Apple

OWC introduces new all-in-one Thunderbolt 4/USB-C Cable to help solve confusion

Chance Miller, 9to5Mac:

The new Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C cable from OWC connects with USB-C on both ends and is certified for Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, USB 3.2, USB 3.1, USB Power, and more. The company also says that you get 100% of both the maximum power allowed and the full data capability supported from/between any USB-C port-equipped device and host.

This is one of the things I dislike about USB-C and HDMI. Two identical looking cables can have wildly different innards, vary widely in the functionality they support, data they transport.

I wish the connectors supported some form of color coding (think RGBIV resistor color bands) that tell you at a glance what functionality the cable will support.

Apple unveils Mosquito Coast trailer

Apple TV:

High stakes, shocking twists, and a new adventure. Get a first look at the newest Apple Original series The Mosquito Coast, starring Justin Theroux and Melissa George and coming April 30th to Apple TV+

Adapted from the best-selling novel, The Mosquito Coast is a gripping adventure following the dangerous journey of a radical idealist and brilliant inventor, Allie Fox (Justin Theroux), who uproots his family for Mexico seeking a safe haven.

Watch the trailer, embedded below. This looks like it could be a ripping ride. As mentioned, the series premiere drops April 30th.

How Apple builds its stores

[VIDEO] This is a love letter to the Apple Store, with lots of great beauty shots and a nice bit showing Steve Jobs at that first Apple Store back in 2001. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Is Apple about to admit it was wrong about the MacBook Pro?

Jason Snell:

One of its most colossal flops, the Power Mac G4 Cube, was famously put “on ice” rather than retired, in a press release that fantasized that it might eventually return.

And:

Considering that pride, what happens when the company decides that many of the decisions it made a few years earlier were mistakes, actually? What does it look like when Apple makes a strategic retreat?

It feels like we’re about to find out.

And:

So here we are in early 2021, with a strong possibility that Apple is about to undo most of the big changes it made to the MacBook. The Touch Bar is rumored to be a goner, MagSafe is reportedly returning, and Apple may be adding other I/O—HDMI? an SD card slot?—to the MacBook Pro as well.

A very interesting look at Apple’s history of handling product retreats. Will we see the return of MagSafe for Mac? Will non-USB-C ports return to the high-end MacBook line? Will a new generation of M1 make its debut at this year’s WWDC? Good times for the Mac.

Apple facing new $5m class action lawsuit for alleged role in illegal/unlicensed online gambling

Gambling Industry News:

Apple faces a new $5m class action lawsuit filed by a group of over 100 social casino game players. This is the second lawsuit of its kind filed against Apple so far this year, however, this particular lawsuit is focused on Zynga’s poker and casino apps.

The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Northern District of Columbia and alleges that Apple is making a profit from illicit gambling apps that have in-game purchases.

Lots of lawsuits filed against Apple. This one struck me as particularly interesting in that it attempts to pierce Apple’s App Store protections, protections that shield Apple as a vendor of goods, not a creator of those goods.

If they lose this lawsuit, will that open a liability crack for those scam subscription apps that make their way into the App Store?

Apple Music adds the ability to share lyrics and song snippets in new iOS 14.5 Beta

This is fun. In the latest iOS beta, fire up Music and bring up a song’s lyrics. You can tap to select multiple chunks (here’s a tweet with a couple of screen grabs from my explorations), then use the share interface to send the lyrics on your favorite social media.

Even better, check this out:

https://twitter.com/viticci/status/1362006563091865601

If you share on Messages/Insta, a playable version of the song centered on those lyrics will appear on the receiving end, assuming the recipient has the latest beta.

Love this.

Gruber on Volkswagen CEO’s comments on Apple potentially making cars

Gruber:

I’d like to think that no one has made more hay over Ed Colligan’s infamous “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in” quote — just a few weeks before the unveiling of the iPhone — than yours truly.

Absolutely fair.

