June 16, 2021

Video review of the original iPhone

This was a fascinating nugget from a deep dive into the very early reviews of the very first iPhone. The world has changed so very much since the iPhone release. This review brought back waves of nostalgia, back when it was not clear if the iPhone would catch on.

Olivia Carville, Bloomberg:

That team is made up of about 100 agents in Dublin, Montreal, Singapore, and other cities. Some have emergency-services or military backgrounds. Team members have the autonomy to spend whatever it takes to make a victim feel supported, including paying for flights, accommodation, food, counseling, health costs, and sexually transmitted disease testing for rape survivors. A former agent who was at Airbnb for five years describes the approach as shooting “the money cannon.” The team has relocated guests to hotel rooms at 10 times the cost of their booking, paid for round-the-world vacations, and even signed checks for dog-counseling sessions.

And:

Former agents recall cases where they had to counsel guests hiding in wardrobes or running from secluded cabins after being assaulted by hosts. Sometimes the guests were the perpetrators, as with an incident when one was found in bed, naked, with his host’s 7-year-old daughter.

And:

The work can be so stressful that agents have access to cool-down rooms with dimmed lighting to create a soothing atmosphere for answering harrowing calls. And it can take a heavy toll.

Holy crap! This was a harrowing read.

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

With macOS Monterey, Apple has introduced expanded AirPlay 2 support, so you can ‌AirPlay‌ content from an iPhone, iPad, or even another Mac to your main Mac. We thought we’d do a quick demo of this handy new feature in our latest YouTube video.

The video is embedded below. Still thinking about use cases here. Throw some video from my iPhone onto my Mac? Whole house audio (mentioned toward the end of the video)? Note the mention of AirPlay’ed video being compressed to a lower quality.

June 15, 2021

Kirk McElhearn:

I’ve written about high-resolution music plenty over the years, and it’s clear that, for the vast majority of listeners, it’s just marketing and won’t make a difference.

But Apple has added music formats that can’t even be played back on Macs, without changing a hidden setting. Here’s why.

If you are interested in Lossless on your Mac, this is a must read, especially if you are new to the Audio Midi Setup application (you’ll find it in Applications/Utilities).

Lots of detail here, per usual with Justin O’Beirne’s Apple Maps posts. Don’t miss the animated screenshots, showing side-by-side and zoomed in comparisons of the old and new.

Chris Welch, The Verge:

The new Studio Buds are Beats’ second pair of true wireless earbuds and follow the Powerbeats Pro, which remain my pick for the best all-around earbuds for fitness purposes like running or hitting the gym. With its latest pair, Beats is hoping to attract a much wider audience. That starts with the price, which is $149.99 — a full $100 less than the AirPods Pro.

And:

Beats says it has put an incredible amount of work into how the Studio Buds sound. That’s where they’re supposed to exceed expectations for the price. But you don’t get everything under the sun for $150; the most obvious missing piece is wireless charging. And their noise cancellation and transparency modes don’t keep pace with some pricier earbuds, including the AirPods Pro.

And:

If you go looking for them, you’ll notice MIA features that would’ve been present if the Studio Buds contained a proper Apple chip. Pairing them with your iPhone does not sync them across your other iCloud devices. Audio sharing is nowhere to be found. And the Studio Buds lack the ability to automatically hop between an iPhone, iPad, and Mac based on whichever one you’re actively using.

Good review. These are $100 cheaper than AirPods Pro, have their own niche in the market. If you don’t care about all the stuff addressed above, these might be right for you.

Two videos below. The first details the design behind the Studio Buds, and the second is an ad that just dropped.

AppleUK privacy video

Apple:

Apple is continuing its leadership in privacy, expanding our commitment and encouraging positive change across the industry. WWDC 2021 included the announcement of a number of new privacy features across iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, watchOS 8 and iCloud. These new features are designed to help users across Europe and around the world better control and manage access to their data.

Watch the WWDC 2021 privacy presentation for some highlights of what’s new, and a special message from Tim to European users, directly from the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park.

This popped up on the AppleUK YouTube channel, but not on the US channel. Clearly targeted at the European market.

Apple:

Apple today announced Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, the global marketplace for premium podcast subscriptions, is now available. Starting today, listeners in more than 170 countries and regions can purchase subscriptions for individual shows and groups of shows through channels, making it easy to support their favorite creators, enjoy new content, and unlock additional benefits such as ad-free listening and early access, directly on Apple Podcasts.

