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The Mac Observer

Apple iPhone, Mac, Watch and iPad News, Opinions, Tips and Podcasts


Marzipan is going to be a big deal for the Mac

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 19:19

News reports broke Wednesday that Apple is going to allow developers to submit one app that will work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. On 9to5Mac, Ben Lovejoy explained why, despite slow progress, he thinks the project known as Marzipan will be a big deal and encourage more apps to be built for the Mac.

There are a lot more iPhones than there are Macs, so currently many developers target iOS first, and only create Mac apps if they are convinced there’s enough demand to make that a sensible use of their time. A more efficient process will mean a lot more Mac apps, and that’s good news for consumers as well as developers.

Scout – The World’s Most Versatile Charger: $39.99

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 18:40, modified at 18:44

We have a deal on Scout, a versatile mobile charger with a built-in Lightning cable, Micro USB cable, QuickCharge port, a Qi-charger, and a 5,000mAh battery. And, it can be plugged directly into a standard wall socket for charging. Check out the promo video below for more info. You can get Scout through our deal for $39.99.

Advice to 1999 Apple Customers, Facebook Tomfoolery – TMO Daily Observations 2019-02-20

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 18:37, modified at 18:39

Apple Pay has 383 Million Users Globally

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 18:31, modified at 18:33

43% of iPhone users worldwide have activated Apple Pay, according to new research published Tuesday. Loup Ventures analysts Gene Munster and Will Thompson said that there are now 383 million users of the service

Service Adoption Climbing

The analysts said that “Apple Pay adoption continues to climb.” After conducing survey work and looking at other data, they concluded “that 43% of global iPhone users have enabled Apple Pay.” They said this marked a 36% increase from Setepmber 2018, and a 20% increase from December 2017.

Based on Apple confirming a iPhone installed base of 900 million, it means 383 million people have activated Apple Pay. This is a 135% year-on-year increase. The analysts said that some of this growth could be attributed to Apple enabling peer-to-peer payments in January 2018.

Adoption Greater Internaitonally Than in U.S.

The number of countries Apple Pay is available in is growing. On Tuesday, it launched in the Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia. The report said is used less in the U.S. than in other countries. 12% of users are in the U.S., compared to 88% elsewhere. 47% of iPhone users outside the U.S. have used Apple Pay, compared to 24% in the U.S.

The analysts believe that use of the service will increase further. They said that the number of people using Apple Pay “will continue to grow as more retailers, universities, municipalities, and public transportation systems enable contactless payments and people begin to think of their phone as their wallet.”

Facebook Blames Users for Expectation of Privacy

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 18:13, modified at 18:14

Facebook blames users because we shouldn’t have an expectation of privacy when it comes to Facebook groups (via Gizmodo).

[Sharenting is When You Over Share Your Kid Online]

Health Groups

Yesterday members of Congress asked for a briefing with Facebook because of allegations the company potentially misled users. People were discussing their medical conditions in closed support groups. Facebook blames them because a closed group is different than a secret group, and insurance companies were able to take advantage of the medical stuff they shared.

image of mark zuckerberg

The part about Facebook blaming users comes from a statement to Gizmodo:

Facebook is not an anonymous platform; real-name identity is at the center of the experience and always has been. It’s intentionally clear to people that when they join any group on Facebook, other members of that group can see that they are a part of that community, and can see the posts they choose to share with that community. There is value in being able to know who you’re having a conversation with in a group, and we look forward to briefing the committee on this.

In an open letter [PDF] to Mark Zuckerberg, Representative Frank Pallone, Jr., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Jr. and Representative Jan Schakowsky, chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, asked questions.

These groups were called closed groups and often had the word “anonymous” in their name, suggesting that information shared within the group and even membership in the group would be private…users of these groups shared deeply personal health information…insurance companies may have used information from these private groups to make decisions about insurance offerings for group members.

The committee demands that Facebook hold a briefing by March 1, 2019.

[Here’s How to Block Facebook Platform Data Sharing]

Sharenting is When You Over Share Your Kid Online

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 16:32, modified at 16:56

There’s a new phenomenon called sharenting. This is when parents share a large portion of their kids’ lives to the internet, usually without their consent.

Recently a parenting blogger wrote in a Washington Post essay that despite her 14-year-old daughter’s horror at discovering that her mother had shared years of highly personal stories and information about her online, she simply could not stop posting on her blog and social media. The writer claimed that promising her daughter that she would stop posting about her publicly on the internet “would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her.”

That was the most ridiculous part to read. Good grief, the world isn’t going to end because you can’t post about your kid anymore Karen. No one cares about them except you.

WinRAR Fixes 14-Year-Old Bug

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 16:22, modified at 16:23

WinRAR, a file compression app on Windows, recently patched a bug that was there for fourteen years (via ArsTechnica).

[iFixit: We Are All Geniuses, Advocates Right to Repair]

WinRAR’s Vulnerability

The bug made it possible for hackers to execute malicious code on your computer if you opened a booby-trapped file. It involved a flaw found in UNACEV2.DLL, a code library that hasn’t been updated since 2005.

winrar logo

The code-execution vulnerability in WinRAR has existed the entire 14 years since the UNACEV2 library was created, and possibly earlier, Check Point researchers said in a blog post. In the same post, they compared their proof-of-concept exploit to zero-day attacks exploit broker Zerodium said it would buy for as much as $100,000.

