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Apple iPhone, Mac, Watch and iPad News, Opinions, Tips and Podcasts
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 22:41
Apple aimed the new Mac Pro at the most demanding of all high-end users, so we went to users like that and asked what they thought. Video editors, medical experts and the Department of Defense are all considering this new Mac closely.
Hearing the reactions and purchase plans from pro users carries enormous weight.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 22:29
Back in 2007 when I upgraded to a High Definiton (HD) TV System, I’d already accumulated a pretty good library of DVDs. The natural thing to do, however, was to buy a Blu-ray player to partner with the HD Plasma TV (Panasonic). The improvement in picture quality from 480i to 1080p was dramatic.
Even so, funds and sobriety dictated that I only purchased a few Blu-ray discs of my favorite movies and TV shows. After all, DVDs still looked petty good, scaled up to 1080p, on the Plasma, but I confess Blu-ray content was spectacular. Today, thanks to the advent of streaming slowing down my purchase of Blu-ray content, I only have about 20 movies and 100 TV show episodes (Murdoch Mysteries) on Blu-ray.
It was a glorious transition.
And yet, people whined that this Blu-ray development was a blatant attempt by the industry to panic us into a wholesale replacement our DVD libraries and rob us blind in the process. (I didn’t agree.) But thanks to that prevailing train of thought, many customers never did make the leap to Blu-ray. And, as a result, DVDs remain on the market and are happily bought by consumers. This is a regrettable market reality.
Now I will admit that my own technical approach and preferences are not shared by all. Perhaps, however, as I tell this story, it will help you sort out your own technical approach.
Fast forward 10 years to November, 2017 when I installed my 4K/UHD system.
It consisted of a 4K/UHD/HDR TV (Sony), a new 4K capable Denon receiver and an Apple TV 4K. The technical situation with 4K/UHD Blu-ray was in disarray, so that component was put on hold. I thought (hoped) that by the summer of 2018, I could surely buy a 4K/UHD Blu-ray player with Dolby Vision.
It wasn’t happening. The industry was focusing on Dolby Vision HDR in streaming content. Then, jarring us, Samsung made the decision to stop making Blu-ray players. The Verge wrote, in February, 2019:
Slowly but surely, spinning discs are dying out, and Samsung just put another nail in their coffin. The company told Forbes that it’s done producing new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players — and CNET was able to confirm that Samsung is halting production on at least some of its 1080p Blu-ray players as well.
“Samsung will no longer introduce new Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray player models in the US market,” a Samsung spokesperson told CNET.
Other companies, like Sony, continue to ship 4K/UHD Blu-ray players, like the latest X800M2, and they support Dolby Vision.
So why am I not springing for one?
In 2007, before streaming hit the big time, HD content was relatively rare and therefore valuable. But today, there is a glut of streaming content. There is more library and new, original content available to stream than one can watch in a lifetime. And more is added all the time. Even Apple is getting into the market.
Most of it is in HD and some in 4K/UHD. Some remains in DVD resolution, and the transfer process varies in quality, but it’s watchable. HD content, if streamed well and not highly compressed, when scaled up to UHD by a modern 4K/UHD TV looks very, very good. I watch a lot of it.
And so, I feel like buying a new 4K/UHD Blu-ray player and pursuing 4K/UHD discs that also support Dolby Vision is a waste of time and money. One has to weigh plastic, sitting on a shelf, gathering dust, and needing to be loaded up against an abundance of streaming content available with a few clicks on Apple TV.
I appreciate good quality video, but I’m not a purist, a videophile. If I were, I’d buy that Sony X800M2 player. And, of course, if my old LG HD Blu-ray player breaks, I will certainly do so.
But for me, the glut of streaming movies and TV shows means that it’s better to focus on finding the very best streaming content. Life is too short to watch second best stuff. Or obsess over acquiring plastic discs. But if you do decide to go a different route, I highly recommend “Ultra HD Blu-ray: Everything you need to know.”
Having heard my story, tell me what you think.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 22:05
Check out the StandONE iPhone X Stand we have for a deal today. I think it looks sexy, a lovely exercise in minimalism. It’s made of uni-body stainless steel with a high-reflective, mirror-polished finish. It’s $22.99 through our deal.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 20:48
What if plants could be smart home devices? That’s the idea of Harpreet Sareen and Pattie Maes in their cyborg botany research.
These experiments led the researchers to possible future applications that include sending notifications—the plant might jiggle to alert you when your package is delivered, for instance—or as a motion sensor, which could help you keep track of your pet or be applied to security systems.
Cool idea. When most people talk about “invisible interfaces” they usually mean things like smart clothing or using your voice like with a HomePod. Now if only trees transmitted Wi-Fi…
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 19:57, modified at 20:01
Although Apple introduced an over-the-air (OTA) mechanism in watchOS beta 1, software updates still require an iPhone. But it is still a beta, after all (via MacRumors).
On watchOS 6 beta 1 you’ll find the OTA mechanism under Settings > General > Software Update. But you’ll have to review and agree to the terms and conditions on your iPhone.
The biggest change to having the Apple Watch be an independent device is, of course, its own App Store which will arrive with watchOS 6.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 19:46
In macOS Catalina, you won’t sync your iDevices in iTunes. Instead, you’ll have Finder sync. Stephen Hackett gives us an idea of what it will look like and how it works.