And:

With Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, listeners can experience never-before-heard stories on Luminary’s “The Midnight Miracle” with Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey, and Dave Chappelle, and Pushkin Industries’ “Revisionist History” with Malcolm Gladwell; the next chapters of QCODE’s apocalyptic thriller “Blackout,” starring Rami Malek and Aja Naomi King, and Realm’s “Orphan Black,” featuring Tatiana Maslany; the unrivaled chemistry and insightful commentary driving CNN’s “The Handoff,” and Politico’s “Playbook: Deep Dive”; and many more.

To get a sense of this, launch the Podcasts app, then tap the Browse tab. Tap on a featured show, like The Midnight Miracle, and you’ll see a TRY FREE ad with accompanying text “7 days free, then $4.99/month”.

This is a new experiment for Apple, and a path for podcasters to dip their toes into the monthly subscription model.

Apple shares The Morning Show season 2 trailer, premier date

One of Apple TV+’s highest profile shows, The Morning Show will return with a 10-episode second season starting on September 17th. New episodes will drop every Friday.

Here’s the trailer…

June 14, 2021

Introducing Spatial Audio on Apple Music | Beyond Stereo

This just popped up on the Apple Music YouTube channel. Also available in the Music app.

José Adorno, 9to5Mac:

In an unlisted video, Apple is promoting the new iPad Pro with the series “Your next computer is not a computer.” This time, the company creates a parody of The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” song.

The ad was found by a Twitter user early this morning. Apparently, it was uploaded on June 3, before WWDC21 and the iPadOS 15 announcement.

Fascinating that this is unlisted (actually says “unlisted” on the YouTube page). Wonder if this was supposed to be part of the keynote. Interesting that Apple is parodying a well-known Disney song. Makes me wonder about the licensing issues involved there.

This is audio only, about 30 minutes long, but a fascinating look at the history of Apple and China. Lots of key moments in the relationship highlighted, starting with Steve Jobs and the birth of the relationship as China pitches Apple for the chance to manufacture the iPhone.

Video demo of iPadOS 15 Live Text

From last week, watch as AppleInsider’s Stephen Robles takes Live Text for a spin (demo starts at 1:18 in).

Note that Live Text requires an A12 Bionic processor or later, so if you want to try it yourself, you’ll need iOS/iPadOS 15 and the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR or later, the 2019 versions of the iPad Air and iPad Mini or later, the 2020 iPad, or the 2018 (3rd gen) iPad Pro or later.

Live Text is fun, and feels like just a taste of what I imagine might be coming to Apple Glass. Complete speculation here, but imagine if all the text you looked at was a gesture away from being copied to the pasteboard. Or, in a similar vein, if a gesture could transcribe live audio and copy it to the pasteboard, or gather it into a Note. Again, pure speculation on my part, but feels so doable.

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak join John Gruber on The Talk Show

It wouldn’t feel like WWDC without that annual tradition, usually on couches and in person, where John Gruber interviews key folks at Apple.

One again, WWDC is remote, but the tradition continues, with Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joining Gruber via FaceTime. A great video, wonderful camaraderie, all the things you’d expect given the WWDC context. The action starts at about 6:22 in.

Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac:

FaceTime on the web is not like iCloud web apps that anyone can sign up for and use as they like. Instead, Apple is just letting iOS and macOS users invite others to a call through a public link that can be opened on any web browser.

In other words, you still need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to start a FaceTime call, but now your friends with Android devices or Windows PCs can also join the call.

And:

For people receiving the public link, they only need to enter their names to join the call — there’s no need to have an Apple ID to use FaceTime on the web when you’re invited by someone else. The interface is almost the same as using FaceTime on an Apple device, but there are no extra options available such as filters and other effects.

Follow the headline link for some images that show web-based FaceTime in action.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. plans to drop its mask requirement for vaccinated customers at many U.S. stores beginning next week, a move that will mark yet another major retailer moving away from the Covid-19 safety protocol as states ease restrictions.

And:

The change will go into effect as early as Tuesday, and employees have been told that they won’t be required to ask customers for verification of vaccination.

