Apple brings contactless student IDs on iPhone and Apple Watch to more universities

Apple:

In the coming school year, more than 100,000 college students will enjoy the ease and convenience of carrying their student IDs on iPhone and Apple Watch. Students at Clemson University, Georgetown University, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of San Francisco, University of Vermont, Arkansas State University, South Dakota State University, Norfolk State University, Louisburg College, University of North Alabama and Chowan University will soon be able to use their student ID in Apple Wallet to get into dorms, buy lunch and more.

As recently as a few years ago, a large number of colleges used a student’s social security number as their student ID and, even worse, printed those numbers on the physical cards students had to carry.

This move to contactless student IDs has been a long time coming. Integration with Apple Wallet is an excellent next step.

CarPlay in iOS 13: A big leap forward

John Voorhees, MacStories:

CarPlay fascinates me because it’s a relatively rare example of a successful Apple software product that isn’t tightly integrated with the company’s hardware. Of course, CarPlay runs from an iPhone, but it also relies on automaker media systems to deliver its experience to users in their cars. This lack of integration shows in cars with slower media systems; however, even when automakers’ hardware provides a subpar experience, CarPlay’s simplified but familiar interface and access to content already on users’ iPhones is superior. So much so in fact that Apple says CarPlay has managed to capture 90% of the new car market in the US and 75% worldwide.

Those are astonishing numbers. Compare them to Android’s far larger market share in smartphone representation. My gut is that this is due, in part, to the relatively high cost of buying a car. With smartphones, you have a massive low end, with some phones given away. Android dominates the low end.

But there are no car giveaways, the base cost is high enough to level the playing field for Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto.

All this aside, the rest of the article is an excellent resource, especially if you are in the market for a new car. CarPlay has certainly come a long way.

Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1B, six years later, owner Verizon to sell Tumblr for a few million

This is an incredible story. At the heart of it: Pornography.

Yahoo bought Tumblr which, back in 2013, was a hotbed for pornography. Yahoo banned porn, and site traffic plummeted.

According to the linked Wall Street Journal article:

Verizon Communications Inc. has agreed to sell its blogging website Tumblr to the owner of popular online-publishing tool WordPress.com, unloading for a nominal amount a site that once fetched a purchase price of more than $1 billion.

So what’s a nominal amount? According to Axios:

Verizon is set to sell the social network Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of online publishing tool Wordpress. A source familiar with the deal puts the price-tag “well below” $20 million, while another source puts it below $10 million.

And according to this tweet, the price “tumbld” to less than $3 million. Wow!

Apple lays out its efforts to source gold responsibly

Apple:

“Salmon to our people is absolutely the most important aspect of the whole environment,” says Allen Edzerza, a Tahltan Nation elder and advisor to the British Columbia First Nations Energy and Mining Council. “But … in the pursuit of the metals, you see big scars on the landscape.”

And:

Add logging, urbanization, record wildfires and landslides in the region, and salmon runs don’t stand a chance. But RESOLVE, a nonprofit organization tackling some of the planet’s most critical challenges through innovative, unexpected partnerships, wants to fix that.

Their proposal: Combine re-mining with restoration to improve the streams and open them back up for salmon, grayling and other fish species to return.

The linked press release from Apple details partnerships that marry environmental restoration efforts to help compensate for the destructive effects of mining.

I can’t think of another company that does more to consider and offset the impact of its product creation on the environment. Props to Apple and their Supplier Responsibility program.

Susan Kare Macintosh commercial

[VIDEO] Susan Kare is the designer behind the original Mac icons and fonts. Her work is foundational, incredibly influential.

The video embedded in the main Loop post was posted on Andy Hertzfeld’s amazing YouTube channel. Feels like time travel to me, a real moment in time.

These legit-looking iPhone Lightning cables will hijack your computer

Joseph Cox, Motherboard:

I plugged the Apple lightning cable into my iPod and connected it to my Mac, just as I normally would. My iPod started charging, iTunes detected the device, and my iPod produced the pop-up asking if I wanted to trust this computer. All expected behaviour.

