Apple refutes FlickType developer’s account of App Store issues

William Gallagher, AppleInisder:

Apple has told AppleInsider how it denies FlickType developer Kosta Eleftheriou’s claims in a lawsuit, over the App Store handling of his accessibility keyboard app for Apple Watch.

And:

Apple has now told AppleInsider that a letter Eleftheriou posted on Twitter after the “California Streaming” event, dates from 2019. At that point, FlickType had been removed for contravening the App Store’s then-rule about Apple Watch keyboards.

However, after Eleftheriou resubmitted the app to the App Store review team with an explanation of its accessibility functions, Apple says that the update was allowed.

This response concerned the story we posted yesterday, titled Apple blocked the FlickType Watch keyboard… then announced a clone of it.

Read the rest of the AppleInsider piece. There’s more. But, key to all this:

Now, says Apple, there are multiple Apple Watch keyboard apps available on the App Store. And FlickType itself was highlighted in a Top Apps of 2020 promotion on the store.

The iJustine, Tim Cook post-Apple Event interview

The whole interview is fun, worth watching. But my favorite bit is right at 2:47 in, where Tim holds up the iPad mini. It’s the purple one, the model I just ordered and hope to have in my hands sometime next week.

Here’s a still frame of Tim and the mini. I think this gives an excellent sense of the size of this iPad. Clearly well bigger than the biggest iPhone, but small and light enough to manage in one hand. Yet with the same power as the brand new iPhone 13 Pro. A beast!

Why Steve Wozniak left Apple

The video below was posted earlier this year. It tells an interesting story, but what made me post it was this comment from Woz himself, sent out this morning (and shared with permission):

I am primarily honored by many of the good comments that describe me well. Some of this video is incorrect or my version is different, but it’s largely on the mark. I got what I wanted (respect of engineers) and Jobs got what he wanted, notoriety, and the power to create good products. Jobs failed every time he tried to create a computer but his own Apple II came with the iPod, much later.

Enjoy…

Some interesting tidbits about the Apple Watch Series 7

Start off with this tweet:

https://twitter.com/stroughtonsmith/status/1437975564841803779

This prompted a lot of speculation about just how much changed from the Series 6 to the Series 7.

From the headline linked post from Sami Fathi, MacRumors:

As noted by Steve Troughton-Smith, the CPU in the S7 chip carries the same t8301 identifier as the CPU in the previous S6 chip, which explains why Apple’s performance claims are unchanged relative to the S6.

Much is the same, the primary difference being the slightly larger screen, which would explain the slightly heavier weights of the various Series 7 models.

Also:

With the ‌Apple Watch Series 7‌, Apple includes faster charging, claiming that it can charge to 80% in just 45 minutes and that 8 minutes of fast charging will provide sufficient battery life for 8 hours of sleep tracking. To support the new fast charging, Apple will be offering a new 1-meter USB-C magnetic fast charging cable.

And:

On the connectivity front, the Series 7 includes the same Bluetooth 5.0 protocol as the Series 6, but, unlike the Series 6, the new ‌Apple Watch Series 7‌ also has built-in support for Beidou, China’s satellite navigation system.

The fast charging strikes me as the biggest improvement, which will make charging after a night of sleep monitoring much more practical.

And the satellite nav support in China (and there’s a U1 chip too) is an interesting wrinkle.

Inside the studios’ (and Apple’s) frenzy to get Christopher Nolan’s next film

Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter:

After a trek to the director’s Hollywood Hills compound, Universal, Sony and Apple learned he wanted total creative control, at least a 100-day theatrical window, around a $100 million budget, equal marketing spend, 20 percent of first-dollar gross, and a blackout period where the studio would not release another movie for three weeks before and after the feature.

And:

There, in the same place Nolan has a full-on postproduction facility and does his editing, the execs read the filmmaker’s script for his latest project, centered on one of the fathers of the atom bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and then discussed conditions.