Obviously, this is not yet a publicly announced policy and may vary depending on a specific Apple Store’s location. And Gurman points out that Apple Store staff will still be wearing masks.

June 11, 2021

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The Dalrymple Report: iOS 15, iPadOS and more from WWDC

Apple announced a lot of changes to its upcoming operating system releases during WWDC this week. Dave and I wanted to take some time to go through some of our favorite changes during this show.

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June 10, 2021

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

One of the key new features of macOS Monterey is the ability to AirPlay content to a Mac from other Apple devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, or another Mac. According to the macOS Monterey features page, AirPlay to Mac works works both wirelessly or wired using a USB cable, with Apple noting that a wired connection is useful when you want to ensure that there’s no latency or don’t have access to a Wi-Fi connection.

And:

AirPlay to Mac also allows users to extend or mirror an Apple device’s display to a Mac, and we’ve confirmed this works on a Mac-to-Mac basis.

More detail in the original post but, as Joe points out, looks like the return of Target Display Mode.

Apple Japan’s Apple Watch ad

I love watching international Apple ads. Often, they are the same as the US ads, with dubs, but some are unique to their markets.

International Loop fans, if you encounter an Apple ad unique to your country or region (not simply a dub), please do send it my way.

The Verge:

Facebook is taking a novel approach to its first smartwatch, which the company hasn’t confirmed publicly but currently plans to debut next summer. The device will feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across Facebook’s suite of apps, including Instagram, The Verge has learned.

And:

A camera on the front of the watch display exists primarily for video calling, while a 1080p, auto-focus camera on the back can be used for capturing footage when detached from the stainless steel frame on the wrist. Facebook is tapping other companies to create accessories for attaching the camera hub to things like backpacks, according to two people familiar with the project

This might be an incredibly clever device whose use case is not apparent yet. But on the surface, it feels like a solution in search of a problem. If my camera is on my wrist, and I have to pop it off and fish out a device to attach it to, then attach it, then start the process of focusing/framing and pressing the shutter, sounds like a lot of added time to a time-critical process.

Plus it’s giving Facebook a camera and permission to record your life.

Apple Support: How to set up Medical ID

Have you set up Medical ID on your iPhone? If not, take a look at the embedded video to learn more.

One of those things that only has value if you take the time to do it ahead of time.

Engadet (via MacRumors):

Whether you’re using a pair of AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, the software that powers the feature will widen the soundstage so that it seems like the entire room you’re in is being filled with sound.

Looking forward to experience this on a regular basis. It’ll be interesting to see if shared audio can keep up with two people, if we’re each wearing AirPods, one of us walking around.

When you sit down to watch a movie or TV show, the included head tracking feature will lock in after it detects you’ve been looking in the same direction for a while. Once you get up to walk around, it will reactivate.

Cool, and good to know how the head position reset works.

Connecting your AirPods to an Apple TV is also easy in this context. When you’re near the device with your headphones, it will display a popup that will allow you to quickly connect, and you won’t need to dig into the settings menu.

Yes please. I think Spatial Audio was a particularly clever idea. From the Surround Sound Wikipedia page:

Edgar Varese’s Poème électronique, created for the Iannis Xenakis-designed Philips Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, also used spatial audio with 425 loudspeakers used to move sound throughout the pavilion.

63 years later, and that massive sound stage is in your tiny AirPods!

I am always up for an alien invasion show. Tricky to make one that holds up, though, especially once the aliens are revealed. The Expanse (Amazon Video) did an exceptional job in this. Here’s hoping Invasion does the same.

June 9, 2021

Andrew Couts, Gizmodo:

The main thing I’m worried about here is the growing capabilities within Apple’s Wallet app, which is quickly becoming a little too useful.

What? Too useful? How could something be too useful?

In addition to being able to upload your debit and credit cards to Wallet, iOS 15 expands the ability to use Wallet as your car key (by adding support for utra-wideband tech, in addition to NFC), lets you open compatible smart locks for your home, and allows you to store your driver’s license or other government-issued ID.

Sounds great to me!

In short, if you use all the features Wallet offers in iOS 15, your iPhone would be your house key, your car key, your driver’s license, your credit card, and your phone. No need to carry keys or a wallet anymore. Just grab your sunglasses and your phone, and you’re good to go. Sounds great, right? Until you lose your phone or your phone gets stolen—and everything else with it.

