Burning a CD with your Apple Watch

[VIDEO] You are not misreading that headline. The video (embedded in the main Loop post) is another in Niles Mitchell’s excellent “Will it Work” series, where he attaches random gear to his iPhone.

In this one, Niles uses his Apple Watch to try to burn a CD. Will it work?

Oregon judge ordered woman to type in her iPhone passcode so police could search it for evidence against her

Aimee Green, Oregon Live:

Police wanted to search the contents of an iPhone they found in Catrice Pittman’s purse, but she never confirmed whether it was hers and wasn’t offering up a passcode. Her defense attorney argued forcing her to do so would violate her rights against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1 Section 12 of the Oregon Constitution.

But a Marion County judge sided with police and prosecutors by ordering Pittman to enter her passcode. On Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals agreed with that ruling — in a first-of-its-kind opinion for an appeals court in this state.

This is a precedent that will resonate, make it more likely that courts will order defendants to unlock their phones.

Side note, I found this sequence very interesting:

Scott said the ruling won’t affect many Oregon defendants whose phones are seized by police because police already have technology that allows them to crack into most of those phones.

But:

The latest iPhones, more often than other phones, have proven difficult, Scott said.

“For people who want their information private, I would recommend getting an iPhone,” Scott said. “And Apple is not paying me to say that.”

Yet another reason to buy an iPhone.

Apple TV+ will rack up over 100 million subscribers in its first year, Barclays predicts

Kif Leswing, CNBC:

Apple’s forthcoming streaming service could rack up over 100 million subscribers in a year, Barclays analysts estimated in a note on Thursday.

And from the Barclays note:

  • We model 222M hardware devices sold by Apple over the next 12 months.

  • We assume that about 50% of those buying a device in the first year will accept the service, yielding well over 100M subscribers a year from now. We exclude sales to China and our estimate of second and third devices at families.

  • We assume that the trial period will last for one year, at which point we expect subscribers to decline as users opt out, and are partially offset by new additions. Of course the rate of churn will depend meaningfully on how quickly Apple can ramp up its content library.

Compare that to Netflix’s estimated 60 million paying subscribers. Apple has a pretty effective way to ramp up a new service. And the free year of Apple TV+ when you buy a new device gives Apple a year to fill the pipeline, make the service more attractive.

That extra year also gives Apple time to learn from early mistakes, become better at creating original content, better at negotiating with talent/studios, raise the bar for Apple TV+.

It’ll be interesting to see paid subscriber numbers for both Netflix and Apple TV+ one year after launch and again a year after that. I’m bullish on Apple TV+.

Luna Display, sherlocked, shifts neatly to Mac-to-Mac screen sharing

[VIDEO] Luna Display. A little red device that turned your iPad into a second display for your Mac. Until this happened.

Rather than gripe about their bad fortune, the company behind Luna Display pivoted neatly to some clever new functionality. As you can see in the video embedded in the main Loop post, you can now use Luna Display to turn a second Mac into an external display for your primary Mac.

Nicely done.

Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli find first-ever streaming home

Aja Romano, Vox:

In an unprecedented move, Studio Ghibli, the home of such beloved animated classics as award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro has announced a deal with HBO Max to stream its film collection on the platform beginning in the spring of 2020.

The partnership marks the first time Ghibli films have ever been available to legally stream. The catalog includes over 20 films, ranging from the Oscar-winning Spirited Away to Miyazaki’s most recent film for the studio prior to his brief retirement, The Wind Rises, which will arrive in fall 2020.

If you’ve never seen a Studio Ghibli film, it might be because they are very rarely shown outside of theaters. To me, they are some of the best films ever made. Even the English language dubs are excellent.

Interesting that they landed at HBO Max. Not to be confused with HBO, HBO Go, or HBO Now. HBO Max is the new home of Friends and Big Bang Theory. Jarring to see these films packaged along with those two shows. One of these things is not like the others. But I digress.

One point that this does raise is the complete lack of 3rd party content coming to Apple TV+. Apple could easily have big on big tentpole shows like Friends, Seinfeld, Big Bang Theory, to instantly add heft to Apple TV+. But they’ve chosen not to take on those costs and go with a pure slate of self-created shows. Which means they’ll be able to cut any license deals they like, show their complete catalog in any country they choose.