And:

But when one door closes, a new window (pun intended) opens. To the surprise of several insiders, one company’s executive class invited to make the trek was that of Apple Studios, the tech giant that is making a formidable push into movies and series. The company has spared no expense wooing top talent and is making movies with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith and Scarlett Johansson, among others. This was their chance to make inroads with one of the biggest proponents of the theatrical experience, and they took it.

Apple didn’t ultimately get the film, but key here is that they were invited to take a seat at the (well-moneyed) table with all the other studio heads. Apple TV+ (AKA, Apple Studios) is legit.

China preorders for iPhone 13 blow away preorders for iPhone 12, year-over-year

South China Morning Post:

Chinese consumers have placed more than 2 million pre-orders for the new 5G iPhone 13 line through Apple’s official store on JD.com as of Thursday, surpassing the 1.5 million iPhone 12 pre-orders on the same platform a year earlier, as the world’s largest smartphone market finds fewer high-end models on offer amid the decline of Huawei Technologies Co.

That’s a year-over-year increase from 1.5 million units to 2 million units (33% YOY growth).

Less competition at the high end, combined with a price decrease:

Pricing for the iPhone 13 lineup in China comes in at 5,199 yuan for the iPhone 13 Mini, 5,999 yuan for the iPhone 13 and 7,999 yuan for the iPhone 13 Pro, prices that are 300 yuan to 800 yuan cheaper than the iPhone 12 family

If these numbers are accurate, that’s certainly excellent news for Apple in the China market.

The rest of the videos from yesterday’s Apple Event

So many videos. Here’s the Apple Event itself, if you’d like to rewatch it. The YouTube page has a table of contents, which will make it easier to find specifics in the video. It also includes a detailed list of all the music featured in the event.

Embedded below:

  • On set with iPhone 13 Pro Featuring 2x Oscar Winner Kathryn Bigelow
  • iPhone 13 Pro – Hollywood in your pocket
  • Bigger screen. Epic durability. | Apple Watch Series 7
  • Whodunnit | Cinematic mode | iPhone 13
  • Apple Fitness+ | Welcome to the Club

Here ya go…

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPad mini, and Apple Watch Series 7 videos from yesterday’s Apple Event

So many videos in yesterday’s event. Here are the main “Introducing…” product videos shared by Apple.

One note on that first video. Jump to about 1:25 in, note the iPhone 13 mounted to the handlebars of the motorbike, something Apple warns you not to do. To be fair, this isn’t exactly a “high-power or high-volume motorcycle engine”, but an interesting choice nonetheless.

Apple blocked the FlickType Watch keyboard… then announced a clone of it

UPDATE: Read this post, Apple refutes FlickType developer’s account of App Store issues.

Tom Maxwell, Input:

Apple today held its California Streaming keynote, during which it unveiled the iPhone 13 as well as updated versions of the Apple Watch and iPad mini. But one, seemingly minor product announcement has caused a stir in the developer community: the new full software keyboard that Apple is adding to the Apple Watch.

And:

It was just last month that Kosta Eleftheriou, the developer of FlickType, announced that his swipe-based keyboard for the blind would be pulled off the App Store over objections by Apple.

And:

A separate version for the Apple Watch would remain, but then Apple pulled that one as well, telling Eleftheriou that keyboards aren’t allowed on the Apple Watch.

Now Apple has announced its own, nearly-identical keyboard for the Apple Watch.

Here’s the tweet from FlickType developer Kosta Eleftheriou, who has already filed suit against Apple.

https://twitter.com/keleftheriou/status/1437845736951992321

I’m mystified by this decision by Apple, especially given the ratcheted up scrutiny they are under. Did they think no one would make the connection? Or did they not care about that, Sherlock business as usual?

