, Lifehacker

There will be times when you will break a streak; you'll eat a bag of Doritos or have a drink. You're only human, after all. This is where you can reset the counter and begin again. What I like is that the app will let you make a note when you’re resetting a counter, so you can look back at the history of all your resets and your streaks and you can gain valuable insights into your behavior.

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Let me see if I get this right… If iPhone is new Windows, then Apple Watch is the new Internet Explorer?


Thanks for reading.

The Objectively-Hilarious Edition Thursday, March 21, 2024

These Toddler Games For iPad Are Actually Good — And That’s All Too Rare, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

They’re made by Sago Mini, and every one of its games is just so goddamn cute. Some of them are structured as “play sets,” which are little interactive, open-ended cartoon worlds. Wander through a city or an airport terminal and you’ll find tons of objects to interact with, vehicles to drag and drop, and funny little Easter eggs all over the place. You can adjust the speed of an escalator to send a character flying into a ball pit, and if you open the door to a bathroom stall, you might find a pigeon sitting on the toilet. That’s just objectively hilarious.

Novelty Apps Are Trip Down Memory Lane Worth Taking, by Lucy Hallmark, The Reflector

Novelty apps have a place in today’s world. They may have once been a phenomenon of the early 2010s, but the humor from that age is not entirely lost. Downloading a novelty app is a nostalgic way to remember and honor the past. Whether that remembrance is through the sound of a censoring bleep, a digital fart or a fake beer, it is worth the trip down memory lane.

Apple In Courts

Apple Isn’t Living Up To The Letter Or Spirit Of Court Order In Epic Suit, Meta And Microsoft Say, by Lauren Feiner, The Verge

The amici say that Apple’s 12 to 27 percent fee on external purchases defeats the purpose of the new requirement since it’s only a few percentage points below what developers would otherwise be required to pay for in-app purchases. The external purchase fee could make it unrealistic for developers to even set up an external payments system, given that other transaction costs they might incur through that route could eliminate any of the 3 percent gains they’d get from moving away from Apple’s system. Plus, customers are unlikely to choose the external option if it’s the same price or higher.

What Did Epic Games Say To A Melbourne Judge That Made Apple So Mad?, by John Davidson, AFR

Informing Epic on March 2 that it was unilaterally terminating a software licensing agreement that would have allowed Epic to develop its own app store for iPhones in Europe (a decision Apple later regretted, and reversed), Apple’s lawyers wrote: “Moreover, a recent submission in the Australian litigation suggests that Epic Games Sweden AB is part of a global effort to undermine or evade Apple’s rules.”

“That’s quite an unusual thing to say or seek to leverage off,” said Justice Beach in the Melbourne courtroom, on day three of what is expected to be a 16-week trial.

Tim In Shanghai

Apple CEO Cook Opens New Shanghai Store In Show Of China Commitment, by Bloomberg

Cook emerged from the store at seven pm to thunderous applause from the crowd, shaking hands and hugging fans. His appearance capped a much-publicised jaunt around the financial hub and comes at a delicate time for Apple and its place in the world’s No. two economy.

The wider backdrop to Cook’s outreach includes fraying relations between the US and China, and Beijing’s attempts to assuage foreign investors spooked by regulatory uncertainty.

Tim Cook Flexes His Shanghai Trip On Chinese Social Media Amid Apple's China Crisis, by Hasan Chowdhury, Business Insider

Tim Cook is back in China again. This time, he's chowing down steamed buns on Chinese social media.

The Apple CEO is in Shanghai ahead of the opening of a new Apple store this week — but is making sure he takes the time to share select highlights of his trip to his 1.6 million-plus "fans" on the Chinese app Weibo.


Apple's New Manuals, Specs, And Downloads Page Is A Great Resource, by Jason Cross, Macworld

The new Manuals, Specs, and Downloads page will help you find all the info you need for any of the Apple products you own. It’s organized by product category and includes tech specs, user guides, info pages, and repair manuals (when applicable) for Apple products going back decades–even including tech specs for the old iMac G3.

The App Store’s Updated Purchase History, by John Voorhees, MacStories

There are more details on the new page than before, which makes it easier to review past purchases.

Apple Promotes Face ID In New iPhone 15 Ad Called 'Nice Try!', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In the 30-second video ad, an iMessage notification appears on a girl's iPhone 15 placed on a dining table, while she is in another room. Nosy family members attempt to unlock the device to read the message, but Face ID prevents them from doing so.


AI Is Coming To The iPhone–and It Could Change Everything, by Dan Moren, Macworld

I realize that AI is the current buzzword of the industry, and everything and its cousin is bragging that it’s powered by artificial intelligence these days, but this is where I’m hoping Apple can bring some sanity to the process. There are very legitimate uses for the technology and Apple has the opportunity to come up with ideas that none of us can foresee. That’s one of the places that the company traditionally excels, providing capabilities that seem at once obvious but also provide a potentially huge impact on the way we all interact with our devices.

It’s Time For A New AirPort, by Joe Rosensteel, Six Colors

It seems like a great time for Apple to sell a friendly 6E router.

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I don't know about everyone else, but when I was using AirPort Extreme back in the days, I did have quite a few problems with losing internet... So much so that I made a habit of switching off and turning back on the AirPort frequently.


Thanks for reading.

The Bearing-Fruit Edition Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Apple's MM1 AI Model Shows A Sleeping Giant Is Waking Up, by Will Knight, Wired

Yet a research paper quietly posted online last Friday by Apple engineers suggests that the company is making significant new investments into AI that are already bearing fruit. It details the development of a new generative AI model called MM1 capable of working with text and images. The researchers show it answering questions about photos and displaying the kind of general knowledge skills shown by chatbots like ChatGPT. The model’s name is not explained but could stand for MultiModal 1.

MM1 appears to be similar in design and sophistication to a variety of recent AI models from other tech giants, including Meta’s open source Llama 2 and Google’s Gemini. Work by Apple’s rivals and academics shows that models of this type can be used to power capable chatbots or build “agents” that can solve tasks by writing code and taking actions such as using computer interfaces or websites. That suggests MM1 could yet find its way into Apple’s products.

Why Is Apple So Focused On Vision AI?, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Think how it makes it possible for one person wearing a Vision Pro to enter an environment — any environment — and while exploring that space build a perfect digital replica of that place that can also be shared with others. Thing is, this tool isn’t just a dumb representation of the place; armed with vision intelligence, the resulting shared experience wouldn’t just look like the place you were exploring, with a few parameter tweaks to correct any errors, it would effectively be a fully functioning digital representation of that space.

This is useful in all kinds of situations, from traffic management to building and facilities management, but the capacity to build true-to-life, smart and intelligent representations of spaces also extends to architecture and design. And, of course, there are evident implications for health.

8 Google Employees Invented Modern AI. Here’s The Inside Story, by Steven Levy, Wired

Eight names are listed as authors on “Attention Is All You Need,” a scientific paper written in the spring of 2017. They were all Google researchers, though by then one had left the company. When the most tenured contributor, Noam Shazeer, saw an early draft, he was surprised that his name appeared first, suggesting his contribution was paramount. “I wasn’t thinking about it,” he says.

It’s always a delicate balancing act to figure out how to list names—who gets the coveted lead position, who’s shunted to the rear. Especially in a case like this one, where each participant left a distinct mark in a true group effort. As the researchers hurried to finish their paper, they ultimately decided to “sabotage” the convention of ranking contributors. They added an asterisk to each name and a footnote: “Equal contributor,” it read. “Listing order is random.” The writers sent the paper off to a prestigious artificial intelligence conference just before the deadline—and kicked off a revolution.

Approaching its seventh anniversary, the “Attention” paper has attained legendary status. The authors started with a thriving and improving technology—a variety of AI called neural networks—and made it into something else: a digital system so powerful that its output can feel like the product of an alien intelligence. Called transformers, this architecture is the not-so-secret sauce behind all those mind-blowing AI products, including ChatGPT and graphic generators such as Dall-E and Midjourney. Shazeer now jokes that if he knew how famous the paper would become, he “might have worried more about the author order.” All eight of the signers are now microcelebrities. “I have people asking me for selfies—because I’m on a paper!” says Llion Jones, who is (randomly, of course) name number five.

Apple In EU

EU's Vestager Warns About Apple, Meta Fees, Disparaging Rival Products, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

"There are things that we take a keen interest in, for instance, if the new Apple fee structure will de facto not make it in any way attractive to use the benefits of the DMA. That kind of thing is what we will be investigating," she told Reuters in an interview.


Vestager also warned companies against discouraging users from switching to rivals by disparaging them, saying this kind of behaviour could trigger an investigation. Apple has said some of its changes could expose users to security risks.


Apple Starts Rolling Out New AirTag Firmware Update, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new version of AirTag software build rolling out today is build number 2A73 and firmware version 2.0.73.


Apple Boss Tim Cook Visits Shanghai, With China Sales Under Pressure, by Beijing newsroom and Brenda Goh, Reuters

Cook said he spent the morning walking along Shanghai's historic Bund river with Chinese actor Zheng Kai and having a local breakfast but did not disclose what other plans he had for this China visit.

Apple Says 128GB Is 'Lots Of Storage' For iPhone Photos, But I’m Living Proof It’s Not, by Alex Blake, TechRadar

To be clear, I’m not accusing Apple of being devious or of misleading people. I’m quite aware that I am very much an edge case, and I don’t expect that the average iPhone user has anywhere near as many pictures as I do on their device.

But it’s still remarkable to see just how much space my images occupy.

Indie, Rocked, by Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge

Last year, in an appearance on Rick Rubin’s podcast, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor observed that over the course of his career, music has become more ubiquitous — and, simultaneously, less special. “I kind of miss the attention music got … not that I’m that interested in a critic’s opinion, but to send something out into the world and feel like it touched places.”

A little more than six months after Reznor observed that his medium’s cachet had been diminishing, half of Pitchfork’s editorial staffers, including its editor-in-chief, were laid off and the publication was folded into GQ. Pitchfork, for a time, was a kingmaker in the music industry — pushing bands on indie labels into prime discourse while older music magazines struggled to modernize.

Bottom of the Page

The iPhone in my hands right now probably contains codes that can directly install an app from a web page, and that app can further install other apps onto my phone. Even though I have no way to do that myself. But I sure hope there isn't a bug or two somewhere that someone else can exploit.


Thanks for reading.

The Increasingly-Complicated Edition Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Follow These Steps To Clear Space On Your Mac, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

I’ve arranged these steps in a particular order: I start with the easiest to perform, the most likely to help, and the least likely to lead you to delete something important. Later steps become more complicated and are more likely to require some thought to avoid erasing important data.


Depending on your goal, you don’t need to follow all these steps—think of them as a set of increasingly complicated recommendations instead of a mandatory series. It’s fine to stop once you think you’ve cleared enough space, remembering that the Finder probably won’t update immediately. However, error conditions caused by a lack of free space may disappear before the Finder’s numbers reflect reality.

How To Speed Up A Slow Mac, by Karen Haslam, Macworld

One of the most obvious things you can do if your Mac has slowed down is restart it. However, we understand that there will be lots of reasons why you don’t want to do that. Perhaps you don’t want to stop what you are doing and wait while your Mac restarts and the app you were using is reloaded. But restarting is usually the first fix for any Mac that’s slowed right down.


If right now shutting down and restarting isn’t for you – or that doesn’t work – there are plenty of other tips below to work through as you attempt to speed up your Mac.

Apple In EU

Apple Looking For A Solution To Prevent The Core Technology Fee From Bankrupting Free App Developers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

During a workshop event in the European Union today, Apple shed new light on how the Core Technology Fee plays into its compliance with the Digital Markets Act. In particular, the company acknowledged concerns that the CTF could ultimately end up bankrupting small developers who have a free app go viral.

Apple’s Still Thinking About The Core Technology Fee In Europe, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

I’m skeptical the entire CTF will end up discarded, but I do suspect that there will be additional carve-outs to come, especially for free/open-source apps (or perhaps Apple will greatly increase the amount of installs before the CTF is triggered, thus even more specifically targeting its biggest rivals). It’s been almost a week since the last changes, so keep your eyes peeled to see if a new batch is incoming.