But this cable was hiding a secret. A short while later, a hacker remotely opened a terminal on my Mac’s screen, letting them run commands on my computer as they saw fit. This is because this wasn’t a regular cable. Instead, it had been modified to include an implant; extra components placed inside the cable letting the hacker remotely connect to the computer.

This was more fruit from the annual DefCon hacking conference, proof of concept that is worth keeping in mind.

Me? I avoid using unknown USB bricks, lightning or USB-C cables. I suspect I might be overly paranoid, but easy enough to just throw an extra charger in my bag when I travel so I never have to take that chance.

Very interesting read.

Samsung spamming Galaxy phones with multiple Note 10 ads

Android Police:

That’s right, Samsung is once again spamming Galaxy phones with advertisements, this time for the Note10.

This time around, push notifications advertising the Note10 are being sent out by at least three pre-installed applications — Samsung Pay, Bixby, and the Samsung Push Service. Bixby wants you to ask it about the Note10, Samsung Pay is offering points when you look at the phone’s product page, and Samsung Push Service just gives you a banner ad with no indication of where it came from. I received the Bixby ad on my international Galaxy S10e, but I haven’t personally seen the others.

Does Apple push unasked-for ads like this? I can’t ever recall getting an ad of any kind from Siri.

WSJ Apple Card review: The credit card of the future is no card at all

David Pierce, Wall Street Journal:

The Apple Card makes quite an impression. The white titanium slab contains no numbers or expiration date—only your name, an Apple logo and the chip. Whip it out of your wallet and it clatters onto a table with a delightful “tink” sound. James Bond might be a Black Card guy, but Q would definitely use an Apple Card.

And:

The card isn’t the point, though. The Apple Card is mostly a digital being, a combination of expense-tracker and bill-payer in an app on your phone. It’s also something of an ad for Apple Pay, the company’s tech for paying with iPhone, your Apple Watch or your Apple ID.

And:

If you have the Apple Card, you get 2% back on purchases you make using Apple Pay—3% when you use the card to buy apps, movies and devices from Apple.

And:

The most surprising thing about my testing was discovering how many places accept the tap-to-pay Apple Pay features. Apple says 65% of all U.S. retail locations now support it.

To me, the Apple Card is a no-brainer, at least to get. It’s free, and offers significant benefits on purchases from Apple. It’s also a solid first credit card for beginners, helps build financial literacy, an understanding of where your money goes.

If the built-in planning tools are not important to you, get the card as a supplement. Use your normal card for benefits and protections not offered by Apple Card, use Apple Card where it works better.

Great review, hits all the highlights.

Say cheese: Ransomware-ing a DSLR camera

Eyal Itkin, Checkpoint:

Our research shows how an attacker in close proximity (WiFi), or an attacker who already hijacked our PC (USB), can also propagate to and infect our beloved cameras with malware. Imagine how would you respond if attackers inject ransomware into both your computer and the camera, causing them to hold all of your pictures hostage unless you pay ransom.

I can’t imagine this ever being worth the time for a hacker, but just another example of why we can’t have nice things. And the questionable value of adding the internet to everything.

The history of Clarus the Dogcow

Clarus the Dogcow goes all the way back to the beginning of the Mac, a seminal bit of Apple lore. This is a great, fun read, filled with images and videos, digging into stuff deep at the heart of a lot of us old-timers. Nice job by Stephen Hackett.

Is Apple locking iPhone batteries to discourage repair?

[VIDEO] Headlines have been flying around the internet similar to this one:

“Apple Is Locking iPhone Batteries to Discourage Repair”

As I read through the various articles on this issue, I remained pretty convinced that Apple was not specifically trying to discourage repair. There had to be more to the logic.