Apple TV+ fall preview trailer

Apple TV+ is revving up their release schedule. Here’s the slate of shows dropping over the next few months:

  • The Morning Show Season 2, September 17
  • Foundation, September 24
  • The Problem with Jon Stewart, September 30
  • Invasion, October 22
  • Swagger, October 29
  • Finch, November 5
  • The Shrink Next Door, November 12

Watch the trailer, embedded below.

AppleCare+ now covers cracked back glass on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models for reduced $29 fee

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

Apple today indicated that “back-glass only” damage on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models is now eligible for repair under AppleCare+ for a reduced fee of $29 in the United States, $39 in Canada, £25 in the UK, or the equivalent in other countries.

And:

The iPhone must be covered by AppleCare+ and have no additional damage beyond the damaged back glass that would prevent Apple from replacing the back glass, such as a bent or dented enclosure.

Back glass, as opposed to the front display.

Apple issues emergency security updates to close a spyware flaw

Nicole Perlroth, New York Times:

Apple issued emergency software updates for a critical vulnerability in its products on Monday after security researchers uncovered a flaw that allows highly invasive spyware from Israel’s NSO Group to infect anyone’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac computer without so much as a click.

Apple’s security team had worked around the clock to develop a fix since Tuesday, after researchers at Citizen Lab, a cybersecurity watchdog organization at the University of Toronto, discovered that a Saudi activist’s iPhone had been infected with an advanced form of spyware from NSO.

You’ve no doubt seen the update (unless you are running a beta, even an iOS 14.7 beta).

Here’s a link to Apple’s official security updates page. Note the new updates that dropped yesterday, including those for Safari, Catalina, Big Sur, Apple Watch, and iOS and iPad OS.

Marco Arment on “The future of the App Store”

Marco:

After the dust settles from the developer class-action settlement, the South Korean law, the JFTC announcement, and the Apple v. Epic decision, I think the most likely long-term outcome isn’t very different from the status quo — and that’s a good thing.

Lots of interesting points made, worth reading. Among the most important, is this bit about “side loading”:

I don’t expect side-loading or alternative app stores to become possible, and I’m relieved, because that is not a future I want for iOS.

And:

Facebook owns four of the top ten apps in the world. If side-loading became possible, Facebook could remove Instagram, WhatsApp, the Facebook app, and Messenger from Apple’s App Store, requiring customers to install these extremely popular apps directly from Facebook via side-loading.

And everyone would.

And:

Facebook would soon have apps that bypassed App Review installed on the majority of iPhones in the world.

I do get the logic here. My worry is that the forces that push Apple to make changes (think politicians, lobbyists, and anti-trust investigators) might not have the technical understanding of the implications Marco points out above.

Apple shares two new The Morning Show videos, new season starts Friday

The first video dropped Friday, offering a brief recap of Season One and scenes and actor discussions on what’s coming in Season Two.

The second video focuses more on the new characters, new faces coming in Season Two.

Interesting to me how much the focus on this show has shifted from the days leading up to the original launch of Apple TV+, when The Morning Show was the central focus, the tentpole show on which Apple pinned their hopes and dreams, to now, where The Morning Show has been eclipsed by Ted Lasso as the tentpole show, and is not one show among many.

Side note, as I mentioned here, Apple TV+ is poised, in its infancy, to do something Netflix has never done. The Emmy awards are this weekend. Rooting for Ted Lasso to bring home the Outstanding Comedy Series win, something no Netflix show has ever done.

Apple warns vibrations like those from high-power motorcycle engines can harm iPhone cameras

Eric Slivka, MacRumors:

Apple today published a new support document warning iPhone users that the cameras on their devices can be damaged by exposure to certain vibrational frequencies such as those generated by high-power motorcycle engines.