If you’re not familiar, and you get the chance to see a Studio Ghibli movie, especially Spirited Away, do it.

MIT Media Lab’s Guitar Machine, mixing AI and robots with an electric guitar

[VIDEO] From MIT, a fascinating device that puts artificial intelligence in the hands of any guitarist.

To get a sense of what this is about, watch the two videos embedded in the main Loop post. The first gives you a sense of the mechanics of MIT’s Guitar Machine, and the second puts Guitar Machine in the hands of some traditional guitarists.

Read the linked article for more detail on how all this works. I would absolutely love to play with one of these.

Google devices Senior VP: I’d disclose smart speakers before guests enter my home

BBC News:

After being challenged as to whether homeowners should tell guests smart devices – such as a Google Nest speaker or Amazon Echo display – are in use before they enter the building, he concludes that the answer is indeed yes.

And:

“Does the owner of a home need to disclose to a guest? I would and do when someone enters into my home, and it’s probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate.”

Fascinating ethical question. If you have a device that records, do you need to disclose this to a visitor? Or should all people assume they are being recorded at all times?

Solid interview with Google Senior Vice President, Devices & Services Rick Osterloh.

Oh Samsung

In today’s edition of “Oh Samsung”:

A flaw that means any fingerprint can unlock a Galaxy S10 phone has been acknowledged by Samsung.

And:

After buying a £2.70 gel screen protector on eBay, Lisa Neilson found her left thumbprint, which was not registered, could unlock the phone.

She then asked her husband to try and both his thumbs also unlocked it.

And when the screen protector was added to another relative’s phone, the same thing happened.

Yikes.

AnandTech iPhones 11 detailed review

If you do nothing else, check out the side-by-side spec chart on the first page of the review. Tons of detail, visually easy to process. Tip of a very large iceberg (don’t miss the popup menu at the top of the article, a table of contents, the article is 13 pages long).

If I had to pick a second page, it’d be the “Camera – Low light evaluation” page. Unsparingly critical where it needs to be, pointing out flaws, but not sparing the praise, either.

Apple drops “Rayman Mini” Apple Arcade trailer

[VIDEO] Apple Arcade continues to kill it. The free trials are starting to end. Wondering how many of those early Apple Arcade adopters are going to stick with it. Not sure how we’ll know. The trailer is embedded in the main Loop post.

Apple TV+ inception

One of the biggest shows coming to Apple TV+ is The Morning Show, with Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell headlining a stellar cast.

But, turns out, the name The Morning Show was already a real life show in Australia, so Apple renamed the down under version of the show to Morning Wars (here’s the official Morning Wars trailer, with the new name spliced into place, but with The Morning Show plainly visible throughout).

Things get a little more complex when the real life Morning Show (check the logo as you watch) interviews the cast of the Apple TV+ Morning Show, but as Morning Wars.

Here’s the video (via Benjamin Mayo):

https://twitter.com/morningshowon7/status/1183877823297015809

Morning Show, as Morning Wars, inside Morning Show. Inception.

All good fun, looking forward to Apple TV+ going live.

Install Catalina? Here’s what that “Relocated Items” folder that just appeared is all about

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

After upgrading to macOS Catalina, you may be surprised to discover a shortcut on your Mac’s desktop to a Relocated Items folder that wasn’t there previously. The generation of this folder is actually normal behavior when upgrading an older version of macOS to Catalina, but we’re highlighting it in this article because a lot of users are confused about why the folder exists and what to do with its contents.

Happened to me. Made my way through a bumpy Catalina install, then encountered this brand new folder shortcut on my desktop.

One key takeaway:

The Relocated Items folder you see on the Desktop is just a shortcut that can be safely deleted. Doing so will not remove the folder or its contents from your hard disk. You can find the actual folder in /Users/Shared/Relocated Items.

But if you’ve done the Catalina install, worth spending a minute reading Tim’s explainer.

Inside Apple’s long, bumpy road to Hollywood

This Hollywood Reporter take on Apple TV+ is entertaining, messy, and an excellent read. Though I take every word with a grain of salt, the overall writeup rings true for me.

A few tidbits:

The tech giant outbid Netflix for a soapy morning-show drama that would mark Jennifer Aniston’s return to television. Based loosely on the Brian Stelter book Top of the Morning, the series was to be the flagship for an ambitious new streaming service.

