Archive for April 2024

The Holistic-Software-Architecture Edition Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Mercedes-Benz Won’t Let Apple CarPlay Take Over All Its Screens, by Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge

“The short answer is no,” Ola Källenius told The Verge’s Nilay Patel in response to a question about whether Mercedes-Benz will enable Apple CarPlay to take over all the screens inside its vehicles. Instead, he touts the need for a “holistic software architecture” to meet the needs of customers who are increasingly looking for a better technology experience from their vehicles.


Is iCloud Keychain The Best Option To Look After Your Passwords?, by Martyn Casserly, Macworld

If you use only Apple products, and intend to do so in the years ahead, then iCloud Keychain is quite a tempting service. It features good security, lives on the operating system of your devices, and seamlessly integrates with how you use your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Journey Nexa Review: The Best MacBook Sleeve I've Ever Used, by Eugen Wegmann, Macworld

If you work on the go a lot, the Journey Nexa is a fantastic protective laptop sleeve for your MacBook–provided you are willing to pay its price. The workmanship is outstanding, and there are two integrated wireless chargers for the iPhone and AirPods. A matching USB-C cable is included, but the case has no additional storage space for it or any other accessories. To get the maximum charging power out of it, you will also need an additional power supply or one with multiple ports.


Emulate All The Things, Apple, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What are we waiting for? Let’s emulate all the things. The more Apple can do to make this a reality, the better.

Epic Games To Bring Fortnite To iPad In EU After iPadOS 'Gatekeeper' Decision, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Epic Games is already working to release an ‌iPhone‌ version of Fortnite in the EU, with the game set to be available from the forthcoming ‌Epic Games‌ Store, an alternative app marketplace. The ‌iPhone‌ version of Fortnite is coming "soon," and an ‌iPad‌ version will follow "this year."

Apple Targets Google Staff To Build Artificial Intelligence Team, by Michael Acton, Financial Times

Apple has poached dozens of artificial intelligence experts from Google and has created a secretive European laboratory in Zurich, as the tech giant builds a team to battle rivals in developing new AI models and products.

According to a Financial Times analysis of hundreds of LinkedIn profiles as well as public job postings and research papers, the $2.7tn company has undertaken a hiring spree over recent years to expand its global AI and Machine Learning team.

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Is Apple going to announce something big with the iPad next week? It sort of make sense, doesn't it, given that the company didn't bring out any new iPads over the past year and a half, so it must be doing something really big, eh?

To avoid disappointment, I will suggest we lower our expectations. It may just be a regular delay. Or maybe, like how it moved engineers from Mac OS X to iOS that last time, have to prioritize shipping the Vision Pro computer over iPad Pro tablets.


Thanks for reading.

The Important-Gateway Edition Monday, April 29, 2024

Apple’s iPad Hit By EU’s Digital Dominance Crackdown, by Samuel Stolton, Bloomberg

The EU’s decision to draw iPad under the scope of the DMA will ensure that fairness and competition are preserved, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. She said that despite not meeting all the thresholds for being earmarked, an investigation showed that “iPadOS constitutes an important gateway on which many companies rely to reach their customers.”


An Apple spokesperson said that the company remains focused on delivering for European consumers, “while mitigating the new privacy and data security risks the DMA poses.”

The EU Tries To Catch A Falling iPad, by M.G. Siegler, Spyglass

Whereas before the rules simply seemed arbitrary, now they're just full on stated to be such.

Why Apple’s iPhone Browser-Choice Option Sucks, by Reece Rogers, Wired

“It starts from you clicking Safari,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO and cofounder of Vivaldi. “Which, I think all of us agree, that’s the wrong spot.” Tetzchner said he prefers Google’s implementation of its new browser choice screen that guides Android users to select a default while setting up their phone.


While many developers are unhappy with Apple’s implementation, not every company with a browser on the choice screen expressed frustration. “We believe that Apple's approach to presenting the browser choice screen is fair and acceptable,” says Andrew Moroz Frost, the Aloha Browser founder. He pointed out the randomized order of the browsers shown on the pop-up as one example of Apple designing it in a fair manner.


The 'New' HomePod And HomePod Mini Go On Sale In Malaysia And Thailand, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

This morning, Apple announced expanded availability of the HomePod and HomePod mini, with orders starting for the first time in Malaysia and Thailand. The devices will start shipping next week, from May 10.

Apple Scores 4 BAFTA Television Craft Award Wins For “Slow Horses” And “Silo”, by Apple

Today, Apple was recognized with multiple wins at the 2024 BAFTA Television Craft Awards across its acclaimed, hit programs, “Slow Horses” and “Silo.” Apple’s widely celebrated espionage drama “Slow Horses” landed Best Editing: Fiction and Best Sound: Fiction wins, while global hit, world-building drama series “Silo” nabbed wins in the Best Production Design and Best Original Music categories. The BAFTA Television Awards recognize the best British programs, performances and productions each year.


Apple Keeps Insisting Your iPhone Doesn't Need A Case. Is Anyone Listening?, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

It's a peculiar rarity for Apple to advertise a product in a way that's entirely counter to how its customers use it.

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I am using my iPhone mini without a case. I appreciate things that are small and thin and light. Either that, or I am actually secretly wishing for an excuse to buy a new phone.

(On the other hand, there are no more good small iPhones.)


Is it time to do a macOS tablet?


Thanks for reading.f

The Dominance-For-So-Long Edition Sunday, April 28, 2024

The Walls Of Apple’s Garden Are Tumbling Down, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

In the years that followed my first glimpse of the iPhone, I’ve used more phones than I could possibly recall or count. And over the years, I’ve seen them get faster, more reliable, and harder to distinguish from one another. A new technology can’t wow us forever; eventually, it’s everywhere. History has shown us that one company can only claim dominance over that technology for so long — and the bigger it gets, the more energy it takes to maintain it.

Apple Fights Bill To Allow App Store Competition; JFTC Head Hopes It Will Pass In Current Diet Session, by Yasuaki Kobayashi, The Japan News

A bill newly approved by the Cabinet to regulate IT giants is chiefly aimed at forcing Apple Inc. to allow its App Store on its iPhone devices to face competition from other marketplaces for apps, thus ending Apple’s monopoly on the mobile app market for iPhone users.

The government aims for the bill’s passage during the current Diet session. But Apple is poised to block its passage, intensifying its lobbying of lawmakers in both the ruling and opposition parties.


How To Keep Your Music Streaming Private, by David Nield, Popular Science

It makes sense that you might want to share tracks and playlists with friends and family, but you likely don’t want to reveal all your musical tastes to the world at large. That’s why it’s worth running an audit of what you’re sharing and with whom in the music apps you’re using.

Ted Lasso Series Releasing On Blu-ray Disc In July, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The hit comedy series Ted Lasso is currently only available to watch via Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+. Finally, more than four years after its season one premiere, it appears that the exclusivity window is finally going to end and the show will soon be getting a physical disc release.


With YouTube Booming, Podcast Creators Get Camera-Ready, by Reggie Ugwu, New York Times

A surge of interest in podcasts on YouTube, which added features making them easier to play and discover last year, has made video hard to resist for a wider range of podcasters. It is now the top platform for podcast consumption in the United States, overtaking both Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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I am pretty sure that there is at least someone somewhere in Cupertino that is dreaming of starting all over again with a brand new phone with a brand new operating system. A clean start, with all the lessons learnt in updating the operating system, moving from Objective C to Swift, from UIKit to SwiftUI, and all the demands from courts and regulators and governments.

There is one word reply though: Netscape.

(Or maybe: Edge.)


Thanks for reading.

The Find-Violation Edition Saturday, April 27, 2024

Apple Removes Nonconsensual AI Nude Apps Following 404 Media Investigation, by Emanuel Maiberg, 404 Media

Apple has removed a number of AI image generation apps from the App Store after 404 Media found these apps advertised the ability to create nonconsensual nude images, a sign that app store operators are starting to take more action against these types of apps.

Overall, Apple removed three apps from the App Store, but only after we provided the company with links to the specific apps and their related ads, indicating the company was not able to find the apps that violated its policy itself.

Despite Complaints, Apple Hasn't Yet Removed An Obviously Fake App Pretending To Be RockAuto, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The issue is not only concerning because of the app’s ability to fool at least some portion of RockAuto’s customers but also because it undermines Apple’s messaging about how the App Store is a trusted and secure marketplace — which is why it demands a cut of developers’ in-app purchase transactions. The tech giant has been fighting back against regulations like the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), by claiming these laws would compromise customer safety and privacy. Apple believes that customers will be at risk if they conduct business outside its App Store with unknown parties. But, as these cases show, bad actors can too easily infiltrate its own app marketplace as well.


Apple Users Are Being Locked Out Of Their Apple IDs With No Explanation, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

There appears to be an increasingly widespread Apple ID outage of some sort impacting users tonight. A number of people across social media say that they were logged out of their Apple ID across multiple devices on Friday evening and forced to reset their password before logging back in.

How To Stop Being Reminded Of Memories You Don’t Want To Be Reminded Of, by Barbara Krasnoff, The Verge

Perhaps because of all the complaints, some of the more egregious offenders — Google Photos, Apple Photos, Facebook, and Microsoft OneDrive — have ways that you can stop them from appearing. Depending on the app, you can tweak your settings to avoid specific memory notifications — or stop them altogether.

Here is how to rein in unwanted memories from these four apps.


Apple Intensifies Talks With OpenAI For iPhone Generative AI Features, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The move marks a reopening of dialogue between the companies. Apple had talked to OpenAI about a deal earlier this year, though work between the two parties had been minimal since then. Apple also remains in discussions with Alphabet’s Google about licensing that company’s Gemini chatbot.

Apple hasn’t made a final decision on which partners it will use, and there’s no guarantee that a deal will be worked out. It’s possible that the company ultimately reaches an agreement with both OpenAI and Google — or picks another provider entirely. Representatives for Apple, OpenAI and Google declined to comment.

You, Your Program, And Nothing Else, by Verb Noun Enter

Defaults matter: they express a product’s purpose.

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I hope the upcoming AI in Xcode can encourage me to do better.


Thanks for reading.

The Oopsy-Daisy Edition Friday, April 26, 2024

How To Prevent A Lost Phone From Ruining Your Life, by Dorie Chevlen, New York Times

Even if you’re not an oopsy-daisy type like me, you cannot with full confidence guarantee that you will never lose your phone, break it, or have it stolen right out of your hand. You can take several measures to prevent regular misfortune from becoming a disaster, and most of them require only a few minutes to put in place.


Apple Mistakenly Tells Customers Their iPhone Trade-Ins Are 'Canceled', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today sent an email to some iPhone Upgrade Program members to inform them that their previously-completed iPhone trade-in has been "canceled," but the email was almost certainly sent in error based on the circumstances.

Automatic Time Tracking With Timing On The Mac, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

In this post, I’m going to show you how to set up time tracking rules in Timing that will allow you to track the time you spend on your Mac automatically.

Review: Satechi Launches New Qi2 Charging Stands, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The folding design is, however, a major improvement over most chargers, so if you want something that works well both on a desktop and when traveling, Satechi's Qi2 options are worth looking at. Compared to a flat charger, being able to unfold the arm and have an upright charger is useful because it enables features like StandBy on the ‌iPhone‌ and Night Stand mode on the Apple Watch.


China’s Henan Province Sees Drop In Smartphone Exports Amid Supply Chain Changes, by Ben Jiang, South China Morning Post

China’s central Henan province, home to the world’s largest iPhone manufacturing complex in its capital Zhengzhou, reported a 60 per cent year-on-year drop in smartphone exports in the first quarter, showing the impact of Apple’s moves to diversify production outside the mainland.

Can An Online Library Of Classic Video Games Ever Be Legal?, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

For years now, video game preservationists, librarians, and historians have been arguing for a DMCA exemption that would allow them to legally share emulated versions of their physical game collections with researchers remotely over the Internet. But those preservationists continue to face pushback from industry trade groups, who worry that an exemption would open a legal loophole for "online arcades" that could give members of the public free, legal, and widespread access to copyrighted classic games.

How Gmail Became Our Diary, by New York Magazine

Twenty years ago this month, Google launched Gmail. At first, user numbers were deliberately kept low, and those with access would hoard invitations and bestow them on friends like precious gifts. Once you were on the inside, though, a whole new world opened up. It’s difficult to remember now (if you’re old enough to remember), but we used to delete our emails. The big-name providers — AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo! — were so stingy with storage that users had to regularly scrub their inboxes, tossing messages into a digital burn box like diplomats abandoning an embassy. Google, however, gave everyone a full gigabyte of storage, enough in those lower-res days to keep, well, everything.

Because of that decision made in Mountain View, we now have a huge accidental archive of our collective past. Awkward flirtations, drunken rants, earnest pleas; friendships fraying or rekindled, personae tried on and discarded, good jokes and bad decisions; every dumb or brilliant or anguished thing we wrote below the subject line — we have an instantly searchable record of it all. To mark the anniversary of this revolution, the editors of New York asked some of our favorite writers to excavate their individual archives and tell us — with dismay or pride or chagrin — what they saw.

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It's the weekend. Time to do hobbies, and forget about work life.

(Got to be careful, and not land up with costly hobbies.)


Thanks for reading.

The Run-Locally Edition Thursday, April 25, 2024

Apple Releases New Family Of Open-source Efficient Language Models As AI Work Progresses, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Ahead of iOS 18’s debut at WWDC in June, Apple has released a family of open-source large language models. Called OpenELM, Apple describes these as: a family of Open-source Efficient Language Models.

In its testing, Apple says that OpenELM offers similar performance to other open language models, but with less training data.

Apple’s New AI Model Hints At How AI Could Come To The iPhone, by Emilia David , The Verge

Apple has been quiet about its plans for generative AI, but with the release of new AI models today, it appears the company’s immediate ambitions lie firmly in the “make AI run locally on Apple devices” realm.

Apple Needs To Become A Software Company Again, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But if Apple can manage to infuse AI into its operating systems in ways that make them more appealing, and by happy coincidence, it requires faster processors and more memory, that’s going to motivate a round of hardware upgrades. And that’s good for Apple, because while OS updates are free, new iPhones absolutely are not.

I’m not thrilled about the idea of replacing my Apple hardware, but I’d rather do it because I’m motivated by an awesome AI-based feature than because I’m tired of the color of my laptop or the shape of my iPhone.

On Security

Apple Declares War On Adload Malware, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

This week’s security data update to XProtect is unique in the magnitude of its changes. In a single update, the Yara detection rules used by macOS to check for malware have grown by 20% with the addition of 74 new rules, all of them aimed at a single target, Adload. Apple’s security engineers are clearly determined to get the better of that old adware and bundleware loader.