From Apple’s support document:

High-power or high-volume motorcycle engines generate intense high-amplitude vibrations, which are transmitted through the chassis and handlebars. It is not recommended to attach your iPhone to motorcycles with high-power or high-volume engines due to the amplitude of the vibration in certain frequency ranges that they generate. Attaching your iPhone to vehicles with small-volume or electric engines, such as mopeds and scooters, may lead to comparatively lower-amplitude vibrations, but if you do so a vibration dampening mount is recommended to lessen the risk of damage to your iPhone and its OIS and AF systems. It is also recommended to avoid regular use for prolonged periods to further lessen the risk of damage.

Sounds like the issue is mitigated if you keep your iPhone in your pocket. If you do mount your camera on, say, your handlebars, will AppleCare+ still fix the issue? Is there fine print on this?

I looked through the AppleCare+ iPhone coverage web site, could not find any mention of this issue.

How to create an Apple ID Recovery Key

OSXDaily:

Resetting your Apple ID password is normally a pretty easy task, but if you don’t have access to the device that you’re already signed into, things could get super complicated and inconvenient. However, Apple offers another option with an Apple ID recovery key, which can be used to reset an Apple ID account as well.

Apple ID Recovery Key acts as an extra layer of security for your Apple account, in case you forget your password and lose access to your trusted device.

For your iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to be running iOS/iPadOS 14 or later, a pretty reasonable requirement.

Once you’ve created your recovery key:

From now on, you’ll have just two ways to reset the password for your Apple account. You can either reset the password from a device that you’re already logged into, or you can use the recovery key instead. The latter would prove to be a lifesaver when don’t have access to your trusted devices.

Interestingly, the Recovery Key is an old mechanism, removed a while back and then returning in iOS 14, et al.

Washington Post on Apple’s “bug bounty” program

Reed Albergotti, Washington Post:

Many who are familiar with the program say Apple is slow to fix reported bugs and does not always pay hackers what they believe they’re owed. Ultimately, they say, Apple’s insular culture has hurt the program and created a blind spot on security.

“It’s a bug bounty program where the house always wins,” said Katie Moussouris, CEO and founder of Luta Security, which worked with the Defense Department to set up its first bug bounty program. She said Apple’s bad reputation in the security industry will lead to “less secure products for their customers and more cost down the line.”

And:

In interviews with more than two dozen security researchers, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of nondisclosure agreements, they point to Apple’s rivals for comparison. Facebook, Microsoft and Google publicize their programs and highlight security researchers who receive bounties in blog posts and leader boards. They hold conferences and provide resources to encourage a broad international audience to participate.

And:

Most of them pay more money each year than Apple, which is at times the world’s most valuable company. Microsoft paid $13.6 million in the 12-month period beginning July 2020. Google paid $6.7 million in 2020. Apple spent $3.7 million last year, Krstić said in his statement. He said that number is likely to increase this year.

This is a long article, filled with bug bounty stories, many of them anonymously told. Hard to truly know whether this is the squeaky wheel getting all the attention, or something more problematic. But read the article (here’s an Apple News link if you don’t have access to WaPo).

Definitely reads like Apple puts less money into bug bounties, shines less of a light onto bug researcher efforts and successes than its competitors.

Meet the little-known genius who helped make Pixar possible

Steven Levy, Wired:

During a panel discussion afterward, the interviewer asked a provocative question. “This might be crazy,” she began, “but is there any connection between the world of the counterculture and psychedelics, and Pixar?”

The panelists on stage—Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, both central to Pixar’s development—fell into an uncomfortable silence. Drugs and the counterculture are edgy subjects for employees of a Disney division beloved by generations of children. Finally, Lasseter said, “Is Alvy Ray Smith in the audience?”

And:

Yet, despite a healthy ego and a raconteur’s élan, after Lasseter’s callout—and some laughter in the room—Smith stayed in his seat and said nothing.

Call it restraint. “As far as history goes, I feel like he got shafted, both in Pixar history and in computer graphics history in general,” says Pam Kerwin, a former Pixar colleague. “Everything that you currently use in Photoshop right now basically came from Alvy.” Even self-­driving cars and augmented reality, “which are all about image processing, machine vision … Alvy and his colleagues brought all that stuff into the world.”

