iOS and a list of Voice Control commands

Reddit:

I work with adults, some of whom have significant challenges when interacting with technology due to severe physical disabilities (Spinal Cord Injury, CP, Brain Injury to name examples). My organization works with them to engage technology through Assistive or Adapted equipment/software/devices. I have ALWAYS been very happy with Apple’s ability to intertwine accessibility into their OS’s.

And:

Being that the voice control feature (which is kick a$$) requires someone to basically learn a new language of specific terms and phrases in order to effectively use the feature, I went on a search for a “master list” of sorts in hopes to stumble upon something. I was wrong.

First things first, if you’ve never worked with Voice Control:

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control
  • Tap Voice Control, then tap Customize Commands
  • Explore

Voice Control is an amazingly powerful part of Apple’s assistive technology. And you can customize it to your particular needs (tap Create New Command…).

The issue raised in the Reddit post is a lack of documentation, a resource to help guide new users through the pretty massive tree of possibilities. As is, Voice Control is self-documenting, that is, you learn by tapping through the tree of commands to learn what’s there.

From the post:

Can you imagine having to following all of the steps without conventional keyboard shorts and unable to physically touch and navigate your device?

Not sure how this could be made better, but thought this was worth raising. At the very least, worth exploring this so you know what’s there, especially if you are the tech support for others in your life.

Tim Cook: Speaking up on racism

Just a slice of Tim Cook’s post:

This is a moment when many people may want nothing more than a return to normalcy, or to a status quo that is only comfortable if we avert our gaze from injustice. As difficult as it may be to admit, that desire is itself a sign of privilege. George Floyd’s death is shocking and tragic proof that we must aim far higher than a “normal” future, and build one that lives up to the highest ideals of equality and justice.

Will all that’s happening around us change us at a fundamental level? Or will we slide back to “normal”?

I believe that fundamental change is possible. I’ve seen it in my life, I’ve seen it in others. We just can’t accept “normal” anymore.

Boarded up Apple Stores become unofficial canvases for peaceful protest

Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac:

Activism sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has spread across all 50 US states. Apple Stores have been swept up in the momentum, looted and vandalized as some protests turned to violence. Now, some peaceful protestors are reimagining the boarded up windows of Apple Stores as canvases for a positive message.

Follow the headline link, lots of images, embedded tweets. Have to say, I love that Apple draws this kind of response, especially after all those Apple Stores were the target for destruction and looting.

Apple, Apple TV, and sports

Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac:

The company has now hired executive James DeLorenzo, who has led Amazon Video’s sports division since 2016.

And:

Another report from Sports Business Daily mentions that Apple is interested in negotiating with the Pac-12 Conference for media rights deals starting in 2024. Sporting events, something lacking on many streaming services due to cable rights, would be live streamed to Apple TV+ subscribers.

Sports is (obviously) going through a hard reset at the moment. Who knows what will emerge from this. Once we have accurate testing and successful treatment for COVID-19, will fans return to the stadiums? Will the nature of sports change? Will the arc of eSports continue to rise, eroding fans of the more traditional sports?

Sports broadcasting is at a crossroads. Whereas the ESPN brand used to dominate, it is now beset by competing brands and hurting for viewership, reduced to airing marble racing and cherry pit spitting contests.

Apple definitely has an opportunity, a moment to rethink sports coverage, and the chance to become one of the brands associated with whatever form of sports emerges from this chaos.

First look at the Apple News+ Audio beta

[VIDEO] This is a beta, so no guarantee this will ever rollout in a public iOS release, take with a grain of salt.

That said, I find this fascinating, a doubling down on Apple News+. If Apple brings in actors to read stories, that’s certainly going to limit the scalability of audio (versus using Siri, or an automated text to speech process), but it will add a level of emotion and precision to the audio.

If I was a publisher, having Apple customize my content at no cost to me (assuming that’s the case) would make participating in Apple News+ more attractive.

Interesting experiment. Video embedded in main Loop post.

The New York Times pours love on Apple’s Zane Lowe’s new podcast

Melena Ryzik, New York Times:

Sitting in a studio in Culver City, Calif., opposite Zane Lowe, the grey-stubbled Beats 1 host and Apple Music honcho, musicians tend to unspool, even shed a tear. They talk about their albums, but also their divorces and regrets, their influences and coping mechanisms. It’s therapy, but for an audience of millions, and with a propulsive, ever-enthusiastic host who also helps shapes the narrative, and the placement, of the songs we hear.