European Commission Holds ‘Apple DMA Compliance Workshop’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

In other words, the EC has a problem Apple doing any vetting whatsoever on apps distributed outside the App Store. The EC will take care of making sure malware, phishing, scams, clones, IP rip-offs, and pirated apps aren’t getting through. This also means that apps distributed outside the app store will be able to use private APIs. One can argue that what Apple is calling “notarization” in its DMA compliance plan is actually just a less extensive form of app review, but without this step, Apple has no oversight over software distributed outside the store at all. That seems to be exactly what the EC is saying the DMA demands. I don’t think this is going to go well.


macOS Sonoma 14.4 Bug 'Destroys Saved Versions In iCloud Drive', by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

According to The Electric Light Company's Howard Oakley, users running macOS 14.4 that have "Optimize Mac Storage" enabled should be aware that they are at risk of losing all previously saved versions of a file if they opt to remove it from iCloud Drive local storage.

Humorous Apple Ad Highlights iPhone 15 Storage, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple's latest ad for the iPhone 15 models focuses on the device's storage, highlighting the 128GB of available storage space for the entry-level device.


Nvidia Is Taking The Apple Vision Pro To The Omniverse, by Mike Moore, TechRadar

The new Omniverse Cloud APIs will integrate with Nvidia's own Graphics Deliver Network (GDN), greatly streamlining the process of creating and generating 3D experiences to be visible on an Apple Vision Pro device.


RoamPod: Exploring The Untapped Potential Of A Portable HomePod Mini, by Niléane, MacStories

Complete with the AirPods and the HomePods, the RoamPod feels like an essential subcategory of audio products that Apple would have a lot of success venturing into. The fact that you can already get a taste of this experience by plugging the HomePod mini into a small battery suggests that this potential product isn’t that far-fetched at all.

‘Pachinko’ Creator Inks Overall Deal With Apple, by Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter

News of Hugh’s overall deal arrives as season two of the AFI Award-winning drama Pachinko is expected to debut on Apple later this year. The show landed at Apple in late 2018 with a sizable script-to-series commitment following a massive bidding war.

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Charging money is one of the easiest method to reduce spams and frauds and such. As the saying goes, if sending emails costs real money, we will not get that much spam in our mailboxes.

Of course, the whole email system will also collapse, so…


Thanks for reading.

The Sounds-of-Creatures Edition Monday, March 18, 2024

I Can't Stop Using This Free App That Uses AI To Identify Birds, by Ian Carlos Campbell, Inverse

The Cornell Lab manages the Macaulay Library, an archive of photos, audio, and texts about the avian friends we share our sky with and other wildlife in North America. Using a model co-developed with CalTech and trained on the images and sounds of those birds, Merlin can take a photo you snapped or listen to a recording and attempt to identify the bird you saw or heard and then connect you to more information about them.


Even in my short time using Merlin, I could see how a deeper investment in any kind of observation of the natural world could do that. It’s a “shift,” as Lund described it, to not seeing nature as background noise “but the sounds of particular creatures living their lives, with their own histories, and their own places to go.”

Apple Jing’an To Welcome Its First Customers Thursday, March 21, In Shanghai, by Apple

Apple today previewed Apple Jing’an, located near Jing’an Temple and Jing’an Park in Shanghai. The store is encircled by an exterior plaza that gives the community a gathering place for special events, as well as providing a one-of-a-kind shopping destination where customers can discover and buy Apple’s unparalleled lineup of products and services.


Located next to the landmark Jing’an Temple, Apple Jing’an is a must-see destination in Shanghai. Approaching the store through a grove of maple trees that line the upper plaza, visitors are treated to a stunning view of the temple. As customers descend down the stairs, they pass by terracing, double-curved walls that extend forward in a circle to form amphitheater seating that will host Today at Apple sessions specially created for Apple Jing’an to celebrate the community and its creators.

Apple In EU

Apple Says It's Complying With EU's Digital Markets Act Amid Criticism, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

"We were guided first and foremost by ensuring that we've complied with the law. And then second, that we did it in a way that was consistent with our values and consistent with the language that we've developed with our users over a very long period of time. And we think we've accomplished that," Apple's lawyer Kyle Andeer told the hearing.

"And I think we're focused on it from a user perspective. Now, it's not to say that we're not focused on the impact of developers, but I think from our perspective first and foremost, we'll be tracking very carefully what's the impact of all of these different changes on the user experience that we've delivered to our customers for 15, 16 years through the iPhone?"


Apple Is In Talks To Let Google’s Gemini Power iPhone Generative AI Features, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is in talks to build Google’s Gemini artificial intelligence engine into the iPhone, according to people familiar with the situation, setting the stage for a blockbuster agreement that would shake up the AI industry.

The two companies are in active negotiations to let Apple license Gemini, Google’s set of generative AI models, to power some new features coming to the iPhone software this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Apple’s New CarPlay Becomes Last Hope To Crack The Auto Industry, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company has to figure out how to rev up CarPlay’s expansion and turn it into a moneymaker, or it risks ceding the entire auto industry to rivals.

The Weird World Of Altruistic YouTube, by Matthew Haughey, A Wholte Lotta Nothing

What got me thinking about this stuff at all was finding people like Al Bladez, and thinking if you saw a scruffy guy cutting someone's overgrown lawn somewhere, and then you heard he did it for free but also gave the homeowner a thousand bucks and still somehow makes enough to support his family, you wouldn't believe it, but it sure seems to be happening here.

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Time will tell whether this is another Google Maps on iPhone or Disney+ on Vision Pro.


Thanks for reading.

The Long-Suffering Edition Sunday, March 17, 2024

The Future Of Public Transit Isn’t A Hyperloop Or A High-speed Train – It’s Your Smartphone, by Taras Grescoe, The Globe and Mail

In this bleak landscape, the recent rise of route-planning apps is a bright spot. Google has long allowed users to plan transit trips on its Maps app. The British-based company Citymapper and the Israeli-developed Moovit (which is allied with the navigation app Waze, intended for car drivers) also offer smartphone-optimized transit planning apps.

But my go-to app – the one that served me so well in Bologna and Saskatoon, and that I rely on at home – is the Transit App, whose simple and robust interface quickly answers the question closest to the heart of many long-suffering transit users: When the heck is the next streetcar, train or bus going to arrive?

Epic Games Takes On Apple And Google In Australia Over Alleged Misuse Of Market Power, by Josh Taylor, The Guardian

Two Australian federal court cases were put on hold in April 2021, pending the outcome of similar cases in the US. Epic Games, maker of the popular game Fortnite, has spent the past three years in a global legal battle against Apple and Google, alleging misuse of market power over the control they wield over their app stores.


Originally separate, the Australian cases have now been combined into a single monolith. Justice Jonathan Beach decided to hear the two cases and an associated class action at the same time to avoid duplication of witness evidence.


We Tried Out Adobe's Latest Design App —Here's How Its AI Changes Content Creation And Marketing Workflows, by Steve Clark, TechRadar

Overall, for the busy content creator, this app is going to be useful for quick turnarounds, light edits. It’ll fit neatly into the workflow. It won’t replace Photoshop or even the desktop edition of Express. But no matter how many AI-powered extras Adobe adds to it, it doesn’t want or need to be.


Apple's Larger Store At Canada's Square One Mall Opens Next Saturday, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

It has a significantly larger footprint than the existing store, which will allow it to better accommodate the heavy customer traffic at Canada's second-largest indoor shopping mall.

Apple With No AI Looks More Like Coca-Cola Than High-Growth Tech, by Jeran Wittenstein, Bloomberg

The company still generates massive revenues, but whether that can keep increasing at the pace investors have come to expect is an open question. Apple executives say they have big plans for AI, which bulls hope will help revive growth. But so far it’s hard to gauge its prospects.

All of which has investors wondering, if Apple’s AI dreams don’t come to fruition, what is the role of the shares today?

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On the other hand, I have not find a bus-arrival-time app in my city that I really like. Every app that I try -- including the one I finally settled on -- have something that doesn't work quite right for my brain.

I am tempted to write one for myself. But this is one app that probably requires running a bunch of servers in the background for things to really work well.


Thanks for reading.

The Reflect-Reality Edition Saturday, March 16, 2024

Scroll On: Why Your Screen-time Habits Aren’t As Bad As You Think They Are, by Pete Etchells, The Guardian

There are very real problems with the ways new digital technologies are developed and implemented, and often the decision-making processes involved drift quite drastically away from social responsibility. But I would argue that we are also spending a lot of time and effort worrying about (and researching) the wrong sorts of questions: asking whether screen time is good or bad, or how much screen time is too much, doesn’t really get us anywhere, because those questions don’t reflect the reality of how we use digital technologies.

Apple Gives Users A New Way To Browse Vision Pro's App Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

On Apple’s website, there’s now a dedicated “App Store for Apple Vision Pro” page with all the details about visionOS apps. You can see a rundown on new apps, browse curated collections and categories, view screenshots, and much more.

Apple In EU

Apple Worries DMA Has Lowered The Cost Of iPhone Exploits, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

I think this properly frames something about the DMA: regulation can be good for fostering competition while also being a step back for security. It’s a win-win for Apple to control the flow of cash and potential attack vectors. But the DMA doesn’t exist to satisfy Apple or strengthen platform security.

Europe Stakes Claim As The World’s Digital Cop, by Scott Roxborough, Hollywood Reporter

The DMA is already transforming how big tech does business in Europe, and given that EU digital laws tend to become global standards — what Anu Bradford of Columbia Law School has called the “Brussels effect” — Europe has become a testing ground for the future of digital markets, impacting everything from how video games are sold online to the information available for use in targeted advertising to the ease with which users can communicate between platforms and devices, whether its sending videos from an iPhone to an Android device or texting between iMessenger and WhatsApp.

Don't Let E.U. Bureaucrats Design Americans' Tech, by Jennifer Huddleston, Reason

This might sound like a boon for users. But in the long term, this sort of rule threatens to thwart future innovation by locking tech companies into government-determined feature sets that can be updated or improved only with regulatory approval. Rules like this turn bureaucrats into product designers.

The charging rules are a symptom of a larger problem. E.U. bureaucrats' "regulate-first" approach has been spreading beyond Europe's borders to impact American companies and American consumers. Unfortunately, many American policy makers seem to be looking to Europe as a model.


Walmart Resurrects The M1 MacBook Air As An Entry-level $699 Laptop, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Apple no longer sells the M1 MacBook Air as of earlier this month, discontinuing it and offering the M2 version of the Air as its entry-level model instead. But it looks like the M1 Air may live on, at least for a while—US retailer Walmart made a point of announcing today that it would carry and sell the M1 Air in its online store and at “select” retail locations for a much-lowered price of $699.

Piezo 1.9, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Rogue Amoeba has released Piezo 1.9, updating the “charmingly simple” audio recording tool with an overhauled audio capture technology.

iPhone App Memrise Is A Fresh Take On Language Learning, by Becca Caddy, iMore

You get to pick the conversations you want to master that are relevant to why you're learning the language and choose the level you want to start at. And the good news is that if you've been learning a language on another app for years and feel very invested, there's a feature that lets you set your level and import your streak from other apps.


Apple Researchers Achieve Breakthroughs In Multimodal AI As Company Ramps Up Investments, by Michael Nuñez, VentureBeat

Apple researchers have developed new methods for training large language models on both text and images, enabling more powerful and flexible AI systems, in what could be a significant advance for artificial intelligence and for future Apple products.

The work, described in a research paper titled “MM1: Methods, Analysis & Insights from Multimodal LLM Pre-training” that was quietly posted to this week, demonstrates how carefully combining different types of training data and model architectures can lead to state-of-the-art performance on a range of AI benchmarks.

Apple Must Face Claims AirTags Used As Weapon Of Stalkers, by Rachel Graf, Bloomberg

Apple had argued it designed the AirTag with “industry-first” safety measures and shouldn’t be held responsible when the product is misused.