Turns out, there was more to it. And Rene Ritchie did a great job laying out the issues, making this understandable. Still not thrilled with the answer, but I get Apple’s goals here. Watch for yourself. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Black Hat presenter demonstrates how to bypass Face ID on unconscious iPhone owner

Threatpost, via 9to5Mac:

Researchers on Wednesday during Black Hat USA 2019 demonstrated an attack that allowed them to bypass a victim’s FaceID and log into their phone simply by putting a pair of modified glasses on their face. By merely placing tape carefully over the lenses of a pair glasses and placing them on the victim’s face the researchers demonstrated how they could bypass Apple’s FaceID in a specific scenario. The attack itself is difficult, given the bad actor would need to figure out how to put the glasses on an unconscious victim without waking them up.

Obviously, this is a very slim scenario, requiring an unconscious victim. But it does raise the specter of law enforcement rendering someone unconscious in order to break into their phone.

Apple makes huge increases to its bug bounty program, top award hits $1M

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Apple is introducing an expanded bug bounty program that covers macOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iCloud as well as iOS devices, Apple’s head of security engineering Ivan Krstić announced this afternoon at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

Someone is going to pay for those vulnerability details. Way better for everyone if it’s Apple.

Some publishers are making more money from Apple News

Digiday:

Publishers including Vice Media and The Stylist Group say they’ve gotten traffic and, more importantly, revenue lifts from Apple News in the last three months. While this is from a small base, for some publishers it signifies that patience with publishing to the platform, which has been widely accepted as good for brand awareness but lagging revenue, is starting to pay off.

Details in the linked article, but certainly good news for Apple News+. Personally, I’d take another look at the service if Apple made some UX tweaks to improve the search mechanism, make it easier for me to find and get to the original articles, and add tools to more easily manage my reading list.

Apple updates its USB-C Digital AV Multiport dongle with 60Hz 4K, HDR, more

The big change here is the move from HDMI 1.4b to HDMI 2.0.

HDMI 1.4b:

  • 4096 × 2160 at 24 Hz
  • 3840 × 2160 at 24, 25, and 30 Hz
  • 1920 × 1080 at 120 Hz

That last is also known as 1080p, or Full HD.

HDMI 2.0:

  • Requires special higher bandwidth certified cable
  • 4K video at 60 Hz with 24 bit/px color depth

Note that there’s also an HDMI 2.1, requires still another specialized cable, for 4K at 120 Hz, and beyond. Apple’s updated dongle is rated for HDMI 2.0.

Oh Samsung

Jake Kanter, Business Insider:

Samsung has a long and illustrious history of trolling Apple in its smartphone commercials. But now the South Korean firm is cloning one of the iPhone features it once mocked, and has quietly deleted records of the ads.

I kind of like the sequencing of this tweet from Sam Henri Gold.

Oh Samsung.

Apple Music launches Apple Digital Masters, new initiative combining its Hi-Res ‘Mastered’ collection

Billboard:

On Wednesday (August 7) Apple Music announced the launch of Apple Digital Masters, a new initiative by the streaming giant that combines all of its “Mastered for iTunes” offerings into one global catalog. This is the company’s first public acknowledgement of the initiative, which it has been quietly unveiling for some time.

You’ll see the new “Apple Digital Master” on associated songs in the Music app in macOS Catalina. I’m hoping for a checkbox that lets me limit my music browsing to only those songs.

Take a look at this Reddit post to get a look at the new badge.

Apple posts four ASMR videos. What the heck is ASMR? Read on.

[VIDEO] Before you dig into any of the videos Apple just posted, here’s a link to a nice little ASMR explainer.

From the post:

Coined in 2010, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relaxing, often sedative sensation that begins on the scalp and moves down the body. Also known as “brain massage,” it’s triggered by placid sights and sounds such as whispers, accents, and crackles.

With that in mind, fire up some headphones (important!) and watch each of the videos embedded in the main Loop post. Hard to pick a favorite, I’ve enjoyed all four, but don’t miss the Ghost Forest, last but not least.

Enjoy!

Apple and Eli Lilly studying use of iPhones and Apple Watches to detect signs of dementia

Interesting and important work, no doubt.

I do wonder if I’d like to know if dementia, or Alzheimer’s is coming my way. For me, it’s similar to the question of knowing the exact day I’m going to die. I do think there’s value for those around me, no question. And if there’s a treatment, of course, it’d be critical to know so I can maximize my chances and my quality of life.