And:

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, revealing his own struggles helped others open up. Now that everyone wants to talk about their mental state, Lowe is primed to coax unusual realness out of locked-off megastars. Hip-hop has Charlamagne tha God; comedy has Marc Maron. And pop music has Lowe.

This is a solid appreciation piece, both in its exploration of Zane Lowe’s terrific new interview podcast and in its coverage of Zane Lowe himself.

Fan of interview podcasts and of the folks who make music? Here’s a link to the podcast.

Apple TV gains Peloton app, but not quite there yet

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac:

Peloton already supported AirPlay for wirelessly sending content from a support Apple device to an AirPlay compatible screen. With the introduction of the Peloton Apple TV app, members won’t need a second device for beaming classes on the big screen.

The Peloton app offers a wide range of exercises, from biking to lifting to yoga to running to stretching, all with instructors motivating you, pushing you forward. If fitness is your thing, Peloton is an excellent resource.

At first blush, bringing Peloton to Apple TV is a genius idea. Before the app, you had to use your iPhone or iPad app and stream the session to your TV via AirPlay. The Apple TV app puts all those sessions directly on Apple TV, controlled by your Apple TV remote.

So what’s not to like?

The problem is what’s missing from the Apple TV version of the Peloton app. The iOS version of the app has a wealth of information about your workouts, information that gives you, for example, a history of your workouts, information about goals you’re working towards, all information you might want to use to make a decision about what workout to choose. And none of that info is available on the Apple TV app.

You could open up the iOS app, figure out what workout to do next, then fire up the Apple TV app to start the workout. But why launch the second app when you can just AirPlay straight from your iPhone or iPad? Where’s the advantage?

And if you care about all the personal progress data, you’ll need to use the iOS app anyway. So there’s no real advantage in using the Apple TV app, at least until they flesh out the app.

To be fair to the Peloton folks, it’s no simple thing adding Apple TV support to an app. The app itself is really well done. And for folks who just want to pick a workout and go, it’s a perfect solution.

Apps that let people listen to police scanners have skyrocketed to the top of the App Store

Joseph Cox, Motherboard:

The number of users of an app which lets people listen in to police radio broadcasts across the country is nearly doubling everyday during the protests, according to its developer. As of Monday morning, ‘5-0 Radio’ had skyrocketed above apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to the most popular paid app, and the second most popular free app on the Apple App Store, according to Apple’s own rankings. Other similar apps have also jumped in popularity.

No surprise. Just found it notable.

Apple Music joins wider music industry Black Out Tuesday awareness campaign

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

Apple Music is joining in a music industry wide ‘Black Out Tuesday’ campaign, to raise awareness for Black Lives Matter in the wake of Minneapolis resident George Floyd being killed whilst under police arrest. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously tweeted his support of the protests happening across the US and around the world.

And:

You can access your music library, and search the Apple Music catalog, as normal.

You’ll no doubt see the #TheShowMustBePaused hashtag today. To learn more, start here.

New Apple TV+ management deal bringing in rep for Gal Gadot, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, more

Hollywood Reporter:

Kang-Lowe, who will bring Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron with her as a client, has set up an exclusive deal with Apple TV+.

Cuaron is best known as the writer of Roma, Gravity, and Children of Men. Gal Gadot has already signed a deal with Apple TV+ to exec produce and star in “Hedy Lamarr”.

Her client roster reads like a who’s who of Hollywood, with producers, writers, directors and talent including Riz Ahmed, Simon Beaufoy, Damien Chazelle, Deborah Chow, Ryan Coogler, Guillermo del Toro, Gillian Flynn, Gal Gadot, Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan, Lena Waithe, and Steven Zaillian.

Big get for Apple.

Apple allowing Apple Card customers to defer payments due to COVID-19

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac:

Apple and Goldman Sachs have once again announced an extension of the Apple Card Customer Assistance Program, allowing users to skip their June payments without penalty.

To ask about this program:

  • launch the Wallet app
  • tap Apple Card
  • tap the “…” button in the upper-right corner
  • Tap the Message button and say you want to inquire about the Apple Card Customer Assistance Program

That’s it. They should take it from there.