“Apple may ultimately be right that California law did not require it to do more to diminish the ability of stalkers to use AirTags effectively, but that determination cannot be made at this early stage,” the judge wrote in allowing the three plaintiffs to pursue their claims.

Apple Reaches $490 Million Settlement Over CEO Cook's China Sales Comments, by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Cook had told investors on an Nov. 1, 2018, analyst call that although Apple faced sales pressure in markets such as Brazil, India, Russia and Turkey, where currencies had weakened, "I would not put China in that category."

Apple told suppliers a few days later to curb production.

Apple's Butterfly Keyboard Repair Program For MacBooks Is Nearly Over, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's long-running butterfly keyboard service program for MacBooks is ending soon, with only a few models still eligible for a free repair.

Below, we take a look back at Apple's butterfly keyboard problems that led to the program.

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Sometimes, when I am listening to audiobooks during my commute, I will always be playing a game on the phone too. I always thought that this was to keep my hands occupied, so that my brain can focus more on the book. I've just realize: this game is my fidget toy.

I definitely don't mind this screen time.

(What else am I going to do on a train? Watch the commercials on the train?)


Thanks for reading.

The Modern-Reproduction-Technology Edition Friday, March 15, 2024

Newspaper Cartoonists Rely On Digital Tools, But Not As You’d Expect, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

I expected that most artists producing daily cartoons would have made a partial or total conversion to drawing and producing their work digitally, thanks to the advantages in time and effort. Perhaps those who started working before the 1990s would largely stick to traditional media, but I reckoned even some percentage of them would have shifted over. But no. While they don’t draw digitally, they’re happy to leverage digital technologies in other ways.

The persistent use of liquid stuff on paper is partly because modern reproduction technology makes it just as easy to work in older media as with digital tools. The ease of scanning, or even taking high-resolution flat photos of analog work, outweighs the seeming advantages of an all-digital workflow for those who prefer the messy, unpredictable, and sometimes frustrating limitations of materials for the physical feedback, happy accidents, and familiarity they provide.

‘There’s Joy I Haven’t Felt For Years!’ How I Got Hooked On The Piano Craze, by Simon Usborne, The Guardian

What’s really smart is the way the app knows what I’m playing, by listening via my iPad’s microphone or by connecting to a digital piano via Bluetooth. So when I play the right, say, F-sharp, a green tick flashes above the note on the five lines of the stave, which also scrolls automatically across the screen as I play. I can select a section to repeat with one or both hands, and the scrolling pauses when I play a duff note or chord, allowing me to correct myself. A video runs above the scrolling stave of a real pianist’s hands in action.

Apple In EU

Spotify Says Its iPhone App Updates In The EU Are Getting Held Up By Apple, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Even after Apple was hit with a $2 billion fine in the European Union over years-old complaints from Spotify about its App Store rules, Spotify says Apple is stonewalling updates issued in compliance with that very ruling. In an email to the European Commission obtained by The Verge, Spotify writes that Apple has “neither acknowledged nor responded to Spotify’s submission” to bring subscription pricing information into the app, preventing it from updating the app at all for its users, even to put out fixes for bugs or add other features.


All MLS Matches Streaming Free On Apple TV App This Weekend, No Subscription Required, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

You won’t need an MLS Season Pass subscription to watch soccer this weekend. Apple has announced that all matches on March 16 and March 17 will be available to watch for free on the Apple TV app.

Hello Kitty To Make Special Appearance At Apple Union Square, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

To celebrate an in-game event for popular Apple Arcade game Hello Kitty Island Adventure, Apple is teaming up with Sanrio to have Hello Kitty herself visit Apple Union Square in San Francisco, California.

Admins See Snags As macOS Sonoma 14.4 Hits Macs, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

There appear to be a couple of snags in the latest iteration of macOS Sonoma that are upsetting to Apple admins: Some USB hubs are no longer recognized by the Mac and a popular command tool used to restart services on remote Apple devices is no longer supported.


I Don’t Care If You Force Close Your Apps, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

Once again, who cares? At this point I think more than enough people have shared The Good News that you don’t need to force close your apps, and I think it’s high time people stop being so worked up about people who still do it.

Apple Buys Canadian AI Startup As It Races To Add Features, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

DarwinAI has developed AI technology for visually inspecting components during the manufacturing process and serves customers in a range of industries. But one of its core technologies is making artificial intelligence systems smaller and faster. That work that could be helpful to Apple, which is focused on running AI on devices rather than entirely in the cloud.

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I'm tired, so all I have to say is good night (or whatever day-part you are in), thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow.

The Fighting-Back Edition Thursday, March 14, 2024

Why I’m Ready To Party Like It’s 1999…Again, by Jared White, The Internet Review

The Internet is going through a major upheaval. Mega-corporations are trying to box consumers into proprietary platforms. A frothy VC market chasing after the Next Big Thing is beginning to see major warning signs. Top operating systems vendors have gotten the smackdown for their monopolistic business practices, being forced to offer real choice for access to third-party browsers and other key software. A growing backlash against technology’s dominance threatens to stall the heady growth of the industry. The nerd set is fighting back against capitalist entrenchment, building new open infrastructure that respects user privacy and eliminates gatekeepers. A revolution is underway to make it even easier to publish on the web, push content and software features across networks, and find meaningful successful as an indie producer.

Wait, which decade am I describing here? The late 90s? Or now??

Exactly. 😃

Marking The Web’s 35th Birthday: An Open Letter, by Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Foundation

Three and a half decades ago, when I invented the web, its trajectory was impossible to imagine. There was no roadmap to predict the course of its evolution, it was a captivating odyssey filled with unforeseen opportunities and challenges. Underlying its whole infrastructure was the intention to allow for collaboration, foster compassion and generate creativity – what I term the 3 C’s. It was to be a tool to empower humanity. The first decade of the web fulfilled that promise – the web was decentralised with a long-tail of content and options, it created small, more localised communities, provided individual empowerment and fostered huge value. Yet in the past decade, instead of embodying these values, the web has instead played a part in eroding them. The consequences are increasingly far reaching. From the centralisation of platforms to the AI revolution, the web serves as the foundational layer of our online ecosystem – an ecosystem that is now reshaping the geopolitical landscape, driving economic shifts and influencing the lives of people around the World.

How Big Tech Rewired Childhood, by Ed Smith, New Statesman

Superficially, the smartphone appeared to act as a release for hyper-anxiety. More fundamentally, it was feeding those cycles of hyper-anxiety. Pretending to be the cure, the phone was closer to the illness. If I’d been a novelist, I would have found my opening scene: how we live today; what tech has done to people; our bewildered state.

Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at New York University, uses a social scientist’s tools to address this theme: how smartphone addiction has created an unprecedented explosion of mental illness, especially for the generation that entered teenage years when the devices became ubiquitous (in the late 2000s and early 2010s). Haidt argues that this cohort was effectively offered up to Big Tech companies like guinea pigs in a cruel case study. Back then, we lacked a clear understanding of what smartphones – and in particular social media – do to the teenage mind. Interweaving distressing analysis alongside practical advice, The Anxious Generation lays bare the lasting damage.

Apple In EU

Apple Adjusts DMA Plan To Offer Direct Download Of Apps From The Web (With A Big Asterisk), Custom Link-Out Screens, And Marketplaces Solely For The Distribution Of The Developer’s Own Apps, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So my gut feeling is that we’re seeing Apple adopt changes in response to unofficial feedback from the EC. If so, that suggests that the things Apple isn’t changing — like the Core Technology Fee — are either OK with the EC, or, if not, that Apple is willing to fight for them. Or perhaps we’ll be right back here with additional compliance plan changes every Tuesday for the next few weeks.

Coming Soon?

Apple Vision Pro Likely To Launch In These Nine Countries Next, by Aaron Perris, MacRumors

Apple will soon add 12 new languages to the virtual keyboard on the Vision Pro, based on code discovered by MacRumors. Right now, the Apple Vision Pro keyboard only supports English (US) and Emoji, which makes sense as it is limited to the United States.


Apple Sports App Receives First Update With MLB Support, NCAA March Madness Data, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Apple Sports app has received its first update since launching last month. With version 1.1 of the app rolling out today, Apple has made optimizations for NCAA March Madness, added support for Major League Baseball, and more.

Logitech’s Casa Pop-Up Desk Elevates Your MacBook For More Comfortable Computing, by John Voorhees, MacStories

By making it more comfortable to use my laptop anywhere, the Casa has enabled me to get away from my desk more often, which has been wonderful as the weather begins to warm up.

The Galactic Compass Is The Best App For These Dark Times, by Jesus Diaz, Fast Company

Our existence matters to the eternal cosmos as much as a grain of salt in the bottom of the Mariana Trench matters to you while you sip your morning coffee reading this inconsequential post. The coffee that was made possible by a long chain of human beings who brought it to you from some forest in South America, each of them trying to stay afloat in their own stories of love and hate, joy and sorrow, happiness, and suffering. And yet, albeit lost in this nothingness, we all share the hope to find our way.

Well, guess what, my fellow homo sapiens: there’s an app for that, too.


Here's How I Fight Procrastination, by Inès Dupupet, Her Campus

I can’t say I’m handling it with perfect grace; having so much work to do is really highlighting the flaws in my time management tendencies. And as I reach the mid-semester point, I really cannot afford to fall into the procrastination habits that I used to get away with so easily. Here’s how I’ve been trying to get myself together.


Apple Expands Innovative Restore Fund With TSMC And Murata, by Apple

Today Apple welcomed key manufacturing partners Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Murata Manufacturing as new investors in the Restore Fund, which is designed to scale global investment in high-quality, nature-based carbon removal while protecting critical ecosystems. Global semiconductor foundry TSMC will invest up to $50 million in a fund managed by Climate Asset Management, a joint venture of HSBC Asset Management and Pollination. Murata — an iPhone supplier based in Japan — will invest up to $30 million in the same fund. These new investments build on Apple’s previous commitment of up to $200 million for the Restore Fund’s second phase, bringing the total to $280 million in committed capital.

Apple’s Restore Fund Cultivates New Roots In The Atlantic Forest, by Apple

In South America’s Atlantic Forest, many suggest that life depends on a mother: the superior matriarch who provides for all. This is true for its plants and animals, and even the trees that tower above, reaching skyward to the sun while providing shade for the life that resides in their underbrush.

It is estimated there are 5,000 tree species in existence in the Atlantic Forest today. Of those species, two-thirds are threatened with extinction after centuries of exploitative, extractive practices. Restoring the rainforest — a potential 100 million-acre restoration area in Brazil alone — has been at the core of Apple-supported projects in the region, including one just inland from the coastal town of Trancoso in Bahia, Brazil, where one company is cultivating seedlings from mother trees, the most resilient trees from multiple species that have survived the rainforest’s destruction.

Epic Asks Judge To Enforce The Apple App Store Injunction, by Wes Davis, The Verge

Epic Games isn’t done with Apple. A 2021 ruling forced Apple to allow developers of App Store apps to link to outside payments, and Epic has now filed a motion asking Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to enforce her original order.

Epic says Apple’s updated developer policy that still reserves 27 percent of outside payments (or 12 percent for small developers) for Apple itself is still unjustified. Epic argues these fees are “essentially the same” as those the company charges for using its payments system.

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You know how everyone has been speculating that just because Apple named its first headset as Apple Vision Pro, there will be a non-Pro Apple Vision headset coming down to the road for the less-Pro customers. How it looks like, how it works, and how much cheaper it can go are questions that many have been asking out loud.

Well, I also noted that Apple named its EU-based pay-me-for-using-my-APIs fee as Core Technology Fee. Has anyone wondered if there are other technology fees coming soon? Just like developers have to request for certain entitlements in order to use certain APIs, will developers have to pay additional technology fees for some additional APIs? Like CarPlay Technology Fee, or Advanced-Siri-with-Generative-AI Technology Fee?