Apple In Courts / Apple In EU

Say Goodbye To Your iPhone? Maybe, If Antitrust Regulators Have Their Way, by Giovanna Massarotto, The Hill

The ingenuity of U.S. tech companies has changed the way we shop, search and interact online — in other words, how we live. If we look at Europe, we can see the how antitrust efforts are prone to stifle innovation. Europe’s antitrust agency has already punished Apple and Google (twice) for antitrust violations and recently introduced a new law to enforce (by default) remedies to make large tech companies’ products more open, including Apple iPhones. The market there isn’t amenable to innovators like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs or Alexander Bell. Thus, the more vigorous European antitrust and regulatory approach against large tech companies like Apple might not be the pro-competitive antidote consumers really need or want.

Spotify Submits A New Update To Apple With Pricing Information For EU Users, by Ivan Mehta, TechCrunch

Spotify said Wednesday that it has submitted a new version of its app for EU users with pricing information and basic site information. Critically, the version doesn’t contain the link to the website.

The Growingly Granular & Increasingly Tedious Apple/Spotify Rift, by M.G. Siegler, Spyglass

At some point, you have to wonder if this back-and-forth is as tiresome for the EU as it is for the rest of us to watch unfold. They should make a clearer ruling one way or another. Right now, Apple would seem to be following the letter of the law, but Spotify is arguing that they're not following the spirit of the law. In the US, a court would likely tell Spotify to get lost with such an argument, but the EU clearly cares about spirits and such. So around and around we go. Like a record, baby. Right 'round, right 'round.


Apple Launches “Made For Business” In Select Stores Around The World, by Apple

Beginning in May, a special Today at Apple series titled “Made for Business” will offer small business owners and entrepreneurs free opportunities to learn how Apple products and services can support their growth and success. Led by small business owners, the sessions will highlight how these organizations have used Apple products such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac — along with resources such as Apple Business Connect, Apple Business Essentials, and Tap to Pay on iPhone — to build their businesses, reach customers in new ways, and push their organizations forward.

Downgrading iCloud+ Storage? Be Sure To Retrieve Your Files Properly, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Apple’s fees for iCloud+ storage tiers are a sore point among enough people that I’ve seen the question come up repeatedly: How can I be sure I have a local copy of all my files if I want to reduce my iCloud+ storage payment or stop paying for iCloud storage at all?

This Time Management App Works Across All Your Apple Devices And Will Make Planning Your Days A Piece Of Cake, by Becca Caddy, iMore

If you’re looking for a way to track your time during the day – or even keep track of the way your whole team at work spends their day – then Tyme 3 is a tool that’s designed to not only give you more visibility about how you spend your time but, with all of those newfound insights, it could enhance your productivity in the long run too.

WhatsApp For iOS Is Rolling Out Passwordless Logins With Passkeys, by Wes Davis, The Verge

One more app joins the passwordless future we’ve been promised. WhatsApp says it’s now rolling out support for passkeys in the iOS version of the app. With the feature enabled, users of Meta’s encrypted messaging app can use iPhone biometrics for login — that is, Face ID or Touch ID — or their phone’s passcode.

Apple Vision Pro Gains Apple Arcade Games Crossy Road Castle And Solitaire Stories, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple Arcade games Crossy Road Castle and Solitaire Stories are set to launch on the Vision Pro headset tomorrow, adding two additional popular games to Apple's first head worn device.


DRC Accuses Apple Of Using Illegally Exploited Minerals From Conflict-torn East, by Le Monde with AFP

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is accusing Apple of using "illegally exploited" minerals extracted from the country's embattled east in its products, lawyers representing the African country said Thursday, April 25.


The Paris-based lawyers for the DRC accused Apple of purchasing minerals smuggled from the DRC into neighboring Rwanda, where they are laundered and "integrated into the global supply chain".

The Man Who Killed Google Search, by Edward Zitron, Where's Your Ed

These emails are a stark example of the monstrous growth-at-all-costs mindset that dominates the tech ecosystem, and if you take one thing away from this newsletter, I want it to be the name Prabhakar Raghavan, and an understanding that there are people responsible for the current state of technology.

These emails — which I encourage you to look up — tell a dramatic story about how Google’s finance and advertising teams, led by Raghavan with the blessing of CEO Sundar Pichai, actively worked to make Google worse to make the company more money. This is what I mean when I talk about the Rot Economy — the illogical, product-destroying mindset that turns the products you love into torturous, frustrating quasi-tools that require you to fight the company’s intentions to get the service you want.

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If I can go through a day without talking (physically) to another person (excluding family, of course), I consider that a very good day. Alternative, I play a game with myself to see how long I can last through the day without talking to someone else.

Which is my way of saying that I am not that excited with all these generative AI stuff. And I am not that excited that I may have to pay for all these extra CPUs and GPUs and what-nots in the next Apple devices that I want to buy just so I can have Siri to chit-chat on the devices.


Thanks for reading.

The Fun-and-Engaging Edition Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Apple “Let Loose” Event Scheduled For 7 May 2024, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Apple has issued invitations to its next special event, scheduled for 7 May 2024 at 7 AM Pacific, titled “Let Loose,” and illustrated on the Apple Events page with an animated hand twirling an Apple Pencil.

‘Games Are More Important To Apple Than Ever’: What’s Next For Apple Arcade?, by Keith Stuart, The Guardian

Alex Rofman is Arcade’s senior director, a 15-year Apple veteran who has been in and around mobile gaming since the beginning. “2023 was a banner year for us,” he says. “All of our critical metrics reached record highs. Two of the highlights for me were the launch of Hello Kitty Island Adventure – an incredibly popular IP that hadn’t really found its home in the gaming world yet – and What the Car winning mobile game of the year at the Dice awards last month.”

There is always a lot of scrutiny of Apple’s strategic thinking – indeed the company’s opacity around its business decisions has effectively created a whole strata of tech analysts. But Rofman describes a pretty straightforward approach to setting up Arcade. “It was about games that were designed just to be fun and engaging, not built around a business model, not built around timers or video ads,” he says. “We were not looking to replicate the top genres on mobile necessarily, we weren’t looking to bring a match-three that was better than Candy Crush … we focused on games that wouldn’t have had an opportunity were it not for Arcade.”

I’m Visually Impaired. Apple Vision Pro Is An Amazing Assistive Device., by Max Collard, Synapse

Have strabismus? No problem: the Accessibility menu lets you turn off foveated rendering (tough to do right for eyes that don’t come together) and switch the eye-tracked navigation to your dominant eye (or even to hand gestures only).

Even my nystagmus and my lack of retinal melanin to absorb IR backscattering — both of which have befuddled research-grade eye tracking systems in the past — pose no issues for the Vision Pro, as long as I blow up the user interface a little bigger to account for the eye wiggles.


This App Finally Helped Me Build Productive Habits, by Bobby Jack, MakeUseOf

Habits simply lets you track the days on which you complete those task(s) you want to turn into good, positive habits. It shows pleasing animations as you progress but, for the most part, gets out of your way so the process is quick and easy.

Microsoft Intune Remote Help Gets Full Control Support For macOS Devices, by Rabia Noureen, Petri

Microsoft Intune Remote Help has introduced full control support for macOS devices. The new feature allows IT help desk agents to quickly address issues by gaining full control over any Mac device.

Mophie Launches Juice Pack Battery Cases For iPhone 15 Lineup, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Mophie today announced the launch of Juice Pack battery cases that are designed to work with the iPhone 15 lineup. Like Mophie's prior Juice Pack cases, the latest version attaches to the iPhone to provide a little extra battery life during daily use.


The EU’s New Right-to-repair Rules Make Companies Fix Your Device After A Warranty Expires, by Emma Roth and Amrita Khalid, The Verge

The European Union has officially adopted a new set of right-to-repair rules designed to encourage people to repair broken devices, rather than replace them. One of the rules extends a product’s warranty by one year if it’s repaired while still covered.

FTC Bans Noncompete Clauses, Declares Vast Majority Unenforceable, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced that it has issued a final rule banning noncompete clauses. The rule will render the vast majority of current noncompete clauses unenforceable, according to the agency.


The only existing noncompetes that won't be nullified are those for senior executives, who represent less than 0.75 percent of workers, the FTC said. The rule defines senior executives as people earning more than $151,164 a year and who are in policy-making positions.

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If the rumors were to be believed, it will be iPad Pro and iPad Air tablets that will be released this May. No iPad mini will be a slight disappointment.

(Or maybe there will be a smaller iPad Air?)

For many of us who priorities portability, small and light are appealing attributes. Too bad Apple doesn't value smallness that much anymore.


Thanks for reading.

The Reference-Image Edition Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Adobe’s New Firefly Model Makes It Easier To Use Photoshop’s AI Tools, by Jess Weatherbed, The Verge

Adobe is adding some new generative AI tools to its Photoshop creative software that aim to give users additional ways to control the designs they generate. Powered by Adobe’s new Firefly Image 3 foundation model, these new tools are available today via the Photoshop beta desktop app, and will be generally available “later this year” according to Adobe’s Press release.

The most notable tool is Reference Image, which uses user-uploaded images to inspire the output generated by Adobe’s AI, matching similar elements in style and color. For example, instead of repeatedly tweaking a prompt description like “a blue vintage truck with flower decals,” users can instead provide a reference image that Photoshop will use as a guide.

Adobe Claims Its New Image Generation Model Is Its Best Yet, by Kyle Wiggers, TechCrunch

For what it’s worth, in my brief unscientific testing, Image 3 does appear to be a step up from Image 2.

I wasn’t able to try Image 3 myself. But Adobe PR sent a few outputs and prompts from the model, and I managed to run those same prompts through Image 2 on the web to get samples to compare the Image 3 outputs with. (Keep in mind that the Image 3 outputs could’ve been cherry-picked.)

AI And The End Of The Human Writer, by Samanth Subramanian, The New Republic

Naturally, this perplexes us. If a computer can write like a person, what does that say about the nature of our own creativity? What, if anything, sets us apart? And if AI does indeed supplant human writing, what will humans—both readers and writers—lose? The stakes feel tremendous, dwarfing any previous wave of automation. Written expression changed us as a civilization; we recognize that so well that we use the invention of writing to demarcate the past into prehistory and history. The erosion of writing promises to be equally momentous.

Instagram Advertises Nonconsensual AI Nude Apps, by Emanuel Maiberg, 404 Media

People who click on this ad are sent to the Apple App Store, where the same app is billed as an “art generator,” and makes no reference to the fact that it can generate nudes. This is a well established loophole in the mobile app stores Sam and I first reported on in 2022. These apps make no mention of adult content on their app store pages or on their sites because it’s against the app stores’ policies, but were actively promoting their ability to create nonconsensual deepfake porn on other porn tube sites.

Logitech’s Mouse Software Now Includes ChatGPT Support, Adds Janky ‘Ai_overlay_tmp’ Directory To Users’ Home Folders, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

I cannot tell how little I want THE SOFTWARE FOR MY MOUSE to include features tied to ChatGPT … let alone a mouse with a built-in button to start a prompt.

Coming Soon?

FIFA Said To Be Close To TV Deal With Apple For New Tournament, by Tariq Panja, New York Times

FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, is close to an agreement with Apple that would give the tech company worldwide television rights for a major new tournament, a monthlong, World Cup-style competition for top teams that will be played for the first time in the United States next summer.


Should the deal go through, it would be the first time that FIFA, which will stage the first expanded 48-team men’s World Cup in the United States in 2026, has agreed to a single worldwide contract. It would also represent the latest foray into soccer for Apple, which in 2022 signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion agreement for the global streaming rights to Major League Soccer.


Sonos Announces Redesigned App That Puts Everything On Your Homescreen, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Sonos’ fundamental goal was making everything feel faster and getting you where you want to be without relying on a tabbed navigation bar. Now, everything is on the homescreen, and you can customize the layout to put your favorite playlists up top. Want your line-in audio source positioned higher than everything else? You can do that, too. You can pin specific carousels from music apps (like Spotify’s “new releases”) to the homescreen as well. And there’s a persistent search bar at the bottom, so finding music is always just a single tap away.


Report: Apple Acquires French Startup Behind AI And Computer Vision Technology, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has reportedly acquired Datakalab, a Paris, France-based startup specializing in artificial intelligence compression and computer vision technology. According to French business magazine Challenges, the acquisition was finalized in December.

Datakalab described itself as “experts in low power, runtime efficient, and deep learning algorithms” that work on device.

Apple Adds Suppliers In China Despite Efforts To Diversify Production, by Ben Jiang, South China Morning Post

Apple added eight Chinese suppliers and removed four contractors on the mainland during its past financial year ended September, the first time since 2021 that the US tech giant introduced more suppliers from the country than it cut, according to its newly published supplier list.

Despite Apple’s recent efforts to diversify its supply chain and shift more production elsewhere in Asia amid geopolitical risks, mainland China remains the firm’s main manufacturing base, home to over a third of the factories run by its 187 disclosed suppliers, according to a Post analysis.

Meta Wants To Be The Microsoft Of Headsets, by Alex Heath, The Verge

Meta has started licensing the operating system for its Quest headset to other hardware makers, starting with Lenovo and Asus. It’s also making a limited-run, gaming-focused Quest with Xbox.

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The success of Microsoft's licensing of Windows operating system (as well as MS-DOS previously) to hardware manufacturers -- leading to monopoly powers -- has sort of tainted many in having the opinion that for a platform owner to be truly successful, they must license their operating system. We saw the Apple of yore trying to rescue its Macintosh business by licesning Mac OS, and then saw its future dimmed further. We saw Google licensing Android for free (in both sense), and then craw back with Google Play services.

Licensing of the operating system has nothing to do with the success of the platform. Meta's mixed-reality operating system may well be successful, but I am predicting that will not come because it has many hardware manufacturers.


Thanks for reading.

The Going-Downscale Edition Monday, April 22, 2024

Apple Needs A True Low-End iPhone To Help Revive Growth, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

If Apple wants to get serious about emerging markets, it should develop a an iPhone more in the range of $250. Now, that’s not something Steve Jobs would probably do, but going downscale could be what the company needs right now.


Apple has avoided this move out of fear of diluting its premium brand. That’s why discussions about selling a truly cheap iPhone haven’t progressed, I’m told. “We don’t offer stripped-down, lousy products,” Jobs said years ago, and Apple still lives by that philosophy.

But the market is changing. Competitors have advanced, and the stakes are higher. Apple also made a recent move that suggests it’s more open to new ideas: The company now sells a $699 M1 MacBook Air through Walmart that it doesn’t advertise on its own channels.