Logic Pro X 10.5: Exploring Apple’s new fully-integrated Drum Synth

Justin Kahn, 9to5Mac:

If Apple were to make a drum synthesizer, it would probably be dead simple so anyone can use it, while still offering up just enough control over the sounds to do some serious damage right? Probably. And that’s exactly what it just did here. But don’t be fooled by how simple its sound design controls/synth engine appears, this is just one piece of the puzzle. I initially thought that it looked way too simple to be all that useful, especially with the new Quick Sampler now in everyone’s LPX arsenal. I was wrong.

If you are interested in creating electronic music wit Logic Pro, this walkthrough is worth reading.

Apple temporarily closes US retail stores in wake of widespread looting and protests

Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac:

Apple has temporarily closed the majority of its US retail stores for the safety of employees and customers as protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis continue to spread across the nation. Numerous Apple Stores from coast to coast have been targeted by looters, damaged, or preemptively secured and emptied of sales floor merchandise to deter damage.

A jarring wave of images and video have made their way across twitter over the last few days, shots of Apple Store glass doors being broken, forced open, and stores being looted.

Apple:

With the health and safety of our teams in mind, we’ve made the decision to keep a number of our stores in the US closed on Sunday.

Current plan seems to be to start reopening some stores on Tuesday, with limited, curfew-respecting hours.

Apple Music launches Zane Lowe interview podcast

Apple Music:

One thing that today’s biggest artists have in common: They all speak with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe about their lives and the stories behind their songs. Hear why he is the interviewer the biggest stars open up to in these candid, in-depth conversations, now available in full on Apple Podcasts.

Seven episodes dropped this weekend, including interviews with:

  • Billie Eilish
  • Selena Gomez
  • Kanye West (a two-parter)
  • Justin Bieber
  • Hayley Williams
  • Lady Gaga

Twitter enables scheduled tweets in web app

I do appreciate this feature, lets me compose a tweet in the wee hours, have it hit in the morning. But I do wish it was rolled out in the official iOS app.

Not sure if the API that makes this feature possible will be opened up to 3rd party apps. I certainly hope so.

AirPods have dominated television in the quarantine era

Russell Holly, iMore:

Shark Tank. The Weather Report. Tiger King. Disney Sing-Along. Community. These five things, and countless others, have one very clear thing in common while we’re all stuck in separate rooms. In each of these television events, the people staring into the camera and laughing, singing, or talking at you about something are all wearing Apple’s AirPods. It’s the best advertising Apple never asked for, but makes a crystal clear statement about the state of the headphone market.

This is Apple’s world now, and everything else is just taking up space on the shelf at the electronics shop.

First time I noticed this phenomenon was at airports. In the months following the release of the original AirPods, I started to see more and more people in airports with AirPods instead of wired headphones. I remember counting the people with each new trip, until the number of people with AirPods became too numerous for me to track.

With all the remote broadcasting made necessary by the pandemic, AirPods have become standard wear everywhere you look. Amazing.

More than half of all Apple Stores worldwide have reopened

Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac:

256 of 510 Apple Stores across the globe are now open, including Thursday morning’s reopening of three locations in North Carolina and two in Virginia.

Amazing. Feels like a whole different universe, the before COVID-19 and this new reopening. Can’t help but wonder what social distancing habits will be with us for the long haul, what long term changes will come to brick and mortar shops and restaurants.

Apple orders “Hedy Lamarr,” starring and executive produced by Gal Gadot

Apple:

Hailed as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Hedy Lamarr was first exalted and iconized, then destroyed and eventually forgotten by American audiences, all the while keeping her brilliant mind active through a series of inventions, one of which became the basis for the spread spectrum technology we use today.

I am incredibly excited about this project. Hedy Lamarr was an inspiration for me, breaking through barriers in pursuit of a technical dream.

From Hedy’s Wikipedia page:

At the beginning of World War II, Lamarr and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes, intended to use frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology to defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. She also helped improve aviation designs for Howard Hughes while they dated during the war.[9] Although the US Navy did not adopt Lamarr and Antheil’s invention until 1957, various spread-spectrum techniques are incorporated into Bluetooth technology and are similar to methods used in legacy versions of Wi-Fi. Recognition of the value of their work resulted in the pair being posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Lamarr was completely self-taught. She had an intuitive intellect, followed it constantly. The world was not kind to Hedy Lamarr, an unappreciated genius. Looking forward to this series.