(Note that all developers worldwide already pay Apple additional money to use some of the weather APIs.)


Thanks for reading.

The Simply-and-Safely Edition Wednesday, March 13, 2024

If You Recently Bought An Apple Watch In The U.S., You’ll Likely Get Pulse Oximetry For Free, Provided That Apple’s Appeal Succeeds, by ip fray

What Apple needs is a successful appeal. Not all of Apple’s arguments are necessarily convincing, but some are better than others. There are some grounds of appeal any one of which would singlehandedly defeat Masimo’s ban. There are a couple that would have effect if both succeeded. Apple has multiple bites at the apple now.


Let’s assume now that Apple wins when all is said and done, or it doesn’t but the patents expire (late August 2028): at that point, Apple can simply (and safely) reenable the pulse oximetry feature. Maybe some of the affected Watch models won’t be updated anymore (especially if they have to await expiration, which is almost 4.5 more years away), but the more recent ones presumably will.

Apple In EU

An Open Apple Isn't Good For Anyone, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In a far cry from its usual major product announcements and declarations, which are generally comprehensive, Apple’s App Store policies in the EU will be a work in progress. The company will continue to make changes, incrementally, in order to address specific complaints. Policies will be announced, then revised, then rescinded. These shifting sands aren’t really good for anyone–it’s tough to build a business plan on them, and consumers in the EU will undoubtedly be frustrated too–but it’s the natural consequence of Apple continuing to draw lines in the sand, daring the regulators to cross, and then drawing yet another line and issuing another dare.

Brave: Sharp Increase In Installs After iOS DMA Update In EU, by Mayank Parmar, Bleeping Computer

Brave claims that this significant increase in users choosing Brave as their default browser is due to the new feature introduced by Apple to comply with the EU DMA.

"Monopoly defenders argue that the monopolies simply offer better products. But as you can see, when consumers get a clear choice of iOS browsers, they're choosing alternatives to Safari," noted in their Twitter thread.


Apple Issues Rare Single-App Security Update, by Jake Peterson, Lifehacker

On the App Store, Apple says GarageBand 10.4.11 is an update that includes "stability updates and bug fixes." However, according to Apple's security notes, the company specifies this update is for GarageBand apps on macOS Sonoma and macOS Ventura, and addresses an issue where processing a malicious file could lead to app termination or arbitrary code execution.

Taylor Swift Releases Clip Of ‘Cardigan’ On Apple App Store Ahead Of Disney+ Film Launch, by Chris Willman, Variety

Alas, any belief that Apple would be premiering the full clip of the song was not to be, as it turned out to be just a 54-second snippet… but better than nothing, for fans who have been hungering for the filmed song ever since it was a surprise omission in the original theatrical version of the movie.

Apple Offers Rare Gift Card Promo With Free Rewards In Clash Of Clans, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple is out with a new promotion and it’s a rare one. For those purchasing the company’s gift cards at select retailers, the deal offers 500 or 1,200 free Clash of Clans gems.

'Callsheet' Comes To Vision Pro For Easy Access To TV Show And Movie Data, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

I’ve watched a ton of movies and TV shows on Vision Pro in the past month, and I’ve found myself missing Callsheet on numerous occasions. With today’s launch, my long national nightmare is over, and I can always have quick and easy access to Callsheet’s treasure trove of data.

Why Meeting Bar Is A Game-Changing App For Busy Mac Users, by Ben Bowers, Gear Patrol

It’s a small and focused Menu Bar app for macOS that works in conjunction with your existing calendar tool to make joining, starting and remembering upcoming virtual meetings so much easier.

macOS Sonoma 14.4 Causing USB Hub Issues For Some Users, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Some Mac users who updated to Apple's latest macOS Sonoma 14.4 software release are experiencing connectivity issues with USB hubs and monitors with USB ports, with several reports of mice, keyboards, and other peripherals no longer being detected.


Why 'Economic Headwinds' Are Suddenly To Blame For Everything, by Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times

The economy stopped feeling like a precision machine in need of a tuneup, pointed surely toward growth, and started feeling more like an unpredictable journey to an unknown shore.

“Seeing the economy as a boat, one of those old galleons, or a three-masted schooner, tossed on the great waves of uncertainty and the waves of this roiling system makes much more sense to people,” Reich said.

It’s also “a wonderfully convenient way of avoiding responsibility” when things go sideways, Reich added.

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Today, I (re)learnt that when searching for answers on the internet, don't just take the first answer. Always search for a second opinion. Or a third.

(I ended up with a wild-goose chase of an error message that was, at best, misleading.)


Thanks for reading.

The Game-Changer Edition Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Apple Vision Pro Unlocks New Opportunities For Health App Developers, by Apple

“We’re thrilled to see the incredible apps that developers across the healthcare community are bringing to Apple Vision Pro,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “The imagination and drive of our developers, combined with the technical capabilities of visionOS, are igniting new possibilities for physicians, frontline workers, and even students, and we can’t wait to see what’s to come.”

Here are just a few of the apps currently available on Apple Vision Pro in the healthcare and wellness space.

Surgeons Use Apple's VR Goggles In An Operation For The First Time In The UK As They Repair A Patient's Spine, by Jim Norton, Daily Mail

A scrub nurse working alongside the surgeon wore the device to help prepare, keep track of the procedure, and choose the right tools.


Suvi Verho, lead scrub nurse at London Independent Hospital, said the technology was a 'gamechanger', adding: 'It eliminates human error. It eliminates the guesswork.

Apple In EU

Apple Will Allow Users To Download Apps Directly From A Developer’s Website, In Latest EU App Store Rule Change, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

First off, Apple says that app marketplaces can now offer a catalog of apps solely from the developer of that marketplace. [...]

Second, Apple is also giving developers a way to forgo the app marketplace route entirely. Later this spring, Apple will add a new “Web Distribution” feature that lets developers distribute their iOS apps directly from their website. This means that iPhone users will be able to go to a developer’s website and download an app, without using the App Store or any alternative app marketplace whatsoever.

Apple Bows To Brussels Over App Store In Latest EU Concession, by Javier Espinoza, Financial Times

As part of the latest changes announced on Tuesday, developers will also be able to offer their own apps on an alternative marketplace without having to be on the App Store and they will be able to offer promotions directly to their customers in whatever way they want. Both changes are effective immediately for customers in Europe.


EU officials are studying the first compliance reports of these companies to determine which will be the first to be subjected to infringement proceedings to force full compliance, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Once More Unto The Apple / Epic / European-Commission Breach, Dear Friends, Once More, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

To Apple executives, it might have made sense to cite in their correspondence with Epic their ongoing denigration of Apple’s developer terms, as evidence that Epic remains recalcitrant and untrustworthy. To almost everyone outside Apple Park, however — most especially (a) third-party developers who have been, for years, souring on Apple’s App Store policies; and (b) EC commissioners, who are ebulliently roasting Apple as a regulatory target and feasting on the resulting publicity — it looks not like a policy of “We’re not going to reinstate Developer Program privileges to a proven rule-breaker whose stated goal was then, and remains now, to break our control over our own platform”, but instead a retaliatory policy of “We’ll terminate the account of any developer who speaks out against us.

That Apple couldn’t see how this would play is on them.


Apple Maps Cycling Directions Expand To Belgium, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple Maps has expanded the availability of cycling routes in Europe by adding support for the country of Belgium.

Adobe Photoshop Elements Review - Updated For 2024, by Cliff Joseph, Macworld

One of the headline features in Photoshop Elements 2024 is Match Color, which is available within the FX panel in both Quick mode and the Advanced mode for experienced users. In Quick mode you can simply choose a number of presets that allow you to quickly change the colours and tonal balance within a photo, while Advanced mode also allows you to import your own photos and copy the colour settings from one photo to another.

Mimestream 1.3, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The release adds a private deep linking feature that allows the creation of links to specific email messages, along with an email address suggestion blocklist that prevents an address from being suggested.


Apple, Google, And Others Announce Speedometer 3.0 Browser Benchmark, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple in collaboration with other browser engine developers has announced the release of Speedometer 3.0, described by Apple as "the best way yet to measure browser benchmark performance."


Speedometer 3.0 takes into account the most common versions of popular frameworks including React, Vue, Angular, Preact, Lit, Backbone, and Svelte. It also features an updated set of simulated workloads to measure more of the work the browser does in response to user actions, such as painting and asynchronous tasks.


Apple To Expand Applied Research Operations In Shanghai And Shenzhen, by Xinmei Shen, South China Morning Post

Cupertino, California-based Apple plans to expand its research centre in Shanghai to support all of its product lines and open a new lab in southern tech hub Shenzhen later this year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. The Shenzhen lab is expected to boost Apple’s testing and research capabilities for its major products including the iPhone, iPad and Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, according to the company. The new facility will also serve to strengthen the firm’s collaboration with local suppliers, while providing support to all its employees in the region.

Apple Is Showing Its Growing TV Ad Ambitions As It Poaches Key Execs From NBCUniversal And Others, by Lucia Moses, Business Insider

These hires are the latest signs pointing to Apple's plans for an advertising tier. It had its biggest presence yet at last year's Cannes ad festival, the ad industry's biggest confab of the year, contrasting with its usual low-key presence at industry events.

Apple Has Begun Testing An AI-powered Ad Product Similar To Google's Performance Max As It Looks To Supercharge Its $7 Billion Ad Business, by Lara O'Reilly, Business Insider

In this new campaign type, advertisers enter their budget and cost per acquisition target, as well as the desired audiences and countries they want to reach. Apple's algorithm then automatically decides where best to place the brand's ads across the four available formats.

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I sure hope the EU is advising Apple -- and other gatekeepers -- on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable under DMA privately, and not having to resort to lawsuits to resolve things.


Thanks for reading.

The Deliciously-Here Edition Monday, March 11, 2024

The Art And Allure Of Awful Food Photos, by Maggie Hennessy, Salon

Capturing food is a way to teleport myself to specific, rich moments in time. What did the air feel like on my face that night in that city? Why did that bread taste so good? Who was I with at that restaurant, and what did we talk about? Where was I living at the time? As a storyteller, I will always feel compelled to document and share some of these experiences within my small sphere of influence. But lately I’ve begun saving more of life’s pure pleasures for myself too — deliciously here and then gone, sometimes to be forgotten, other times to be revisited in my album in all their grotesque, pixelated, unimaginative glory.


How Apple’s Advanced Data Protection Works, And How To Enable It On Your iPhone, by David Nield, Wired

Apple is fairly consistent in rolling out new security and privacy options for its users, and one of the latest to be pushed to the public at large is Advanced Data Protection. As the name suggests, it gives you more protection for your data—and it's something that the majority of iPhone owners should be enabling.

Feeeed Is A Reader App That Goes Beyond Tracking RSS Feeds, by Ivan Mehta, TechCrunch

“The impulse to take out your phone and just flick is so strong. I’ve tried to quit various social media apps at various times, and it’s never worked, so I thought: why not just embrace the urge to scroll, and redirect it to something valuable? I wanted a news feed for myself, on my own terms,” he said.

“The whole idea of a news feed for yourself, on your own terms is still key to understanding the app, I think. You pick what’s important and Feeeed reminds you about it. You can pick the icon, the tabs, the algorithm, the layout.”

I Was Sick Of Forgetting Files, But This App Lets Me Access My Devices From Anywhere In The World, by Alex Blake, TechRadar

As long as your target device is switched on, you can access it from anywhere, even on the other side of the globe. It’s especially helpful if you know your target device will always be on, such as if you want to grab a file off of a home server. In that case, as long as you’ve got Screens 5 installed everywhere, you’re never far away from your other devices.

Sixty Four Is A Beautiful System Design Toy That Reveals Something Rather Dark, by Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica

There haven't been many times in my life where I've wondered if this feeling I have is something that oil barons must have felt at the height of their Gilded Age powers.

But Sixty Four got me there. I'm still not sure I've ever played a $6 game that had me so fully engaged while also deeply disquieted about the nature of humanity.