But by that fall, producers were starting to panic. They had only just received the first script from writer and first-time showrunner Jay Carson. Meanwhile, the morning TV landscape was being upended by NBC’s ouster of Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct allegations, and it was becoming clear that the #MeToo movement would need to factor into the plot. Apple, producer Media Res, Aniston and co-star/producer Reese Witherspoon began to ponder making a showrunner change as the early script, sources say, didn’t match the standards of those involved. The group then began to look for a more experienced showrunner — and, in success, a writer who could pen a woman’s experience.

And:

Drive down Washington Boulevard through Culver City and it becomes clear Apple is taking its entertainment pursuit seriously. Construction is underway on a sleek, glass-enclosed office building that will house Erlicht and Van Amburg’s Worldwide Video team, which will make up a significant portion of the 1,000 or so workers Apple expects to employ in the neighborhood by 2021.

And:

While showrunner departures are common — especially with straight-to-series orders increasingly frequent at streamers and upstart outlets — some within the creative community attribute Apple’s early hurdles to its lack of Hollywood savvy. “It’s an interesting place because there’s no history or precedent,” notes one lit agent. “They have no systems in place. Two guys who ran a studio are now effectively running a network. They’ve built a collection of executives who individually are great but are working together for the first time.” Adds one top producer who has worked with the company: “The biggest problem is Apple’s insistence that the industry adapt to them and not the other way around.”

Kitsis doesn’t agree. “While they’re a new network, they’re really not,” he says. “Meaning, from top to bottom, everyone we dealt with was a pro with tons of studio and/or network experience. Some of whom we had actually worked with back in our ABC days, so there was an immediate comfort level for us.”

Lots, lots more. If you’re interested in the “how the sausage is made” side of Apple TV+, this is a great read.

Apple TV app comes to Roku platform

Roku press release:

For the first time ever, Roku users can add the Apple TV app via the Roku Channel Store to discover and watch movies, TV shows and more, including accessing their iTunes video library and subscribing to Apple TV channels directly on Roku devices. Starting November 1, Apple TV+, Apple’s home for all-original shows and movies from the world’s greatest storytellers, will be available on the Apple TV app on the Roku platform.

Even with the absence of a back catalog, Apple TV+ is playing the long game. Lots of press and chess moves, all backed by a long term war chest to take on Disney+, Netflix, HBO, and others.

Apple holds premiere “For All Mankind,” renews it for second season

We are just about two weeks away from the official rollout of Apple TV+. From the linked Apple press release:

Beginning November 1, the first three episodes of “For All Mankind” will be available to watch on Apple TV+. New episodes will continue to roll out weekly, every Friday.

And from this Deadline article:

Ahead of For All Mankind’s series debut on Nov. 1 and premiere event tonight, the space race alt-history drama from Ron Moore has been renewed for a second season, which quietly started production within the past week or so.

And:

It is part of a strategy by Apple to get second seasons of most of its scripted series going ahead of lunch, which helps amortize costs and keep the Apple TV+ pipeline of original content going, avoiding lengthy hiatuses. Beyond The Morning Show, which had been picked up with a two-season order, Apple had not confirmed any renewals. Along with For All Mankind, also reportedly renewed or in the process of being renewed for a second season are such upcoming Apple series as the Jason Momoa starrer See; Emily Dickinson comedy Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld, which Apple brass have been very high on; anthology immigrant comedy Little America; and the Hilde Lysiak young detective drama Home Before Dark.

Apple has a pipeline to fill, a back catalog to create.

Everything coming to Disney+, from Snow White to The Mandalorian

[VIDEO] Got some time? Cause this official video (embedded in main Loop post) from Disney weighs in at about 3 hours, 17 minutes.

Not sure they ever expected anyone to watch it, as much as they wanted to make a point about their back catalog. They’ve also been tweeting every single title in a seemingly never ending stream of tweets from their official Disney+ Twitter account.

Of all the up-and-coming streaming services, Disney+ seems the biggest no-brainer, the most bang for the buck, especially if you grew up with the Disney Channel.

Jim Halpert…er…John Krasinski in an unreleased iPhone commercial

Sam Henri Gold finds the neatest Apple nuggets. This one is an unreleased commercial for the iPhone 4s, and for Siri, Apple Maps, and iOS along the way.

https://twitter.com/samhenrigold/status/1183827595491790849

I love this spot. Wonder why it never aired.