Basically, because of the flaw archive files could be extracted to a location that the attacker chose, instead of the user’s choice or default location.

[That Anti-LGBT Emoji is Just a Glitch]

iFixit: We Are All Geniuses, Advocates Right to Repair

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 15:32

Writing for iFixit, Kay Kay Clapp advocates for the right to repair devices and says we are all geniuses.

If all this feels a bit dystopian, take heart! Thanks to repair advocates and brave netizens around the world, the tide is starting to change. This year, Right to Repair legislation has been successfully introduced in 18 states. The movement continues to spread—and for the first time, European repair allies have introduced their own version of repair legislation.

I think it’s nice that people can repair their devices, but it can also be a security risk. If it’s easy for you to repair, it’s easy for bad guys to “repair” and put hardware implants into your device.

That Anti-LGBT Emoji is Just a Glitch

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 14:58

It started on Twitter. A person tweeted an emoji of a rainbow flag overlaid with a prohibited symbol. Then other people took notice and got angry, thinking that this was an anti-LGBT emoji Apple released. But as it turns out, it’s a glitch (via Fast Company).

[How To Fix The iPhone Rainbow Emoji Message Crash]

Anti-LGBT Emoji

This new emoji doesn’t exist. Instead it’s a glitch in the way unicode characters work. If you put a prohibited symbol—the unicode character, not the emoji—next to any emoji and copy/paste, it will appear on top of the emoji.

It sounds like it only displays like that on phones, not Macs. And this glitch isn’t new either. Emojipedia wrote about it in 2016.

[macOS: A Fast Keyboard Shortcut for Mac Emojis]

New Apple Watch Video – ‘Flight’

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 14:02, modified at 14:03

Apple released a new video Wednesday, promoting cellular connectivity with the Apple Watch Series 4. Called Flight, the clip emphasises the freedom that cellular connectivity on the Apple Watch gives users. A woman, clearly with no phone on her, is led on something of an adventure. She is shown receiving and rejecting a phone call whilst her phone is elsewhere. If nothing else, Flight also happens to be a rather beautifully shot video.

Universal Apps Could Include macOS

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-20 13:37

An issue I see with this is pricing. People are used to cheap iOS apps, but if you applied the same pricing to macOS apps, that would be bad for developers. Would the price of universal apps fall somewhere in the middle? Or would everything be a subscription? Apple clearly wants the latter, but no one wants a bunch of subscriptions either.

By 2021, developers will be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac applications into one app or what is known as a “single binary.” This means developers won’t have to submit their work to different Apple App Stores, allowing iOS apps to be downloaded directly from Mac computers — effectively combining the stores.

Going Back in Time 20 Years. What I’d Tell Myself as an Apple Customer

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 22:58

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give yourself some advice? I have. This is what I would have told myself as an Apple customer 20 years ago.

Time Machine clock
My wayback machine awaits.

I did some of these things, and I failed to do others. It doesn’t matter here which ones I nailed. Instead, the Journey shall be the Reward.

It’s February, 1999.

1. Collect every penny, look under the sofa cushions for cash, avoid useless expenditures, borrow money from dad, and buy as much Apple stock as possible. Keep buying it.

2. In 1999, buy a blue & white Power Mac G3 and hang onto it for dear life. As 2006 arrives, avoid buying a PowerPC G4 Mac. Apple will do the unthinkable and go wholesale Intel CPUs in August 2006.

3. When Apple launches the little grey flying saucer AirPort in July 1999, buy one, install it, and learn all about what will be later dubbed Wi-Fi. Buy all new Macs with AirPort cards or AirPort built-in.

4. Don’t worry about Y2K and January 1, 2000 apocalypse. Everthing will be just fine. Really.

5. Happily buy Apple displays as needed. Also, buy the July 2010 27-inch LED Cinema display. Skip the Thunderbolt sucessor, and hold on because there won’t be a another new Apple display launched for nine years, not until 2019. Phew!

6. Do not buy a Power Mac G4 Cube when out comes out in July 2000. It’s overly expensive, has a finicky power switch, failed as a product, and will be quickly discontinued in summer of 2001.

7. Apple will replace classic MacOS with a glorious UNIX-based Mac OS X on March 24, 2001. Don’t buy that version. Wait for “Puma” in the fall, buy it, install it and start learning UNIX.

8. On your UNIX-based Mac OS X Mac, learn Perl, C++ and Java in that order. Fast. Forget everything else. But plan to switch from Perl to Python 3 later because Perl will become mismanaged.

9. If you see a working Apple I for sale, buy it fast and hold it until 2018. Then sell it.

10. There will be a new, exciting looking, free service call Facebook launched in 2004. Do not sign up for it. Ever. Ignore Myspace as well.

11. If you buy a first generation Apple TV in 2007, Do Not buy a DLP TV with a rotating color wheel. Wait until you can afford a Plasma HDTV. You’ll be happier.

12. As you plan to replace a cheese-grater Mac Pro and need a replacement Mac Pro, 2013 model, go ahead and buy it. Just be aware there won’t be a another new Mac Pro for six years. Treat it well!