Oscars 2024: Netflix Wins Just One Award And Apple Shut Out After Combined 32 Nominations, by Todd Spangler, Variety

Streamers narrowly avoided getting shut out at the 2024 Oscars: Netflix came away with just one trophy and Apple left empty-handed, after they garnered a total of 32 nominations.


Apple is estimated to have spent $215 million on Scorsese’s three-and-a-half-hour “Killers of the Flower Moon,” starring Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. It also shelled out some $200 million on Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” with Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, which was nominated for production design, costume design and visual effects and came away with zero wins.

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I am not a food person. Many-a-times, I don't actually remember what I ate in the last visit to a restaurant. What stays in my memory is the company I had, or the audiobook in my ears if I were dining alone.

But I am going to follow, somewhat, Maggie Hennessy's advice, and take more awful food photos -- or awful photos in general. As my memories start to fade away, maybe it is worthwhile to have a little reminder just for myself.


Thanks for reading.

The Reinforced-by-Law Edition Sunday, March 10, 2024

Privacy Is Not A Thing In Augmented Reality, by Matthew S. Smith, IEEE Spectrum

Ultimately, Godwin said the tech industry has a lot of work to do before users can “trust” companies with the data AR/VR headsets can collect. He pointed to other professional industries, like medicine and law, that have specific codes of ethics which, in some cases, are reinforced by law. It’s not enough for each company to set its own individual policies as they will and react to potential problems as they occur.

Base Model M3 MacBook Air Has Faster SSD Speeds After Controversy With Previous Model, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Max Tech's teardown video confirms that Apple has returned to using two 128GB storage chips for the new 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage, compared to a single 256GB chip in the equivalent model with the M2 chip. This change results in faster SSD read and write speeds in tests, as the two chips can process requests in parallel.


Voice Control Is A Great Hidden Feature In macOS That Gives You Hands-free Control Of Your Mac, by Kristina Terech, TechRadar

Even if it doesn't necessarily impact your accessibility, you can still try a different way of using your computer where you use your voice to control more, and your mouse or trackpad less.


The Browser Company Feels Gross To Me Right Now, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

But if you listen to them lately, namely their CEO, you’ll get a message from them that’s more like, “you know what sucks? The web! What if we piggybacked on Google’s search results, which we also say suck but are essential for Arc Search to function, stole every bit of writing other people have made and regurgitate it to you as a few bullet points?” The Browser Company seems to consider the ultimate goal to be people use Arc to ask questions and never see an actual website, they just see Arc giving them all the answers. They show links in their “browse for me” summaries now, but I get the impression they would like to get rid of those if they can.

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Today, while texting, Siri auto-suggestion gave me "it's", when it is obvious the correct word that it should suggest is "its".

Bad Siri. Bad.


Thanks for reading.

The Self-Indulgent-Presidential-Library Edition Saturday, March 9, 2024

I Am In Cloud-Storage Hell, by Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic

Public figures belong in the history books, but do the rest of us? I’ve long loved the web because, like space, its boundlessness evokes both excitement and possibility. But as the internet gets bigger and more unknowable, and as my own presence across it continues to grow, I feel that the opposite is happening to me—that I am becoming hyper-knowable, paying multibillion-dollar companies so that I may curate my own self-indulgent presidential library whose final purpose is unclear. An internet that once felt limitless and freeing now feels like a restraint.

Apple Just Hinted At Its AI Plans, And They Could Be Game-changing. Here’s Why, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

If Apple can enter the AI arms race while delivering unrivaled privacy and speed due to its chatbot and other advanced AI tools living on a user’s device, it will give the company a giant leg up over its competitors—something they likely won’t be able to match due to most Android phones and Windows PCs lacking chips that can equal the power of the iPhone’s A17 series or the Mac’s M3 series. It would also be very on-brand, not just for Apple, which touts its privacy stance every chance it gets, but for CEO Tim Cook, who frequently talks about the importance of being best, not first.

Apple In EU

Apple Reverses Move To Ban ‘Fortnite’ Maker From The EU, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc., facing mounting pressure from regulators in the European Union, has reversed a decision to ban Fortnite maker Epic Games Inc. from offering its own iPhone app marketplace in the region.


“Following conversations with Epic, they have committed to follow the rules, including our DMA policies,” Cupertino, California-based Apple said in a statement Friday. “As a result, Epic Sweden AB has been permitted to re-sign the developer agreement and accepted into the Apple Developer Program.”

EU official Thierry Breton “noted with satisfaction” on the social media site X that Apple had backtracked on the decision.

Apple Reinstates Epic’s Developer Account, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If Apple had just let Epic proceed from the start, they’d have looked magnanimous. They even had Tim Sweeney calling it “a good faith move”. But as it stands, Apple looks bitter, and from the EC’s perspective, in need of close policing.


Logitech Circle View Continues To Be One Of The Best Outdoor HomeKit Cameras, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The Logitech Circle View has been one of the prime examples of a solid, smart home camera built on top of HomeKit Secure Video. Boasting top-of-the-line Logitech TrueView video, this device offers an expansive 180° field of view and crisp 1080p HD resolution, ensuring every detail is captured with precision.

Three Tips To Combine BetterTouchTool And Raycast For Simpler Keyboard Shortcuts, by Niléane, MacStories

Lately, I’ve been exploring the idea of using Raycast and BetterTouchTool together. I found that I can combine the two to create some really simple keyboard shortcuts that would otherwise be impossible to make because they leverage Apple’s special keys on the Magic Keyboard.


Apple Jing'an Store Opening Soon – Grab The Gorgeous Wallpaper, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has teased the opening of a new retail store in China, Apple Jing’an. No date has been specified, but the company says it is “opening soon.”

It’s Time To Learn What ‘Core Sleep’ Actually Is, by Beth Skwarecki, Lifehacker

So why didn’t Apple use the same wording as everyone else? The company says in a document on their sleep stage algorithm that they were worried people would misunderstand the term "light sleep" if they called it that.


I really wish Apple had chosen another term, because the phrase “core sleep” has been used in other ways. It either doesn’t refer to a sleep stage at all, or if it is associated with sleep stages, it’s used to refer to deep sleep stages.

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I have no idea what will happen to my iCloud photo library after I am gone. Not that I can care anyway. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Improved-Persona Edition Friday, March 8, 2024

Apple Releases macOS Sonoma 14.4, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With ‌macOS Sonoma‌ 14.4, Apple is introducing new emoji characters and adding support for reading Podcast Episode text in full with search support. There are new features for Business Updates in Messages, along with a toggle for showing only icons for websites in the Safari Favorites Bar.

Apple Releases watchOS 10.4 With Fix For Ghost Touch Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There is also a Setting to disable the Double Tap feature on Apple Watch when using Vision Pro, and an option to double tap to show an expanded notification.

Apple Releases HomePod Software 17.4 With Music Preference Update, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With HomePod Software 17.4, Siri is able to learn what a user's preferred media service is, eliminating the need to set a third-party app as the default or include an app name when asking Siri to play content.

visionOS 1.1 Update For Apple Vision Pro Now Available With MDM Support, Improved Persona, More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

visionOS 1.1 introduces enterprise support for email, contacts, and calendar. This means headsets with mobile device management accounts are able to access work email just like iPhone and Mac.

Apple has also improved Persona, the beta feature that creates a digital version of yourself for use during video calls.

Apple Releases tvOS 17.4, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

We did not find new features during the tvOS 17.4 beta testing process.

M3 MacBook Air

Apple’s Efficient M3 MacBook Airs Are Just About As Good As Laptops Get, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The M3 MacBook Air is the laptop's first "boring" refresh in several years; the M1 Air kicked off the Apple Silicon era, and the M2 Air was a major design overhaul. The M3 version of the Air gets the 13- and 15-inch models on the same update schedule but otherwise doesn't rock the boat.

But that's fine, as it's a pretty good boat that doesn't need to be rocked. Even without active cooling, the M3 is a solid performer, handily beating the passively cooled versions of the M1 and M2 while using a little less power. The chip does throttle pretty quickly under heavy load, but not ridiculously so, and that's to be expected in a passively cooled design. The Air is not designed for heavy-duty workloads, though it is nice to know that it's usable for them in a pinch.

M3 MacBook Air Review: More Of A Good Thing, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

My reaction is pretty much the same as the one I had to the MacBook Pro: Apple hasn’t “cured” fingerprints. It is absolutely possible to put fingerprints all over the midnight MacBook Air. I managed to cover it in streaks in a couple of minutes. It might be a little more resistant than the old model, and it might be easier to wipe the surface clean, but after a day’s use, the M2 and M3 midnight Airs in my house looked more or less the same.

Text In LaTeX

Autogenerating A Book Series From Three Years Of iMessages, by Ben Kettle

But iMessage isn’t set up well for this casual browsing: when you try to scroll away from a search result, the loading is very slow. And the interface provides no way to jump to a specific date. I’d really like to be able to “flip through” my messages and stop at a random place for a view into that moment in time. Apple doesn’t provide a way to do that, so, I thought, why not enable it myself? I though it’d be great to enable this “flipping through messages” in the most literal way possible: by creating a physical book of my biggest conversation.

Apple In EU

Apple To Let EU iPhone Users Delete Safari And More Easily Transition To Android, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple is going to make it easier for iPhone users to switch over to another operating system in the European Union. Apple says it is working on a solution that will help mobile operating system providers create "more user-friendly solutions" for transferring data from an ‌iPhone‌ to a non-Apple phone. The solution will be available by fall 2025, after which point companies like Samsung and Google will be able to offer better tools for transferring data from an ‌iPhone‌.

EU ‌iPhone‌ users will be able to remove Safari from their devices entirely starting at the end of 2024, with an alternate browser able to take the place of Safari. As part of this plan, Apple is developing a browser switching solution for exporting and importing browser data into another browser on the same device. Apple has already began supporting alternative web browser engines, another DMA requirement.

Apple Clarifies How Long Users Can Travel Outside Of The EU Before Sideloaded Apps Stop Updating, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In an update to the support document, Apple now specifically says customers have a grace period of 30 days. So if you leave the EU for less than a month, apps downloaded from outside of the Apple App Store will continue to receive updates. [...]

Additionally, the grace period only applies to app updates already installed on your device. You must always physically be in the European Union to install new apps from outside the App Store or download new app marketplaces.

Apple Could Be The First Target Of Europe's Tough New Tech Law, by Morgan Meaker, Wired

German MEP Andreas Schwab, who led the negotiations that finalized the DMA on behalf of the EU Parliament, says that makes Apple a likely first target for non-compliance. “[This] gives me a very clear expectation that they want to be the first,” he tells WIRED. “Apple’s approach is a bit weird on all this and therefore it's low hanging fruit.”

Europe Gives Apple A Chance To Change Its Tune…but Will It?, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

In other words, good optics have paid off handsomely for Apple. But live by the optics, die by the optics. If you ask people to buy into the idea that you’re working toward the good, be prepared for the moment when they pull off the mask and are shocked to discover that you were a for-profit company all along.

Big Tech Howled Over E.U. Antitrust Law. The White House Declined A Rescue., by Eva Dou, Washington Post

The Biden administration sent two official letters of protest to Brussels raising concerns, but it stopped short of pushing the issue, people familiar with the matter said. There were differing views within the administration about whether it should be Washington’s role to rally around Big Tech’s business interests.


What drew outrage from U.S. industry is that five of the six companies subject to DMA regulation are headquartered in the United States: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google’s parent company Alphabet and Facebook’s parent company Meta. The sixth, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, is headquartered in China.


Apple TV+ Announces 'Friday Night Baseball' Returns March 29, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple and Major League Baseball today announced that "Friday Night Baseball" is returning for the 2024 season, which begins later this month.

Windows Migration Assistant Upgraded For macOS Sonoma, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

In addition to releasing the latest macOS Sonoma 14.4 update on Thursday, Apple also released a new version of its Windows Migration Assistant software for PCs to include compatibility with the latest version of macOS.

Uncovering The Hidden Joys Of Finding Hannah, by Apple

On its surface, Finding Hannah is a bright and playful hidden-object game — but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something much more.