The wealth/poverty scale

Follow the link, scroll down the the chart. How many adults have a net worth between $1,000 and $10,000? Turns out, that’s the biggest bar on the graph, with 1.7 billion adults.

And the smallest bar on the graph, with a net worth of $100 billion? They list them by name.

Poll: On your iOS device do you use Apple Maps or Google Maps?

Follow the headline link and vote.

I tend to use both. If have a long drive ahead of me, I’ll visit both for route recommendations. If they disagree, it’s usually because one is aware of an accident or traffic problem that the other isn’t.

And if I am looking for a local food recommendation, I’ll look at both, but tend to trust the Google Maps crowd source data, rather than Apple’s Yelp data. Not a fan of Yelp, wish Apple built their own crowd-source food recommendation mechanism, rather than depend on Yelp. I’ve always felt like Apple and Yelp are an odd partnership.

Steve Jobs, internal Apple meeting, introducing Think Different campaign

[VIDEO] This was posted back in 2017, was filmed just a few weeks into Steve’s return to Apple back in 1997.

It reentered the conversation again because of comments about Apple’s core values Steve made at about 6:17 in.

The reemergence came, at least in part, due to Steve’s statement about core values and a perceived disconnect with Apple’s decisions on banning the HKLive app.

I found the whole video riveting. It’s 15 minutes long. If you’ve got a taste for Apple’s history, worth watching the whole thing. The video is embedded in the main Loop post.

Waiting to update to Catalina

Working out the math of whether or not to update to Catalina? Take a few minutes to step through these quotes Michael Tsai collected from various members of the Mac technorati.

I am writing these words from my Catalina install. Though I did run into some snags with the install, so far my Catalina experience has been rock solid.

If you do decide to make the leap to Catalina: Obviously, do a complete backup before you start, and spend the time digging through the list of your 32-bit apps to make sure there’s nothing on that list that you’ll miss.

To do that:

  • Apple menu > About This Mac
  • Click the System Report button
  • In the sidebar on the left, scroll to Software > Legacy Software

Anything you absolutely need? Check to see if there’s a 64-bit upgrade. Do the upgrade before you install Catalina.

On Apple sharing some portion of your web browsing history with Chinese conglomerate Tencent

First off:

  • Fire up your iPhone, head to Settings > Safari
  • Now tap the link that says “About Safari & Privacy…” (it’s the second of these links, just under the Check for Apple Pay switch)
  • Scroll down to the section labeled “Fraudulent Website Warning”

At the bottom of that paragraph:

Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These safe browsing providers may also log your IP address.

Those words have raised a lot of eyebrows. The headline linked article digs into some history and lays out the concerns. Start off by reading the section “What is “Safe Browsing”, and is it actually safe?” That’ll set the table for why Google’s Safe Browsing is imperfect where privacy is concerned.

Which leads to:

The problem is that Safe Browsing “update API” has never been exactly “safe”. Its purpose was never to provide total privacy to users, but rather to degrade the quality of browsing data that providers collect. Within the threat model of Google, we (as a privacy-focused community) largely concluded that protecting users from malicious sites was worth the risk. That’s because, while Google certainly has the brainpower to extract a signal from the noisy Safe Browsing results, it seemed unlikely that they would bother. (Or at least, we hoped that someone would blow the whistle if they tried.)

But Tencent isn’t Google. While they may be just as trustworthy, we deserve to be informed about this kind of change and to make choices about it. At very least, users should learn about these changes before Apple pushes the feature into production, and thus asks millions of their customers to trust them.

OK, now you’re caught up. Is this a tempest in a teapot or a genuine privacy concern? Looking forward to an official response from Apple.

UPDATE: And here’s Apple’s official statement:

Apple protects user privacy and safeguards your data with Safari Fraudulent Website Warning, a security feature that flags websites known to be malicious in nature. When the feature is enabled, Safari checks the website URL against lists of known websites and displays a warning if the URL the user is visiting is suspected of fraudulent conduct like phishing.

To accomplish this task, Safari receives a list of websites known to be malicious from Google, and for devices with their region code set to mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a safe browsing provider and the feature can be turned off.

China, Catalina, and Apple bashing

Apple PR has their work cut out for them.