That’s my advice for myself starting 20 years ago. What did I miss? What would you have told yourself?

New Hermès Apple Watch Faces Coming with watchOS 5.2

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 20:17, modified at 20:20

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermès owners can look forward to new faces. They will become available with the release of watchOS 5.2.  9to5Mac reported that the new faces will have a new pink and blue gradient style.  As with previous faces from the designer, users will only be able to have one complication on the face. That complication will show the date, a different timezone or stopwatch. Hermès and Nike are exclusive third-party partners, designing exclusive faces for the Apple Watch.

As discovered by French blog WatchGeneration.fr (via Google Translate), owners of the designer Apple Watch will see a new gradient style Hermès watch face in two colors: Cherry/Sakura and Bleu (pink and blue). And just like the other Hermès Apple Watch faces for the Series 4, these will adapt based on where the hour and minute hands are.

YouTube Updates Strike Guidelines

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 20:04

YouTube updated its Community Guidelines, introducing a new warning for creators that break its rules. It also said it was clarifying its strike system and “making the penalty for violating our Community Guidelines the same wherever it happens.”

New One-Off Warning

In a blog post published Tuesday, YouTube said that from February 25th all channels will now receive a one-off warning the first time they post inappropriate content. There will be no further action except that the problematic content will be deleted.

This warning will be in addition to its longstanding three strikes system. However, unlike strikes, the warning will not expire after 90 days. YouTube said it was introducing the warning because “we want to give you even more opportunities to learn about our policies.”

Three Strikes and You’re Out

The company also announced that the 3-strikes system will be extended to cover all content on the platform. This will include stories, custom thumbnails or links included in a video’s description.

Those strikes will now be applied consistently too, said YouTube. The first strike will result in a one-week freeze to uploading new content to a channel. This includes live streaming, as well as conducting other activities on the channel. After 90-days, that strike expires. However, if a user accrues a second strike in the 90-day period, they will be unable to upload new content for two-weeks. A third strike in the 90-day period will see a channel terminated. YouTube also pledged to make it clearer to users who got strike what policy they had violated so they can appeal if appropriate.

Latest iOS 12.2 Beta Indicates AirPod 2 Siri Support, Subscription News Service Coming

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 19:35

Apple seeded the third beta of iOS 12.2 to developers Tuesday. The update indicated Siri support for the AirPods 2 and a forthcoming subscription Apple News Service. It also included new Animoji, extended Apple News to Canada and introduced AirPlay 2 and HomeKit TV support for third-party TVs (via MacRumors).

Apple News Developments

Some of the features in the new beta had been seen before in an earlier beta version. For example, it seems pretty clear now that Canada will join those in the U.S., UK, and Australia in having access to the curated Apple News service in iOS 12.2. Articles will be available in both English and French. We also knew HomeKit TV support was coming. However, there were also indications of the expected Apple News subscription service in the latest beta.

Controversial AT&T 5G Claims

Somewhat controversially, some AT&T users saw a new “5G E” in the 12.2 beta. The iPhone does not yet support 5G, while AT&T does not yet have a fully 5G network. Earlier in February, Sprint said it was suing AT&T for this branding.

Icons and Animoji

Apple Pay Cash and the Wallet app have been giving an update in the new beta version. This is perhaps not a surprise, given Apple is expected to put more focus on financial services in the future. Other icons had been tweaked too, and Downtime was customizable by day.

The latest beta also had new Animoji for use in Messages and Facetime. These include a shark, a giraffe, a boar and an owl.

The iOS 12.2 beta can be downloaded by registered developers from the Developer Center.

Spielberg’s Streaming Fears, Apple’s Services Future – TMO Daily Observations 2019-02-19

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 19:06

These Macs Have an Audio Glitching Bug

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 19:05

It seems that the newest Macs have an unresolved audio glitching bug that has to do with Apple’s T2 security chip (via CDM).

[Public macOS Mojave 10.14.4 Beta 3 Is Out]

Affected Macs

  • iMac Pro
  • 2018 Mac mini
  • 2018 MacBook Air
  • 2018 MacBook Pro
iMac Pro with an Apple logo and a lock


The T2 chip isn’t just for security. It also manages things like the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller. There’s a bug in the software that interferes with the T2’s synchronized timing. All USB 2.0 audio interfaces are affected.

CDM says that switching off “Set date and time automatically” in System Preferences can reduce the issue but not fix it.

[2018 Mac mini has User Upgradable RAM]

Public macOS Mojave 10.14.4 Beta 3 Is Out

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 18:55

The third public beta of macOS Mojave 10.14.4 is out two weeks after the second beta to developers.

The macOS Mojave update can be downloaded using the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store after downloading the appropriate profile from Apple’s beta testing website. Apple’s beta testing site gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

macOS Mojave 10.14.4 will bring Apple News in Canada, Touch ID Safari Autofill, and automatic Dark Mode in Safari.

SoundCloud Artists Can Publish Straight to Apple Music

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 18:24

SoundCloud artists can publish songs directly to Apple Music and Spotify, according to an announcement today.