The Hannah of Finding Hannah is a 38-year-old Berlin resident trying to navigate career, relationships (including with her best friend/ex, Emma), and the nagging feeling that something’s missing in her life. To help find answers, Hannah turns to her nurturing grandmother and free-spirited mother — whose own stories gradually come into focus and shape the game’s message as well.

The Best Habit Tracking App For iOS: Streaks, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

It offers everything you need to create good habits or break bad ones, features a great design that is very customizable, has some useful widgets, integrates directly with the Apple Health app for automatic tracking, and offers great support for Shortcuts.

PayPal And Venmo Launch Tap To Pay On iPhone For U.S. Businesses, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

PayPal today announced that Tap to Pay on iPhone is now widely available for businesses that use the Venmo and PayPal Zettle apps in the U.S., allowing them to accept contactless payments directly on an iPhone, with no additional hardware required.

NYT Games Debuts Redesigned App To Boost Discovery And Simplify Navigation, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

The NYT Games app is debuting a new redesign to help users discover games and track their progress more easily. The redesign comes nearly a year after the New York Times renamed its games-focused app from “NYT Crosswords” to “NYT Games” to better represent its growing family of games. The redesign, which features new game card designs and streamlined navigation, is the company’s next step in building out its gaming hub.

Pok Pok Montessori-inspired iOS App Launches Interactive 'Shapes' Toy, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

A new toy has landed for the fantastic Montessori-inspired iOS app Pok Pok. “Shapes” helps kids with fine motor skills, problem-solving, imagination, confidence, and more.


Apple Developing New Accessibility Features For iOS 18 And macOS 15, by Marko Zivkovic, MacRumors

Through our industry sources, MacRumors has obtained information on some of the key accessibility improvements Apple has in store for its userbase. Apple is working on several new accessibility features along with improvements to existing settings, both of which should be available later this year.

Apple’s Blockbuster Gamble: Was Spending $700 Million On ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon,’ ‘Napoleon’ And ‘Argylle’ Worth It?, by Tatiana Siegel, Variety

Unlike streaming rival Netflix, Apple sees the value of releasing films theatrically to raise their profile. “Killers” and “Napoleon” both enjoyed a 58% peak U.S. awareness score, according to NRG analytics, while “Argylle” had a 45% score. The company’s brain trust believes that making Apple TV+ the exclusive home for high-awareness theatrical movies brings added value for subscribers.

Yet neither “Killers” nor “Napoleon” moved the needle as much as many industry observers expected. “Argylle,” with its $200 million price tag, is an unmitigated disaster. No studio is better poised to absorb colossal budgets than Apple. But even Wall Street is wondering if the studio’s reported $1 billion annual spend on films would have been better served by pumping up the volume of product rather than taking a few nine-figure swings.

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Well, looks like this weekend is upgrade-all-my-devices weekend. Not that I can get all the features that are in these new releases. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Shaking-Things-Up Edition Thursday, March 7, 2024

Three App Creators Shaping The Future Of Education, Fitness, And Health, by Apple

Around the world, developers are building apps that break down barriers across gender, race, socioeconomic status, language, and physical ability.

In celebration of Entrepreneur Camp’s fifth anniversary, Apple spoke with alumni app creators whose apps are shaking things up in education, fitness, and mental health. All three women have participated in the immersive tech lab that invites developers from underrepresented groups to take their apps to the next level with one-on-one guidance from Apple experts, engineers, and leaders. Entrepreneur Camp underscores Apple’s ethos that apps for everyone should be made by everyone.

Apple Releases 19-Minute Takashi Miike Short Film Shot On An iPhone, by Patrick Brzeski, Hollywood Reporter

Apple had a surprise in store Wednesday for fans of Japanese manga and the always-stimulating, neo-noir cinema of Takashi Miike — a 19-minute short film made by the filmmaker using only an iPhone 15 Pro.

Titled Midnight, the mini-movie is an adaptation of a lesser-known work by legendary Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka. Much of the film takes place in neon-lit Tokyo at night, including a thrilling car chase sequence — a deliberate exercise on Apple’s part to showcase their device’s video capture capabilities in low lighting.

Apple In EU

Epic Says Its iOS Game Store Plans Are Stalled Because Apple Banned Its Developer Account, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Epic’s plans to release its own third-party app store on iOS in the EU could be in trouble after Apple terminated the developer account it planned to use. In a blog post published today, the company shared a letter sent by Apple’s lawyers, which called Epic “verifiably untrustworthy” and said Apple does not believe that Epic will comply with its contractual commitments under its developer agreement.

EU Regulators Seek Details Of Escalating Apple, Epic Games Spat, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Apple has been asked by the EU to explain why it prevented Fortnite video-game maker Epic Games from launching its own online marketplace on iPhones and iPads in Europe and whether this breaches EU technology rules, antitrust regulators said on Thursday.


"We are also evaluating whether Apple's actions raise doubts on their compliance with the DSA (Digital Services Act) and the P2B (Platform to Business Regulation), given the links between the developer programme membership and the App store as designated VLOP (very large online platform)."

Apple Explains Why It Terminated Epic's Latest Developer Account, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a letter sent to Epic, lawyers representing Apple said that Epic has proven to be "verifiably untrustworthy." Apple said it cannot be assured that Epic will follow the Apple Developer Program's terms and conditions in the future.

DMA Be Damned, Apple Cuts Off Path To Epic Games Store, Fortnite On EU iPhones, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

But Apple told Ars that Epic Games Sweden's access to a developer account was granted through a "click through" agreement that was not evaluated by Apple management. Now that Apple management is aware of that approval, the company says it has terminated that agreement following the same logic that led the company to by Epic for reinstatement to the iOS developer program.

Apple Terminated Epic’s E.U. Developer Account, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Epic seems to be arguing that Apple is forbidden from any sort of oversight over who runs an app marketplace under the DMA. If Epic can’t run its own game store marketplace, Apple isn’t complying with the DMA — that seems to be their stance. Common sense suggests that can’t be right. There’s got to be some sort of line a developer can cross that would justify Apple revoking their developer account. One can argue that what Epic did with Fortnite and in-app payments in 2020 doesn’t cross that line. But that’s not what Epic is arguing — they’re arguing there should be no line, and that Apple should not have the discretion to decide who can run — and keep running — an app marketplace.


Popcorn-eating-wise, I’m genuinely curious about Apple citing a U.S. court decision as grounds for banning Epic’s Swedish subsidiary from holding a developer account. What happens if the European Commission doesn’t see that ruling as applicable? Epic never lost a lawsuit to Apple in the E.U. So how is this going to pan out?

Apps And Vinegar, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds, and Apple’s policies are being tested. I hope it can get this right, yet press releases like this one gives me little reason to believe in positive results from Apple’s forcibly loosened grip on its most popular platform. And with the Digital Markets Act now in effect, those stakes are high. I never imagined Apple would be thrilled for the rules of its platform to be upended by courts and lawmakers nor excited by a penalty in the billions, but it sure seems like it would be better for everybody if Apple embraced reality.


A Few Months With Notion Calendar, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

I’ve been using Notion Calendar exclusively from the day it was announced, and I’ve become enamored with it. There are elements in Notion Calendar that have unlocked a new level of productivity for myself and our office, such as lightning-fast scheduling and instant Google Meet calls, or the ability to view a database right in the calendar alongside your events.

Notion Calendar isn’t the leader in any particularly calendaring category, but it’s an impressive first foray for the database app.

Photo Editor Luminar Arrives On The iPad And Vision Pro, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

One of the highlights of the editor is four AI-powered tools—Enhance AI, Sky AI, Structure AI, and Relight AI. With those, you can do a number of tasks like replacing skies, unlocking details, and relighting a photo with a single click.

Proton Mail Now Lets You Hide Your Real Email Address, by David Nield, Lifehacker

The latest feature to be added to Proton Mail is the option to hide your email address: That's where you set up an email alias to provide when you buy something or sign up for a social media service, while keeping your actual email address private.

PopChar 10, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Ergonis Software has upgraded its PopChar character discovery and font exploration utility—initially released in 1987!—to version 10 with a refreshed user interface, enhanced functionality, and streamlined app name (no more “X”).

iPhone-enabled Blood Glucose Monitor Without A Prescription, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The new device is geared toward non-insulin dependent diabetics, as well as anyone who may be at risk of developing diabetes.


How Apple Sank About $1 Billion A Year Into A Car It Never Built, by Mark Gurman and Drake Bennett, Bloomberg

Around the beginning of 2020, Apple Inc.’s top executives gathered at a former Chrysler testing track in Wittmann, Arizona, to try out the latest incarnation of the car the technology giant had been trying for years to make. The prototype, a white minivan with rounded sides, an all-glass roof, sliding doors and whitewall tires, was designed to comfortably seat four people and inspired by the classic flower-power Volkswagen microbus. The design was referred to within Apple, not always affectionately, as the Bread Loaf. The plan was for the vehicle to hit the market some five years later with a giant TV screen, a powerful audio system and windows that adjusted their own tint. The cabin would have club seating like a private plane, and passengers would be able to turn some of the seats into recliners and footrests.

Most important, the Bread Loaf would have what’s known in the industry as Level 5 autonomy, driving entirely on its own using a revolutionary onboard computer, a new operating system and cloud software developed in-house. There would be no steering wheel and no pedals, just a video-game-style controller or iPhone app for driving at low speed as a backup. Alternately, if the car found itself in a situation that it was unable to navigate, passengers would phone in to an Apple command center and ask to be driven remotely.

Apple’s 10 Biggest Challenges, From AI To China, by Nick Turner and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple, once the undisputed king of the technology world, is now under attack on many fronts.

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I don't buy the idea that Apple is better off releasing a 'regular' electric car first, while continuing to research and develop self-driving technologies. Apple is simply not interested in doing 'just' an electric car, and if they have release that, the results will show. And if the self-driving technology that Apple wanted to do never arrives -- which, on hindsight, we know it will probably not arrive anytime soon -- Apple will be forced to maintain a product that it doesn't want exist. That is a bad situation for everybody involved.


Thanks for reading.

The Three-Slowly-Filling-Dots Edition Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Apple Releasing iOS 17.4 Today With New Emoji, EU App Store Changes, Much More , by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iOS 17.4 is packed with changes including new emoji characters, podcast transcriptions, virtual Apple Cash card numbers, and much more.

Apple Blunts Zero-Day Attacks With iOS 17.4 Update, by Ryan Naraine, SecurityWeek

Apple on Tuesday rolled out an urgent software update to fix multiple security flaws in its flagship iOS platform and warned there is evidence of zero-day exploits in the wild.

Full Transcripts Arrive On Apple Podcasts, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple’s not just running that podcast through a standard transcription engine like the one I use to generate transcripts on my Mac, but one that’s been built to detect some detailed information about how the podcast is structured.

That’s important, because many modern podcasts use something called Dynamic Ad Insertion to insert different ads depending on where you are, who you are, and when you downloaded the episode. A traditional transcript file won’t keep sync with a podcast if the time codes of the ads keep changing. Apple’s engine should be able to detect the beginning and end of those ads and adjust its transcript accodingly, inserting a filler animation (three slowly filling dots that will be familiar to users of lyrics in Apple Music) until the podcast content resumes, at which point the transcript should pick up right where it should.

iOS 17.4 Lets Budgeting Apps Easily Access Apple Card, Cash, And Savings Data, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Alongside many other changes and new features, iOS 17.4 also includes a big change for personal finance apps. Starting today, budgeting apps can now access Apple Card, Apple Cash, and Apple Card Savings accounts information and import that data.

Apple In EU

iOS 17.4 Is Here And Ready For A Whole New Europe, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

iPhone owners in the EU will see different update notes that specifically mention new options available for app stores, web browsers, and payment options.