Three reasons to follow the headline link and drink up this article:

  • It’s written by Steve Levy, Apple critic and tech writer, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything. He can write.

  • This is an interesting look at a critical stage in computer graphics history.

  • Some Steve Jobs anecdotes, told by someone who regularly butted heads with him.

Twitter launches test pilot of invite-only “Communities”

Follow the headline link for details.

Here’s the official link to pitch a community idea to Twitter. They’ll respond with a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” email to let you know they got your request. Then send a separate response if they want to take things further.

Two key roles:

A moderator (or mod) is someone who helps keep conversations safe and on track in a Community. They are chosen and overseen by a Community admin, and may be tasked with other duties as the admin sees fit.

An admin is the owner of a Community. Their duties may include keeping conversations safe and on track, reviewing member reports, hiding member Tweets, or removing disruptive members from the Community. They may also choose moderators to help with these tasks. Admins are responsible for managing the Community, which includes adding, modifying, and/or removing Community rules, title, and description. As the admin of a Community, you may invite as many moderators as you wish.

If you start a community, you are the admin. You recruit and bring on moderators, set the specific rules for your community. Twitter pays no one.

The view inside the Apple Event invite AR

This is my favorite video showing off the Apple Event invite augmented reality Easter egg. This shows off the occlusion (how the AR object blocks the real world objects, gives the appearance of being in the room) even from “inside” the apple looking out.

Apple’s official 2007 Macworld iPhone keynote

Stumbled on this over the weekend as a toss-off in a Twitter mention. I’ve seen edited versions of the keynote on YouTube, had no idea Apple Podcasts offered this up on their official podcast channel.

From the description:

Watch Apple CEO Steve Jobs kick off the Macworld Conference & Expo 2007 with a keynote address from San Francisco’s Moscone West. Check out the exciting new developments at Apple, which include the addition of Paramount movies to iTunes, Apple TV, which allows you to wirelessly play all of your iTunes content from your Mac or PC on your television, and the pioneering iPhone. This revolutionary product is a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a mobile phone, and an Internet communications device all in one.

I love that iPhone is mentioned last.

The quality of the video is excellent, and includes the tail end of the music that played as folks waited for Steve Jobs to take the stage. Be sure to jump to about 56 minutes in to hear the voice mails from Al Gore and then Tim Cook.

An amazing look back.

Hands-on: Here’s how Background Sounds work in iOS 15

Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac:

Ahead of WWDC in June, Apple announced Background Sounds would be coming to iOS to help users find focus, calm, and rest. Now in the iOS 15 beta, the feature is available to test out. Read along for how to use iPhone Background Sounds in iOS 15, what you get, what you don’t, and more.

Background Sounds is definitely worth knowing about. You’ll find them in both iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 in Settings > Accessibility > Audio & Visual > Background Sounds.

The default sound is the sound of rain, with critter sounds in the mix. I find it very soothing. Did all my writing with that on in the background.

There are switches to leave the sound playing (at reduced volume) when other media is playing, as well as when the screen is locked.

And to make this a bit easier to turn on and off, go to Settings > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and enable the Background Sounds shortcut. That’ll add a Background Sounds toggle to the Accessibility Control Center control (which you’ll also need to add to Control Center).

Worth exploring.

Apple Music vs Spotify, and the star rating system

Follow the link for in interesting comparison of Apple Music vs Spotify, posted on Reddit. It’s blunt, biased, but interesting.

One particular part I found very interesting:

The amount of library customization iTunes gives you, is unlike anything else out there. I can adjust the volume of individual song files, set when the song will start & stop or remember the time mark to start playing from when it was last played.

And:

Another thing I’m bonkers about is the Star Rating system. Everyone else seems to have gotten rid of this in favor of a like/love button. But the degrees to which I like songs is different; 3 stars is an “Ok” whilst 5 stars is an “I’m obsessed with this!” and I think that distinction is very important.