[Watch Out SoundCloud, Apple Music Just Got Remixes]

SoundCloud Artists Get Paid

SoundCloud artists will need a Pro or Pro Unlimited membership, be at least 18 years old, own the rights to their music, have zero copyright strikes, and have at least 1,000 plays.

soundcloud logo

If they meet these requirements they can distribute their music to the following platforms:

  • Amazon Music
  • Apple Music
  • Instagram
  • Spotify
  • Tencent
  • YouTube Music

Eligible creators will be notified via email and in-product notifications over the next few weeks, and in the meantime, you can learn more here.

There will be no additional cost to your membership and SoundCloud won’t claim additional revenue from those sources.

[Someone Built an Unofficial Apple Music Web Player]

Apple’s Executive Reshuffle Hint at the Company’s Future

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 18:14

Over the last few months, there have been a number of changes in Apple’s top executive team. They include the departure of Angela Ahrendts and Bill Stasior, as well as the promotion AI boss John Giannandrea to the executive team. On their own, most of the moves are only somewhat interesting. When looked at together, they indicate a shift in focus for Apple, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The changes, which can be traced back to last year, have included high-profile hires, noteworthy departures, meaningful promotions and consequential restructurings. They have rattled rank-and-file employees unaccustomed to frequent leadership changes and led Apple to put several projects on hold while new managers are given a chance to reassess priorities, according to people familiar with the matter.

Millennials Should Kill The Medical Industrial Complex

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 18:09, modified at 18:10

Big Pharma isn’t satisfied with old-fashioned television ads. Now they’re partnering with Instagram influencers.

In a pink tutu against a pink backdrop, Erin Ziering, wife of former 90210 star Ian Ziering, advertises Allergan breast implants and Botox side by side in a December 2018 post — the same month the company pulled its textured implants from European markets in response to a notice from the Food and Drug Administration that individuals with breast implants are at risk of developing breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Let’s put the “medical industrial complex” on the list of things millennials should kill. Maybe then we wouldn’t have Goldman Sachs asking whether curing patients is sustainable.

Assessing Apple’s Shift to Services

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 17:09, modified at 17:10

Apple’s so-called shift to services, largely prompted by falling iPhone sales, has been much discussed, not least here on TMO. However, there’s a reason for that – it matters, profoundly, to the future of the company. On March 25th a number of services are expected to be unveiled by the company at a special event. Axios reporters Sara Fischer and Ina Fried nicely summed up where the company is in this transition, why it is happening, and what we can expect next.

What started out as cloud storage and extended support contracts, Apples’ “services” revenue sector has expanded to include Apple Music and will soon likely expand further to news, video and gaming. Apple has made an aggressive push into media and entertainment over the past year, which has sparked rumors that it could one day sell a bundled subscription, where consumers could potentially pay one fee for an array of entertainment and media services.

iTunes Having Oscars Movie Sale

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 16:50, modified at 17:04

Because the Academy Awards is in a couple days, iTunes is having an Oscars movie sale for past and present nominations.

[Here’s How to Cancel iTunes Subscriptions like CBS All Access]


oscars movie sale in itunes

And a lot more.

[Apple Isn’t Deleting Your iTunes Movies]

Europe’s Softening Stance on Huawei

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 16:28

LONDON – European countries could be preparing to allow Huawei to build key parts of its 5G internet infrastructure. Both Germany and the UK may shortly soften their stance towards the Chinese firm.

(Image Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns)

German Politicians to Discuss Proposals

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc of conservative politicians will discuss proposals for the country’s high-speed internet infrastructure Tuesday evening. They include a strict no-spy pledge. The U.S. had requested Germany join with it, Australia, and New Zealand in banning the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G Network.

Even if approved, the proposals could face further opposition from Cabinet ministers and officialsDespite concerns about the company’s links to the Chinese state, it is understood that German officials failed to uncover any wrongdoing by Huawei (via Wall Street Journal).

UK Believes Risk Can be Managed

In the UK, cyber-security chiefs have come to the conclusion that the risk posed by Huawei can be managed. A government review that will decide whether the country’s major mobile networks can work with Huawei to provide 5G infrastructure is expected in March or April. The company’s security chief John Suffolk told the BBC Monday: “We are probably the most open and transparent organization in the world. We are probably the most poked and prodded organization too.”

U.S. ‘Won’t Crush Us’

Also Monday, Huawei found Ren Zhengfei gave his first international interview since the arrest of his daughter and company CFO Meng Wanzhou. He told the BBC: “There’s no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

The U.S. is currently pursuing a number of charges against Ms. Meng. The charges include money laundering, bank fraud and stealing trade secrets. Huawei denies all accusations of wrongdoing.

YouPorn Web App Launches on iOS

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 16:21

Progressive web apps differ from native apps in that they are web-based, offer local storage, and give you push notifications. They also sidestep the App Store, which is famously family friendly. But you can now get a YouPorn web app for your iPhone. Just go to www.youporn.com/app, tap the share button, and tap Add to Home Screen.

Once installed, users will be able to launch the app right from their smartphone or tablet home screen and enjoy all YouPorn’s unique features including industry-leading content filtering tools and “For You Weekly” (NSFW) custom-tailored playlists, with native-app speed and a full-screen experience.

Apple Pay Comes to Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 15:02, modified at 15:03

Apple Pay is rolling out to customers in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic. Multiple people have been seeing it (via MacRumors).