When you plug in an iPod to a Mac running Catalina, the device appears in the Finder sidebar,and clicking it reveals a wide range of syncing options, organized in a much nicer fashion that what is found in iTunes 12…
As you would imagine, each section in this interface surfaces content across various apps on the system. For example, Finder sees the local files I have in the new Music app…
Critically, most of the UI is pretty much the same.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 18:43
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 18:36
The changes Ms. Ahrendts brought to Apple retail involved minimizing logos and signs, while promoting the idea of Apple Stores as public spaces. Ms. O’Brien seems to be focused on function over form.
At San Francisco’s Union Square store, new signs are placed in front of Apple products on display tables. They show some device specs to make differences between each iPhone model more clear. There is also a Pricing app on the models.
Display tables for Apple Watches are also changed. They make it easier to try on different watch bands and explore the different models. In some Apple Stores in the U.S. and Canada, there are express checkout signs to pay for accessories like headphones, cases, and cables.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 18:14
Dr. Mario World is the latest mobile game from Nintendo, and it launches on July 10. It’s based on the puzzle game called Dr. Mario from 1990.
As you can see in the video below, it’s a “match 3” game where players arrange different colored pills as they fall from the top of the screen, clearing them from the game and fighting viruses.
It’s free to play with in-app purchases that let you keep playing after your stamina bar runs out (it slowly refills over time). You can also buy diamonds to add more pills, fill up the stamina bar, and buy other in-game items. You can pre-order it on the App Store here.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 14:42
Cardhop 1.1 came out today, bringing with it a lot of improvements: Template settings to customize fields and labels for new contacts; smart group templates: Create smart groups that automatically update based on common contact searches; multiple business cards: create separate business cards for different situations; business card settings automatically sync between devices using iCloud; stickers! Express yourself in iMessage with Cardhop’s sticker pack; Gravatar support to automatically find contact photos by email when adding or editing contacts; support for sending messages to groups with the parser; added YouTube social profile label, and more. App Store: US$3.99
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 13:57
Boxy Suite is a collection of Google apps on the Mac, to give users a native, non-web experience. Today Boxy Suite 2 is rolling out, with automatic dark mode; new apps for Google Keep and Google Contacts; a quick launcher to change your account, navigate between sections, and launch task managers; integration with task managers like Things, OmniFocus, 2Do, and Todoist; instant account switching; unread counts for all accounts; notifications for all accounts; improved Minimal Mode; and opening links in the background. The Dashboard has also been revamped, and a bunch of fixes in Boxy for Calendar are also available.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 12:29
A new popup warning users when they are about to delete an app with an active subscription was spotted in the second beta of iOS 13. Cult of Mac reported that the pop also features a “Manage Subscription” button so users cancel any subscriptions they no longer want.
The new popup, spotted in the second iPadOS beta by Federico Viticci, asks “Do you want to keep your subscription for this app?” The prompt explains that you can continue to use your subscription on other devices, and reminds you when the subscription will renew. If you want to cancel, you can tap the “Manage Subscription” button.This will take you directly to the subscriptions section in the App Store, where you can cancel any subs you no longer need
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 12:19, modified at 12:20
There’s a photo editor on the App Store called Carbon, exclusively for black and white photo editing. They have various in-app purchases to buy filters, textures, etc. There is also an option to unlock everything. But the developers aren’t being honest about the sale.
When you download the app and visit the in-app store, at the top you’ll see flashing text that says the option to unlock everything is currently on sale for 50% off. The crossed-out price that we’re led to believe is the original price says US$39.98. Flashing text below that says the sale ends in approximately 35 minutes.
Except that when the 35 minutes are up, nothing happens. That’s because the sale is fake, and the half-off price of US$19.99 was the true price all along. On the app’s page in the App Store, you can scroll down to reveal the in-app purchases. The “Carbon Full Access” option is US$19.99.
To no one’s surprise, this is a violation of App Store Review Guidelines. Section 3.1.2 Permissible Uses says:
Apps that attempt to scam users will be removed from the App Store. This includes apps that attempt to trick users into purchasing a subscription under false pretenses or engage in bait-and-switch and scam practices will be removed from the App Store and you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program.
The app has even been highlighted by Apple before. There’s an app story called “Make Your Photos Pop” featuring Carbon, among others.
I reached out to the developer of Carbon, and this is the reply (edited for length):
We will be updating the UI to address the issue. We currently have an update pending review by apple, so it will be addressed in the update after that.
The IAP (in-app-purchase) you are referring to is the full access/lifetime access option which is currently being offered at 50%. The full price is $39.99. We are going to introduce a subscription option soon for $20/yr, and at that point the lifetime option will be raised back to $39.99, so the $19.99 price is 50% off until that time.
Regarding the $19.99 displayed on the product page. Unfortunately, apple doesn’t allow developers to assign a periodic discount to the price of an in app purchase (although it is possible with subscriptions). There are two ways to offer a discount: 1) Change the actual price of the IAP product; 2) Create duplicate IAPs for multiple price points.
We have chosen option 1) in this particular case, and this is why you are seeing $19.99 for Full Access on the app store. This price of this IAP in particular will be changed to the full $40 once subscriptions are introduced.
Here’s my problem with that. I first discovered Carbon months ago. I dived into my purchase history to see that I downloaded it on January 9, 2018. I bought the in-app purchase for full access but thankfully was able to get a refund. I don’t pretend to know anything about app development or how long it takes to get an update out. But pretending that the sale ends in 35 minutes (in seeming perpetuity) isn’t right.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 12:18
Facebook provided a first look at its forthcoming cryptocurrency, Libra, Tuesday. It said the service could be with users as early as 2020. The Guardian posted on a rundown of the announcement.