Ah, I get your point. If you reduce your dependence on the real world equivalents (like physical car keys or drivers license), then lose your iPhone or have it get stolen, life will definitely suck.

But the good news is, it will suck way less than if you were out in the world and had your actual keys or license stolen. Because a stolen iPhone is (at least in most cases) a protected fortress. No one will be able to access your keys or your license from your iPhone. And it is likely backed up, which means you can get back up and running pretty quickly.

There is a point to be made, which is that Apple is making it much easier to leave your real world stuff locked up at home. And if you lose your iPhone out in the real world, you might be stuck for bit, have to lean on the kindness of strangers to get back home. But that is a short term problem. And definitely better than losing the real world items.

Details on Spatial and Lossless audio in Apple Music

If you’ve not yet tasted Spatial Audio, take a look at yesterday’s Taking Spatial Audio for a spin.

With that as prelude, watch the video embedded below. It’s filled with tiny details worth knowing, including how to enable Lossless Audio, if that’s your jam. And if you do go down the Lossless rabbit hole, be sure to delete existing versions of Lossless tracks so they’ll be replaced by the Lossless equivalents (thanks, Kris).

HBO Max walks it back, returns to Apple TV native player

If you are an HBO Max subscriber and use Apple TV, you’re no doubt aware that the HBO Max experience broke about a week ago.

The experience was truly terrible, especially if you tried to use the new Siri Remote. Broken.

The wave of public outcry clearly reached management and the dev team, as evidenced by this tweet:

Interesting point raised by Joe Cieplinski: Why do streaming services override the interface crafted and tested by the Apple TV team? Is it a nefarious attempt to harvest user behavioral data? Or is it a clumsy attempt at “We know better”?

No matter, they are restoring the native player and, hopefully, will win back their audience.

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

Here’s a funny one: iOS 15 lets you place multiple copies of the same app on Springboard. This means you can have the same app duplicated across your home screens, as many times as you want.

The result of this, taken to the extreme:

More from Benjamin:

One way to do this is with the App Library. With an app already placed on your home screens, go to the App Library, locate the same application and long-press to drag it. You can then place it onto a home screen and your existing icon will not be removed.

iOS 15 also enables drag-and-drop for apps in Spotlight search. So you can skip the App Library and directly search for your app, then drag it out of Spotlight and place it where you want it.

Not sure if this capability will survive through all the betas, make it to the official release, but I do like me a screen full of Twitters.

Apple:

The new trailer includes never-before-seen glimpses at highly anticipated Apple Original series “Foundation,” “Invasion,” “The Shrink Next Door,” “Schmigadoon!” and “Mr. Corman,” as well as upcoming Apple Original Film “CODA,” and sophomore seasons of “The Morning Show,” “Ted Lasso,” “See” and “Truth Be Told,” all set to premiere in 2021.

Lots of new stuff, with a mix of existing stuff, too. Most excited for Foundation. Curious about Schmigadoon. All of this anchored by the incredibly strong performance of Ted Lasso.

Here’s the trailer…

June 8, 2021

Zane Lowe, Apple:

I first got the opportunity to listen to Spatial Audio on AirPods; I was confused at first. “Does this really work on AirPods? When do I get my car and go to some kind of listening room with special speakers?” And they were like, “No, no — just press play.”

Among the first songs I listened to were Lady Gaga’s “Rain on Me” and Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.” It was hard to put into words because I’ve spent my whole life in a two-channel environment; I was born into stereo. It dawned on me that there are a lot of artists in the past and present who would have loved to be able to lean in with this kind of technology — to make their songs come to life, make them bigger, and just take them to levels no one had even thought of yet. But they only had two stereo channels to play with. Now they can go beyond that. So, to be able to hear parts of these songs coming from behind and around me? I was like, “I’m all in. I get it.” TV got HD — now music gets Spatial.

The best way to get a true sense of the change is to pop in your AirPods and jump over to this two item Apple Music playlist that Zane Lowe crafted. In it, he walks you through mono (in the first song) to stereo to Dolby Atmos so you can hear the evolution for yourself.

Then head over to this page to explore Apple’s current spatial audio offerings. Or, on your iPhone, launch the Music app, tap the Search tab, and tap the Spacial Audio category, then start exploring.