[Apple Pay Czech Could Come in February or March]

Apple’s list of participating banks hasn’t been updated for either country yet, but people are seeing success in the following banks.

Czech Republic

  • Air Bank
  • Česká spořitelna
  • MONETA Money Bank
  • Twisto
apple pay card in czech republic

Saudi Arabia

  • Alinma Bank
  • Al Rajhi Bank
  • Bank Aljazira
  • MADA
  • NCB
  • Riyad Bank
apple pay card in saudi arabia

[Apple Faces Backlash for iOS App that Allows Men to Stop Women Leaving Saudi Arabia]

Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity and Receive Alerts for Risky Behavior: $49.99

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 15:01

We have a deal on WebWatcher, an online monitoring service to help parents manage what their children are doing online. When installed on your child’s device(s), it transmits all browsing data and other web-related activities to a secure account you can monitor remotely. You can get a 1-year subscription through our deal for $49.99.

Instagram Fundraisers Want Your Credit Card Information

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-19 13:49, modified at 13:50

Instagram Fundraisers will let you easily donate to non-profit organizations on the platform. It’s also a way for Facebook to get its hands on your credit card information.

New code and imagery dug out of Instagram’s Android app reveals how the Fundraiser stickers will allow you to search for nonprofits and add a Donate button for them to your Instagram Story. After you’ve donated to something once, Instagram could offer instant checkout on stuff you want to buy using the same payment details.

Facebook tried to get banks to give up your data, but now it will have to settle for this instead.

Steven Spielberg Worried About How Streaming Will Affect Theatrical Movies

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 23:29, modified at 23:36

The Verge writes: “Over the weekend, in a speech at the Cinema Audio Society’s CAS Awards, director Steven Spielberg reminded listeners yet again that he’s specifically dedicated to a theater-based cinematic experience as ‘a firm believer that movie theaters need to be around forever.'”… and “for all the high-quality content streaming services are producing and regardless of the quality of people’s home theater setups, ‘there’s nothing like going to a big dark theater with people you’ve never met before, and having the experience wash over you.’” (Image credit: Gage Skidmore.)

What do you think?

The Mesh Wi-Fi Industrial Complex – Mac Geek Gab 749

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 23:09, modified on 2019-02-19 13:35

Note: Shownotes are in progress…

Chapters/Timestamps/Stuff mentioned:

TMO Background Mode Encore #6 Interview with Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 22:41, modified at 23:39

Rumor: Future Apple Watch Could Get Flexible Screen

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 20:43

Apple was recently awarded a patent that suggests future Apple Watch models could get flexible screens (via MacRumors).

[A Primer: LCDs, OLEDs, Quantum Dots and MicroLEDs]

Display Module and System Applications

The patent was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and shows a couple of designs. In one, the flexible watch would use microLEDs with a top side and bottom side.

image of flexible Apple Watch design

In a second design the flexible screen includes two display areas: One for the watch face and another extending to the watch band. Apple has shown interest microLED technology since at least 2014 when it acquired a microLED company called LuxVue.

[Apple Has its Own MicroLED Display Manufacturing Plant]

Photo by Ruvim Noga on Unsplash

Apple’s Post-iPhone Era, Facebook vs UK Lawmakers – TMO Daily Observations 2019-02-18

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 19:44, modified at 19:48

No, You Probably Don’t Take Privacy and Security Seriously

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 19:03, modified at 19:06

Zach Whittaker is tired of the same old line companies use, like when they suffer a data breach: “We take your privacy and security seriously.”

The truth is, most companies don’t care about the privacy or security of your data. They care about having to explain to their customers that their data was stolen…About one-third of all 285 data breach notifications had some variation of the line. It doesn’t show that companies care about your data. It shows that they don’t know what to do next.

I’m betting there’s a template that public relations employees have that they copy and paste into official emails sent out in the wake of security stuff like this.

Huawei Tried to Steal Trade Secrets from Apple Suppliers

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 18:56

The Information reports (paywall) how Huawei engineers tried to get Apple suppliers to reveal secrets about products, such as the Apple Watch.

[Huawei Chairman Hits Back During Davos Address]

Trade Secrets

One Huawei engineer—along with four researchers—spent an hour and a half asking Apple suppliers about the Apple Watch, promising big orders in exchange. Another tactic involved a former Apple employee applying to work for Huawei. But during their interview they were asked repeatedly about Apple’s products and features in the works.

huawei logo

Huawei also copied a 2016 hinge design in the MacBook Pro to make it thinner. The company took the schematics for the component to various suppliers, most of which recognized it was an Apple part and refused to work with Huawei. Eventually though the company partnered with a supplier and the hinge design appeared in the 2018 MateBook Pro.

These allegations follow the storm of controversy around Huawei’s connections with the Chinese government, accusations of conspiracy to commit money laundering, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, wire fraud, and bank fraud, and countries unwilling to use the company’s networking equipment to build 5G infrastructure.

[White House Considering Blocking use of Huawei, ZTE Products]

UK Lawmakers Blast Facebook and Call For New Regulator

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 17:17, modified at 17:19

LONDON – UK lawmakers said Facebook “intentionally and knowingly” violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws in a report released Monday. They also called for tech companies to follow a compulsory ethics code, overseen and legally enforceable by an independent regulator.