Libra is being touted as a means to connect people who do not have access to traditional banking platforms. With close to 2.4 billion people using Facebook each month, Libra could be a financial game changer, but will face close scrutiny as Facebook continues to reel from a series of privacy scandals. It could also be a welcome lift to Facebook’s profits: analysts are suggesting Libra could be a huge moneymaker for Facebook, arriving as its growth slows. Technology to make transactions with Libra will be available as a standalone app – as well as on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger platforms – as early as 2020. It will allow consumers to send money to each other as well as potentially pay for goods and services using the Facebook-backed digital currency instead of their local currency.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 12:09
Google will bring RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging directly to Android users in the UK and France this month. More countries are set to get the service in the near future.
In February, Google said it was “working with many of our ecosystem partners, including Samsung, Huawei, America Movil, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telenor, and Vodafone, to make RCS more widely available.” It seems that ultimately it decided to strike out by itself. Users will be given the option of whether or not to opt-in to RCS.
However, unlike iMessage, WhatsApp and Signal, RCS is not end-to-end encrypted. Given consumers’ growing demands for privacy, this seems to be an error on Google’s part. In a statement to The Verge, Android Message product manager Sanaz Ahari said:
We fundamentally believe that communication, especially messaging, is highly personal and users have a right to privacy for their communications. And we’re fully committed to finding a solution for our users.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 11:41, modified at 12:11
An entrepreneur claimed that Apple killed her app time-tracker as it prepared to launch Screen Time. Luba Vyaznikova said her app, Sense, was removed from the App Store in early September 2018, a week Screen Time became available to users.
Ms. Vyaznikova explained the painstaking process of developing and launching her product in a blog post. This included running a VPN in order to monitor users’ time on social media – the main point of the app. However, the work paid off and Sense launched in the App Store in December 2016. Ms. Vyaznikova said it was downloaded over 400,000 in total during the time it was available. “A month before being removed from the App Store, the app raked in $45,000 in revenue. This means the product was operating at a $500,000 annual runrate,” she added.
Apple unveiled Screen Time with iOS 12 in June 2018. Ms. Vyaznikova said that “Apple became very hostile towards us and other similar apps” after it revealed the feature.
First, the App Store team became slower and slower in reviewing our app updates. It often took a month and sometimes even two.. Then we started getting rejections on app updates for odd reasons, and the reasons changed each time we appealed to the Apple review team. In the end, Apple stated that we were not using our VPN for its intended purpose. But we never understood how they could define the purpose of a technology they didn’t even create in the first place.
Sense was removed from the App Store in early September 2018. Apple rolled out iOS 12 to users on September 17, 2018.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 10:52
It looks like Warner Media has beaten out Apple and a number of other firms to agree a partnership with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production firm. The deal is said to be worth $500m (via Hollywood Reporter).
As well as Apple and WarnerMedia, firms such as Netflix, Amazon, Comcast, and Sony Entertainment also explored the prospect of a partnership. While Apple nearly managed to win out, WarnerMedia is now on the verge of putting pen to paper. Bad Robot ultimately wanted to be part of a larger film and TV distribution company, according to reports. Mr. Abrams runs Bad Robot with his wife, co-CEO Katie McGrath. It is behind the likes of Westworld and Castle Rock.
Mr. Abrams appeared at Apple’s ‘It’s Showtime’ event and is producing ‘‘Lisey’s Story’, starring Julianne Moore, for Apple TV+. Apple bought another Bad Robot Series in December 2018. My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is being produced in collaboration with Warner Bros. Television. The producer, who is behind a forthcoming Star Wars movie, previously described working with Apple as “the Wild West.”
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-18 10:01, modified at 14:51
Four years ago, YouTube released a kids-only version. The idea was to keep those under 13-years-old off the main site. The problem, Bloomberg News, found, is that lots of kids don’t want to use it.
Not many kids use YouTube Kids, and those who do don’t stick around. Several of the most popular channels on the main site, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, specialize in programming designed for young kids, but that doesn’t mean they are free of advertising or screened for safety. One, Cocomelon, a channel of nursery rhymes, has more than 50 million subscribers. That’s double the weekly audience for all of YouTube Kids, which is used by more than 20 million people a week, according to a company spokesperson. (Much of the audience for a channel like Cocomelon could be parents trying to keep up with popular rhymes, a spokesperson said.) Children who do watch YouTube Kids tend to shift over to YouTube’s main site before they hit thirteen, according to multiple people at YouTube familiar with the internal data. One person who works on the app said the departures typically happen around age seven.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 23:44, modified on 2019-06-18 01:01
Note: Shownotes are in progress…
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 23:33
Over at Inc.com,
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 22:02
Ott Veslberg, Estonia’s chief data officer, wants a government AI to work in every aspect of the country’s public services, and healthcare is next (via Sifted).
Estonia worked with Microsoft and the World Bank on a solution that scans healthcare records to help doctors figure out when to schedule a patient’s next checkup. In another project, the AI would create personalized sports advice for teenagers, taking into account puberty and recommend an appropriate workout plan.
We’re not telling people what to do, we are giving options to consider. You can still make up your own mind. The government can never go to the individual level of telling you what to do. That might happen in China but not in Estonia, or in Europe as a whole…
I haven’t seen any negative reaction to the use of AI [in Estonia]. Everyone is used to everything being digital. The government is being extremely transparent and everyone can see what data is being collected.