An 'iPhone E' For 'Emerging', by M.G. Siegler, Spyglass

I just don't think anyone, including Apple, needs to overthink this. Simply sell a three year old model exclusively in a few emerging markets. Sure, the profit margins wouldn't be as good, but the trade-off is getting a toe-hold in such markets, stopping worldwide market share decline, and upselling the now all-important services.

Making A Mountain Out Of Molehill-Sized M4 News, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If all this pans out, it is indeed news, but the news is that Apple has successfully gotten the entire Mac hardware lineup onto an annual upgrade cycle. Whereas Gurman is framing the news as a reactionary response by Apple, “overhauling” the hardware lineup very shortly after a supposedly tepid reaction to the M3 generation of Macs that, at this writing, still hasn’t completed rolling out.


Listy Is A Simple, Free Way To Share Recommendations With Friends, by Jeremy Caplan, Fast Company

Listy is a free and simple app for making lists of your favorite things. It automatically includes related images, like book or album covers. You can create shareable visual lists with the free app on Mac, iOS, or Android. It’s a handy way to quickly share recommendations with friends.

Gentler Streak Quieted My Evil Brain Goblin So I Could Run In Peace, by Victoria Song, The Verge

There’s a lot I love about all this. First and foremost, I enjoy that it incorporates breaks and “failure” into your eventual success — and doesn’t judge you for it.

This New iPhone App Is Helping Me Take Nostalgic Photos Like It's The 1980s, by Paul Hatton, TechRadar

The core of the creator’s vision is to recreate the look and feel of film, achieved by using a custom ProRAW (iPhone Pro 12 or newer) image processing pipeline that allows for a greater level of color grading than is ordinarily possible.


Apple Reportedly Stops Production Of FineWoven Accessories, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future.

The Coddling Of The American Parent, by Mike Masnick, The Daily Beast

The actual harms to getting this wrong could be tremendous. By coddling the American parent, and letting them think they can cure what ails kids by simply limiting the internet access, real harm can be caused.


Kids who actually do rely on the internet to find community and social interactions could grow further isolated. Even worse, it stops parents and teachers from dealing with actual triggers and actual problems, allowing them to brush it off as “too much TikTok,” rather than whatever real cause might be at play. It also stops them from training kids how to use social media safely, which is an important skill these days.

Treating social media as inherently harmful for all kids (when the data, at best, suggests only a very small percentage struggle with it), also would remove a useful and helpful tool from many who can be taught to use it properly, to protect a small number of users who were not taught how to use it properly. Wouldn’t a better solution be to focus on helping everyone to use the tools properly and in an age appropriate manner?

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Apple is already selling the iPhone SE, which is cheaper than the iPhone and iPhone Pro. Apple is also selling previous years' iPhones. Which, while not as cheap as the iPhone SE, are still cheaper than the current iPhone and iPhone Pro.

One may argue they are still not cheap enough. And certainly, the price probably still have room to drop further. The recent 'experiment' with continuing selling the MacBook Air M1 does hint at how Apple may go about it.

However, I think these are missing the point. What some customers, and potential customers, want is not cheap. Rather, what they want is not just cheap alone. What many of these customers want, I feel, are cheap and new. Not some iPhones from yesterday. Not some iPhones with older tech. But cheaper phones with modern design, and modern sensibilities.

No, quick fixes are not enough. Apple need to commit to serve this slice of the market.


Thanks for reading.

The Engine-of-the-Product Edition Sunday, April 21, 2024

Apple's Tim Cook Meets With Regional Game Devs, by Wayne Cheong, Esquire

During his international tour last year, Tim Cook said that "gaming is very important to Apple and not just a side project." With such ambitions for Apple's games, after what he had seen at the regional game developers showcase, Cooks seems encouraged.

"Well, I think it is flourishing," Cook said, "Gaming is a very important area for us and essential for the development community because so many want to design and play games. Gaming is one of the key things that really uses the Apple silicone chip in a significant way. I think that iOS is the best mobile platform on the planet; we put so much of ourselves and our resources into the engine of the product."

Informed Consent And Privacy, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

Meta is probably one of the more agreeable players in this racket, too. It hoards data; it does not share much of it. And it has a brand to protect. Data brokers are far worse because nobody knows who they are or what they collect, share, and merge. Scale the informed consent model above across all data brokers you interact with, in each app or website you use. As an example, Het Laatste Nieuws, a popular Dutch-language news site in Belgium, shows in its cookie consent dialog it has over one hundred advertising partners, among the lowest numbers I have seen. (For comparison, Le Monde has over five hundred.) True consent requires you to understand those privacy policies, too.


Twodos Is A Simple To-Do App That Won't Constantly Bug You, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The new app Twodos wants to make a to-do app simple and easy. There’s no need to worry about a learning curve with the app. There are two lists—Sooner and Later. New items you add are put in Sooner by default, but you can always move it to Later.

Dolphin Explains Why Its GameCube And Wii Emulator Won't Be In The App Store, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Dolphin explains in a blog post that Apple’s resistance to apps using JIT means the App Store is still out of reach for now.


The New Empires Of The Internet Age, by Daniel W. Drezner, Foreign Policy

Two books published last year offer divergent takes on these questions. In Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy, Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman posit that the United States still wields a considerable amount of structural power in the global system. Anu Bradford’s Digital Empires: The Global Battle to Regulate Technology, however, argues that the surprising superpower is neither the United States nor China but the European Union.

Both books examine the exercise of power and governance in the digital sphere. Their contrasting evaluations help explain why it is so difficult for even the sharpest observers of global affairs to agree about the current state of the world—particularly when technology is involved.

Is Apple Behind The Latest Drop In Corporation Tax?, by Eoin Burke-Kennedy, Irish Times

The company in question can pay 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill on the assumption it will be liable for a similar amount in the current year or it can pay 45 per cent of a new projected profit level on the assumption things have changed.

The speculation is that Apple has taken the latter option, projecting lower taxable profits here on the back of a decline in sales or perhaps because it can shelter a greater percentage of profits for whatever reason.

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I sure hope all the non-AI tech stuff continues to be updated and improved. We still need to get all the non-sexy stuff done.


Thanks for reading.

The Incorporating-Vision Edition Saturday, April 20, 2024

My Life Outside Of The Apple Vision Pro, by Brenda Stolyar, Wired

I knew having a mixed-reality headset around would be a unique experience. Still, incorporating it into my daily life has also been an unexpected learning curve—and I'm not even the one using the Vision Pro. It's impossible to ignore, requires a specific type of communication, and truly impacts how my partner and I interact. I'm slowly getting used to it—growing less startled by its existence. But I'm still shocked by the fact that it's taken even the slightest amount of work to incorporate it into my life.

Apple's Offer To Open Up Tap-and-go Tech To Be Approved By EU Next Month, Sources Say, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Apple's offer to open its tap-and-go mobile payments system to rivals is set to be approved by EU antitrust regulators as soon as next month after it tweaked some of the terms, people familiar with the matter said.


Apple was asked to tweak some of the terms following feedback from rivals and customers. The NFC proposal would be for 10 years.

‘I Was Trying To Create The Sound Of A Really Warm Hug’: The Poignant Story Behind Monument Valley 2’s Music, by Dom Peppiatt, The Guardian

‘The part where the mother and child are separated on a red mountain, in a level quite early on in the game where you have to get back to the mother and find her … I was completing the sound design and music for that in a hospital, right beside my mum when she was sleeping, recovering from open heart surgery.”

Todd Baker pauses for a second. He is recalling the development process of 2017’s Monument Valley 2, an indie puzzler, the highly anticipated follow-up to the one of the biggest success stories in mobile game history. The second game is more experimental than the first; it has more of a story, which in turn changed its feel. Whereas the first title is all optical illusions and impossible objects, the sequel moves away from MC Escher-inspired towers and spires and towards non-Euclidean geometry and brutalism.


AirPlay Turns The Delta Emulator Into A Full-on Retro Console, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

This is because Delta supports AirPlay so that you can stream video and sound from your phone to another Apple device, like an Apple TV or computer. For Delta, this means that the game itself plays on the bigger screen while your phone becomes a touchscreen controller. Or, if you connect a Bluetooth controller to your iPhone, you can use that to play.

Have A Mac? You Should Be Using iTerm2 To Replace The Terminal, by Elliot Alexander, XDA Developers

Fundamentally, iTerm is a mature and well-built terminal emulator full of treasures for more serious productivity on macOS. This includes great quality-of-life features for those of us who've migrated from more complex Linux setups, like full focus-follows-mouse and proper mouse reporting. It's also got nice integration with other muxers (such as tmux), dynamic profiles, and other quality of life features like a global search across tabs.


Influential Women's Tech Network Shuts Down Unexpectedly, by Imran Rahman-Jones, BBC

Women Who Code (WWC), a charity which supports women who work in the technology sector, has announced it is shutting down because of a lack of funding.


WWC said that "while so much has been accomplished," their mission was not complete.

It continued: "Our vision of a tech industry where diverse women and historically excluded people thrive at every level is not fulfilled."

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It's the weekend. Tinkering here and there in my hobby project and tinkering here and there in my other stuff in life. But nothing significant is done; it's the continuation of the low energy state I am having the entire week, part of it in pain.

Oh, I did watch the fourth installment of The Matrix. Enjoyed the first half of the movie, didn't care about the second half.

Hope you have a better weekend than me.


Thanks for reading.

The Already-On-My-Wrist Edition Friday, April 19, 2024

The Humane AI Pin Has No Future As Long As The Apple Watch Exists, by David Price, Macworld

It’s not difficult to imagine, a few years down the line, the Apple Watch finding a new niche for itself as a portable AI companion. This is already the lowest-friction of all Apple’s products: when I need to set a timer I instinctively do so on my watch rather than my phone because it doesn’t need taking out of a pocket – it’s already there. If Siri gets better and regains our confidence, which admittedly is a big if, then all the other ingredients are in place.

The Humane AI Pin Is Lost In Translation, by Victoria Song, The Verge

Even so, I can’t help but long for the future Humane demoed. I can study Japanese and Korean for the rest of my life — and I will — but there’ll always be gaps. I have countless memories of times when I forgot how to speak my second and third languages. Times when I was in physical pain, nervous, or had to do math. (I guarantee you, everyone does math in their native tongue.) In those moments, it’d be nice to have a simple, seamless way to ask for help. And to be understood.


AirPlay Is Now Available In Select IHG Hotels & Resorts Properties, by Apple

Users can automatically connect to the compatible LG hotel TV in their guest room and the hotel’s Wi-Fi network by scanning a unique QR code on the screen. Once connected, guests can share almost anything on the big screen in their hotel room directly from their iPhone or iPad. Guests can also pair multiple devices to the TV, so friends and loved ones traveling together can also enjoy.

Astropad Rock Paper Pencil V2, The Pen-on-paper iPad Upgrade Gets Even Better, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Last year Astropad launched its impressive Rock Paper Pencil kit for iPad that delivers a reusable/removable matte screen protector plus a ballpoint-style Apple Pencil tip for a real pen-on-paper experience. This year the company delivered Rock Paper Pencil v2 with a NanoCling border, flat profile, improved Apple Pencil tip, and more.

Delta Takes Flight: Apple-approved Nintendo Emulator Is A Great iOS Option, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

The app is obviously built with iOS in mind and already integrates some useful features designed for the mobile ecosystem. While there are some updates we'd like to see in the future, this represents a good starting point for where Apple-approved game emulation can go on iOS.


Apple Pulls WhatsApp From China Store At Beijing’s Behest, by Mark Gurman and Sarah Zheng, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. removed social media services including Meta Platforms Inc.’s WhatsApp and Threads from its Chinese app store, responding to orders from Beijing to close more loopholes in the country’s longstanding internet firewall.

The iPhone maker also removed the messaging services Telegram and Signal, according to consultants tracking the space. Apple, which has consistently complied with one of the world’s most rigid internet censorship regimes, said the Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the apps removed over national security concerns.

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Screens are important. Screens are nice. Almost every Apple device in recent history either has a screen, or requires the customer to attach one or more screens.

The iPod shuffle required the customer to attach a computer with a screen in order to listen on it. And the HomePod simply works better if you also have a phone with a screen or a computer with a screen. It is also probably why the Apple Music Voice Plan (look ma, no screen!) was discontinued, and we are now hearing rumors of a new HomePod that comes with, yes, a screen.

I am guessing AI bots will simply work better with a screen.


Thanks for reading.

The Progress-Report Edition Thursday, April 18, 2024

Apple Cuts Greenhouse Emissions In Half, by Apple

Apple has reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions by more than 55 percent since 2015, the company shared today in its 2024 Environmental Progress Report. The milestone marks important progress on the journey toward Apple 2030, the company’s ambitious goal to become carbon neutral across its entire value chain by the end of this decade. The goal centers on cutting emissions by 75 percent from 2015 levels.

“The proof of Apple’s commitment to climate action is in our progress: We’ve slashed emissions by more than half, all while serving more users than ever before,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. “More hard work is ahead of us, and we’re focused on harnessing the power of innovation and collaboration to maximize our impact.”

What Really Happens When You Trade In An iPhone At The Apple Store, by Austin Carr, Businessweek

Few workers at the recycling plant had access to the secure room that some called the “Apple cage.” Behind its locked door, past a metal detector and under surveillance cameras, a small team of employees of GEEP Canada Inc., an electronic-waste processor north of Toronto, sifted through pallet-size boxes full of used iPhones. Prying each one open manually at a set of tables, they ripped out batteries and other parts and tossed the components into sorting bins. When enough material piled up in one of the bins, it was forklifted to a larger area of the warehouse, where its contents were dumped into big industrial shredders that loudly pulverized the gadgetry into tiny shards.

Even if the iPhones looked good enough for resale, Apple Inc.’s contract with GEEP (said with a hard “g”) explicitly required that every product it sent be destroyed. In Apple’s view, these devices, the kind usually disposed of at its stores or collected from trade-ins when customers upgraded to a new model, were better off scrapped for their precious metals than refurbished. And Apple was scrapping tons: In its first couple years working with GEEP, the company shipped it more than 530,000 iPhones, 25,000 iPads and 19,000 Watches.

AltStore Is Now Available In The EU, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The AltStore team envisions their marketplace as a place for apps from indie developers and those that Apple won’t allow on the App Store, like the team’s Clip app. AltStore will use Patreon donations as its payment system for paid apps, just like AltStore and Delta have been doing for years. Also, AltStore will not take a commission on Patreon donations. However, AltStore will cost €1.50/year to cover Apple’s Core Technology Fee.