But there’s a psychic toll to knowing something is coming for me, something relentless, dark, and inevitable.

Would you want to know?

Motherboard: Yelp is screwing over restaurants by quietly replacing their phone numbers

Adrianne Jeffries, Motherboard:

The Yelp app lists a restaurant’s direct phone number on the actual listing. That’s (212) 262-8300 in the case of Judge Roy Bean Public House. But when you click on the phone number, this dialogue shows up: Delivery or Takeout and General Questions.

And:

When a user clicks on the “Call” button labeled “Delivery or Takeout,” they are taken to a different number, (646) 394-9837, which is owned by Grubhub.

And:

Even though restaurants are capable of taking orders directly—after all, both numbers are routed to the same place—Yelp is pushing customers to Grubhub-owned phone numbers in order to facilitate what Grubhub calls a “referral fee” of between 15 percent and 20 percent of the order total

Read this article. Astonishing. It gets way worse.

My first thought, after processing all this, was, “This is the crowdsourcing behind Apple Maps”.

I hope Apple has a backup plan. Perhaps one of the many partnerships Apple Maps has outside the US? This is not a good look for Apple Maps.

Disney announces $12.99 bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+

Julia Alexander, The Verge:

Disney will offer a bundle package of its three streaming services — Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ — for $12.99 a month starting on November 12th, the company announced today.

Bob Igor, Disney CEO, during yesterday’s investor call:

The streaming services is likely to be available through “Amazon, Apple, and other distributors,” according to Iger. Disney has not finalized any deals with the aforementioned companies, but told investors “we feel it’s important for us to achieve scale quickly, and we think it’s going to be an important part of that. They’re all interested in distributing the product.”

Presumably, if you sign up for the bundle outside Apple TV, you’ll still have access to all three inside Apple TV, though you might have to jump through a few verification hoops to enable that access.

If you are an existing subscriber to, say, Hulu, via Apple TV, seems to make sense to dump that subscription and sign up for the bundle instead. Will the bundle signup be available within Apple TV?

Hulu with no ads is $11.99 a month. Assuming that no-ads Hulu is the one included with this bundle, the $12.99 bundle allows you access to Disney+ and ESPN+ for just a buck more a month. A no-brainer.

UPDATE: I’m told that the version of Hulu included with this bundle is the ad version, which runs $5.99 a month. Wonder if there’s a path to the ad-free version from the bundle. As is, that means you are paying $7 a month for Disney+ and ESPN+. Still a no-brainer, at least to me.

Apple granted patent for Face ID on Macs, with smart auto-wake feature

Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac:

The granted patent could use the Mac’s camera to do two things. First, it would avoid timing-out into sleep mode when there’s someone in front of the machine.

and, after posting a big chunk of “patenteze” from the granted patent:

My reading of that and the accompanying illustrations is that the Mac can automatically wake and log you in, even if it is in sleep mode when you approach it.

Sounds good to me. And, I’d add, it sounds like that “second sensor” mentioned in the patent is your Apple Watch, though could be the iPhone in your pocket, too.

Amazon introduces Prime Student Amazon Music Unlimited for just $0.99 a month

From the press release:

By adding Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Student members can now get over 50 million songs, thousands of curated playlists and stations, and discover new music through voice with Alexa

  • Amazon Music: 50 million songs
  • Apple Music: 50 million songs
  • Spotify: 35 million songs

This is no small thing. Amazon is quickly gaining on both Apple Music and Spotify. In part, this is due to the wild success of Echo and Alexa. Imagine how this would be if Amazon had a successful phone and watch to add to the mix.

Bill Gates and his take on Steve Jobs as a wizard

[VIDEO] This Bill Gates interview came out about a month ago, but I just watched it this morning, thought it was worth sharing.

The whole thing is relatively short, all interesting, but the Steve Jobs bit kicks in at about 2:40 in. I definitely get a sense that Bill held a real reverence for Steve. The video is embedded in the main Loop post.