Estonia already automates 16 government processes with machine learning, and has a €10m fund to help get innovative projects, not just AI ones, started. There is also a €5m fund for “very experimental” ideas that still need testing.
There have been successes in using machine learning. For example, the system goes through a person’s work history to match them with a job they are best suited for. About 72% of people who got a suggestion were still employed six months later. This is compared to the 58% with a human advisor.
Estonia has also saved €665,000 in farming subsidies using machine learning and satellite images to find if farmers have actually mown their hay fields or not to qualify for a payout. This has been 85% accurate.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 21:01
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 20:15
The Beddit beta program, from the sleep tracking company that Apple acquired, will let you test new features and offer feedback.
The Beddit Beta Program is completely voluntary and you can withdraw from the program and switch back to using the public version of the Beddit application (available in the App Store) at any time. You can also rejoin the Beddit Beta Program at any time while it is ongoing.
You can enroll in the program here. Tapping the link automatically opens Mail with pre-filled information.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 19:45
This morning Samsung took to Twitter to warn of Smart TV malware, and remaining customers to regularly do a virus scan (via The Verge).
The tweet, which Samsung deleted, says that malware scanning is built in, although it’s unknown why it doesn’t scan automatically. We also don’t know if it was in response to a smart TV hack. You can go to General Settings > System Manager > Smart Security > Scan.
The tweet is a good reminder to either not buy a smart TV (or at least not a Samsung model) or get a malware-free Apple TV.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 18:48, modified at 18:54
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 18:22
Sanho Corporation, creator of the USB-C Hyper Drive for iPad Pro, is coming out with a new product. Called HyperCube, it’s a data backup iPhone charger. When you plug your iPhone into it, then plug the HyperCube into a power outlet, all of your photos, videos, and contacts will automatically back up to a micro SD card or USB drive (sold separately). Then, once the back up is finished, you can remove the micro SD card or USB drive to view your content on another device. Copy/cut/paste/move/delete/rename files on microSD and USB drive, supports audio/video streaming playbacK, supports photo slideshow/thumbnail view, measures 47.3 x 35.5 x 24mm / 1.86” x 1.4” x 0.94”, weighs 20g / 0.71oz /0.04 lb. Early bird backers can get HyperCube for US$29. Expected to ship August 2019.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 18:10
Adobe Fresco is an iPad painting app that Adobe is working on. Previously known as Project Gemini, it will be the newest addition to Creative Cloud.
Adobe Fresco will be a competitor to art apps like Procreate and others. Files will be automatically saved to Creative Cloud.
The fresco technique also makes it clear how organic drawing and painting have always been. For generations, artists have distilled pigments from plants and minerals and created through the physical interaction of chalk, oils, and watercolors with paper, canvas, and plaster.
Adobe Fresco will replicate those organic interactions and expand on them. Adobe scientists have studied the chemistry of common real-world pigments like cobalt and ochre. They’ve looked at the physics of how watercolors are absorbed into thick, cotton-based paper. And they’ve examined the ways that a thick slash of oil paint dries to add dimension to a painting.
It uses something called Live Brushes, which use Adobe’s Sensei machine learning to recreate the behavior of traditional oils and watercolors. You can also use Photoshop brushes within Adobe Fresco, and have access to thousands more.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 17:57
LumaFusion is a powerful video editing app for iOS, and yesterday LumaFusion 2.0 was released with new features. First, the UI is different and is designed to make it easy for beginners to start, and easy for professionals to find powerful features. LumaFusion 2.0 doubles the number of video/audio tracks to six, a new Timeline Overview makes it say to see your whole project, new media scrubber lets you find the perfect frame in your project, supports GNARBOX 2.0 SSD, and improves support for GNARBOX 1.0, and if you’re editing on your iPad LumaFusion 2.0 supports external displays. The sale lasts until June 27. App Store: US$14.99
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 16:23
Applications for Apple Camp opened Monday. It is available to children aged between 8-years-old and 12-years-old in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
The camp gives children opportunities to learn skills such as coding and design. It is made up of three sessions at local Apple Stores. Based on the Today at Apple format, each session lasts 90 minutes. A sneak preview via the Singapore website revealed some of the sessions:
You can apply via the Today at Apple website.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 15:42
Controversial Israeli digital forensics firm Cellebrite released a new product it claimed can gain entry to any iPhone. The new product, called UFED Premium, can also be applied on high-end Android devices.
Cellebrite’s website said the product can “bypass or determine locks and perform a full file system extraction on any iOS device” running iOS 7 to iOS 12.3. It said investigators can access “much more data than what is possible through logical extractions and other conventional means.”
The product provides access to third-party app data, chat conversations, downloaded emails, email attachments and deleted content stored on a device. The company assured customers this will “increase your chances of finding the incriminating evidence and bringing your case to a resolution.”
Cellebrite was assumed to be the firm involved in the case that involved the San Bernadino terrorist’s iPhone. The company unlocked the phone in question for $900,000. Consequently, the FBI withdraw its demand for Apple to side-load the device with a version of iOS that could be hacked. It is hard to imagine this latest product was well received in Cupertino.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 15:05, modified at 16:18
The latest Apple Store opened in Taipei Saturday. It featured musical performances and huge queues.
The Xinyi A13 Apple store is located in the Xinyi district of the city. The store is on two levels. It contains a canopy of trees instead where users can get support. This Genius Grove replaces the more traditional Genius Bar.