A report by the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of MPs said: “It is evident that Facebook intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws.” It also blasted CEO Mark Zuckerberg for failing to appear in front of the committee in November 2018, when members from Parliaments around the world joined the British MPs.

Recommending Powerful New Regulator

Following its criticism of how Facebook and other tech firms handle users’s data, the report recommended:

  • Introduction of a compulsory Code of Ethics for tech companies overseen by an independent regulator
  • Regulator to be given powers to launch legal action against companies breaching the code
  • Social media companies obliged to take down known sources of harmful content, including proven sources of disinformation

Damian Collins MP, Chair DCMS Committee, said:

“The big tech companies are failing in the duty of care they owe to their users to act against harmful content, and to respect their data privacy rights. Companies like Facebook exercise massive market power which enables them to make money by bullying the smaller technology companies and developers who rely on this platform to reach their customers.”

Mr. Collins added that tech companies continually fail to address” these issues, despite behind aware of them. “We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people,” he said.

Just 12% of U.S. Patent Inventors are Women

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 16:12

Data released in February 2019 by the U.S. Patent and Trademarks office revealed that in 2016 just 12% of inventors with a U.S. patent were female. This is actually a fall from the 1980s when the number hit 21%. A report from MarketWatch outlined that the reasons for this fall mirror many of the reasons there is a lack of women in STEM fields more broadly. They include gender bias and societal expectations as well as difficult workplace environments.

The number of patents with at least one woman inventor grew from 7% in the 1980s to 21% in 2016, according to an analysis released this month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But there’s a long way to go: Women made up just 12% of all patent inventors in 2016. “There’s untapped potential,” said Amanda Myers, the acting deputy chief economist at the USPTO. “There might be very intelligent and creative women who are not accessing the innovation system. That has real consequences for economic growth as well as our global competitive position.”

Augmented Reality is the Mirrorworld

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 15:51, modified at 15:54

Kevin Kelly writes how augmented reality will become a mirrorworld; That is, an exact replica of the physical world we will interact with.

The mirrorworld—a term first popularized by Yale computer scientist David Gelernter—will reflect not just what something looks like but its context, meaning, and function. We will interact with it, manipulate it, and experience it like we do the real world.

I firmly believe that AR can be as revolutionary as the internet. We just need an AR device that will dominate peoples’ lives to the point where everyone will wear a headset all the time.

Get a Free Audiobook of Winnie the Pooh in Apple Books

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 15:35

Disney announced on Twitter that people can get a free audiobook of Winnie the Pooh.

[Apple Offers Six Free Audiobooks Read by Celebs]

Disney Audiobooks

The audiobook is a collection of four stories, and you can download it here.

  • Party in the Wood: Pooh is in the mood to celebrate. But when Eeyore’s tail goes missing, the festivities must be postponed while his friends try to find him a replacement. They try and try, but none of the new tails they come up with suits the poor donkey. Luckily, Pooh saves the day—and is rewarded with a honey of a party.
  • Forever Friends: A story about friendship and funny hijinks in the Hundred—Acre Wood, Piglet helps Pooh and his friends save the day when they believe a scary creature has captured Christopher Robin.
winnie the pooh audiobook
  • Pooh’s Honey Adventure: Pooh discovers that every single one of his honeypots is empty. Hungry but hopeful, he and his rumbly tummy head into the Hundred-Acre Wood in search of more of his favorite treat. Pooh soon finds himself in a very tight spot. Luckily, his friends come to the rescue —and Pooh’s day ends with sweet success.
  • Pooh’s Secret Garden: Spring has sprung in the Hundred—Acre Wood and Winnie the Pooh is planting a garden. Follow along in this delightful tale to see what surprises are springing up in Pooh’s secret garden!

Do you think Winnie the Pooh’s full name is Winifred?

[Audible Brings Its Audio Books to Apple Watch]

Apple’s Ecosystem Is Actually Your Body

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 14:46, modified at 14:54

Apple’s ecosystem is your body. It’s in our pockets, our ears, our wrists, and soon it will be over our eyes with augmented reality glasses. Lucas Rizzotto talks about Apple hardware can be thought of as a modular system, similar to what Bryan and I discussed on ACM. iPhone will provide processing power and networking, Apple Watch is for biometrics and input, AirPods give us contextual 3D audio, and Apple Glasses are our screen.

Ultimately, Apple’s final AR product offering won’t just be a set of glasses — but an interconnected ecosystem that can itself become a single, immersive computing platform. One that’s an extension of you and your body — whether you’re wearing glasses or not.

Apple Partners With Dream Corps in Community Education

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 14:37, modified at 14:38

Apple is partnering with Oakland-based Dream Corps as part of the company’s Community Education Initiative.

[How an Apple Education AI Could Dramatically Help College Students]

Dream Corps

The goal is to bring educational and workforce development opportunities to help young adults get hired in tech jobs. It will be based on Dream Corps’ #YesWeCode Initiative, “to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector.” 

people at dream corps headquarters

We are thrilled about launching this new initiative in Oakland. Our hope is that by bringing expertise, stakeholders and resources together, we’ll be able to magnify the already impressive impact that Dream Corps is having in the Bay Area and across the nation and help a new generation of young people realize their potential.