So I feel like I’m in a position to declare that these remarks by Herbert Diess are not an Ed Colligan moment. Ed Colligan, as the CEO of Palm, should have known that in 2006, the future of phones was gadget-like computers, not the computer-like gadgets the industry (including Palm) had been making until then.

And:

Apple hasn’t shown anything that suggests they’ll be good at designing and producing cars. The dashboard interface? Sure. But the car part of the car? Nothing Apple has ever done is like that. I’m not betting against them, but I don’t think Diess’s remarks are the least bit clueless.

Also fair. To me, complex as the car market is, if Apple does dive in, I’d suggest that all these years of rumored behind the scenes learning will emerge as a brand new take, unlike anything that already exists.

If you are interested in a potential Apple car, take a few minutes to read Gruber’s post. My favorite bit is his quote of this Robert Cassidy tweet:

Apple doesn’t do overnight. They walk into your market, and a few years in you realize they’ve quietly redefined your market and now you’re years behind.

That’s the part that VW should be afraid of.

First look: 217 new emojis in iOS 14.5

Take a look at the new emoji coming with iOS 14.5.

Two notable highlights:

  • The blood is removed from the syringe emoji, making it more representative of vaccines
  • The headphone emoji moves from a more generic headphone to a very specific AirPods Max

One thing I find interesting about moments of emoji change is that if I text, say, a headphone emoji from the new beta and you receive it on the latest public iOS release, you’ll see the old headphones even though I sent the AirPods Max.

If you are interested in the history of Apple emoji, you might enjoy Emojipedia’s Who Created The Original Apple Emoji Set?

Apple shares another Billie Eilish trailer

[VIDEO] The Apple Billie Eilish documentary, “The World’s a Little Blurry” hits Apple TV+ next Friday, February 26th.

The latest trailer is embedded in the main Loop post.

Kitty Letter: An addictive word game from Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal

[VIDEO] John Voorhees, MacStories, digs into a new game from the creator of The Oatmeal.

If you are a fan of The Oatmeal, read the review, take the game for a spin. The onboarding and the artwork alone are worth the download. It’s free to try, in-app purchase if you like the game, want to take it further.

You can immerse yourself in the official Oatmeal game page, or watch the video embedded in the main Loop post to get a sense of the game mechanic. It’s whimsical as hell.

AR concept adds extra virtual screens to your Mac

Take a look at the video embedded below. Obviously, the concept is designed to work with some form of Apple AR glasses.

https://twitter.com/domhofdesign/status/1359587098043568133

Makes me wonder about the future of devices with screens, if Apple glasses ship and gain enough traction to become widely used. The glasses themselves are screens. Presumably, in addition to adding overlays to real life and existing screens, they could implement the Mac or iPad screen in the glasses interface, no need for the hardware at all, beyond the glasses themselves.

I can also imagine a future with contact lenses, so all the AR is built right into your eye coverings. And, ultimately, Apple Eyes, Apple Eyes Pro, and Apple Eyes Pro Max.

Ted Lasso: A bright, shining review

If you are a fan of Ted Lasso, you might enjoy the linked review by Sara Stewart. And if you’re still not on board, do read the review. It does a great job capturing the magic that is Ted Lasso.

A taste:

The Apple TV sitcom, which arrived last summer, is a mental health stealth bomb. Dressed up as a sports comedy, it espouses a philosophy that’s hilariously antithetical to that genre: The notion that being a decent person, and treating other people with respect, is more important than who scored the most goals.

And:

While the character of Ted presents as unapologetically square, his origins are a little trippy: the show, Sudeikis has said, “grew from conversations he and Hunt had walking the streets of Amsterdam on mushrooms.” The experience stuck with Sudeikis, who name-checked the Michael Pollan book “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence” on Brown’s podcast. He and Hunt started writing the pilot shortly after Pollan’s book came out. “Ted is, in a … way, like mushrooms,” said Sudeikis. “He is egoless.”

Indeed. Production of Season 2 is underway.