Apple TV Plus’ For All Mankind Is Getting A Fifth Season And A New Spinoff Series, by Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge

Today, Apple announced that For All Mankind has been renewed for a fifth season that will continue to chronicle the alternate history of a world in which the Soviet Union is the first nation to put a man on the Moon and the United States set out to catch up with its rival. Following the show’s season 4 finale, news of the renewal doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, but Apple also revealed that executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi are working on a new series titled Star City, which will dig deeper into the live of the Soviets who changed the arc of human history.

The Delta Videogame Emulator Launches On The App Store, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Delta has been in development for years, so the experience of playing your old games on it is superb, incorporating native features like haptic feedback and quality-of-life enhancements like the ability to save a game’s state, fast forward, and use cheat codes. Delta also supports controller skins, local multiplayer, and syncing of save state, save data, and more.

The Travel Charger That Charges All Your Gadgets - Wherever You Are!, by Petter Ahrnstedt, Macworld

The Satechi 145 W USB-C Gan Travel Charger makes life easier when traveling. You can replace all your chargers with this one. It’s also just as perfect to keep at home on your desk. Plenty of wattage and ports (as well as different plugs) make it a great buy.


Apple Investing US$250 Million To Expand Ang Mo Kio Campus, by Ashley Tham, CNA

Singapore serves as a central operations centre for Apple in the region, and is a hub for critical roles in software, hardware, services and support.

"The new expansion is the latest milestone in Apple's over four decades of work fostering job creation and deep connections with the local community, and will provide space for growth and new roles in artificial intelligence and other key functions," said Apple.

Apple CEO To Meet Singapore Leader To Wrap Whirlwind Asia Tour, by Faris Mokhtar and Gao Yuan, Bloomberg

Apple’s CEO is on the verge of concluding a highly public tour that’s taken him from Hanoi to Jakarta, during which he repeatedly stressed the region’s importance as both a market and emergent manufacturing base. His company is looking for growth markets beyond China, a traditional stronghold where demand for its flagship iPhone is sputtering. The company is also diversifying its production beyond the communist country to reduce risks at a time of elevated tensions between the world’s two biggest superpowers.

Google Raises Privacy Bar With Its Crowdsourced Tracking Service, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Google will raise the ante for privacy-preserving and anti-stalking features with the launch of its long-expected Find My Device network service in May 2024. Like Apple’s almost identically named Find My network, Google’s Find My Device network crowdsources device locations by relaying encrypted identity signals through supported Android phones and tablets. The search giant’s Find My Device network supports Android devices and compact trackers from companies like Chipolo and Pebblebee. Google has three distinct privacy improvements that aren’t found—yet—in Apple’s Find My network approach.

We Need To Rewild The Internet, by Maria Farrell and Robin Berjon, Noema

Rewilding the internet is more than a metaphor. It’s a framework and plan. It gives us fresh eyes for the wicked problem of extraction and control, and new means and allies to fix it. It recognizes that ending internet monopolies isn’t just an intellectual problem. It’s an emotional one. It answers questions like how do we keep going when the monopolies have more money and power? How do we act collectively when they suborn our community spaces, funding and networks? And how do we communicate to our allies what fixing it will look and feel like?

Rewilding is a positive vision for the networks we want to live inside, and a shared story for how we get there. It grafts a new tree onto technology’s tired old stock. And embodied in rewilding’s ecological tools is the collective wisdom of an entire discipline already tackling humanity’s toughest, systemic problems.

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The medication I've gotten for my gout this past week has the following instructions: take one pill three times per day, stop when having diarrhoea.

I give you one guess what happened to me yesterday evening.


Too much information?


Thanks for reading.

The New-Progress Edition Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Apple Ramps Up Investment In Clean Energy And Water Around The World, by Apple

Apple today announced new progress to expand clean energy around the world and advance momentum toward Apple 2030, the company’s bold goal to be carbon neutral across its entire value chain by the end of this decade. More than 18 gigawatts of clean electricity now power Apple’s global operations and manufacturing supply chain, more than triple the amount in 2020. Apple is making new investments in solar power in the U.S. and Europe to help address the electricity customers use to charge and power their Apple devices.

As part of its broader environmental efforts, Apple also advanced progress toward another ambitious 2030 goal: to replenish 100 percent of the fresh water used in corporate operations in high-stress locations. This includes launching new partnerships to deliver nearly 7 billion gallons in water benefits — from restoring aquifers and rivers, to funding access to drinking water — over the next 20 years. As with clean energy, Apple has extended its commitment to clean water across the entire supply chain: Together, Apple suppliers saved over 12 billion gallons of fresh water last year, for a total of 76 billion gallons in water savings since the company launched its Supplier Clean Water Program in 2013.

Apple Promotes Recycling Your Devices 'For Free' Ahead Of Earth Day, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Ahead of Earth Day on April 22, Apple has added a banner to its website that reminds customers they can recycle their Apple devices "for free" with the company's recycling partners. The process can be initiated on Apple's trade-in page in many countries, with customers able to submit a form to receive a prepaid shipping label for their devices.

Apple Says 'Goodbye Leather' In New iPhone Ad Following Controversial Switch To 'FineWoven' Material, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today shared a new iPhone ad called "Goodbye Leather" on its YouTube channel in the U.K., months after the company controversially switched from leather to a much-criticized "FineWoven" fabric material for accessories.


Use ‘Shortery’ To Add Automations To Your MacOS Shortcuts, by Justin Pot, Lifehacker

With this application you can set up custom rules to trigger shortcuts. There are 17 different categories of triggers, like when the contents of a folder change or when it's a certain time of day.

Soulver 3 For iOS: Acqualia Software’s Unique Approach To Calculations Lands On The iPhone, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With Soulver on iOS for the first time, it’s easier than ever to explore numerical ‘what-ifs.’ For example, what would my payment be if I refinanced my mortgage? How close am I to spending my budget for that party I’m planning? The possibilities go on and on.

Native Microsoft OneNote App Now Available For Apple Vision Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The app can be used to write memos, notes, and digital notebooks, and there are options to sync content to OneDrive for access across multiple platforms. There is support for tags like Important and To Do, and notes can be protected with a password.

1Password Review – Keep Your Passwords Safe And Secure, by Martyn Casserly, Macworld

1Password is a mature and solid service, with useful features, strong security credentials, and most of all it’s easy and reliable to use. If you’re thinking of using a password manager for the first time or are unhappy with your current provider, 1Password should be top of your list.

Dashlane Review: Passwords And Plenty More, by Martyn Casserly, Macworld

While the individual account might cost slightly more than some of its closest rivals, the family plan offers outstanding value for money. If you’re looking for a password manager for your extended family or friendship group, Dashlane is an excellent choice.

I’m A Space Lover With A New Favorite iPhone App For Stargazing, by Becca Caddy, iMore

One of my favorite features of Night Sky is its augmented reality (AR) features. By simply holding up my iPhone to the sky, I can overlay images of planets, stars, and constellations onto my real-world view.


What Makes Concurrency So Hard?, by Hillel Wayne

As the old joke goes, concurrency one of the two hardest things in computer science. There are lots of "accidental" reasons why: it's hard to test, it's not composable, bugs can stay latent for a long time, etc. Is there anything that makes it essentially hard? Something that makes concurrent software, by its very nature, more difficult to write than synchronous software?


Apple Opens Web Distribution Option For iOS Devs Targeting EU, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Apple is opening up web distribution for iOS apps targeting users in the European Union starting Tuesday. Developers who opt in — and who meet Apple’s criteria, including app notarization requirements — will be able to offer iPhone apps for direct download to EU users from their own websites.

Apple CEO Says It Is Considering A Manufacturing Facility In Indonesia, by Stefanno Sulaiman and Ananda Teresia, Reuters

Apple Inc will look into building a manufacturing facility in Indonesia, its CEO said on Wednesday after meeting President Joko Widodo, who hoped the tech giant would increase its local content by partnering with domestic firms.


Apple has no manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, but since 2018 it has been setting up app developer academies, which including the new academy have a total cost of 1.6 trillion rupiah ($99 million).

Apple 'Beta' Update Addresses Jerusalem Emoji Controversy, by Chris Vallance, BBC

Apple has released a partial update to its iPhone software which stops the Palestinian flag emoji being suggested when users type the word "Jerusalem".

Not All Web APIs Are Good APIs, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If you want web apps to have the same full range of capabilities as native apps, iOS is not the platform for you. PWA advocates treat it as axiomatic that web apps should be peers to native apps, but that’s not true for everyone. I think of native apps as software I carefully consider before installing, even from the App Store. I think of websites and web apps as software I will visit/run without consideration, because they’re so comparatively restricted.

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Remember when people wanted all browsers to display the same web page in exactly the same manner? We all shouted at them: use PDF, not HTML. The web is about having all kinds of browsers with different rendering engines and rendering capabilities, and web designers have to remember the phrase graceful degradation. If you only want your stuff to look exactly the same everywhere, the web is the not way to go about doing it.

We need to start shouting at all the web app developers who are demanding every web browser to implement all web APIs.


Thanks for reading.

The Can't-Do-It Edition Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Life And Death Of Hollywood, by Daniel Bessner, Harper's Magazine

Making a show for Apple was not what she’d hoped it would be. What the company wanted from her and the series never felt clear—there was a “radical information asymmetry,” she said, regarding management’s priorities and metrics. After she and her colleagues completed the first season of Dickinson, they waited for the streamer to launch and the show to air. Their requests for a firm timeline and premiere date were ignored. Smith started to worry that Apple might scrap the idea for the streaming platform altogether, in which case the show might never be seen, or might even disappear—she didn’t have a copy of the finished product. It belonged to Apple and lived on the company’s servers.

“It was communicated to me,” Smith said, “that my only choice to keep the show alive was to begin all over again and write a whole new season without a green-light guarantee. So I was expected to take on that risk, when the entities that stood to profit the most from the success of my creative labor, the platform and studio, would not risk a dime.” “It was also on me,” she went on, “to kind of fluff everybody involved in the entire making of the show, from the stars to the line producer to the costume designer, etcetera, to make them believe that we’d be coming back again and prevent them, sometimes unsuccessfully, from taking other jobs.”


But Smith was losing steam. “I was only allowed to make the show to the extent that I was willing to take on unbelievable amounts of risk and labor on my own body perpetually, without ceasing, for years,” she said. “And I knew that if I ever stopped, the show would die.” It had seemed to her that Apple didn’t value the series, and she felt at a loss. Smith now knows that Dickinson was the company’s most-watched show in its second and third seasons. But at the time, she had no access to concrete information about its performance. As was the habit among streamers, Apple didn’t share viewership data with its writers. And without that data, Smith had no leverage. In 2020, after three seasons, she told Apple that she was done. “I said, I can’t do it anymore. And Apple said, Okay.”

Apple Further Explains Why Game Boy Emulator iGBA Was Removed From App Store, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app, with the addition of ads on top. While it did not explicitly name GBA4iOS, Apple told us it removed iGBA from the App Store after learning that it was a knockoff app that copied another developer's work and attempted to pass it off as its own.

Notably, Apple confirmed to us that emulators on the App Store are permitted to load ROMs downloaded from the web, so long as the app is emulating retro console games only.

Developing in a Vacuum

Oh The Humanity, by Benjamin Sandofsky

Humane spent five years developing their product in a vacuum. They lacked a FitBit to prove their concept. They had little evidence people want to ditch their phones. They didn't know what form factors users would tolerate. They didn't have normal people telling them battery swaps are dumb.

But the most damaging consequence of their delayed launch was missing the chance to strike while the iron was hot. Humane sounded like a decent idea in 2018, but that same year the iPhone launched its "Screen Time," which has proven a good enough solution for many to curb their screen addiction. In the following years we've watched a decline in the use of social media, which gives me a "nature is healing" vibe. Phone addiction is still a thing, but it feels more like pot than fentanyl.

Can Anyone But A Tech Giant Build The Next Big Thing?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The problem is that I’m dismissing the Ai Pin and looking forward to the Apple Watch specifically because of the control Apple has over its platforms. Yes, the company’s entire business model is based on tightly integrating its hardware and software, and it allows devices like the Apple Watch to exist. But that focus on tight integration comes at a cost (to everyone but Apple, anyway): Nobody else can have the access Apple has.


Apple Sports App Updated For NBA And NHL Playoffs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The update adds things like rankings, playoff series information, and more for the NBA and NHL.

Marta Is A macOS Finder Alternative With Tons Of Useful Keyboard Shortcuts, by Justin Pot, Lifehacker

If you also prefer a keyboard shortcut over a drag-and-drop, check out Marta, a free alternative file manager built for quickly managing files without moving your hands from the keys.

MagSafe Monday: UGreen's MagSafe Battery Pack Can Charge Three Devices At The Same Time, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The absolute best feature of the UGREEN MagSafe battery pack is multi-device charging. It allows you to power up to three devices at the same. It supports a device on wireless charging while also delivering a 22.5W output via a USB-A port and up to 20W through a USB-C port.


Apple Developer Academy Expands To Bali, by Apple

Today Apple announced it will open Indonesia’s fourth Apple Developer Academy in Bali, expanding on its investment to increase opportunities for developers, students, and entrepreneurs looking to embark on careers in the region’s growing iOS app economy.

Since Indonesia’s first Apple Developer Academy launched in Jakarta in 2018, Apple has opened academies in Surabaya and Batam, and more than 2,000 aspiring developers have completed the program. As a testament to the academy’s impact, 90 percent of its graduates have gone on to find meaningful employment in various sectors spanning education, e-commerce, transportation, sustainability, and more.

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There are arguments out there that Humane has to built its AI Pin the way it is because it is not Apple. The product cannot integrate with the iPhone like how the Apple Watch can integrate with the iPhone.

I don't buy that argument. The way I see it, so much of its design choice -- the lack of touchscreen being the most significant -- is driven by the desire to get rid of the phone, to counter phone addiction. There isn't any evidence that Humane has great ideas that were thwarted by Apple's desire to not integrate with any one else.

Which, also observed by many people, is the wrong assumption going in. I probably count among many that like the phone. I read books on the phone. I listen to podcasts on the phone. I keep in touch with my family on the phone. I do not consider myself a phone addict, at all. In fact, I want more screentime, not less.


Thanks for reading.

The Very-Little Edition Monday, April 15, 2024

Apple Exec’s Secret To Success: Don’t Take Notes, by John Davidson, Financial Review

Apple Fellow and former head of marketing, Phil Schiller, was testifying in Apple’s landmark lawsuit against Epic Games, in which the developer of the popular video game Fortnite alleges the 30 per cent commission it and other large developers are charged to use the App Store is an abuse of Apple’s iPhone app distribution monopoly.

