macOS Monterey lets one Mac use another as an external display

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.

Facebook plans smartwatch with two cameras, heart rate monitor

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.

Spatial Audio, head tracking, and Apple TV

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!

Apple TV+ unveils “Invasion” teaser trailer

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.

Gizmodo: It’s about to really, really suck to lose your iPhone

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:

https://twitter.com/aforssell/status/1402349448856948737

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.

iOS 15 and a Home Screen full of Twitters

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:

https://twitter.com/bzamayo/status/1402201398947819523

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.

Preview of Apple Originals premiering in 2021

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…

Taking Spatial Audio for a spin

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.

iOS 15: Find My network can still find your iPhone when it is powered off, or factory reset

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

With iOS 15, your iPhone is still traceable through the Find My network even when the device is powered off. It seems that with iOS 15, the phone is not really fully ‘powered off’, it stays in a low-power state and acts like an AirTag, allowing any nearby iOS device to pick up the Bluetooth signal and send back its location.

This also means if your iPhone runs out of battery during the day, you still have a chance of finding its location for several more hours. In fact, Apple says the location tracking will even keep working whilst the phone is reset to factory settings with Activation Lock enabled.

So if someone steals your iPhone and powers it off, or factory resets it, Find My will still work? At least if you get to it before it truly runs out of power?

This seems huge.

Craig Federighi talks iCloud Private Relay and privacy

Fast Company:

Whenever a technology comes along that gives us more privacy, it seems that those who want their hands on our data come up with new, creative ways to get it.

But does Apple also feel like it’s in a cat-and-mouse game? That’s the question that I put to Craig Federighi, the company’s senior vice president of software engineering, when I spoke to him about Apple’s newest privacy features in advance of today’s keynote. We also talked about the company’s new iCloud Private Relay (a “VPN killer” as some tech pundits are sure to call it), Apple’s role versus the governments in playing privacy regulator, and user uptake of the iPhone’s new App Tracking Transparency feature, which is so unpopular with a very blue social network.

And:

The obvious comparison people will make is that iCloud Private Relay is Apple’s version of a VPN (something I have called for in the past for the company to offer). But from an engineering perspective, Private Relay’s privacy protections make VPNs look weak.

With a traditional VPN, users’ internet traffic is encrypted and then sent to the VPN’s server, which masks the IP and routes the data on to the websites users want to access. This keeps your ISP from knowing what site you are visiting and the destination website from knowing your actual IP address. But it still leaves one gaping privacy hole: the VPN provider itself knows your real IP and the websites you’re visiting.

And:

This is where iCloud Private Relay comes in—and puts VPNs to shame. iCloud Private Relay uses a dual-hop architecture. When you navigate to a website through Safari, iCloud Private Relay takes your IP address, which it needs to connect you to the website you want to go to, and the URL of that site. But it encrypts the URL so not even Apple can see what website you are visiting. Your IP and encrypted destination URL then travels to an intermediary relay station run by a third-party trusted partner. Apple would not name these trusted partners, but says the company is working with some of the largest content providers out there. Before getting to this relay station, however, your IP address is anonymized and randomized, so the relay partner can’t identify you or your device. Then at the relay station, the destination URL is unencrypted, so the third-party provider can send you on to the website you want to go to.

I thought this was a terrific explanation of Private Relay. Key to this is the trust Apple places in its trusted partner relay stations. But the fact that your requests/data leave Apple anonymized and randomized mean even if a bad actor gets in the loop, any impact should be blunted.

Follow the link, read on for Craig Federighi’s comments, both on Private Relay and privacy. Good read.

On Apple’s Walled Garden

Joanna Stern, WSJ:

Long ago, a gardener planted an iPhone. “It’s not good for a gadget to be alone,” he said. So he grew crops of iPads, Apple Watches and AirPods, and summoned an iCloud in the sky to connect and replenish them. Many people came to the garden to enjoy its delights. The gardener was happy, until he saw some people wandering out. So he stacked bricks, one atop another, with names like iMessage, Apple Photos, AirDrop, Apple Fitness+ and so on, until they formed a high perimeter. Then the people never left.

And:

Apple Inc. is known for making some of the best tech products but none may be better designed than its “walled garden,” its closed ecosystem of devices and services. And next week, at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the walls will get even higher.

And:

Apple’s garden…consists of three areas: hardware, software and services. Whatever Apple devices you’ve got, they all just work in “magical” harmony—or at least they’re meant to. But this magic doesn’t work with Android phones or Windows computers.

And:

A few days with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 phone and new Galaxy Book Pro 360 Windows 10 laptop were all it took to show how Apple’s total control creates a superior experience.

(Watch Joanna’s video below)

John Gruber, from this reaction post:

The people who use the term “walled garden” in this context typically do so as a pejorative. But that’s not right. Literal walled gardens can be very nice — and the walls and gates can be what makes them nice. That’s been a recurring theme in the testimony from Apple executives in the Epic trial. Asked about rules and limits on iOS that Epic presents as nefarious — nothing but tricks to lock users in — Apple witnesses typically responded by presenting them as features. That iOS is wildly popular not despite the “walls”, but because of them.