Your smartphone doesn’t have to be glued shut!

[VIDEO] Think about replacing the battery on your iPhone. Or any other part. Then watch this video embedded in the main Loop post.

Part of this is about me being a tinkerer, with a long history of taking things apart and putting them back together again. Sure.

But I think anyone would benefit from the ability to swap out their iPhone battery in just a few minutes, without having to take/ship it in to the Apple Store, at considerable expense.

Watch the video, look at these examples. True, these folks aren’t making millions of phones, and Apple does cram a tremendous amount of tech into an incredibly thin package, but still, I can’t help but think there’s a path to making an iPhone easier/possible to repair.

Mark Zuckerberg reportedly told staff Facebook needs to “inflict pain” on Apple over privacy dispute

Sami Fathi, MacRumors:

During a 2018 interview in the midst of Facebook’s notorious Cambridge Analytica scandal, Cook was asked how he would lead Apple if it were to face a similar crisis. Cook responded by ruling the hypothetical situation out of the question, saying Apple would not be in the situation Facebook was in, thanks to its differing stance on privacy and user data. Zuckerberg shot back, calling Cook’s comments on TV “extremely glib” and “not at all aligned with the truth.”

If you had to pick between Apple and Facebook, which would you say is “not at all aligned with the truth.”

Back to the post:

Zuckerberg, outraged by Cook’s comments and public influence on Facebook’s reputation, reportedly told internal aides and team members that Facebook needs to “inflict pain” on Apple, according to sources who spoke on anonymity to The Wall Street Journal.

And:

Facebook is reportedly planning to take its disapproval with Apple to court, as it’s allegedly been preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the Cupertino-based tech company over its “unfair” approach to privacy with ATT and iMessage. As part of its lawsuit, Facebook is considering partnering with other companies such as Epic Games, which is already embroiled in a massive legal battle with Apple, to propel its antitrust case forward.

Here’s a link to the paywalled Wall Street Journal post.

It is amazing to me how Apple’s efforts to promote transparency are being weaponized against it. To me, good for consumers trumps bad for business.

Volkswagen CEO: “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

K, so I’ve mixed two things together in that headline. But still.

From Reuters:

Germany’s Volkswagen is not concerned by any Apple plans for a passenger vehicle that could include the iPhone maker’s battery technology, its chief executive Herbert Diess said.

And:

“The car industry is not a typical tech-sector that you could take over at a single stroke,” Diess was quoted as saying an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

“Apple will not manage that overnight,” he added.

Of course, the headline referred to the mother of all Claim Chowder, this Daring Fireball post from 2006, where Palm CEO Ed Colligan famously addressed the upstart iPhone’s entry into the smartphone space. Worth a re-read.

Interview with Apple’s employee #1

Not counting the two Steves, any guess as to the name of Apple’s employee number one? Follow the headline link for the answer and an interview from back in 2016.

And for a fun little rabbit hole, follow this link, which will take you to a list of other interviews from the Hacker News Employee #1 series, including interviews with folks from Amazon, Tumblr, and Airbnb.

iOS 14.5 beta directs Safari ‘safe browsing’ traffic through Apple server instead of Google to protect personal user data

Sami Fathi, MacRumors:

Starting with iOS and iPadOS 14.5, Apple will proxy Google’s “Safe Browsing” service used in Safari through its own servers instead of relying on Google as a way to limit which personal data Google sees about users.

And:

Apple relies on Google’s “Safe Browsing,” a database/blocklist of websites crawled by Google of websites that it deems to be suspected phishing or scam.

And:

While Google doesn’t know which specific URL you’re trying to visit, it may collect your IP address during its interaction with Safari. Now on iOS/iPadOS 14.5, that’s no longer the case. As confirmed by the Head of Engineering for WebKit, Apple will now proxy Google’s Safe Browsing feature through its own servers instead of Google as a way to “limit the risk of information leak.”

Good move.