Singer Eve Ai entertained customers during the opening day. The store will host a number of art-focussed Today at Apple Sessions in the coming weeks.
Tim Cook welcomed customers to the new store via Twitter:
Xinyi A13 is the second Apple Store in the city. Apple said the new store has 155 team members. Half of them come from the Taipei 101 Apple Store or across the region.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 14:12, modified at 17:42
Apple wants to finance six small-budget movies per year, looking at ideas that are more likely to win the Academy Awards (via New York Post).
Sources say Apple is considering between US$5 million to US$30 million for each movie. The deals are being spearheaded by Apple’s original feature films team led by Matt Dentler, formerly of iTunes Movies.
“They are literally anxious and clueless about what they really want to do,” the source said. “Half the culture hates them making content, and the other half wants to meet stars.”
The dillydallying — combined with Apple’s piddling spending plans — has Apple analysts scratching their heads.
“They are playing from behind the eight ball,” said Dan Ives, an analyst from Wedbush Securities.
“It’s a content arms race,” according to Ives, who said he expects Apple will ultimately stop the hand-wringing and just buy a library from Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM or A24.
Apple needs to build up its library of video content. The new TV+ service will arrive later this year, featuring a variety of original television shows. But Apple doesn’t have anything to offer people who finish watching these shows and want something new.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 12:43
Last week we reported that iOS 13 NFC will support Japanese identity cards. Now the German Federal Ministry of Interior announced support for its ID cards as well.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior, for construction and homeland welcomes this important step. This will soon allow users of Apple’s mobile devices to benefit from digital sovereign applications such as ID, ePass, and eVisum [including] in person checks at international airports.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 11:29
NASA has an amazing archive of items from its various missions. Following five years of begging for access, photographer Benedict Redgrove is set to publish over 200 photos of the archive in a new book, Nasa – Past and Present Dreams of the Future. It will launch on Kickstarter on July 20 – the 50th anniversary of man setting foot on the Moon for the first time reported Wired.
Redgrove has spent nine years photographing items from the space agency’s rich history in loving detail. It took him five years just to arrange access, and to persuade Nasa to open up archives that had been left untouched since the original missions. “Some items were so fragile I was nervous just putting the lights near them,” he says. Others, like some of the gloves and helmets, were in cabinets that hadn’t been opened in five years and had to be broken into.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 11:17
Tim Cook delivered Stanford’s 2019 commencement speech Sunday. He told the Class of 2019 that tech giants must take responsibility for “chaos” their products create (via CNBC).
Mr. Cook said that “Stanford and Silicon Valley’s roots are woven together. We’re part of the same eco-system.” Teferring to Steve Jobs’s famous “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” Stanford commencement address, he added: “That was true when Steve stood on this stage 14 years ago, and it’s true today.”
Mr. Cook also recalled some sports clashes with Stanford from his student days. However, he soon turned to more serious matters. Discussing a number of high profile data breaches, he said:
Lately it seems this industry is becoming better known for a less noble innovation – the belief you can claim credit without accepting responsibility. We see it every day now with every data breach, every privacy violation, every blind eye turned to hate speech, fake news poisoning our national conversation, the false miracles in exchange for a single drop of your blood.
“You can’t dodge responsibility for the chaos,” the Apple CEO warned his peers in other tech firms. Mr. Cook went on to say that people “lose the freedom to be human” if they “accept as normal and unavoidable that everything in our lives can be aggregated, sold and even leaked in the event of a hack.”
The speech touched on familiar themes for Mr. Cook. He has become an increasingly vocal critic of tech firms who do not respect and protect users privacy. He made privacy a key tenant of Apple products.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-17 10:26, modified at 16:05
Washington has turned its fire on Big Tech in recent months. Big names on the Democratic side have been keen to put forward policy proposals during their runs for the White House. However, a freshman Republican is also making waves. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley gave an interesting interview to Fast Compay on a variety of tech issues, including privacy.
I think we need to be deeply concerned about the level of privacy invasion and violation that we’re seeing from these tech companies. My concern is that it’s baked deeply into their business model of extracting data from consumers without telling them, and then monetizing that data, and then also working to ensure they have very large numbers of people online for large portions of the day so that you can make these ads profitable. I mean, that really is the model for Facebook, for the Google platforms, and for Twitter in many ways.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 21:02
Bluetooth beacons are small devices that some stores hide throughout the building. Apps on your phone can pick up the signals they emit and send information back.
In order to track you or trigger an action like a coupon or message to your phone, companies need you to install an app on your phone that will recognize the beacon in the store. Retailers (like Target and Walmart) that use Bluetooth beacons typically build tracking into their own apps. But retailers want to make sure most of their customers can be tracked — not just the ones that download their own particular app.
I bet iOS 13’s new Bluetooth controls will affect this.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 20:52
The new 2019 Mac Pro brings us to ponder the state of the 2017 iMac Pro. I found one article that starts the exploration.
Digital Trends compares the iMac Pro specs to the new Mac Pro.
While the new Mac Pro and iMac Pro are aimed squarely at the same group of people, they’re actually quite different beasts, each with their own pros, cons and considerations to take into account. In this guide, we’ll lay out everything you need to know about them.
The problem is, the iMac Pro hasn’t been upgraded from its original 2017 specs. A potential buyer has to think about acquiring two year old hardware, Still, it’s a formidable Mac for those who also want a built-in Apple display.