Under cross-examination, Mr Schiller said Apple behaved much more like a start-up than a big company, with categorically no note-taking, almost no presentations, very little written analysis of the business and very little talk of profits in the executive team meetings it holds every Monday from 9am until noon.

Apple Silicon Was Supposed To Save The Mac Desktop. Instead, It's Killing It, by Roman Loyola and Michael Simon, Macworld

Desktop Macs take a backseat to the MacBook lineup because laptop sales dominate the market and people generally don’t upgrade desktop Macs as frequently. It appears that Apple has determined that the seat is now farther back than before.


Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due To Spam And Copyright Violations, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Arrives In Vietnam To Meet Users, Boost Supplier Ties, by Khanh Vu, Reuters

Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in Hanoi on Monday, starting a two-day visit to Vietnam, a key manufacturing hub for the iPhone maker, during which he is expected to meet students and content creators, state media said.


Apple would boost its connection with local suppliers, clean water projects and education opportunities, it quoted Cook as saying on arrival.

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Today, I learnt how to use a cane, after being attacked by gout.

What I learnt is that you hold the cane on the same side of the good leg. I did not know that.

Somehow, this seems like a rehearsal.


Thanks for reading.

The A-Few-Things Edition Sunday, April 14, 2024

Wishing For A Better Apple Notes, by Francesco Puppo

The app is almost perfect, I can scan and edit PDFs, write or draw with the Apple Pencil, organise notes with folder and tags, and summon a new quick note whenever I need thanks to iPad and iOS widgets or the handy 🌐 + q shortcut on my MacBook.

So, what’s still missing? Well, a few things…

OmniFocus 4.2, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The Omni Group has released OmniFocus 4.2, introducing new custom perspective rules in the Pro edition that let you filter based on dates, repeats, and more.

Taylor Swift Is Revealing A Hidden Message On Apple Music Ahead Of ‘The Tortured Poets Department’: Here’s How To Figure It Out, by Ashley Iasimone, Billboard

It’s The Tortured Poets Department release week, and beginning April 13, Taylor Swift fans can embark on a search for a secret message from Swift on Apple Music.

One word a day will be hidden within Swift’s lyrics on the music streaming service, Apple has announced.


Apple Denies Violating US Court Order In Epic Games Lawsuit, by Mike Scarcella, Reuters

The Apple filing criticized what it called an attempt by Epic to make Apple's "tools and technologies available to developers for free."

Epic, it said, wanted the court "to micromanage Apple’s business operations in a way that would increase Epic’s profitability."

Here's How iCloud's Free Storage And Upgrades Compare To The Competition, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Sure, Apple’s pricing and plans are competitive with its competitors. Even the free tier at 5GB isn’t significantly out of line compared to the broader market. Still, after 13 years, something needs to change.

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Yes, there are many people who need a Mac that has more than 8GB of RAM. There is no denying that.

However, (and you know this is coming, right?), to claim that a Mac with only 8GB of RAM does not work for anyone is totally false. I, for example, have no problem using a MacBook Air with that amount of RAM, and one of the app that I use is Xcode.

There are plenty of people, I am sure, will only need a few well-behaved apps -- from Apple, and from good Mac developers. No, I do not consider Chrome or Teams to be well-behaved Mac apps, and yes, some people do need to use these apps, but, also, yes, there are people who don't need Chrome nor Teams. (I envy you.)

If your budget only allows only one upgrade from the base model, I'd go with more storage rather than more RAM. macOS is very good in managing RAM for you, but it is a pain to do storage management.

(Of course, if Apple can increase the base model without raising the price, then I am definitely in favor of having more RAM in the base model. That goes without saying. But then, maybe Apple can consider lowering the price instead?)


Thanks for reading.

The Round-Trip-Ticket Edition Saturday, April 13, 2024

Out In The Vision Pro, Having The Time Of My Life With A Bunch Of Friends., by Victoria Song, The Verge

So, did Spatial Personas make the Vision Pro less lonely? Yes and no. Testing Spatial Personas is the most fun I’ve had in the headset thus far. On the other hand, Wes is still the only person I know who uses his Vision Pro regularly. I don’t feel comfortable asking my friends to shell out $3,500 to hang out with me virtually when that money could buy a round-trip plane ticket to actually visit me. Some of this will hopefully get better with time. But for now, I’m still mostly alone in here.


A Tardy Assessment Of The Apple Sports App, by Dr Drang, And Now It's All This

This is not how you present a table of numbers, and it’s inconceivable to me that anyone would look at this mess and give it a pass.

Pixelmator Pro 3.5.8 Adds Support For Editing Text In PDFs, byTim Hardwick, MacRumors

Pixelmator Pro 3.5.8 has gone live on the Mac App Store, and the latest update to the popular image editing app brings the ability to edit text in PDFs, along with a handful of other notable additions.


YouTube’s Screen Stealer, by Joe Steel, Unauthoritative Pronouncements

I fully expect YouTube’s aim here is to capitalize on all this “free” real estate and start sliding in ads, promoting specific videos from partners, or showcasing movies available to rent or buy. I know that’s cynical, but so is YouTube as a business.

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I've rewinded my hobby project to restart all the intents and widgets, yet again. Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.

The Parts-Pairing Edition Friday, April 12, 2024

Apple Will Approve Used Parts In iPhone Repairs, In Long-awaited Reversal, by Chris Velazco, Washington Post

Apple told The Washington Post it is easing a key restriction on iPhone repairs. Starting this fall, owners of an iPhone 15 or newer will be able to get their broken devices fixed with used parts — including screens, batteries and cameras — without any change in functionality.


The company also announced on Thursday that it is extending its anti-theft Activation Lock feature to the parts inside iPhones. If you get your phone fixed by a less than scrupulous repair outfit that used parts from a stolen iPhone, those parts can’t be configured to work correctly.

Apple Opens Access To Used iPhone Components For Repair, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

“‘Parts pairing’ is used a lot outside and has this negative connotation,” Apple senior vice president of hardware engineering, John Ternus, tells TechCrunch. “I think it’s led people to believe that we somehow block third-party parts from working, which we don’t. The way we look at it is, we need to know what part is in the device, for a few reasons. One, we need to authenticate that it’s a real Apple biometric device and that it hasn’t been spoofed or something like that. … Calibration is the other one.”


“Parts pairing, regardless of what you call it, is not evil,” says Ternus. “We’re basically saying, if we know what module’s in there, we can make sure that when you put our module in a new phone, you’re gonna get the best quality you can. Why’s that a bad thing?”

On Security

What To Do If Apple Contacts You About Malware Or Security, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

If you receive emails sent to the addresses known to Apple, and messages to Messages, notifying you of a threat against you, confirm this in and follow the advice given. Otherwise, it’s most likely to be a scam or phishing attack.

Apple Drops Term 'State-sponsored' Attacks From Its Threat Notification Policy, by Ashna Teresa Britto, Reuters

Apple's removal of the term "state-sponsored" from its description of threat notifications comes after it repeatedly faced pressure from the Indian government on linking such breaches to state actors, said a source with direct knowledge.


Apple held extensive talks with Indian officials before releasing the latest set of alerts, the source added. It was not clear if other governments have also raised similar concerns.

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans To Overhaul Entire Mac Line With AI-Focused M4 Chips, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company, which released its first Macs with M3 chips five months ago, is already nearing production of the next generation — the M4 processor — according to people with knowledge of the matter. The new chip will come in at least three main varieties, and Apple is looking to update every Mac model with it, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been announced.


Apple is aiming to release the updated computers beginning late this year and extending into early next year. There will be new iMacs, a low-end 14-inch MacBook Pro, high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, and Mac minis — all with M4 chips. But the company’s plans could change. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.


Flipboard Deepens Its Ties To The Open Source Social Web (Aka The Fediverse), by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

On Thursday, the company announced it’s expanding its fediverse integrations to 400 more Flipboard creators and introducing fediverse notifications in the Flipboard app itself.


What Phones Are Doing To Reading, by Jay Caspian Kang, New Yorker

What’s particularly distressing to me is that, although I can imagine a world in which careful regulation and avoidance of algorithms makes phones less addictive, I cannot imagine myself freed from such stubborn vanities.

Did Smartphones "Destroy" A Generation? The Debate, Explained., by Eric Levitz, Vox

Ultimately, both Haidt and his critics overstate their evidence. The former’s case isn’t strong enough to prove that iPhones “destroyed” Gen Z, but it also isn’t so weak that it can be dismissed as the mere byproduct of a moral panic.

Apple Loses Bid To Throw Out UK Lawsuit Over App Store Fees, by Sam Tobin and Martin Coulter, Reuters

Apple's bid to dismiss a lawsuit valued at nearly $1 billion was rejected on Friday, with a judge ruling it must face allegations it charged more than 1,500 UK-based developers unfair commission fees on purchases of apps and other content.


Lenon said that Ennis' lawyers had a realistic prospect of establishing that "Apple's overcharging of commission to app developers based in the UK in relation to commerce transacted on non-UK storefronts did amount to conduct implemented in the UK".

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If Mark Gurman's rumor-mongering of the M4 updates to the entire Macintosh line is to be believed, it is, to me, still slightly disappointing that Apple is still not able to update the entire Mac line at one go.

But, come to think of it, even the iPhone line is not updated entirely at one go anymore -- if we are talking about the chip that is sitting inside the devices.


Thanks for reading.

The Windows-Management Edition Thursday, April 11, 2024

Single-Space Challenge: Trying To Manage My macOS Windows All In One Virtual Desktop, by Niléane, MacStories

Overall, this past week has made me realize how amazing macOS can be when it comes to window management. While it is severely lacking in some areas, especially when it comes to tiling and snapping windows, the fact that you can pick and choose which layers of Apple’s window management tools you want to leverage means that, in just a week, you can get used to a workflow that would have felt completely alien before. There is a certain beauty to this. My only hope is that Apple finally iterates on Stage Manager this year.

Optimizing WebKit & Safari For Speedometer 3.0, by

The introduction of Speedometer 3.0 is a major step forward in making the web faster for all, and allowing Web developers to make websites and web apps that were not previously possible. In this article, we explore ways the WebKit team made performance optimizations in WebKit and Safari based on the Speedometer 3.0 benchmark.

In order to make these improvements, we made an extensive use of our performance testing infrastructure. It’s integrated with our continuous integration, and provides the capability to schedule A/B tests. This allows engineers to quickly test out performance optimizations and catch new performance regressions.

The Dumbphone Boom Is Real, by Kyle Chayka, New Yorker

The growing dumbphone fervor may be motivated, in part, by the discourse around child safety online. Parents are increasingly confronted with evidence that sites like Instagram and TikTok intentionally try to hook their children. Using those sites can increase teens’ anxiety and lower their self-esteem, according to some studies, and smartphones make it so that kids are logged on constantly. Why should this situation be any healthier for adults? After almost two decades with iPhones, the public seems to be experiencing a collective ennui with digital life. So many hours of each day are lived through our portable, glowing screens, but the Internet isn’t even fun anymore. We lack the self-control to wean ourselves off, so we crave devices that actively prevent us from getting sucked into them. That means opting out of the prevailing technology and into what Cal Newport, a contributing writer for The New Yorker, has called a more considered “digital minimalism.”

On Security

Apple Alerts Users In 92 Nations To Mercenary Spyware Attacks, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Apple sent threat notifications to iPhone users in 92 countries on Wednesday, warning them that may have been targeted by mercenary spyware attacks.

The company sent the alerts to individuals in 92 nations at 12pm Pacific Time on Wednesday. The company did not disclose the attackers’ identities or the countries where users received notifications.

Coming Soon

Apple's Integrating Game Center Leaderboards Into News+ Puzzles With iOS 17.5, by Justin Meyers, Gadget Hacks

On iOS 17.5, as well as iPadOS 17.5, you'll see a new Quartiles word game alongside Crossword and Crossword Mini puzzles in Apple News. Like the crossword puzzles, Quartiles is for Apple News+ subscribers only.

Quartiles gives you 20 tiles, each with two to four letters, and the goal is to use those tiles to build words using just one tile or up to four tiles.

Apple In EU

EU's New Tech Laws Are Working; Small Browsers Gain Market Share, by Supantha Mukherjee and Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

But browser companies criticized how Apple and Google rolled out the new features which they described as slow and clunky, and they believe are slowing the migration of mobile users to new browser choices.


In iPhones, users can see the choice screen only when they click Safari, and then users are shown a list of browsers with no additional information, said Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, CEO of Norway’s Vivaldi.

Third-Party Web Browsers Report Growing Mobile Market Share In E.U., by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

I have seen others suggest people may be picking third-party browsers because they are unclear about what a web browser is, or are unsure which one they want to use. I can see legitimacy in both arguments — but that is just how choice works. A lot of people buy the same brand of a product even when they have other options because it is the one they recognize; others choose based on criteria unrelated to the product itself. This is not a new phenomenon. What is fascinating to me is seeing how its application to web browsers on a smartphone is being treated as exotic.

Apple In Courts

US Government's Apple Antitrust Suit Gets New Judge After Recusal, by Mike Scarcella, Reuters

U.S. District Judge Michael Farbiarz, who had been assigned to handle it, in a brief order said he was required to recuse from the case based on a judicial ethics rule that can restrict judges from hearing disputes in which they or a family member have some close connection or financial tie.

The order said his recusal was mandatory, but Farbiarz did not state the precise reason for his disqualification. Farbiarz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Apple Suggests Solution For 'Ghost Touch' Issue On Apple Watch Series 7 And Later, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Service providers have been told not to replace watches for the ghost touch problem, instead instructing customers to fix the issue through a force restart. A force restart can be initiated by simultaneously holding down the side button and the Digital Crown for 10 seconds. AASPs have also been asked to make sure affected Apple Watches are running the latest version of watchOS.


A fix for the ghost touch issue was added in watchOS 10.4, so presumably that version of the software addresses the issue on all impacted models. If not, the wording of Apple's memo suggests a further fix will be coming in the near future.

This App Fixes All My Problems With Apple Reminders, by Justin Pot, Lifehacker

Apple Reminders, if you didn't know, added a bunch of new features over the past couple years, and at this point it's actually a pretty complete to-do list app. It's not perfect, though: For one thing it doesn't offer a menu bar icon that allows you to quickly check your reminders, nor a system-wide keyboard shortcut for quickly adding a task to your list. The free application Reminders Menu Bar fixes these problems so seamlessly you'd think Apple made it themselves.