Parents Can Block 'Unsafe' Apps From Outside Of The App Store From Being Installed, Here's How, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

You can use Screen Time restrictions to disable installation of third-party app marketplaces entirely. You can also use Screen Time on your own device to configure the same setting for yourself.

iOS 17.4 Alternative iPhone App Stores Will Stop Working If You Travel Outside The EU, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The availability of functionality is geo-restricted to the EU only, and Apple has detailed for the first time how it detects this. But perhaps more surprisingly, it also turns out that existing app marketplaces you have downloaded to your device will stop working if you leave the EU for too long.

Apple Tweaks New EU App Store Business Terms After Developer Feedback, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that developers have a one-time option to terminate the new rule addendum and swap back to Apple's standard business terms, though there is a catch. Developers who want to change back cannot have distributed an app through an alternative app marketplace or have used an alternative payment processing method.


Developers who have been a member of good standing in the Apple Developer Program for two continuous years or more and have an app that had more than one million first annual installs in iOS in the EU in the prior calendar year can create a marketplace without the proof of funds.

Updates To App Distribution In The European Union, by Apple

As a result of the valuable feedback received, we’ve revised the Alternative Terms Addendum for Apps in the EU to update the following policies and provide developers more flexibility.

Spotify Will Show Pricing Options Outside Its iOS App In The EU — If Apple Lets It, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Spotify has already sent Apple its plans to introduce pricing information within its app. It’s up to Apple to accept or reject the proposal, and this time, the European Commission will be around to scrutinize the decision.

Experts Fear The Digital Markets Act Won’t Change The Status Quo, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

The European Union is attempting to loosen the grip that companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have over the digital economy. Tech giants targeted by the Digital Markets Act (DMA) — a law passed in 2022 aiming to make the tech industry less monopolistic — are required to remove unfair competitive advantages that have let them dominate their respective markets by March 6th.

But some experts believe the status quo is unlikely to shift. Many of these companies have announced compliance plans in response to the DMA, and for the most part, these changes — as one might expect from a plan crafted by the company itself — are unlikely to result in a loss of power. And then there’s Apple, which appears to be engaging in outright malicious compliance, leaving European developers at a disadvantage.


MacPaw's New App Helps You Remove Redundant Photos From Your iPhone, by Ivan Mehta, TechCrunch

MacPaw, the developer of popular Mac and iOS apps, has released a new iPhone app called CleanMyPhone, which helps users free up storage by removing duplicate photos and other unwanted images.


Updated App Review Guidelines Now Available, by Apple

The App Store Review Guidelines have been revised to support updated policies, upcoming features, and to provide clarification.

New App Store, iOS, And CloudKit Data Analytics Now Available, by Apple

Over 50 new reports are now available through the App Store Connect API to help you analyze your apps’ App Store and iOS performance. These reports include hundreds of new metrics that can enable you to evaluate your performance and find opportunities for improvement.


Oregon OKs Right-to-repair Bill That Bans The Blocking Of Aftermarket Parts, Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica

Oregon has joined the small but growing list of states that have passed right-to-repair legislation. Oregon's bill stands out for a provision that would prevent companies from requiring that official parts be unlocked with encrypted software checks before they will fully function.


Apple had surprised many with its support for California's repair bill. But the company, notable for its pairing requirements for certain repair parts, opposed Oregon's repair bill. John Perry, a senior manager for secure design at Apple, testified at an Oregon hearing that the pairing restriction would "undermine the security, safety, and privacy of Oregonians by forcing device manufacturers to allow the use of parts of unknown origin in consumer devices."

The MacBook Air’s Wedge Is Truly Gone — And I Miss It Already, by Victoria Song, The Verge

When I woke up today, I did not expect to feel any sort of way about a wedge. But looking back, a wedge-shaped Air was present during some of the most momentous parts of my life and career. Now that I can’t get another one? I’m going to hold onto this M1 Air for as long as I can.

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I live in a place where there probably isn't a lot of advertisers want to target with their podcast ads. I still do hear ads in podcasts, but these are mostly advertisements about other podcasts.

And, oh dear, so many of these advertisements are so bad, they actively discourage me from even want to sample an episode or two.

However, that's not the worst form of advertisement. I really hate it when partial or full episodes of different podcasts get inserted into the feed. Thankfully, not a lot of podcasts do this, but this will actively encourage me to unsubscribe from the podcast. (I have too many podcasts to listen, and too little time in a day. I can always unsubscribe from a podcast or two.)


Thanks for reading.

The Leverage-AI Edition Tuesday, March 5, 2024

New M3 MacBook Air Models Can Drive Two Displays, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

The M3 MacBook Air models can drive one external display at up to 6K resolution and a second display with up to 5K resolution… as long as you put the MacBook Air in clamshell mode by closing its lid. Of course, once you close the lid, you can no longer use the built-in keyboard and trackpad, so you need to provide those separately.


Apple also upgraded the MacBook Air models from Bluetooth 5.0 to 5.3, providing better connectivity, security, and audio. As with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3 has slowly been making its way into Apple’s products, and it’s good to see the MacBook Air lineup move on from the older version.

MacBook Air M3 Is Going All-in On AI — Here's What You Can Actually Do With It, by Mark Spoonauer, Tom's Guide

MacBook Air M3 owners will notice the biggest impact of this chip in apps that leverage AI. For example, the Luminar Neo app can sharpen images with amazing before-and-after results via its Supersharp AI feature. It can also minimize or remove motion blur. Other AI features include the ability to easily erase objects, expanding your background and more.

Another interesting AI Mac app is FreeChat, a native macOS app that lets you run a range of AI models and chat with them like ChatGPT or Gemini — right on your Mac. Note that these and other Mac AI apps will run on the M2 and M1 chip. You'll just get faster performance out of the M3.

Midnight M3 MacBook Air Should Be Less Fingerprint-y Than Before, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While the new M3 MacBook Air may look identical to its predecessor, there is one change for the midnight color. Apple says that the midnight M3 MacBook Air features a new anodization seal that aims to reduce fingerprints, similar to the space black M3 MacBook Pro.

M3 MacBook Pro Will Gain Multi-display Support In Software Update, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple has confirmed to 9to5Mac that a software update for the 14-inch MacBook Pro will gain the ability to drive two external displays with the lid closed. The feature will work identically to how it works with the new M3 MacBook Air.

Spring Is Here

Apple Releases New Spring Colors For iPhone Cases And Watch Bands, by John Voorhees, MacStories

As has become a tradition, Apple released new colors of some of its cases and Apple Watch bands today. The new Silicone Case colors are Soft Mint, Sunshine, Light Blue, and Pink and come in all iPhone 15 model sizes. No new colors are available for the FineWoven cases.

All-New Apple Watch Hermès 'Tricot' Knitted Band Released, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple describes the Tricot Single Tour as "a knitted textile band that comfortably hugs the wrist like a glove." It is available as a single tour band only.

Apple In EU

Will Big Tech Agree To Play By Europe’s Rules?, by Javier Espinoza, Financial Times

This week brings a pivotal moment. The six gatekeepers — Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft — were given until March 7 to show they are obeying the rules.

But even if they can, there is little evidence yet to suggest that the law is having the desired effect. Industry groups representing travel apps such as Airbnb and, and entertainment apps like Spotify and Deezer, complain the tech companies are focused on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of it, and it is having no meaningful impact on their businesses.

How Much Does Spotify Really Pay Apple?, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

I get it – saying “Spotify pays Apple nothing” is a much stronger lobbying position than “Spotify pays Apple just $99 a year, the same as every other developer”. But only if it is, you know, true. And Apple makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year from charging that fee to developers as standard, which complicates the narrative that the App Store is only funded by commission on sales.


I tried asking Apple how they squared this, and a spokesperson repeated the claim that Spotify paid $0 to Apple. When I asked if I could explicitly write that “Apple claimed that Spotify is not charged the developer fee”, though, the company stopped replying to my emails. Spotify had no such bashfulness, and confirmed that they pay the fee like all major developers.


Acorn 7.4.4, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Flying Meat has issued Acorn 7.4.4 with the new Super Resolution ML resizing feature, enabling you to increase the size of an image up to 4x using machine learning.

Affinity Designer, Photo, And Publisher 2.4, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher receive the Layer States feature (already in Affinity Photo) for controlling design variations, enabling you to capture the current layer visibility across your document and create queries to make a selection or toggle the visibility of layers.

FastScripts 3.3.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Red Sweater Software released FastScripts 3.3 with new Mouse Automation scripting additions for moving, clicking, and dragging the mouse.


Southeast Asia’s First Apple Developer Center Opens In Singapor, by Apple

Southeast Asia is home to hundreds of thousands of developers behind more than 90,000 apps on the App Store. To support this thriving ecosystem, today Apple opened its first Developer Center in Singapore, offering developers in the region even greater access to Apple experts and support to learn about the latest Apple technologies and resources to take their apps and games to the next level. Located in Singapore’s one-north district, an innovation hub home to numerous startups and leading technology firms, this new facility joins Developer Center locations in Cupertino, Bengaluru, and Shanghai.

It’s Time To Give Up On Email, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

I encourage you to confront the simple truth that email’s present and degenerate state could not have been avoided. It’s better to accept that no good end could ever have come of the technology—or that, like nuclear energy, its benefits would have always been weighed down by the risks of ghastly misappropriation. Holding this position frees you from the belief that email has been victimized by someone else’s bad decision making, or that the system can be fixed, gamed, optimized, or perhaps replaced. This is step one of your email exorcism.

MacPad: How I Created The Hybrid Mac-iPad Laptop And Tablet That Apple Won’t Make , by Federico Viticci, MacStories

In researching keyboard options for the Vision Pro, I ended up building the convertible Apple laptop-tablet that I so desperately want the company to make.

Let me explain how.

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For work, I definitely still very much prefer emails to any other forms of communications. I can forward emails, I can file emails, I can search emails, and I can turn emails into to-do items. But I can't do diddly-squat with chats and text messages.


Thanks for reading.

The Cheaper-Alternative Edition Monday, March 4, 2024

Apple Hit With First Ever EU Fine Following Spotify Complaint, by Jon Porter and Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

In a press release on Monday, the EU Commission said its investigation found that “Apple bans music streaming app developers from fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app,” in addition to preventing app providers from sharing instructions on how to subscribe to such offers.

“For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy. “They did so by restricting developers from informing consumers about alternative, cheaper music services available outside of the Apple ecosystem. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules, so today we have fined Apple over €1.8 billion.”

Apple Hit With €1.8bn Fine For Breaking EU Law Over Music Streaming, by Javier Espinoza, Financial Times

Apple said it would appeal against the decision, signalling years of legal fights in EU courts.

It said the commission had reached its decision despite failing to “uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm”, adding that Brussels’ reasoning “ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast”.

The App Store, Spotify, And Europe’s Thriving Digital Music Market, by Apple

It takes continuous effort and a lot of investment for Apple to make the tools, the technology, and the marketplace that Spotify uses every day. We’ve even flown our engineers to Stockholm to help Spotify’s teams in person. And the result is that when a user opens the Spotify app, listens to music on their commute, or asks Siri to play a song from their library, everything just works. And again — Spotify pays Apple nothing.


Instead, Spotify wants to bend the rules in their favor by embedding subscription prices in their app without using the App Store’s In-App Purchase system. They want to use Apple’s tools and technologies, distribute on the App Store, and benefit from the trust we’ve built with users — and to pay Apple nothing for it.

In short, Spotify wants more.

Wrong Horse

Why Was Apple Car Canceled? The Hubris In Apple Thinking It Could Outdo Tesla, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

According to someone involved in the decision making, it was as if Apple had tried to skip all the early iPhone models and jump right to the iPhone X. Instead of just planting a flag in the ground with a good-enough car (with an Apple user interface, slick Jony Ive-designed interior and exterior, and an iPhone-like buying experience), the company bet everything on the wrong horse: autonomy.

There were other major problems as well. That includes the project’s cost and the inevitably hefty price tag for consumers, as well as the razor-thin (or nonexistent) profit margins that a car might ultimately yield. All of this was compounded by indecisiveness among Apple’s executive team and the inherent production challenges in manufacturing a car. But ultimately it was the hubris that cursed the effort.