…we’d be remiss not to talk about the iMac Pro’s built-in 5K display. At 27 inches diagonally and with a 5,120 x 2,880 resolution, this is a fantastic display for tasks like video- and photo-editing, which require plenty of screen real estate. It features 500 nits of brightness and uses the P3 wide color gamut for excellent clarity and color reproduction.
But one question arises. Is there too big a gulf between these two behemoths and a loaded Mac mini? Tell me what you think.
• We might be getting some new MacBooks, of some kind, soon. MacRumors has done some sleuthing and speculates on which models they might be. “Apple Registers 7 Unreleased Mac Notebooks in Eurasian Database.”
Soon we may know if the 12-inch MacBook survives.
• For some time now, there has been speculation about when Apple might replace the Lightning port on 2019 iPhones (iPhone 11?) with USB-C. Now, it appears the change might happen in the 2019 models. “Apple Accidentally Leaks Radical iPhone Upgrade.”
Look closely at Apple’s first beta of iOS 13 and you will find there is a new recovery mode screen for your iPhone, and on it the Lightning cable shown in iOS 12 has been swapped for USB-C.
This does make good sense given where Apple has gone with the iPad previously.
• I have written before about tech rage against robots. It gets taken out on robots that visibly steal jobs from humans. Here’s a recent example. “Uber says people are bullying its self-driving cars with rude gestures and road rage.” I expect to see more of this. The way out is for companies to retrain their employees, in anti-greed, investment mode, for good paying jobs instead of dismissing them wholesale.
• Here’s a list of interesting iOS 13 features that TNW thinks we may have overlooked. My favorite is better insight into how apps are tracking your location.
• Apple is working hard to improve its Maps app. Jonny Evans at Apple Must explains. “WWDC: How Apple is making Maps much, much better.” After years of preferring Google Maps, I find myself using Apple Maps more and more. The accuracy is better, and I trust Apple more than Google.
• If you use the Vim or NeoVim editors in the macOS terminal, be aware of this from ars technica : “If you haven’t patched Vim or NeoVim text editors, you really, really should.” But the user has to enable an option that opens the door:
The latest version of Apple’s macOS is continuing to use a vulnerable version, although attacks only work when users have changed a default setting that enables a feature called modelines.
• Finally, we’re all to familiar with the perils of Notifications that have gone madly out of control. But this missive really punctuates how bad it can get in a humorous way. “How to turn your Apple Watch into a source of constant terror and dread.”
We need more tech humor like this one from boing boing.
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 20:24
Mattel’s new Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit is available exclusively in Apple Stores. Vehicles cost US$6.99, the Race Portal is US$39.99, and the Smart Track Kit is US$179.99.
With the Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit, Hot Wheels id vehicles can be raced on a track that incorporates digital tracking elements through an app on the iPhone or iPad. The system allows users to keep track of speed, count laps, build a digital garage, and more, providing a mix of physical and digital play.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 20:15
Per various deals to offer the iPhone with certain cellular plans, Apple is making Comcast and Charter sell other Apple devices too (via CNBC).
Charter and Comcast offer wireless service as part of an agreement with Verizon, using a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). These two companies decided they couldn’t offer a competitive service without the iPhone, which gives Apple a bit of leverage in negotiations.
Exact details of these deals aren’t known, but Comcast has to sell a certain number of subsidized iPads. Comcast pays for the difference between the retail price and the subsidized price. For example, Comcast sells the 6th generation 32 GB 9.7-inch cellular iPad for $422.99. Apple and Charter sell the same device for $459. Comcast also sells Apple Watches.
Charter sells Apple TVs at $7.50 per month for 24 months — or $180, the retail cost of an Apple TV. Alternatively, a customer can lease a Charter set-top box for $7.50 per month. In other words, Charter offers an Apple TV at the same price as a Charter set-top box, but a customer ends up owning the Apple TV and returning the Charter box.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 19:50
If you hang around privacy or security forums long enough, you’ll eventually come across the term “threat model.” Here’s what they’re talking about, and how to create one.
In the case of privacy, it’s helpful to ask yourself, “Who or what am I protecting my data against?” A threat model is when you create a list of things you own, possible threats against them, and creating defenses against those threats. You can do this for physical goods and digital data.
Threat models can also change over time, and it’s important to occasionally revisit it. Maybe you want to protect your data against hackers, or maybe you need to protect it from the government. A perfect threat model is impossible, but we can create a basic one. Here’s what we can address:
Start by listing your content, and where it’s located. Examples include notes in Apple Notes, files in iCloud Drive, photos and videos in Photos, etc. If you don’t use iCloud, the data stays on your device. If you do use iCloud, your data is on Apple’s servers.
What are things that threaten that data? Probably the biggest one is the “cloud” itself. When we store our data on a company’s servers, we lose control over it. We see this when Apple has occasional outages of its services, when Google Cloud had an outage last week, or when WordPress had an outage just three days ago. Your data is being held hostage, even if it’s an accident. How can we change that?
The first obvious solution is not to upload it to the cloud. But the cloud can be convenient. This is ultimately a decision you’ll have to make on your own. Two solutions are encrypting your data before you upload, and/or making an offline backup of your data. By encrypting your data, it will be protected against threats like hackers, the government, or employees of that company with malicious intentions.
You can adapt this threat model to suit your own needs, or address things that I didn’t even think of. The important thing is being prepared.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 18:47
Bill Stasior previously led Siri development at Apple. He sat down to discuss virtual assistants and how they can improve in the next 3-5 years (via Business Insider).