Buffet Is Tackling The Loneliness Epidemic By Connecting People In The Real World, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

A new app called Buffet is aiming to address the loneliness epidemic by helping users meet new people by quickly matching them with a person and a place to meet up (think Tinder + OpenTable). The app is designed to remove the barriers and hassles that come with meeting new people and then trying to find a place to hang out. Buffet aims to help users meet likeminded individuals, whether they’re looking for a new friend, romantic partner or gym buddy.


Adobe Is Buying Videos For $3 Per Minute To Build AI Model, by Brody Ford, Bloomberg

The software company is offering its network of photographers and artists $120 to submit videos of people engaged in everyday actions such as walking or expressing emotions including joy and anger, according to documents seen by Bloomberg. The goal is to source assets for artificial intelligence training, the company wrote.

Call Apple Vision Pro A Flop At Your Own Risk, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I’m not declaring that the Vision Pro has a special destiny because there’s no way to know that. But I do feel comfortable suggesting that those who are declaring it a dead end and a failed product might want to consider how foolish it would have been to say the same thing about a Commodore PET or TRS-80 in 1977.


While I don’t know what Apple has in store for the Vision Pro, thus far, I’d say the device’s first few months of existence have been about what we all should have expected: fitful and messy but with potential.

Apple Store In New Jersey Files To Unionize In Renewed Push, by Mark Gurman and Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

The store, located within a mall, has 104 employees that would be part of the union if the effort moves forward. The staff, represented by Communications Workers of America, filed its petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday.

This marks the fifth US Apple store where workers have petitioned to unionize, joining locations in Oklahoma City, the Maryland town of Towson, Atlanta and St. Louis. So far, only the Towson and Oklahoma City sites have successfully unionized.

Apple Sparks Palestinian Flag Emoji Controversy, by Chris Vallance, BBC

Apple has been criticised after the Palestinian flag emoji was automatically suggested to iPhone users who type "Jerusalem."

The Real Story Behind Apple TV+'s 'Franklin', by Vanessa Armstrong, Smithsonian Magazine

Franklin wasn’t the first American delegate to make his way to Versailles to lobby for France’s support in the nascent nation’s war against Britain. (The lawyer Silas Deane had arrived in Paris on July 7.) But over the next eight and a half years, he was the individual who secured the European country’s financial and military support. Without Franklin and the relationship he cultivated with the French minister of foreign affairs, France would not have funded the American war effort as robustly, and Britain might very well have won the war.

Stacy Schiff’s 2005 book, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America, chronicles the famed polymath’s time in France, from his first clandestine meeting at Versailles in December 1776 to the end of his ambassadorship in May 1785. Now, Apple TV+ is releasing an eight-episode limited series based on Schiff’s biography. The show, titled “Franklin,” centers on its titular character’s “considerable efforts to charm, cajole and bamboozle the French into paying for the American Revolution,” says writer and executive producer Howard Korder.

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Hiding apps is one of the commands in macOS that I use the most in managing different windows from different apps. So much so that I hate every minute of it when trying to do windows management over at... well, Windows. Yes, there is a minimize button for (almost) each window, but then the Task View (think: Mission Control) totally ignores minimized windows when activated.

I ended up using virtual desktops over at Windows to help segregate the different windows into different tasks, whereas I can do everything all in one desktop over at macOS.

And if you think advertisements of Apple services in the settings app is bad, you should take a look at Windows' start menu and widget view.


Thanks for reading.

The Enterprise-Use-Cases Edition Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Apple Vision Pro Brings A New Era Of Spatial Computing To Business, by Apple

Developers have been building apps for Apple Vision Pro across numerous enterprise categories, from business productivity and product design, to immersive training and guided work.

Apple Is Aiming The Vision Pro At Enterprises, by Daniel Howley, Yahoo Finance

To that end, I sat down for a demo of some of the enterprise use cases for the Vision Pro and came away impressed by what the headset has to offer. Much of what the company offers seemed to provide genuinely worthwhile use cases for workers, though, I'm not a jet engine mechanic, so I can't say for sure.

And while these were enterprise apps, they still managed to feel as immersive as their consumer-based counterparts. Though, I don't expect anyone to start downloading them from the App Store for fun.

Some Apple Vision Pro Users Suffer Black Eyes, Headaches And Neck Pain, by Jon Swartz, MarketWatch

Overuse of any headset, including Apple’s, could lead to temporary general discomfort, distraction from the real world and “simulator sickness,” which is akin to motion sickness, according to Bailenson.

Apple Releases visionOS 1.1.2 With Bug Fixes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes, the update introduces unspecified bug fixes and is recommended for all users.

5 GB iCloud

Apple’s New iPhone Ad: ‘Don’t Let Me Go’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

But this commercial made me want to yell at my TV each time it came on: “The problem is iCloud storage, not on-device storage!” The free tier of iCloud remains just 5 GB, and the $1/month paid tier offers just 50 GB, which may not be enough to back up even a 64 GB iPhone SE.


Am I missing something? It feels like this new commercial is just whistling past the single biggest shortcoming in the Apple ecosystem.

From The Department Of Spending Tim Cook’s Money: Online Photo Storage Is Surely Expensive To Offer, But Apple Should Offer More, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

It’s very easy for me and you to just declare that Apple ought to just foot the bill to offer more storage for over a billion users worldwide, but we’re not the ones making new TV commercials telling iPhone 15 users they needn’t worry about photo storage. If Apple really wants iPhone users not to worry about photo storage, they should offer more with iCloud, cost-to-Apple be damned.

Absolutely Incredible

Humans Forget. AI Assistants Will Remember Everything, by Boone Ashworth, Wired

Proponents of artificial intelligence are quick to list the myriad ways their tech will serve as extensions of our busy brains. But as Apple, Google, and other companies race to bring their AI creations onto our phones, we’re being presented with an opportunity to use these next-gen digital assistants to correct one of our inherent human flaws: poor memory.

Tom Gruber, who cofounded the company that created Apple's Siri voice assistant, says the potential for offloading memory-dependent tasks is the first big leap toward making AI assistants that can truly ape human thinking.


Apple TV+ Salutes Earth Day With Award-winning Programming For The Whole Family, by Apple

This Earth Day, Apple TV+ celebrates its slate of award-winning original programming highlighting the wonders of our planet and the importance of doing what we can to protect it. From the second season premiere of “Jane,” inspired by the work of legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, to the immersive “Earthsounds,” a new nature docuseries narrated by Emmy Award winner Tom Hiddleston revealing the untold ways animals communicate around the world, to the wonders of “Prehistoric Planet,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough, Apple TV+ is your home for Earth Day.


Apple Targets New Miami Office Space Following Amazon And Microsoft, by Anna J Kaiser and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple is taking 45,000 square feet (4,181 square meters) in a new building in Coral Gables, a wealthy suburb just south of Miami, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. [...] The company already has a smaller office in the vicinity, which has focused mostly on Latin America as well as the advertising business, including selling ad slots in the App Store.

The Meat Grinder, by Keenan

I worked for Apple over a decade ago, during what many current and former employees have described as the end of the Golden Years of Apple Retail. That magical era when the company purportedly cared about nothing more than providing a incredible experience to its employees and its customers.


Even in my brief time with them over a decade ago, I witnessed too many people ground up in Apple's pursuit of more. No matter how much you may believe that they are ultimately a force of good in the world, remember that if it ever became a choice between you and selling another iPhone, that iPhone is going to get sold. You don't win capitalism through altruism. Apple is not the exception to the rule: there are no exceptions.

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I mostly succeeded in no longer reading the comments section of blogs, forums, and other internet corners. Today, I found myself asking me why am I still subscribed to some podcasts that are mostly immature comments from immature people?

So now I have a shorter podcast queue.


And, yes, I give you permission to skip the comments section of this little web page.



Thanks for reading.

The Essential-Companion Edition Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Pushing The Limit With Apple Watch Ultra And The Speed Project, by Apple

The team’s Speed Project route took the runners out of Los Angeles, up through the Antelope Valley, past the San Gabriel Mountains, through the Mojave Desert, along the edge of Death Valley National Park, and finally across the finish line in Las Vegas.

Through it all — the rugged landscape, the sleep deprivation, the dehydration, the extreme temperatures, and the pouring rain — Apple Watch Ultra 2 was an essential companion, offering the 12-member team the ability to instantly keep tabs on each others’ locations, take hands-free calls, keep an eye on their pace, provide visibility in the darkness, and view their elevation.

Apple Is Restricting The Potential Of Vision Pro Apps, But For A Good Reason, by Alex Blake, TechRadar

Ultimately, there’s a very good reason why Apple prevents apps from using the Vision Pro’s camera feed: privacy. Granting access to the camera might enable the creation of some useful apps, but it could also invade the privacy of everyone in the vicinity if an untrustworthy app developer uses it for nefarious purposes.


Life360 Launches Flight Landing Notifications To Alert Friends And Family, by Ivan Mehta, TechCrunch

Family location services company Life360 has launched a new notification for its apps to automatically alert friends and family when you reach a destination after taking a flight.

Life360 said that the feature uses phone sensors to measure location, altitude and speed to determine if you are taking a flight. Plus, its algorithms can detect takeoff and landing times, and alert family members when you connect to the network post-landing.


How Amateur Performers Are Making Porn In The Apple Vision Pro, by Samantha Cole, 404 Media

The Apple Vision Pro is expensive, and for a while after launch, no one could figure out how to get porn to play properly on the $4,000 headset. But it turns out the easiest way to get porn onto the Vision Pro is to record it using the Vision Pro itself. The device records natively from inside the headset, and is a lot cheaper and less cumbersome for performers than wearing multiple DSLRs on your head while trying to stay hard.

The Web Became A Strip Mall, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

So I’ve begun letting my domains lapse—the equivalent of finally junking an unfinished project in the closet or letting a yard grow feral. is just a website now. is a European bank. is a joke. A domain used to mark off the space for a dream online. Now most of those dreams have been realized, or abandoned.

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Now with more top-level domains available to everybody, why hasn't the price of owning a domain name drop to impulse-levels?

(And yes, I do still have a few domain names of which I have no idea how to use them. I don't have that many hobby projects.)


Thanks for reading.

The Complex-Screens Edition Monday, April 8, 2024

Apple Is Rebooting Its Search For A New Next Big Thing, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

For those looking for more specific timing, I’m told the launch will probably happen the week of May 6. Another data point to that end: Apple retail stores are preparing to receive new product marketing materials later that week. That’s typically a sign that a new product release is incoming. It’s also worth reiterating — as I reported at the end of March — that the complex new iPad screens are behind the roughly one month delay from the initial March release plan.


The company is also working on new versions of the low-end iPad and iPad mini, but those won’t be coming before the end of the year at the earliest.

14 Years Ago, Apple Changed Computing When Steve Jobs Sat On A Chair, by Ian Carlos Campbell, Inverse

Now 14 years since its original release on April 3, 2010, and over a year since Apple last updated it, the future of the iPad is more complicated and laptop-like than ever. Apple’s tablet has changed radically since the first-generation model was introduced in 2010, not necessarily in its capabilities, but in how Apple fits it into its lineup. The original iPad proposed a turn towards a casual, iPhone-inspired vision for the future of computing that has come to pass, but not entirely in the way Apple imagined.

Apple In EU

EU Regulators Assess Apple's Plan For Complying With Music Streaming Order, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

EU antitrust regulators are checking to see if an Apple, opens new tab proposal would comply with their order to let Spotify, opens new tab and other music streaming services inform users of payment options outside its App Store, the European Commission said on Monday.


The World Doesn’t Need More Journal Apps, by Adrienne So, Wired

As a lifelong journaler, it’s hard to forget that I already have an intimate, safe space to record my life and share memories. It is a notebook. I don’t have to worry about marketers selling my information, because it’s not accessible. What if creating a safe space all of your own means just getting off the internet altogether?

TSMC Gets $11.6 Billion In US Grants, Loans For Chip Plants, by Mackenzie Hawkins and Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg

The US plans to award Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. $6.6 billion in grants and as much as $5 billion in loans to help the world’s top chipmaker build factories in Arizona, expanding President Joe Biden’s effort to boost domestic production of critical technology.

Under the preliminary agreement announced by the US on Monday, TSMC will construct a third factory in Phoenix, adding to two facilities in the state that are expected to begin production in 2025 and 2028. In total, the package will support more than $65 billion in investments at the three plants by TSMC, the go-to chipmaker for companies such as Apple Inc. and Nvidia Corp.

The Internet Archive Just Backed Up An Entire Caribbean Island, by Kate Knibbs, Wired

The Internet Archive is mostly known for trying to back up online resources like websites that don’t have a government body advocating for their posterity. Being tapped to back up an entire nation’s history takes the nonprofit into new territory, and it is a striking endorsement of its mission to bring as much information online as possible. “What makes Aruba unique is they have cooperation from all the leading cultural heritage players in the country,” says Chris Freeland, the Internet Archive’s director of library services. “It’s just an awesome statement.” The project is funded wholly by the Internet Archive, in line with its policy of generally letting anyone upload content.

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It seems to me that Apple has given up the idea that the Mac will be replace by the iPad, but the company somehow is still holding on to the idea that the iPad will replace Mac. (Do I make sense?)

Between ever-larger iPhones, and ever-still-not-working multitasking implementations, the idea of the iPad sitting comfortably between the phone and the computer is somehow missing in today's Apple.


Thanks for reading.

The Move-Impossibly Edition Sunday, April 7, 2024

Monument Valley At 10: The Story Of The Most Meticulous Puzzle Game Ever Created, by Jonathan Bell, Wallpaper

Tasked with developing a showcase for the agency as well as an intriguing game, the concept came together relatively quickly. ‘We started off with reams and reams of concept art,’ says Gray, ‘it was all very audience-led – we’d pin it up on the walls of the studio and invite comments. It was an isometric drawing of architecture that got the most attention.’ Almost straight away, this image led to a prototype of a single-screen game where you had to guide a character from ‘point A to point B.’ One key gameplay mechanism, however, arose out of a graphical glitch; one of the sliding blocks appeared to move ‘impossibly’, instantly introducing the element of optical illusion and inviting new ways to navigate the on-screen world.

Even Hands-free, Phones And Their Apps Cause Dangerously Distracted Driving, by Shannon Roberts, The Conversation

Most U.S. states ban hand-held cellphone use while driving but allow hands-free devices. However, hands-free devices are still distracting. Talking on a hands-free phone and driving is multitasking, and humans are not good at doing two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time.


These detrimental effects last even after you end your call. There is a hangover effect: You can remain mentally distracted nearly 27 seconds after you finish using your cellphone. At 65 miles per hour, you’ve traveled nearly half a mile in 27 seconds.