Crash Of The Titan: A Short History Of Apple’s Doomed Car Project, by Wes Davis, The Verge

Project Titan was obvious from the outside — from automotive industry hiring to heavily documented, public testing of self-driving cars, there was no way it could stay a secret. But the company still tried to preserve the mystery — when CEO Tim Cook was asked about the project on an investor call in 2016, he responded with cryptic talk about how exciting Christmas Eve is, adding that “it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while.”


Bookish Diversions: Do Audiobooks Count?, by Joel J Miller, Miller's Book Review

But what about the other digital device that debuted in 2007? That’s the year Steve Jobs first held the iPhone aloft for the world to see. Not only have the iPhone and other smartphones bolstered the distribution of ebooks, thanks to a range of ebook apps, but they’ve also led to the explosion of audiobook sales.

Pedal To The Metal, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

So should Apple put the pedal to the metal and iterate as quickly as they can on the Vision Pro hardware? Absolutely. They need to keep their edge over the competition, and they need to iron out the technical limitations that the current model has quickly to make this a more compelling device for the masses. Apple history dictates that the first generation of new product lines actually age poorer than the models that follow (Watch Series 0 and the first iPad really spring to mind here), and I see no reason why that won’t be the case again here. Expect the next Vision Pro in 2025, and expect it to make some real strides over what we have today.

Banks Call For Crackdown On Apple Over Claims It Stockpiles British Spending Data, by James Titcomb, The Telegraph

Major banks have called for a crackdown on Apple over claims the tech giant’s access to millions of iPhone users’ transactions will give it an unfair advantage as it pushes further into financial services.


Last year, Apple began allowing iPhone users to see their bank account transactions and balances through the Wallet app, taking advantage of the open banking protocol pushed through by regulators that allows bank accounts to be linked to other apps.

Apple Is Right Not To Rush Headlong Into Generative AI, by The Economist

Yet you do not have to be a true believer to see why Apple may be right to take its time. First, there will be more to gen AI than chatbots. They appear to be a revolutionary technology. But so far they are just a better (and accident-prone) way of putting in a query and getting an answer. That is not Apple’s forte. “They are features, not products,” as Horace Dediu, an expert on Apple, puts it. Nor does Apple compete with other tech giants, such as Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet, to run cloud-computing platforms with large language models (LLMs) on which other firms can build gen-AI apps. Instead of relying on cloud services, it seems to be working on ways to embed gen AI in its own devices, bolstering its ecosystem. Since 2017 it has been using homemade chip technology called neural engines to handle machine-learning and AI functions that its gadgets use behind the scenes.

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I'm not sure if Apple was ever interested in making EV cars. What had gotten Apple excited, instead, was the self-driving technology. The electric-powered aspect was just what was expected for all carmakers.

Asking Apple to first figure out how to make an electric car without self-driving will probably result in something that isn't good. It will just be like many of Apple other products where you can straightaway tell Apple's heart isn't in them.


Thanks for reading.

The Premium-Marques Edition Sunday, March 3, 2024

Future Of Apple CarPlay: Why Tech Giant Is Now Working With Car Firms, by Autocar

Working with Porsche and Aston Martin gives Apple two premium marques to showcase CarPlay as a more enhanced platform. Apple may limit the customisation it offers just to premium marques in the short term so that there's an air of exclusivity about things, but by working with heritage brands initially, Apple could be aiming to whet the appetite of the rest of the automotive industry, which will surely be wanting to offer that to customers too.

Did Apple Just Make A Gambling App?, by Jacob Stern, The Atlantic

If Apple doesn’t see sports gambling as a vice, though, maybe that’s because America no longer sees it as a vice. Only in 2018 did the Supreme Court let states allow online sports betting. Now it has become so normalized that commentators regularly discuss betting lines, throwing around lingo about “parlays” and “prop bets.” Entire TV shows and podcasts are devoted to gambling. ESPN now has its own betting service. Sports betting has eaten sports alive, and not without consequence: Calls to gambling-addiction hotlines are way up since 2018. Even before releasing the Sports app, Apple has quietly abetted this.


Swayy App Lets You Share Your Future Location With Close Friends, Or Groups You Curate, by Mike Butcher, TechCrunch

Swayy is an iPhone app startup that allows you to share not your current location, but your next intended location. That could be either in a couple of hours in the future, or even weeks or months away.

So why on earth would anyone want to do that?

Well, as founder Daneh Westropp told me, the advantage is that instead of having to “constantly coordinate with your friends via text or phone calls, the app lets your followers know where you’ll be next and allows them to figure out if they can sort of ‘serendipitously co-locate’ with you.”

This App Helps Me Learn To Chill Like A True Zen Master, by Richard Sibley, TechRadar

What separates The Way from other meditation apps is that it is really a course or a journey - you follow The Way - a literal illustrated path in the app. Along the path, are different retreats, each one delving a little deeper into meditation with different sessions giving a step-by-side approach.


TinyLetter Had A Big Moment, by Kevin Nguyen, The Verge

Before there was Substack, and long before the word “creator” was used with any kind of seriousness, there was a small newsletter tool that captured a moment: TinyLetter. Appropriately humble in name, TinyLetter was light on features and heavy on focus. The canvas was a blank text box; the platform itself the most bare-bones way to send a bunch of emails. Publishing on TinyLetter meant stories would never be loud, go viral, or make any money. But this quietness was a strength, and for a brief era — I’d estimate 2012 to early 2016 — TinyLetter was where some of the most compelling writing was happening on the internet.

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Sports is entertainment. And the athletics are entertainers. And now sports is gambling. And the athletics are… dice and cards and tiles?


Thanks for reading.

The Security-Architecture Edition Saturday, March 2, 2024

iOS 17.4 Won't Remove Home Screen Web Apps In The EU After All, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With today’s announcement, Apple has reversed course and said that Home Screen web apps will continue to exist as they did pre-iOS 17.4 in the European Union. “This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS,” Apple explains today.

Apple Now Says Never Mind, Progressive Web Apps Will Continue To Work In WebKit In The E.U., by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

A more likely explanation is that the DMA is complicated and Apple is still figuring out what changes it mandates in iOS. This is a big package of legislation that needs interpretation. Apple’s lawyers now seem to think PWAs can still be WebKit-only. Whether regulators will agree is something we will find out when iOS 17.4 is released and, at the same time, whether Apple was correct to blame the law.

Apple On EU iOS Changes: Has Done Its Best But DMA Makes Users Less Safe, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Ahead of iOS 17.4 launching for the public with all the major updates in the EU, Apple has published a 60-page whitepaper covering everything that’s changing. It includes details on all the ways it’s working to ensure security and privacy.

Number Of Agencies Have Concerns About 'Sideloading' On iPhone, Apple Says, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

"These agencies - especially those serving essential functions such as defense, banking, and emergency services - have reached out to us about these new changes," Apple said in a guidance paper.

It said the agencies wanted assurances that they would be able to prevent government employees from sideloading apps onto government-purchased iPhones and that several said they planned to block sideloading on every device they manage.

Spotify And Epic Criticize Apple’s iOS Changes As “A Mockery Of The DMA”, by Emma Roth, The Verge

“Apple’s new terms do not allow for sideloading and make the installation and use of new app stores difficult, risky and financially unattractive for developers,” the letter states. “Rather than creating healthy competition and new choices, Apple’s new terms will erect new barriers and reinforce Apple’s stronghold over the iPhone ecosystem.” The companies urge the European Commission to take action against Apple “to guarantee the DMA remains both credible and delivers competitive digital markets.”


Apple Launches Big Discounts On Beats Earphones, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple's Beats brand has launched a significant new sale on several models of headphones and earphones, with the sale pricing available to both Apple and third-party retailers.

If You've Never Managed To Meditate This iPhone App Might Help, by Becca Caddy, iMore

Balance is a meditation app that may look incredibly simple thanks to its super minimal design, but it's packed with loads of different guided meditations, long meditation plans, soundscapes and much more.

Spotify’s New Audiobook Tier Will Only Save You A Dollar Over Premium, by Mia Sato, The Verge

The monthly subscription costs $9.99 and includes 15 free listening hours of audiobooks, the same as the classic Premium plan. But $10.99 Premium subscribers get 15 hours of audiobooks, plus ad-free music and podcasts — whereas the audiobook plan still has ads for music and podcast services. Essentially, audiobook listeners are paying nearly the same amount while getting half the benefits.


RIP Apple Car: Not All Gambles Pay Off, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple made a bet. Maybe the odds were bad. The bet was probably too large. And Apple threw some good money after bad in the hopes of chasing a jackpot. You win some, you lose some.

When it comes to planning the future, the only thing worse than making some bad bets is making no bets at all.

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You know what all these remind me? The whole internet-explorer-is-part-of-Windows thing two decades ago. I still think Microsoft was right -- to an extend. But, on hindsight, what was missing was the differentiation between Internet Explorer the program, and Internet Explorer the HTML rendering engine.

Of course, the HTML rendering engine has to be part and parcel of the operating system; just like (almost) all operating systems render text and images and videos.


Thanks for reading.

The Tools-and-Parts Edition Friday, March 1, 2024

Apple’s Self-repair Program Now Includes M3-powered Macs, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Apple has expanded its Self Service Repair program to include the MacBook Pro and iMac models powered by its M3 processor. That means users with the company’s latest Mac hardware can now access the tools, parts, and repair manuals they need to fix their devices from Apple’s self-repair website.

MacPaw Announces 'Setapp Mobile' App Store Coming To The EU In April, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Ahead of iOS 17.4 being released in March, MacPaw has announced its plans to offer an alternative app marketplace in the EU. According to the company, it will launch a beta version of Setapp Mobile in the EU in April.


On the Mac, Setapp is a popular app subscription platform that gives users access to dozens of third-party apps for one $9.99 per month subscription. The new changes in iOS 17.4 mean that Setapp can offer a very similar experience on iPhone.


Vision Pro App Spotlight: Status Bar Builder’s Key Is Customization Combined With Simplicity, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app allows you to build status bars, which are narrow, horizontal windows reminiscent of the Mac’s menu bar that you can place around your environment. Status bars come in three text sizes and can have no background, be translucent, or use a colored background.

This Gorgeous Mac App Game Is Like Stepping Into Another World, by Becca Caddy, iMore

Luna The Shadow Dust is an animated point and click puzzle adventure game that delivers a magical gameplay experience as you navigate a young boy and his companion through an enchanted world as they have to solve puzzles.


Apple Greenlights New Sci-Fi Drama Series ‘Neuromancer’ Based On William Gibson Novel, by Rosy Cordero, Deadline

Apple TV+ has greenlit the new science fiction series Neuromancer, a 10-episode drama based on William Gibson’s debut novel of the same name. A co-production between Skydance Television and Anonymous Content, Neuromancer will also be produced by Drake’s DreamCrew Entertainment.

The Internet Turned Into A Crowded Mall. Now You Need A Corner Shop., by Matthew Guay, Pith & Pip

But as much as tech is interesting for its own sake, as much as it’s made our current lives possible, it’s people who are actually interesting. And limitations. You meet people at a slow, local coffee shop or a conference in a way you never would in an airport or mall. We love an open-world game, the freedom to do anything, but maybe we need the boundaries of a path to guide us, a bit.

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If you build a web site, remember you are not building for a particular browser or even a particular operating system. And by nature being a web site -- no matter what your web site is doing and how your web site looks like -- you have to remember you are on the web platform. That means your customers should be able to visit your web site from any browser from any device -- perhaps with a login -- and continue using your web site. Graceful degradation is a key philosophy of the web.

So, if your customer deletes your little home screen icon on a particular operating system, and instead visits your web site via a 'traditional' web browser, and your customer loses data -- the problem is with you the web site, not the customer, not the web browser company, and not the operating system company.


Just like a Windows app should not pretend to be a Mac app (I'm looking at you, iTunes), a web app should not pretend to be anything but a web app.


Thanks for reading.