Apple didn’t talk about Siri much during WWDC19, but she will be getting a new voice using neural text-to-speech. Mr. Stasior says that no virtual assistant really lives up to the promise of understanding people naturally the way a person can:
I think everyone learns what commands work with the assistants and what commands don’t work with the assistants. And while that’s improving very rapidly right now, I think there’s still a long way to go.
When you want to talk to an assistant, you’re opening the door for almost any task or any question. There’s just an incredibly broad variety of language and ways of expressing ourselves. And having that general capability, we’re still a ways away from it.
Another feature that Apple announced is multi-user support on the HomePod. Siri will be able to tell who is speaking to her, and the HomePod will play that particular person’s favorite songs, playlists, etc.
Mr. Stasior went on to say that sometimes people mistake a person for someone else when talking on the phone (for example), but we still expect machines to tell people apart:
I think that’s interesting because we sometimes expect machines to be able to tell one person from the other just from the sound of their voice. It’s possible that they might be able to do that better than people. But for a starter, we know that [since] it’s hard enough to do as people, that it’s a challenging problem.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 18:23
Activbody, Inc., announced that its flagship product, the portable smart fitness device Activ5, is now available at apple.com and in select Apple Stores. The Activ5 is unique because, with its companion training app, users are able to access and track their activity from over a hundred personalized 5-minute strength-training workouts and exercises that can be performed anywhere. Activ5 recently announced an Apple Watch app and the adoption of HealthKit. The app includes exercise and heart rate tracking and calculates energy burned. With HealthKit, users will be able to see the data tracked on Apple Watch in the Apple Health app on iPhone. “We are experiencing phenomenal interest and growth globally due to the effectiveness of Activ5, and our ongoing commitment to meaningful, customer-centric enhancements including our recent Apple Watch app announcement,” said Dan Stevenson, CEO of Activbody. You can buy it from the Apple Store, online and retail, for US$129.95.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 18:10
Madonna is teaming up with Apple for a special Today at Apple Music Lab. People who sign up with work on remixing Crave, a song from her latest album.
Madonna’s newest album—Madame X—will debut on June 14. The session will walk people through one of the songs called Crave, deconstructing it and finding out what inspired Madonna.
Then, attendees will work on remixing the song using GarageBand. Visit this website to see available sessions.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 17:47
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 17:31
We have a deal on the QiStone2 Wireless Portable Charger. This device has an 8,000mAh battery, a USB-C charging port, and a standard USB charging port—in addition to its Qi wireless charging ability. It’s $59.99 through our deal.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 17:30, modified at 17:39
In my first book, Dr. Macintosh (1989), I described the Mac clipboard thusly:
While almost everything else about the Mac has gotten better, faster, and more elegant since then, my description of the Clipboard remains accurate. The Clipboard in 2019 still only holds one item at a time, and still loses its contents when you crash, shut down, or restart your Mac.
While it’s quaint that the Mac Clipboard has remained virtually unchanged for three decades, I’ve never understood why Apple has avoided adding new functionality to the Clipboard. Today’s Macs have plenty of horsepower and can easily manage more than one item at a time.
A one-item-at-a-time Clipboard isn’t bad, but a Clipboard that remembers the last 20, 50, 100, or more items you’ve Cut or Copied is ever so much better.
I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t tackled this issue and added a Clipboard history over the course of three decades. On the other hand, for as long as I can remember there have been numerous third-party utilities that include a modern, multi-item Clipboard history. I don’t like to use a Mac without one.
Once enabled, these utilities preserve every item you Cut or Copy, and then make it easy to recall and Paste them.
There’s no shortage of such utilities today, either. Search the Mac App Store for “Clipboard” or “Clipboard history,” and you’ll discover a plethora of free and inexpensive apps that include Clipboard history.
I haven’t tried them all, but I have tried many, and have yet to find one that’s worse than the underpowered single-item Clipboard included with macOS.
So here are two Clipboard history recommendations — one is free and the other is a whopping $7.99 — to get you started.
Grab a copy of CopyClip by Fiplab in the Mac App Store. It’s a bare-bones Clipboard history utility, but it is a risk-free way to sample the benefits of Clipboard history.
Then, if you like it (and you will), check out CopyClip 2 ($7.99), also by Fiplab, which adds myriad additional features including search, keyboard shortcuts, and the ability to edit individual clippings.
Several multi-function utilities I use regularly and love offer a Clipboard history feature, including Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, and LaunchBar. They’re more expensive than CopyClip 2, but they do much more than just Clipboard history, making them well worth considering.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 16:34, modified at 17:47
Facebook is preparing to launch a new cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal found that the project has backing from some of the biggest names in finance and e-commerce.
Facebook Inc. has signed up more than a dozen companies including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., MA +0.20% PayPal Holdings Inc., and Uber Technologies Inc. to back a new cryptocurrency it plans to unveil next week and launch next year. The financial and e-commerce companies, venture capitalists and telecommunications firms will invest around $10 million each in a consortium that will govern the digital coin, called Libra, according to people familiar with the matter. The money would be used to fund the creation of the coin, which will be pegged to a basket of government-issued currencies to avoid the wild swings that have dogged other cryptocurrencies, they said.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 16:00, modified on 2019-06-15 02:48
God I hate Apple pundits. From Pravda-like arranged podcasts with Apple executives, to the endless cowering “all apologies” elocutions from this sorry band of hindsight rationalists, has there ever been a less critical group? I’m not sure what’s worse, the anti-Apple cast of disingenuous hit-whores, or the lackey Mac pundits.