On the China front, John Gruber takes on Tim Cook’s company wide email on the on-again, off-again approval of the HKMap app:

I can’t recall an Apple memo or statement that crumbles so quickly under scrutiny. For a company that usually measures umpteen times before cutting anything, it’s both sad and startling.

This is the tip of the iceberg on hot takes concerning Apple’s dealings with China. This issue is complex, and Apple has made a decision that China’s market is important to them, have stepped into the fire.

Then there’s Catalina. There’s this hot take from Tyler Hall (just a snippet, read the whole thing:

Apple’s insistence on their annual, big-splash release cycle is fundamentally breaking engineering. I know I’m not privy to their internal decision making and that software features that depend on hardware releases and vice-versa are planned and timed years (if not half-decades) in advance, but I can think of no other explanation than that Marketing alone is purely in charge of when things ship.

There’s another hot take making its way around Twitter, not going to link to it because it appears to come from an Apple employee and there’s no grain of salt big enough to make it worth sharing without attribution and permission, but it’s a doozy.

My experience with Catalina has been spotty at best. There’s lots of general stability and wonderful new features, punctuated by bizarre bugs that have consumed a lot of cycles to work through.

Difficult times for Apple, hard to see this when you know how hard these folks work, and reflect on how much Apple has changed the world. I’m old enough to remember the days of the flip phone, having to type a message with a phone’s digits as your keyboard. What we have now is a miracle to me. I’m hoping we get through these difficult times quickly, get back to the whimsy.

iOS 13 and voice control

Amboy Manalo, iOS GadgetHacks:

With iOS 13, you can now quickly reboot your iPhone using Voice Control. If you haven’t set it up, open Settings, head to “Accessibility,” and select “Voice Control,” then tap “Set Up Voice Control” and follow the prompts.

Now, simply say “Reboot Device” (no need to say “Hey Siri” or anything first). When you do, you’ll see a prompt. Just say “Tap Restart,” and your phone will reboot.

This is fascinating and fun to play with. I can definitely see the value as an assistive tech. Take a few minutes and go through the steps, try this for yourself.

My bet is, somewhere there’s an official set of Voice Control verbs out there. Wondering if that list corresponds to a similar list for, say, Shortcuts.

UPDATE: To learn more, dig into this Apple support page. Also, turn on voice control and then say: “Show me what to say” (H/T Roman Meliska).

On iPhone 11 and why computational photography matters

Stephen Shankland, CNET:

When Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller detailed the iPhone 11’s new camera abilities in September, he boasted, “It’s computational photography mad science.” And when Google debuts its new Pixel 4 phone on Tuesday, you can bet it’ll be showing off its own pioneering work in computational photography.

The reason is simple: Computational photography can improve your camera shots immeasurably, helping your phone match, and in some ways surpass, even expensive cameras.

But what exactly is computational photography?

Nice explainer.

Apple drops “Truth Be Told” trailer

[VIDEO] Pretty impressive cast, including Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Emmy winner Aaron Paul. I’ll definitely check this one out. Truth be Told comes to Apple TV+ on December 6th. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Apple adds option to delete Siri history and opt out of sharing audio recordings in iOS 13.2

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Today’s iOS 13.2 beta introduces a new option that allows iPhone and iPad users to delete their Siri and Dictation history and opt out of sharing audio recordings, features that Apple promised after being called out for its ‌Siri‌ quality evaluation processes.

Earlier this year, it was discovered that Apple hired contractors to listen to a small percentage of anonymized ‌Siri‌ recordings to evaluate ‌Siri‌’s responses with the purpose of improving the assistant’s accuracy and reliability.

Apple promised tools to manage this stuff, and here they are.

Twitter returns to the Mac with new Catalyst app

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac:

macOS Catalina was released to the public earlier this week, making it easier for developers to port their iPad apps to the Mac. Twitter is joining the club today with a new Catalyst version of its iPad app that’s now available on the Mac App Store.

In case you want to dive in, here’s a link to the new Mac Twitter client.

This feels like a beta app, a work-in-progress. Try it for yourself. One clue: When you get to the login screen, try resizing the window. The panes within don’t resize. They are non-responsive. This is basic stuff. I suspect this is a Catalyst issue, not a Twitter issue, but not certain.

If you’ve got access to Catalina, try it out, see for yourself. Me? I’m back at my regular 3rd party Twitter client.