Why Apple should extend an Arm to Intel

Ben Bajarin:

Helping Intel stay in the semiconductor manufacturing game should be among one of the highest priorities for all US-based technology companies. While TSMC is the leader in manufacturing process technology, they remain a geo-political risk should China decide to enforce its will on the region. Samsung is not far behind, but being a Korean company, again, future politics guarantee no safe bets.

And:

I don’t want to dismiss the technological achievement of TSMC by being the first foundry to 7nm, 5nm, and likely the first to 3nm. Anyone who knows transistor designs knows how hard it is, at a micro level, to keep shrinking silicon. However, Apple helped make it easier for TSMC to justify the RND and CapEx costs and to continually invest in leading-edge process technology by being their largest customer, always committing to the latest node. I am not convinced TSMC would have the clear lead they do in process tech without Apple.

Most importantly:

Having a leading semiconductor company founded and based in the US is incredibly strategic given how critical semiconductors are to our digital future. Apple may be one of the only companies that can help Intel right the ship.

This seems a perfect match for Apple. Political gains by bringing more technology leadership and high-tech jobs to the US. A joint venture that helps ensure processors on demand to keep their supply chain healthy.

Ted Lasso Friends intro

So you’ve watched all the episodes, and you’re jonesing for some Ted Lasso goodness.

Here ya go. Sound on, hit play…

https://www.twitter.com/tedslasso/status/1359234771637919744

What to do with old and dying AirPods: Recycling, replacing, and selling

Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac, with a good read if you’ve got AirPods that work well, but suffer from aging batteries.

What I found most interesting:

PodSwap is a relatively new service, and it looks like a great option to get your AirPods batteries replaced at a nice discount. You can swap in your gen 1 or gen 2 AirPods with dead batteries for a refurbished and sanitized pair with “restored battery life.”

The company has indeed found a way to replace AirPods’ batteries with “specially developed equipment.” You’re not getting an official Apple battery here, but PodSwap says it’s done independent testing to make sure “The batteries we use are similar in performance to your original ones from Apple.”

The caveat:

PodSwap gives your AirPods new life for just $59.99 (the same would run $99 from Apple). The trade-off here is this service is mostly compelling for AirPods gen 1 owners since if you send in AirPods gen 2, you’re getting back gen 1 earphones.

Worth bookmarking PodSwap, especially if you’ve got gen 1 AirPods. And hopefully, they’ll work out fixes for gen 2 AirPods and AirPods Pro as well.

A detailed look at Apple Maps “Look Around” rollout

Justin O’Beirne:

After four years of driving in parts of fifteen countries, Apple announced in June 2019 that its imagery collection vehicles had driven “over four million miles”.

And:

What makes this number interesting is that Google has made similar statements about its Street View vehicles over the years. Google first started collecting imagery in 2006 and by mid 2012, its Street View vehicles had driven more than five million miles.

And:

Five million miles over six years (Google) is slower than four million over four (Apple)—and it suggests that Apple has been driving the world faster than Google originally did.

But when it comes to releasing this imagery, Apple has been releasing it much slower.

What follows is an interesting, and quite detailed look at Apple’s imagery rollout in southern Canada and the US. If nothing else, check out the map showing the sparsity of US Look Around coverage (about halfway down the page) vs the map showing US places visited by Apple Maps vehicles vs the map of robust Look Around coverage in southern Canada.

Apple Maps adds Waze-like features in iOS 14.5 for crowdsourcing accidents, speed traps and hazards

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

If you swipe up on the ‌Apple Maps‌ interface where maps details are available, you can tap on a “Report” button that lets you flag an accident, a hazard, or a speed check, similar to other mapping apps like Waze.

Interestingly:

Tapping automatically flags your location with no confirmation window, so it shouldn’t be used except in a valid situation.

That does open the door to accidental flagging, but this is crowdsourcing, so it’s not likely a single report will trigger the flag.