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives

100 people graduated from #YesWeCode with 60% of them placed in tech jobs. Apple will provide technology, support, curriculum guidance, and advocacy to people from middle school to college and beyond. An emphasis will be placed on coding with Apple’s Swift language.

[Apple Empowers Women With App Development Program]

CloudMounter For Mac Lifetime License: $16.15 Today

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 13:23

We have a deal on an app called CloudMounter that takes your various cloud storage services and mounts them on your Mac’s desktop for quick access. Supported services include Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and Microsoft OneDrive. Our deal is for a lifetime license for $19, but Stack Commerce gave us a coupon code for President’s Day (which is today!). Enter PREZDAY15 at checkout for 15% off, which brings the price down to $16.15.

Now Kansas Introduced a Porn Filter Bill

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 13:22, modified at 13:23

Last month I wrote about an Arizona politician wanting to introduce a porn filter bill. Now Kansas wants to do the same thing, although it sounds like this one won’t attempt to fund the border wall.

“It’s to protect children,” Garber, a Republican, said in an interview. “What it would do is any X-rated pornography stuff would be filtered. It would be on all purchases going forward. Why wouldn’t anybody like this?”

Why indeed. Because you guys don’t seem to care about children outside of the womb.

Electric Vehicles are Getting Cheaper. But That Doesn’t Mean We’re Buying Them.

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 12:56, modified at 14:02

Electric vehicles are getting cheaper. Research suggests that come 2022, they will cost the same as gas-powered vehicles even without government subsidies. However, that does not mean consumers are going to make the decision to go electric. As well as cost, the lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles is a problem. Wired looked into the issues surrounding the adoption of electric vehicles.

If you live in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, or Norway, an electric car is already a better deal, according to another recent report from the International Council for Clean Transportation. It compared an electric VW Golf to the Golf’s hybrid, gas, and diesel versions over four years, and found that the electric version was cheapest in each of those countries because of subsidies and tax breaks along with the savings in fuel cost. The difference is biggest in Norway, where the electric Golf is 27% cheaper than one running on diesel.

Inside the Renovated Apple Store in Natick Mall

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 12:17, modified at 14:05

The Apple Store in the Natick Mall, Massachusetts reopened Saturday. It followed 9 months of renovation work. The store is twice the size after Apple took over a JCrew store next to its original site. It features a new Forum, a Video Wall and, of course, the pivoting glass doors. 9to5Mac shared some pictures of the upgraded retail spot.

A brand new Forum, Video Wall, and signature pivoting glass doors welcome shoppers to the new Apple Natick Collection. Natick’s store is the 7th out of 11 stores in Massachusetts to be updated with Apple’s contemporary design language. Like all recent designs, the space is significantly wider than it is deep, opening the storefront to its surrounding environment. In order to increase customer capacity, Apple absorbed a former J.Crew store next door.

Apple Hires ex-Microsoft Exec Sam Jadallah in Boost to Smart Home Business

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-18 11:05, modified at 11:06

Apple hired former Microsoft executive and starup founder Sam Jadallah, it emerged over the weekend. The hire is part of Apple’s efforts to develop its home business.

Hire Confirmed on LinkedIn

Following the news of his hire breaking, Mr. Jadallah updated his LinkedIn profile (via CNBC). However, his job title remains vague, simply stating he is “working on Home at Apple.”

Mr. Jadallah was a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft between 1987 and 1999. He then dipped his toe into venture capital, before founding two startups. One of these was Otto, which Mr. Jadallah founded in 2013 and focussed on the connected home. Its key product was a Bluetooth-and-Wi-Fi- enabled lock that cost $700. Around 70% of Otto staff actually came from Apple, Mr. Jadallah said previously.

Moving Home

News of Mr. Jadahallah’s hire came just hours after Apple’s purchase of AI voice app startup PullString. The move was considered a big play to improve Siri. Improving Siri would have clear benefits for Apple attempts to compete with Amazon and Google in the smart home space.

These AI-Created People Don’t Exist

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-15 23:58, modified on 2019-02-16 16:56

Digital Trends writes: “While it’s been clear for quite some time that modern A.I. is getting pretty darn good at generating accurate human faces, it’s a reminder of just how far we’ve come…”  The face shown here is just one of many created by an AI, explained in the article. “The results … well, you can see them for yourself by checking out the website. Hitting refresh will iterate an entirely new face.”

Soon there will be artificial people on the internet writing AI created articles. (I am actually one of them.)

Apple Buys Voice App StartUp PullString

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-15 23:17

Apple has agreed to acquire the voice app startup PullString. The company facilitates the design and publication of voice apps. It operates in many of the fields Apple is interested in expanding into, such as healthcare.

An AI Canvas for Voice Interfaces

Axios broke the news of the deal Friday. It reported that the deal was initially worth around $30 million. An additional $10 million in earn-outs is available for the PullString management. The company’s main product, PullString Converse, provides what it called an AI canvas. This allows designers and developers to more easily visualize their voice-powered user interface. The firm also offers a seemingly more advanced product called Conversation Cloud, which maintains a conversation’s state over time.

Competing With Alexa and Expanding into Key Fields

It is likely that PullString will be used to improve Siri’s capabilities in order to better compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Some brands already use its software platform to develop Alexa skills.