Absolutely Incredible

Inside Big Tech's Underground Race To Buy AI Training Data, by Katie Paul and Anna Tong, Reuters

At its peak in the early 2000s, Photobucket was the world's top image-hosting site. The media backbone for once-hot services like Myspace and Friendster, it boasted 70 million users and accounted for nearly half of the U.S. online photo market.

Today only 2 million people still use Photobucket, according to analytics tracker Similarweb. But the generative AI revolution may give it a new lease of life.


Rooms Is A Delightful Escape, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

The similarities between Rooms — a simple, charming game for iOS and the web where you design rooms — and Minecraft are easy to spot. Both share a blocky visual style and a design-your-own-retreat objective. But describing Rooms as a scaled-down Minecraft for people over the age of 12 doesn’t give it enough credit. It’s good, old-fashioned building in the vein of Lego, The Sims, and Animal Crossing. Rooms builds on the time-honored tradition with a dose of coziness and creativity that’s limited only by your patience for arranging three-dimensional pixels.

Sega's Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop Pops Onto iPhone And Mac, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Players connect four or more Puyos of the same color to erase them, creating chain combos. But that’s only the basics. Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop includes a wide variety of options and game modes, including single player and multiplayer.


How To Send Progress Updates, by Slava Akhmechet

If people want your updates, they’ve entrusted you with something– a successful delivery of a product or feature, investment capital, company budget, their reputation, something. Convey that you value their trust and take stewardship seriously.


Price Of Zero-day Exploits Rises As Companies Harden Products Against Hackers, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, TechCrunch

The increase in prices comes as companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are making it harder to hack their devices and apps, which means their users are better protected.

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I've had a thought earlier today: I will never be able to purchase another iPhone that is as small and light as my iPhone mini, will I? Not a future flagship mini phone. Not even a future SE phone. Apple doesn't want to spend the extra effort to produce another mini phone because it knows I will buy another iPhone when it is time.

(No, DoJ. This is not lock in. This is creating the best ecosystem in the world.)


Thanks for reading.

The Opening-the-Marketplace Edition Saturday, April 6, 2024

Apple Opens The App Store To Retro Game Emulators, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Apple is loosening its App Store restrictions and opening the marketplace up to retro game emulators. In an update on Friday, Apple announced that game emulators can come to the App Store globally and offer downloadable games. Apple says those games must comply with “all applicable laws,” though — an indication it will ban apps that provide pirated titles.


Alongside the new rules on emulators, Apple also updated its rules around super apps, such as WeChat. It now says that mini-games and mini-apps within these apps must use HTML5, clarifying that they can’t be native apps and games.

In Your Face Entertainment

Video Entertainment Is Main Draw For Vision Pro: Exclusive Survey, by Audrey Schomer, Variety

A majority of U.S. consumers aren’t immediately likely to buy a Vision Pro, Apple’s mixed reality headset released in early February. But for those few who do want the device — as well as among general consumers — video entertainment is their biggest interest.


While it’s still early days, the arrival of Vision Pro signals the era of mixed reality entertainment is here. For Hollywood and other creative industries, the moment has come to pay attention to what Vision Pro could mean for the next wave of content innovation.

Apple Teases New 'Prehistoric Planet' Immersive Video Coming To Vision Pro This Month, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that the new episode of Prehistoric Planet will be six minutes long and offer an immersive look at inside Triceratops Forest. “Deep in the woods, a curious baby triceratops learns about family bonds,” Apple says. This marks the second new Immersive Video release since Vision Pro’s launch.

The Open Web

The Podcast Landscape Is A Mess, And That’s A Good Thing, by Justin Pot, Lifehacker

So much of the internet is dominated by a few massive would-be monopolists who force you to use their applications in order to access the things you want. Podcasting could have easily gone the same way. The phrase "wherever you get your podcasts" is a monument to the fact that it didn't—a rare success for the open web.

Apple In EU

Apple To Let Music Streaming Apps In Europe Link To Own Websites For Purchases, by Granth Vanaik, Reuters

Apple announced measures on Friday to make it easier for music streaming apps on its App Store in the European Economic Area to inform users of other ways to purchase digital services, as it looks to comply with a European Union mandate.


Apple, however, said the Commission's decision does not address its ability to charge a commission for all the tools, technologies and ongoing services it provides.

Watch Appeal

Apple Asks US Appeals Court To Reverse Apple Watch Import Ban, by Blake Brittain, Reuters

Apple told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that the U.S. International Trade Commission's decision was based on a "series of substantively defective patent rulings," and that Masimo failed to show it had invested in making competing U.S. products that would justify the order.

Here’s Apple’s 916-page Appeal Over The Apple Watch Ban, by Victoria Song, The Verge

The ITC is an agency similar to a court that often deals with imported “articles” that may or may not violate intellectual property law. The word “article” matters more than you’d think, since the statute that created the ITC specifies that it has jurisdiction over “articles.”

Not to get too into the weeds, but a good chunk of Apple’s appeal argues: what domestic industry? And what articles? The appeal brief claims that not only was Masimo primarily known for clinical pulse oximeters, it didn’t even have an actual smartwatch when the complaint was filed.

Apple’s Opening Brief In Appeal Of Watch Case Places Emphasis On ITC’s Domestic Industry Requirement, by IP Fray

Apple has a strong argument that a patent holder with a hypothetical product should not have access to the ITC just based on the argument that at some point it would actually practice the patent claims at issue. That would mean the implementation of the claimed inventions couldn’t even be analyzed. The latter is what Apple says: the ITC didn’t have direct evidence of Masimo practicing those patent claims.


Taylor Swift Teases 'The Tortured Poets Department' With Apple Music Exclusive Heartbreak Playlists, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Taylor Swift has debuted five curated playlists on Apple Music, dubbed covering each of the five stages of grief and heartbreak. The new playlists are exclusively available on Apple Music, and they come ahead of the release of Swift’s new The Tortured Poets Department album on April 19.

The Cleveland Orchestra Announces Apple Music Classical Partnership, Releases Live Recording Of Prokofiev's Sixth Symphony, by Justin McMullen, WKYC

The Cleveland Orchestra has announced a new partnership with Apple Music Classical, beginning with an exclusive release of Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6 in spatial audio.

The partnership between Apple and the orchestra will highlight "exclusive releases, curated playlists and editorial features" on the Apple Music Classical streaming app.

Notice: Apple ID Balances In Singapore Cannot Be Spent Starting July 1, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Starting on July 1, 2024, it will no longer be possible to spend an Apple ID balance in Singapore, according to an Apple support document spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris. Apple did not provide an explanation for this decision, but it appears to relate to new regulations introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. In general, gift cards are frequently involved in scams that defraud people.


Apple Welcomes Developers To New YouTube Channel For WWDC Videos, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple this week shared an introductory video for its new Apple Developer channel on YouTube, where developers will be able to watch WWDC 2024 sessions in June.


Tim Cook Sells Nearly 200,000 Apple Shares, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's CEO Tim Cook this week sold 196,410 shares of the company's stock, which had a total value of approximately $33.2 million based on the average sale price of the transactions, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. After taxes, Cook netted nearly $16.4 million from the sales.

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On the other hand, there seems to be a dearth of new podcast players lately, and some old podcast players seems to be hanging on life support.

In particular, there isn't a good podcast player that gives me really smart playlists that I can customize.

(Yes, I am missing iTunes and its AppleScript support.)


Thanks for reading.

The Relatively-Dated Edition Friday, April 5, 2024

The Desktop Mac Is Dead, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

For Apple fans who like to see the company’s products have the latest the greatest technology, it’s disappointing. Apple’s current desktop lineup offers great designs and features, even if it’s mostly comprised of M2 chips that are relatively dated, but when you see that, for example, the M2 Max offers the same CPU performance as a M3 Pro, it makes a customer hesitant to make a buying decision. The waiting game, it appears is now longer than ever.

Knotwords: Gage And Schlesinger At The Crossroads, by Apple

Knotwords is a clever twist on crossword puzzles — so much so that one would expect creators Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger to be longtime crossword masters who set out to build themselves a new challenge.

One would be totally wrong.


Apple To Report Earnings On May 2 Following Vision Pro Launch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that its next quarterly earnings conference call will be held on Thursday, May 2 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time.

Taiwan’s Chips Giant Resumes Operations After Deadly Quake, by Debby Wu and Chien-Hua Wan, Bloomberg

TSMC said overall tool recovery of fabs has reached more than 80% as of Thursday and there has been no damage to its most critical chip-making equipment, including extreme ultraviolet lithography systems. However, certain production lines require more time to return to normal due to greater impact from the quake, it added.

Technological advancements in Taiwan appear to have kept damage and casualties relatively low after the 7.4 magnitude quake struck the island’s east coast early Wednesday. The government revised building codes and other regulations after a 1999 tremblor that killed more than 2,400 people.

Apple Cut At Least 600 Workers When Car, Screen Projects Stopped, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. laid off more than 600 employees in California as part of the decisions to end its car and smartwatch display projects, according to filings with the California Employment Development Department.

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Is it technically too difficult for Apple to just take out the M2 chip in Mac mini computers, replace them with M3 chips, and, voila, a new desktop machine for sale? If it is something they can't easily do, then perhaps there is a problem with how the computers are designed?

Is there is a chip supply issue? But surely if Apple is making good profits on both the desktop and laptop lines, and that Apple is the king of just-in-time manufacturing, there is no good reason to favor laptop customers over desktop customers?

Or maybe it is for business reasons? Does desktop purchases cannibalizes laptop purchases? But, does Apple secretly afraid of cannibalizations within its own product lines, the direct opposite of its public image when the company is talking about innovations?

I don't know. But it sure doesn't feel right.


Thanks for reading.

The Faded-Dream Edition Thursday, April 4, 2024

Ten Years Later, ‘Monument Valley’ Is A Monument To Mobile Gaming’s Bygone Era, by Lewis Gordon, The Ringer

Without making it sound like the moon landing, the App Store from the early 2010s to 2017 offered something close to a gaming utopia. Experimental and expressive titles found their way to audiences that were genuinely mainstream in their size and demographics. These games could hold their own against those whose core gameplay loops weren’t always designed according to the most ethical of principles. But, de Jongh says, alongside the App Store redesign, something else changed at Apple. The recommendations of indie gems started to dry up, supplanted by plugs for sports titles, branded titles (which mobile developers have increasingly turned to), and, of course, free-to-play goliaths, the “stuff that just makes money.” Gaming on the iPhone, previously a breath of fresh air, began to feel stale: Rather than inspiring emotions such as wonder and calm, as Monument Valley does, the titles that dominated this new era of the App Store were more likely to leave players with a sense of shame and guilt. Now, in 2024, it’s clear that Monument Valley is emblematic of a creative golden age for mobile games, albeit one that has been unequivocally consigned to history. The future it pointed to has fizzled out—little more than a faded dream, and maybe a naive one at that.


Even Apple Arcade has sputtered. It burst onto the scene in 2019 with a generous slate of games from an all-star lineup of studios, including Simogo (Sayonara Wild Hearts), Dinosaur Polo Club (Mini Motorways), and, naturally, ustwo (Assemble With Care). But in 2020, the service reportedly pivoted (canceling contracts in the process) from one-and-done premium-esque titles to “sticky” games, i.e., those with high replay value. Last month, another report alleged the “smell of death” around the service. De Jongh, who also helps fund indie games, hasn’t heard of a single title that has signed to Apple Arcade in the past year. “Either they’re going to radically shift direction again, make their minds up about it, or the whole thing is going to get killed,” he says.

On Privacy

Keeping Your Data From Apple Is Harder Than Expected, Finds Study, by Aalto University, Tech Xplore

The researchers studied eight apps: Safari, Siri, Family Sharing, iMessage, FaceTime, Location Services, Find My and Touch ID. They collected all publicly available privacy-related information on these apps, from technical documentation to privacy policies and user manuals.

The fragility of the privacy protections surprised even the researchers.

Coming Soon

New iPad Model Identifiers Appear In Regulatory Filings Ahead Of Rumored May Launch, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

As spotted by 91mobiles, two new iPad model identifiers have been registered on the Indian BIS certification database. It’s been a long time since new iPad model identifiers have been introduced as Apple last released a new iPad model almost eighteen months ago, the biggest gap ever between Apple tablet generations.


Apple Says ‘System Error’ Led To Incorrect Emails Sent To Apple Card Users, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is sending an email to Apple Card users today informing them of a “system error” that occurred on Monday. According to the email, this led to some Apple Card users erroneously being told they weren’t enrolled in Scheduled Payments.

Use 'Spaceman' To Keep Track Of Your Mac's Virtual Desktops, by Justin Pot, Lifehacker

This application shows not only your Mission Control desktops but also any applications you might have open in full screen, which can help you keep track of multiple full-screen windows, if that's something you do frequently.

Retro, An Actually Good Photo-sharing App For BFFs, Launches Collaborative Journals, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

With its dedicated focus on photos and videos from your loved ones, Retro is progressively rolling out features that could quickly turn it into a must-have for long-distance friends, extended families and everyone who likes to carefully curate photos and pick the best ones from their camera roll.


Apple TV Deserves Better Than tvOS, by Dan Moren, Macworld

A few years back I switched to consuming pretty much all my content through the Apple TV, and it’s put me in a contradictory situation when it comes to the set-top box: appreciative of how quietly and competently it does its job, and all too aware of where it could be so much better.

Apple Explores Home Robotics As Potential ‘Next Big Thing’ After Car Fizzles, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Engineers at Apple have been exploring a mobile robot that can follow users around their homes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the skunk-works project is private. The iPhone maker also has developed an advanced table-top home device that uses robotics to move a display around, they said.


The robotics work is happening within Apple’s hardware engineering division and its AI and machine-learning group, which is run by John Giannandrea. Matt Costello and Brian Lynch — two executives focused on home products — have overseen the hardware development. Still, Apple hasn’t committed to either project as a company, and the work is still considered to be in the early research phase. A spokeswoman declined to comment.

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I do not need a robot to follow me around in my house. I also don't need a robot to bring me beer. Firstly, I don't drink beer. Even if I do need beer, I can go get them from the fridge myself, just like I don't need a remote control to change television channels when I can easily walk up to the television and do it myself.

(Television channels? What are television channels?)

What I do want is a robot to clean my house, collect and wash and fold and put back my clothes, clean my toilet, and, yes, clean my dishes.

And in the future, when I am really old and cannot easily walk, carry me around to where I want to be.

Free me from all the boring stuff I need to do, so that I can focus on my creative stuff. Like watching Apple TV+ for inspiration, listening to podcasts for research, and reading books for... fun.

Just make sure it is following the three laws of robotics. Especially the first one. I will not compromise on that one.