Latest case in point: the pundits’ blindness to the new cheese grater Mac Pro ignoring Apple’s core enthusiast users. In most ways, the new Mac Pro is a really great machine. The car sized radiator for cooling. The case accessibility. The super quiet design. The great expandability. The new MPX slots that fix Intel’s failures/inability to get modern memory/chips/PCI 4 architectures working. After pricing things out, you’re roughly paying $2500 extra for macOS and a nice case.
But at $5999 for the base model, Apple wants to charge us a high price for its admitted failure. It (at best) ignores and/or punishes the entire enthusiast market.
In some ways, all Mac enthusiasts are beaten, broken people. We’re so shocked Apple finally fixed the Mac Pro that many accept the dulcet “you’re not worthy of a Mac with slots” tones from pundits. There seem to be few remaining “think different” enthusiast survivors. That’s the group Apple courted with its “Think Different” campaign. Not pros. Enthusiasts that “think different” were the ones who saved Apple from its near bankruptcy in 1997. Enthusiasts are Apple’s spiritual core. And while many pros are enthusiasts, many more enthusiasts are not pros. And many pros couldn’t care less what equipment they use to get work done.
At least Apple has finally noticed pros leaving the Mac because it didn’t have a computer to serve them. But it has yet to realize that it’s the enthusiasts who saved it—and they’re also leaving. Enthusiasts are small business owners, individual developers, power users, users who like to upgrade (over time as funds become available) and push their equipment to cool edge cases.
And often today’s enthusiasts become tomorrow’s pros. Often they are de facto IT for friends and family. As such, enthusiasts are serious influencers having outsized effect on those around them. They are begrudgingly leaving, just as pros were leaving Apple. Instead of helping enthusiasts, pundits have lined up to slap them and say “it’s not for you”. Maybe this should be called the Marie-Antoinette-Let-Them-Eat-Cake Mac Pro.
The entirety of the Mac press’ post-WWDC rationalization distortion field is: “the computer for the rest of us”, “it’s not for you.” After receiving Apple’s PR fluffjob, these pundits make straw-man arguments that people think the Mac Pro is bad because it’s too pro, too powerful, or not cheap enough. They ignore what enthusiasts are saying: “Apple please add a lower entry level slot upgradable model that enthusiasts can also afford.”
It doesn’t dawn on the pundits to ask: “Hey, the original Mac Pro cost as little as $2200. There’s an enthusiast segment that really wants and can benefit from having slots. So why isn’t Apple at least trying to serve that market segment?” How about offering an entry model Mac Pro, e.g., with 6 cores and 8GBs of RAM for $3199 (along with its outrageously mediocre Radeon 580 graphics card, Apple could also dispense with its stupendously insufficient 256GB SSD that serious users will ignore anyway as they opt for third party SSDs (up to 15.36 TB) on PCI NVMe cards).
Similarly, pundits are making false dichotomies regarding Apple’s Pro Display XDR. Sure, it’s a great value for people that need reference monitor quality, but what about the vast majority of enthusiasts and pros who don’t? They just want the iMac’s 5k display as a stand alone monitor for $1000 without a ridiculous tone-deaf stand, alone, for $1000.
The reality today is that if you want an Apple branded monitor, your best bet might be using an 2014 iMac in target display mode. Otherwise pundits leave you to believe sound engineers, developers and Mac mini users are animals who don’t deserve an Apple display.
Today we have the same old familiar goose-step of beaten housewife pundits telling us how much Apple really cares about the Mac, about us. How it’s doing what’s best for us. How they know what we really need. How this time, it will be different. They’ve changed. Apple won’t beat us as much anymore. It will update Macs regularly from now on, honest. Never mind the MacBook and iMac Pro still haven’t been updated in about 2 years. “Look at the silly monkey.”
It took Apple 6 years to correct its last mistake, the trashcan Mac Pro. Part of the reason for Apple taking so long to correct mistakes is so many apologists uncritically support them. The pundits don’t get how outrageously insulting it is to drown out and ignore what enthusiast/users say they want (e.g., Macs with upgradable slots) and instead decree what pundits think you need and should be happy with. That level of uncritical support helps Apple ignore problems. The pundits are sure they know best. Remember, they declared how the trashcan Mac was also for pros, rather than being critical about how it served neither pros nor enthusiasts. Despite being wrong then, they’re happy to reassert the same now. The pundits can’t seem to think beyond wanting to curry Apple favor.
Being an Apple sycophant has its privileges after all. Maybe they’ll get to interview some Apple exec where they’ll ask banal questions and incessantly fluff Apple plastic talking points. And if they don’t play ball and choose to call Apple out on mistakes, maybe they wont get the next Apple event invite.
But maybe, if more pundits could think for themselves, and more of them would speak up for enthusiasts and users, then just maybe, Apple would be motivated to do a better job.
Permalink - Posted on 2019-06-14 14:08
Apple Cook met with U.S. President Donald Trump Thursday. Reuters reported that the two discussed the ongoing trade dispute with China, U.S. investment, immigration, and privacy.
Trump’s meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump during an event that Trump held with governors on skills development. Cook is a frequent visitor to the White House and has worked with Ivanka Trump on her job training and education initiatives. The president often name-checks Cook as a business leader who has brought jobs and investment back to the United States. On Thursday, Trump spoke with Cook about “trade, U.S. investment, immigration and privacy,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said. A spokesperson for Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.