The company also talks specifically about “opportunities for pharma and health care companies” on its website. This a field Apple CEO Tim Cook has explicitly talked about Apple wanting to expand its presence in. The same is true of entertainment and financial services. They are both areas of interest to Apple and a PullString focus.

Spying Barbie Contoversy

PullString has previously caught up in some controversy. In 2015, it was accused of building a device to spy on children with Hello Barbie a WiFi-enabled Barbie doll (via TechCrunch).

Can Apple Walk (Services) AND Chew Gum (Hardware)?

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-15 22:18, modified at 22:19

There is major disagreement this week about Apple’s plans and strategy for 2019. That likely means we need more information about Apple’s ability to execute, and we need to see Apple in action to fully diagnose the impacts. Meanwhile, we ponder.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
CEO Cook and executive team have a lot on their plate in 2019.

Apple’s Texture News Service

Michael Simon at Macworld thinks Apple is going to fail in its integrated, premium news publishing service called Texture. “Apple is making the same old mistakes with its over-the-top Services demands.

A whole mess of information about Apple’s strategy for its publishing and video services leaked this week, and it paints a troubling picture of the iPhone maker’s approach. In short: Pay up or get out.

On the other hand, Peter Kafka at Recode puts a little more meat on the bones of Apple’ strategy. “The logic behind Apple’s give-us-half-your-revenue pitch to news publishers.” Even though the New York Times, with 3 million paid subscribers and many new journalist hirings, is doing well, it has balked at Apple’s 50 percent fee. So has the Washington Post. But, remember, the Apple service is new money.

And some publishers are happy to do it, because they think Apple will sign up many millions of people to the new service. And they’d rather have a smaller percentage of a bigger number than a bigger chunk of a smaller number.

In the words of a publishing executive who is optimistic about Apple’s plans: “It’s the absolute dollars paid out that matters, not the percentage.”

Also to be considered is that, while there is healthy, direct access to these authoritative, trusted news sources, there are many potential subscribers who don’t like having to pay a subscription to each newspaper they want to read. (Streaming TV services: are you listening?) Apple’s plan has the advantage of one-stop shopping via a trusted intermediary. This should weigh heavily on the newspaper’s decision, and 50 percent of a whole bunch of new subscriber revenue is good money.

Home Routers

Apple kills AirPort wireless routers by disbanding the engineering team
Apple AirPort Express: R.I.P.

No one, however, is claiming that Apple getting out of the home router/Wi-Fi business was incredibly shrewd and insightful. William Gallagher at AppleInsider looks at the Amazon purchase of eero in some detail. “Amazon’s eero buy is the clearest sign yet that Apple should revive the AirPort.” I like his reasoning. So do many others I’ve listened to.

Apple Prime Concerns

Also being discussed is whether the fanfare surrounding Apple’s (rumored) March 25 event to announce (but not roll out) its original content video service (“Apple Prime”?) will distract Apple from a proper launching of a host of anticipated new hardware. For example. Zac Hall at 9to5Mac writes:

With Apple’s March event focused on services, when should we expect hardware updates?

Sources familiar with the plans say Apple’s video service will be targeted for a launch in summer or fall rather than the April timing that has been the subject of media speculation. Apple has vowed to its high-caliber producing partners to mount marketing blitzes on behalf of the shows in addition to the service itself.

Eagerly awaited hardware, according to author Hall are:

  1. AirPod 2
  2. New iMacs
  3. 2019 Mac Pro
  4. iPad mini 5
  5. New, low-cost 10-inch iPad
  6. New iPod touch
  7. Update (discontinue?) MacBook

Regarding the Mac Pro, Digital Trends has put together a tantalizing recap. “Mac Pro 2019: Everything you need to know.” I’m getting very excited about this Mac.

Finally, the next article analyzes the finances of Apple’s video service. (“Apple Entertainment Television”?) “Apple Video Service Won’t Be Enough To Offset Declining iPhone Sales.” The title is suspect, but let’s forge on.

If we assume that Apple charges $15 per month and takes a 30% cut from content producers, Apple would need to have 250 million subscribers on its platform to represent just 5% of overall revenue by 2023…

I haven’t seen any indication that Apple expects to offset declining iPhone revenue with its streaming video service. Or even that iPhone declines will endure. The only goal I know of is to grow services revenue. US$3.75B/month ought to do that.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article 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.

In The Future You Could ‘Clarify’ Tweets (But Still Not Edit)

Permalink - Posted on 2019-02-15 20:25

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the company is considering adding a feature that would let you explain tweets by adding new or additional context (via Mashable).

[Touch Twitter’s Sparkle and Something Wonderful Will Happen]


This sounds like Twitter is considering clarification instead of editing. So while you won’t be able to correct that typo, you can explain that you definitely didn’t mean to make that typo (which sounds utterly useless).

twitter logo

One of the concepts we’re thinking about is clarifications. Kind of like retweet with comment.. to add some context and some color on what they might have tweeted, or what they might have meant.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO

The key word is considering. A clarify tweets feature might not even launch, but it’s one idea to help improve Twitter’s experience.

[Twitter on Deprecating APIs: Our Apps are Better]