When I think about the walled garden, I imagine what it would be like if I stopped all subscriptions, stopped paying monthly fees to Apple. For example, what would happen if I stopped my iCloud payments. How hard would it be to convert my iCloud data, my email, photos, video, Messages, etc., into an accessible, easy to navigate set of folders on my local drive?

And though it’s a bit piecemeal, Apple is quite good about supporting that export. For example, here’s how to download all your videos and photos from iCloud. You can do the same with your contacts as well.

As long as I can leave out anytime I like, and take my data with me, I’m good.

Bezos taking first Blue Origin people’d flight into space

Weeks after stepping down as Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos will take a rocket into space. Gutsy move.

He’s taking his brother onto the first human-crewed Blue Origin flight, taking the risk on himself, putting the ultimate trust in the people he hired to build a safe transport into space.

Check out the video below, as Bezos asks his brother to go with him. Damn.

Apple announces documentary on “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz

Apple:

Narrated by Lupita Nyong’o and hailing from Imagine Documentaries, the special is executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and features interviews with friends, family, cartoonists and famous fans of the comic strip, to create a heartwarming portrait of the late “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz.

Watch the trailer below. Fascinating to me how big a shelf life Peanuts has. Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football, all deeply embedded in our culture.

Documentary drops two weeks from Friday (that’s June 25th).

PSA: iPhone users reporting ‘SIM Failure’ error after updating to iOS 14.7 beta 2

Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac:

Apple today released iOS 14.7 beta 2 for developers, and while bugs and other weird issues are quite common in beta software, sometimes they can make your device nearly unusable. According to some reports, today’s beta seems to be causing a “SIM Failure” error for iPhone users.

Not enough data to know for sure, but this may be an eSim issue. But that said, if you’ve not yet made the leap, I’d hold off on installing the latest beta until this gets sorted.

How to Type to Siri on Apple TV

In a nutshell, there’s a setting in tvOS, under Accessibility, that enables Type To Siri.

Watch the video to see this in action. I’m curious how well this integrates with the iPhone/iPad/Mac keyboard, using the interface that automatically pops up when your device’s keyboard can be used to enter things like passwords.

Love letter to the new, yellow M1 iMac

From Mac Address, this video is titled, “I love the new iMac”, and it’ll make you want one. If you are even thinking about buying one, especially yellow, dig in.

Disneyland Avengers Campus opening ceremony

I’ve been to Disneyland once, many, many years ago. The new Avengers Campus is calling me back. Definitely a bucket list item for me. The new campus opens tomorrow.

Here’s a link to the official Disney Avengers’ site, with interactive map, and sub-sites for all the attractions.

And below is the official Disney video showing off the campus, along with the opening ceremonies.

Apple asks staff to return to office three days a week starting in early September

Zoe Schiffer, The Verge:

Apple employees are being asked to return to the office three days a week starting in early September. Tim Cook sent out an email Wednesday informing staff of the change.

And:

Cook said that most employees will be asked to come in to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams that need to work in-person will return four to five days a week.

And, finally:

Employees also have the chance to work remotely for up to two weeks a year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own,” according to the letter. Managers need to approve remote work requests.

Is remote work here to stay?

For most companies, getting folks to come back to the office is an economic and social balancing problem. Pay folks enough, you won’t have a problem getting folks to come to work for you and work on site. The more enticing the work and the work atmosphere, the easier the sell to get folks to leave their nests and come back in.

But all things being equal, seems logical that companies that offer all or mostly remote will have a big edge in competing for talent.

Feels like the pandemic has brought a seismic shift to work at the office model.

A rabbit hole of old school Apple stuff

My buddy Kirk McElhearn sent me this link.

First things first, look at the thumbnail for the Mac Programming Books section. One of the first books I ever wrote. Which makes me vintage. Do I get a special badge for that?

That aside, there are a ton of high-quality scans here, including a bunch of my books. Not sure how these were done, not sure how I feel about this. This stuff is old, vintage is an appropriate word here, but this is a chunk of my life’s work put up for the taking, without permission.

And that said, I guess I’m OK with that, at least as far as my stuff is concerned. Every one of these editions is long out of print. So enjoy, if any of this floats your boat.

Great collection of past WWDC highlights

Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac:

Even though WWDC technically started in 1990, let’s start where things got interesting, which is in 1997. Apple was on the brink and Steve Jobs had just returned to the company following the NeXT acquisition. This was the first time since his return that Steve himself appeared at WWDC.

Parker did a great job pulling this post together. This wonderful collection of prose, pics, and video brought on huge waves of nostalgia.

Stolen wallet: An Airtag story

Reddit:

My wallet was a Gucci branded wallet with about $100 in cash in it and a couple of credit cards, along with my license. I also had enough space in it to stick an Airtag in there (there’s a compartment where it fit easily). I’d initially bought the Airtag as I always lose my things around the house, wallet included.

Anyway, I realized at the end of my workout, about an hour/hour and a half later, that I didn’t have my wallet.

Interesting anecdote about AirTags and Find My.