I do love the star rating system, though it feels lost in the shuffle if you tend to listen to music on your iPhone or HomePod.

To see this for yourself, start up a song in the Music app, then try to find the star rating system. Easy enough to Love (or Unlove) the song. But where are the stars?

If you hop over to your Mac and fire up the Music app, you have access to both the stars and the love:

  • Open the Music app on your Mac
  • In the iTunes window that appears, control-click a song, then click Get Info (or type command-I)
  • The Get Info window lets you Love/Unlove as well as give the song a star rating.

In addition, if you’ve got a Home Pod, ask Siri to give the song a star rating:

  • Play the song on your HomePod
  • Say “Hey Siri, rate this song 5 stars”

Is the star rating system an artifact, a still grudgingly supported thing of the past?

PYMNTS: Only 6% of US iPhone users use Apple Pay in-store

PYMNTS:

Seven years post-launch, new PYMNTS data shows that 93.9% of consumers with Apple Pay activated on their iPhones do not use it in-store to pay for purchases.

That means only 6.1% do.

The survey was conducted between Aug. 3-10, 2021, 3,671 U.S. consumers.

Apple Pay’s adoption and usage isn’t much larger than it was 2015 (5.1%), a year after its launch, and is the same as it was in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic.

Does this mean Apple Pay usage is saturated? The folks who are going to use it are using it?

The growth in total Apple Pay transactions since 2015 has come almost entirely from more stores having contactless terminals to accept it, more people having new iPhones that can use it, and the overall growth in retail transactions.

And almost none of that growth comes from more iPhone users wanting to use it instead of plastic cards.

Pulling out that credit card is a tough habit to break. I think it’ll take a much bigger marketing push from Apple to change that ingrained behavior. Some sort of carrot, even a temporary one.

For example, when Apple Card came out, it offered a 3% discount if I used the card on any Apple purchases. That’s a solid discount, more than any other card in my wallet, and I was able to set it and forget it for all my monthly Apple services payments (iCloud usage, Apple TV bundle, etc.) That carrot got me into the habit.

Apple does offer regular Apple Pay promo discounts, but none of them are regular enough (at least in my spending patterns) to pull me in, to cement the habit.

If I was a regular subway rider, that’d do it. Or if my favorite restaurants offered an Apple Pay discount, that’d do it too.

I actually love the Apple Watch Apple Pay experience. Maybe once (and if) we’re ever able to move past masks, Apple Pay will start to grow again.

Gruber with some details on Apple Wallet’s add of driver’s license / state ID

From yesterday’s Apple Newsroom post:

Driver’s licenses and state IDs in Wallet are only presented digitally through encrypted communication directly between the device and the identity reader, so users do not need to unlock, show, or hand over their device.

Gruber, after getting the chance to speak with Apple about the details:

The Wallet system Apple has designed for ID is very much like Apple Pay. When you pay with a physical credit card, you often hand your card to an employee. When you pay with Apple Pay, you never hand your phone to an employee. It wouldn’t even work, because no one else can authorize an Apple Pay transaction without your biometric authentication. This ID feature for Wallet is exactly like that: it doesn’t work without your biometric authentication, and your phone does not unlock when you use it.

And:

When using a Touch ID iPhone with Apple Wallet’s ID feature, you must register one and only one finger when you add your ID to your Wallet, and whenever you verify your ID in Wallet, you’ll need to use that same finger. Apple has never recommended allowing your spouse or partner to register one of their fingers on your iPhone, but many people do that. This feature is designed to ensure that the same person who enrolled their state ID in Wallet is the same person verifying it biometrically.

This makes so much sense.

Side note: If you do add multiple fingerprints to any of your Touch ID devices, be sure you label them (Dave’s right thumb, Sarah’s left index, etc.), else you’ll find yourself with a collection of unidentifiable Finger 1, Finger 2, etc. with no easy way to figure out whose fingers have access to your device.