Oh, and Apple, maybe you can also invent some AI robot to help you write better documentation and better error messages. I still don't know why the widget of my hobby project failed to even launch on one of the simulator, but not the other.


Early this year I just re-played the two Monument Valley games in Apple Arcade. So great. And so sad there aren't anymore Monument Valley games.


Thanks for reading.

The Minimizing-Options Edition Wednesday, April 3, 2024

How To Turn Your iPhone Into A Bare-bones Device, by Heather Kelly, Washington Post

A recently added setting on iPhones and iPads makes the devices less complicated. It can turn a smartphone into a feature phone, a landline replacement, a kid’s phone and even an iPod. Called Assistive Access, the setting was introduced in September in iOS 17 as an accessibility option for people with cognitive disabilities. Like many accessibility features, it has potentially beneficial applications for everyone.

When activated, it switches to a bare-bones home screen that shows one or more apps as larger-than-usual icons. It makes smartphones and tablets easier to navigate by minimizing the number of options and adding more visual-based controls.

Shared-Space Experience

With Spatial Personas, Apple Vision Pro Starts To Fulfill Its Promise, by Jason Cross, Macworld

Spatial Personas aren’t everything they need to be, but they finally provide the sort of shared-space experience that we highlighted as one of the ways Apple can improve Vision Pro without new hardware. Now you can finally “gather” with up to four others to watch videos together, play games, work on a whiteboard, or all examine and discuss the same 3D interactive objects and environments.

It’s not unique—other VR headsets have been doing their own versions of this for years—but it really makes the Vision Pro feel like a less isolated and disconnected experience. And with WWDC right around corner, it’s a sign that Apple Vision Pro is just getting started.

Spatial Persona On Vision Pro Changes The Game, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I was able to invite my friend Stephen Hackett’s Persona over to my house for a play date and we were able to chat face to face in a way that just seemed more natural than talking to a persona in a box. It felt more like it was him.

My Spatial Persona Impressions, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

Personas are still a bit weird, but I think freeing them from their boxes makes them feel totally different and much better. If you have a Vision Pro, it’s worth checking this out, especially with SharePlay in the mix.

Apple's Social Force Ghost Feature, by M.G. Siegler, Spyglass

I want more content, content, content – better than this – but these types of updates are crucial for any hopes of "viral" adoption of this device.

Coming Soon

iOS 17.5 To Let Users Disable Unwanted Tracking Accessories, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple last year announced a partnership with Google to work on a new “industry specification to address unwanted tracking” after many concerns about stalkers using accessories like AirTags to silently track people. Now it seems that Apple is planning to launch these new anti-stalking features with iOS 17.5.

iPadOS 17.5 Hints At New 'Squeeze' Gesture For Apple Pencil 3, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Multiple pieces of evidence found in the code of iPadOS 17.5 beta, which was released to developers on Tuesday, point to a new gesture called “squeeze” for Apple Pencil. The gesture can be used for quick interactions such as adding shapes, signatures, stickers, or a text field. Presumably, the gesture will be triggered by pressing the Apple Pencil surface.

Apple In EU

iOS 17.5 Lets EU iPhone Users Download Apps From Websites, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released the first beta of iOS 17.5 to developers, and as expected, the update introduces support for downloading apps from developer websites in the European Union.

A First Look At Europe’s Alternative iPhone App Stores, by Callum Booth, The Verge

Fundamentally, in their current state, third-party iOS app stores like AltStore will only be attractive to power users, groups of enthusiasts who are desperate to solve niche issues or have particular interests in something they can’t get on the App Store, like a fully functioning clipboard manager or game emulator.


New iPad Features Come To iWork Apps, Including Better Collaboration And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

New versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are now available with new iPad optimizations, improved collaboration, and more.

Apple Rolling Out New Firmware Update For AirPods Max, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is rolling out a new firmware version for AirPods Max users today. The update is the first firmware release for AirPods Max users since the end of January, but don’t expect any major changes.

Beats Partners With Alo Yoga For Latest Beats Fit Pro Collaboration, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple's Beats brand is known for participating in collaborations with various designers and others for special editions of Beats earphones and headphones, and the latest partnership is with luxury activewear brand Alo Yoga for a unique version of Beats Fit Pro.

Transit Is Still The Best-Designed Transit App On The iPhone In 2024, by Niléane, MacStories

Transit is an amazing app that lets you look up transit itineraries and will even guide you along as you travel to your destination.

Philips Hue App Gains Support For Widgets, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Philips Hue app was today updated to version 5.14, adding support for widgets. Hue widgets can be added to the Home Screen, Lock Screen, or Today View, and can be used for controlling lights and other accessories.


TSMC Halts Some Chipmaking As Taiwan Gauges Quake Fallout, by Debby Wu, Bloomberg

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. halted some chipmaking and evacuated plants after the biggest earthquake to hit its home island in 25 years, raising concerns about disruptions to the global tech supply chain.


The island’s tech firms are still assessing impact from the earthquake, which leveled dozens of buildings on its eastern side and killed at least four people. On Wednesday, TSMC said staff were beginning to return to evacuated sites though it stressed it was examining impact. Still, any halt in production threatens to upset a process that — especially for sophisticated semiconductors — can require uninterrupted seclusion in a vacuum for weeks on end, Barclays analysts wrote.

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Over here, Apple has 'unbundled' the various media player out from iTunes into separate apps. But over there, it does seem like Spotify and Google are bundling different media into the same app?

Was the iPod a superapp?


Thanks for reading.

The Works-Fine Edition Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Using Apple’s iCloud Passwords Outside Safari, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Although I’m happy with 1Password, I’ve been using iCloud Passwords for the past month in Arc to see if I could recommend iCloud Passwords for those who don’t rely on Safari. While I miss features from 1Password, the answer is yes: iCloud Passwords works fine. At least that’s true for me—I see reviews on the Chrome Web Store page that claim it doesn’t work or broke after some update, but I’ve been using it long enough that I’m comfortable saying it’s functional.

Apple Researchers Develop AI That Can ‘See’ And Understand Screen Context, by Michael Nuñez, VentureBeat

Apple researchers have developed a new artificial intelligence system that can understand ambiguous references to on-screen entities as well as conversational and background context, enabling more natural interactions with voice assistants, according to a paper published on Friday.

The system, called ReALM (Reference Resolution As Language Modeling), leverages large language models to convert the complex task of reference resolution — including understanding references to visual elements on a screen — into a pure language modeling problem. This allows ReALM to achieve substantial performance gains compared to existing methods.

This Startup Thinks The Future Of VR Is Doing The Boring Work For Surgeons, by Thomas Germain, Gizmodo

“People assume that surgical healthcare has got to be sophisticated and modern. The reality is the way we organize it is probably the most archaic of all the major industries on the planet,” said Robert Masson, MD, a practicing neurosurgeon and CEO of eXeX. “It’s all memorization and guesswork with scribbles on pieces of paper. It’s total chaos theory.”

According to Masson, surgical care is stuck in the distant past, with all of the work going towards groundbreaking treatments, but almost no focus on the most basic foundational standards that keep the process moving. It’s the little things: eXeX is setting up the surgery room, helping nurses keep track of which tools the doctor needs and when, and keeping documents organized. Streamlining these processes could amount to a revolution in healthcare, a revolution that is going to make someone a lot of money if they can develop a widely adopted platform.

On Security

Apple GoFetch Was Caused By An Obsession With Speed, by Rupert Goodwins, The Register

Secrecy and speed are incompatible in some ways, mutually beneficial in others. Engineering this fact for best results will always be a compromise, but that's what engineering's all about. Chip companies would be doing everyone a huge favor if they re-engineered their philosophy, not just their chips, to recognize this.

Apple In EU / Apple In Courts

The AltStore, An Alternative App Store Coming To EU, Will Offer Patreon-backed Apps, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

To comply with the new European law, Apple is introducing APIs and frameworks that allow developers to distribute apps independently of the App Store. The AltStore was quick to capitalize on this possibility, and last week, AltStore developer Riley Testut shared screenshots of the up-and-coming version of his app store that will be offered in the EU.

Instead of relying only on ads, paid downloads or in-app purchases to monetize, the AltStore will allow developers to use its custom Patreon integration to market their apps directly to consumers.

Will The Apple Antitrust Suit Affect Your Phone’s Security?, by Gaby Del Valle, The Verge

However, some security experts note that Apple’s App Store is indeed safer than those on Android phones.

“Our data from millions of device scans on iOS and Android devices around the world suggests that open app stores lead to more malicious activity than closed ecosystems,” said Danny Rogers, the CEO of the cybersecurity company iVerify, whose app detects malware on phones and computers. “So while opening up app stores to third parties might be good for competition, it will likely increase malicious activity as well.”


For now, it’s simply too soon to say how iPhone users’ privacy will be affected — we don’t even yet know what the Justice Department wants as a remedy if it wins, let alone what it will actually get. (And all of that, of course, is contingent on it winning in the first place.) “There are so many different pieces of this,” Steinhauer said. “I don’t see how they could possibly win all or lose all.”


Apple Store Employees Say Coworkers Were Disciplined For Supporting Palestinians, by Caroline Haskins, Wired

Nearly 300 current and former Apple employees have published an open letter alleging that several retail and corporate employees of the company have been disciplined or “wrongfully terminated” for expressing support for Palestinian people through pins, bracelets, or keffiyeh.

The group, which calls itself Apples4Ceasefire, is planning a protest outside Apple’s retail store in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Saturday. In a podcast published last week with media outlet Palestine in America, the group alleges a Palestinian retail employee at that location was wrongly fired for wearing clothing and accessories showing support for Palestinian people. The podcast episode also elaborates on allegations made in the letter, making detailed claims about multiple Apple employees experiencing retaliation from managers.

Your Fitness Tracker Has No Idea How Many Calories You’re Burning, by Beth Skwarecki, Lifehacker

It’s probably most useful if you think of your calorie burn as a number you cannot measure directly. Treat it as a black box: I burn some unknowable number of calories, now what?

The only common reason you would need an accurate estimate of calorie burn is if you are trying to figure out how much food you need to eat. If you want to lose weight, you want to eat less than you burn; if you want to gain weight, you want the reverse; and if you’re trying to maintain your weight, you want to eat roughly the same as what you burn.

Jon Stewart Says Apple Asked Him Not To Talk To FTC Chair Lina Khan On ‘The Problem’, by Abid Rahman, Hollywood Reporter

“I’ve got to tell you, I wanted to have you on a podcast and Apple asked us not to do it, to have you. They literally said, ‘please don’t talk to her’,” Stewart said. “I don’t think they cared for you,” he then joked.


Stewart added that Apple were also concerned about the way The Problem would tackle the issue of AI. “They wouldn’t let us do that dumb thing we did in the first act on AI,” Stewart said, referring to a segment from earlier in the show that mocked some of the promises of AI.

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Turns out there is a huge bug in my hobby project that prevented the AppIntent to work properly at all times. But now that I understand a bit more on how widgets work, I am tempted to just redo the whole AppIntent from scratch.

Okay, tempted no more. I've decided to redo the whole AppIntent from scratch.


Thanks for reading.

The In-Between Edition Monday, April 1, 2024

I Miss Having An iPad, by Matt Birchler, Birchtree

My Mac still excels at day-to-day work, both for my day job and for my side projects, and my iPhone remains the astounding pocket computer it's always been, but it turns out an in between device is more important to me than I realized and I took it for granted all these years.

The iPad is not a good replacement for a Mac or an iPhone for me, but damn it all if I didn't enjoy having it around for some situations where neither of those devices were perfect. It's cliche, but the iPad was the G.O.A.T. for doing stuff on the couch. In the morning while I eat breakfast or at night when I'm hanging out with my wife, an iPad was just the best device for browsing around and neither my Mac nor my iPhone fills that gap perfectly.

Apple Explains How The New MacBook Air Was Designed For Travel, by Zach Griff, The Points Guy

During Buyze's four-year tenure working on the MacBook Air, he's heard from travelers who have used the computer on airplane tray tables, in Ubers, in hotel rooms and in coffee shops. He and the team have weighed all these instances as use cases when considering durability requirements.

Buyze wouldn't share more details about whether Apple has mock airplane seats or tray tables in its testing labs; he only said that the company uses "rigorous testing methods" to ensure the computer works in all travel scenarios.

Apple Muscles In On Subscription Podcasts, by Max Tani, Semafor

Last week, five of the first seven podcasts promoted on the “browse” carousel in the Apple Podcasts app were participating in Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, the program the tech company rolled out in 2021 for shows to monetize bonus episodes, segments, and other content.

This wasn’t an accident. An executive at an independent podcast told Semafor that in recent months, when they asked the company how they could be promoted in the carousel, Apple leaders suggested that the show participate in the platform’s new subscription program. Another podcast exec told Semafor that while Apple Podcasts Subscriptions wasn’t a huge moneymaker for them, it was worth participating for the benefit of the podcast feed placement.


My Plants Were Always Dying. Then I Found This AI Powered App, by Paul Hatton, TechRadar

With all your plants identified and saved, Blossom then produces a personalized schedule for watering, fertilizing, and repotting. I love to be organized, so having a plan for what I need to do makes me feel like I’m being wrapped in a warm blanket.

Plants are not robots, though. They can’t be minimized into a set of perfectly curated instructions that, if followed, will result in high-level plant care. Over time, owners get to know their plants. They know what they need as well as when they need it. This hands-on knowledge is invaluable and helps fine-tune the care given. Blossom does a great job of integrating these nuances into the core of the care plan. Watering activities can be snoozed, or the time between repeating actions can be adjusted.


Apple Opens The Door To Coding With New "Develop In Swift" Tutorials, by Absolute Geeks

These tutorials are tailor-made for the absolute beginner. With clear step-by-step instructions and easy-to-follow examples, you’ll be guided through the basics of using Apple’s programming language Swift, its intuitive SwiftUI framework, and the powerful Xcode development environment – no prior coding experience required!


The Miseducation Of Kara Swisher, by Edward Ongweso Jr., The Baffler

The long and short of it is that Swisher is not a good journalist—or, framed more generously, that she thrived in an industry with remarkably low standards for which we are still paying the price. For decades, tech journalism and criticism has primarily consisted of glowing gadget reviews, laudatory profiles, and reprinted press releases, all of it colored by Silicon Valley’s self-aggrandizing vision of itself as a laboratory of a brighter future.

Bottom of the Page

Almost twenty years ago, when I first started listening to podcasts, I was using iPods and iTunes. And I understand what's going on: how to subscribe, how to do playlists, how to download and sync.

I recently tried taking another peek at the latest Apple Podcast app, and, honestly, I have no idea how I can use it for my daily listens.


Thanks for reading.