M. Night Shyamalan wins dismissal of ‘Servant’ copyright suit

Variety:

Francesca Gregorini, the writer and director of “The Truth About Emanuel,” filed the suit in January, accusing Shyamalan of lifting her story and “bastardizing” it through a male gaze.

Both works are about a grieving mother who cares for a doll as if it were a real child, and her relationship with a female baby-sitter.

But Walter ruled that sharing a premise is not a violation of copyright law.

This one was thrown out on lack of merit, with the judge saying, “Beyond this unprotectable shared premise, the works’ storylines diverge drastically and quickly.”

Ten deep cut classic movies on HBO Max

One thing HBO Max brought to the table was the Studio Ghibli catalog, including one of my all-time favorite movies, Spirited Away.

I love that HBO Max offers the movie in both the dubbed English version (some great voice work there) as well as in the English-subtitled original Japanese.

But HBO Max also brings lots of other movies to the catalog, including the edgier list of 10 in the linked Ringer post.

A bit confused at the difference between all the different HBO flavors. But if I only had HBO Max, that’d scratch that itch.

Apple engineer Jordyn Castor, who has been blind since birth, talks coding and accessibility

[VIDEO] Great video (via Daring Fireball), very cool indeed. It takes place at the California School for the Blind, highlights Apple Engineer Jordyn Castor as she talks about writing code, making it easier for others to write code using Apple Playgrounds and other tools. This is about empowerment. Wonderful. Video embedded in main Loop post.

HBO pulls Apple TV Channels integration following HBO Max debut

Mikey Campbell, Apple Insider:

Hours after HBO launched its long-awaited HBO Max app on iOS, Apple TV and other platforms on Wednesday, the AT&T-owned company has pulled streaming integration with Apple TV Channels.

One of the first major cable networks to sign on to Apple TV Channels, HBO is no longer available to new users accessing Apple’s collaborative streaming hub.

HBO Max is a confusing beast. It sits alongside HBO, HBO Go, and HBO Now. Such confusing branding. And when HBO Max arrived on Apple TV, it seemed to replace HBO Go in the collection. But without explicitly doing so.

Which makes me wonder if it’s possible that HBO Max will eventually fully integrate with Apple TV+, as the branding confusion gets sorted.

Apple wins rights to Scorsese-DiCaprio-De Niro project ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’

Deadline:

Deadline hears that the tug of war over one of the highest profile films in Hollywood is about over. Apple will win the derby for the Martin Scorsese-directed film Killers Of The Flower Moon, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in the lead roles. The deals are being papered — Paramount still has to sign off — but I’m told when they are, it will be an Apple original film, and Paramount will distribute theatrically worldwide.

OK, a grain of salt there, “Deadline hears” that this is true. But Deadline has a reasonable track record and I do want Apple to have an original Scorsese movie!

The deal, which calls for Apple to finance and become the creative studio, gives the movie a hybrid situation and the best of both worlds. The film will get a wide theatrical release through Paramount before it becomes the biggest film title so far on Apple’s streaming service.

Apple TV+ is evolving, their deals adjusting to the marketplace. This is a high-profile project and might be a path to high profile awards that will lend Apple TV+ movie creds. Grain of salt for all of this.

The awesome Mac OS Catalina fonts you didn’t know you had access to

Ralf Herrmann, Typography.Guru:

Apple has recently licensed fonts from type foundries such as Commercial Type, Klim Type Foundry and Mark Simonson Studio to be used as system fonts on Mac OS Catalina. But since these fonts are an optional download, many users of Mac OS X are not even aware they have access to them for free.

For the complete list of fonts included with macOS Catalina, check out this Apple Support document.

HBO Max now available on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, turns out you might already have a subscription

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

The HBO Max application is now available for Apple users with apps for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV: get the app here. HBO Max replaces HBO Now, so if you have the Now app already installed, it will transform into Max the next time the App Store updates your apps. HBO Max is a US-only service.

And:

Alongside everything you expect from HBO, Max content includes the full catalog of sitcom Friends, Looney Tunes, Studio Ghibli, Adult Swim shows, and a documentary on sexual assault accusations against Russel Simmons.

It’s getting crowded out there, so many streaming services to consider.

As to HBO Max, it’s possible you already have access. Check out this article from Yahoo, which details all the side deals that might bring HBO Max to you for free.

For example, I got an email from AT&T telling me my unlimited mobile plan gives me free, day one access to HBO Max. There are lots of other similar deals in place, as HBO Max battles for mindshare.