Back to Gruber:

So if you’re just buying booze, say, and the clerk or server needs to check your age, they could prompt only to verify that you’re 21 or older, without even seeing your exact birthdate, let alone any other details from your ID. It is exceedingly more private than handing over a physical ID card, perhaps even more so than using Apple Pay compared to handing over a physical credit card.

Terrific post, read the whole thing, especially that first footnote. Some great advice here.

Will Apple make a discrete GPU for the Apple Silicon Mac Pro?

The danger in a simple question as headline is Betteridge’s law.

In this case, the headline is a fair question and the video embedded below an interesting exploration of the topic.

In a nutshell, while the M1 chip brought incredible performance to Apple’s laptops, the built-in GPU does not compete with desktop machines with high end external GPUs. Here’s a still frame from the video I posted this morning that gives you a sense of how big that performance difference is.

The Intel Mac Pro (as discussed in the video) is incredibly modular, let’s you plug in various high-end GPU cards for high-end performance. The M1 chip has a built-in GPU which inherently caps the graphics performance. So the headline question is a fair one.

If any of the above tweaks your interest, watch the video below.

Here’s how Google Assistant’s upcoming ‘Quick phrases’ will let you skip ‘Hey Google’

Abner Li, 9to5Google:

Back in April, we told you about an in-development “Guacamole” feature that will let you use Assistant without hotwords. This Google Assistant capability will launch as “Quick phrases,” and we now know more about how it works.

Great job of reverse engineering/decoding the “quick phrases” mechanism.

Here are a few of the quick phrase examples:

  • Set alarms: “Set an alarm for 7 a.m.”
  • Cancel alarms: “Cancel the alarm”
  • Show alarms: “What time is my alarm set for?”
  • Send broadcasts: “Send a broadcast”
  • Respond to calls: “Answer” & “Decline”
  • Ask about time: “What time is it?”
  • Ask about weather: “What’s the weather?”

Follow the headline link for lots more examples.

Imagine if Apple let you customize Siri in this way (or let you change the “Hey, Siri” trigger phrase). Both would be big improvements.

Apple announces App Store settlement that lets “reader” apps set up external account management

At the core of this agreement is Apple’s definition of a “reader” app:

Reader apps provide previously purchased content or content subscriptions for digital magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video.

And:

Because developers of reader apps do not offer in-app digital goods and services for purchase, Apple agreed with the JFTC to let developers of these apps share a single link to their website to help users set up and manage their account.

Apple’s announcement:

Apple today announced an update coming to the App Store that closes an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). The update will allow developers of “reader” apps to include an in-app link to their website for users to set up or manage an account. While the agreement was made with the JFTC, Apple will apply this change globally to all reader apps on the store.

The change goes into effect in 2022. Feels like Apple is breaking down the overall App Store structure so they can make changes to individual categories to address the wave of anti-trust scrutiny/legislation.

Nikkei Asia: Apple Watch production delayed as engineers wrestle with quality issues

Nikkei Asia:

Manufacturers of Apple Watch 7, as the device is expected to be called, began small-scale production last week but encountered critical challenges in reaching satisfactory production performance, multiple people familiar with the situation said.

And:

Three sources said the current disappointing production quality could be attributed to the complexity of design, which is significantly different from that of previous generations of the watch, and the assemblers found issues when putting together electronics modules, components and displays.

And (SPOILER RUMOR ahead):

The next Apple Watch will come with new features such as blood pressure measurement, they said, which means production involves fitting a greater number of components into a similar size body.

Interesting that an assembly issue popped up this late in the process, as if the assemblers were not prepared for how this generation of Apple Watch goes together.

Assuming this is not a major hurdle requiring back-to-the-drawing-board retooling, this seems more likely to impact the availability date, rather than the announcement date.