You can also say “Hey ‌Siri‌, there’s an accident” and ‌Siri‌ will send in a report to ‌Apple Maps‌, and presumably, if enough people file reports, an accident site will show up in the maps app through the crowdsourcing.

Sounds right. Nice to see Siri interface.

Third-gen and earlier Apple TVs losing access to CBS All Access in Paramount+ transition

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

The third-generation Apple TV, last made available in 2013, is slowly losing support from third-party app developers. YouTube recently announced that the YouTube channel will disappear in March, and now the CBS All Access channel is also being removed.

And:

The timing coincides with an upcoming shift that will see CBS All Access rebranding as Paramount+. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said in September that CBS All Access was being rebranded because the Paramount brand is more recognizable. The rebrand will be accompanied by original content designed to lure new subscribers.

And:

Though there will be no app on the third-generation ‌Apple TV‌, Paramount+ content will be able to be streamed from an iOS device to a third-generation ‌Apple TV‌.

CBS All Access and Showtime have a bundle deal. Will that deal continue under Paramount+?

On a related note, will we see a new Apple TV this year?

“Apple, how on earth can you look away?”

There’s been a steady drumbeat on Twitter recently, a river of tweets about fake/scammy apps on the App Store.

From the headline linked post:

I have spent the last four years of my life working on my very successful app only to have it ruined by scam apps with very obvious fake reviews as well as false advertising claims that Apple does not take action against. I can literally prove they are fake but Apple refuses to take action for undisclosed reasons, allowing thousands of more people getting scammed by these apps day by day.

Follow the link, read the post. This is a detailed breakdown of one developer’s experience, a very specific example that is one of many.

When you’ve read that post, hop over to this Michael Tsai rollup page with comments on another, perhaps more well circulated example.

App Store folks, spend some time reading through the linked comments on Michael Tsai’s page. There are links to examples, stories, and specific thoughts on small ways to address the problem. As is, one might think Apple is looking away. This has got to stop.

Apple Is the $2.3 trillion fortress that Tim Cook built

Austin Carr and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Joe Biden had a question for Tim Cook: Why, the then-vice president wanted to know, couldn’t Apple make the iPhone in the U.S.? It was January 2012, during President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and three months after the death of Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs.

And:

As everyone at the dinner well knew, the idea of mass-producing an iPhone, or any advanced consumer electronics, in a domestic factory was an exceptionally tall order. The big Asian contract manufacturers, especially Apple Inc.’s main partner, Foxconn, had built city-size factories in China with armies of hundreds of thousands of skilled laborers. None of that scale existed in the U.S. Chinese factory employees generally worked much longer hours, for a fraction of what even the lowest-paid American workers make.

And:

Biden’s question put Cook, who’d become Apple’s CEO the previous August, in an awkward position. He was the architect of the strategy to outsource Apple’s production to China, a trend of increasing concern for the Obama administration. But Cook was also, as it turned out, extremely effective at deflecting political pressure.

This is just a tiny taste of a fantastic, detail-filled profile of Tim Cook’s Apple stewardship. Great read, worth every minute. Riveting.

Andy Hertzfeld podcast interview

Andy Hertzfeld is at the root of the Macintosh tree, part of the small team that brought that original Mac to life. He was also a friend of Steve Jobs and his site Folklore.org is a keeper of the old stories and a rabbit hole that is well worth your time.

Andy recently did an episode of the DNext podcast. It’s not a look back, so much as a sharing of thoughts. I enjoyed every minute of it, thought you might too. You can find DNext in your favorite podcast app as well as by following the headline link.

Big Sur upgrade + not enough free space = Serious issue & possible data loss!

Mr. Macintosh:

I’ve been trying to get a handle on this issue for over a month now. The first signs that this is becoming a larger issue came after the macOS Big Sur 11.2 update was made available. People would say that their Big Sur Upgrade failed and found no way to recover.

And:

If you installed the macOS Big Sur Upgrade and you are now stuck in boot loop ending with the error – An error occurred preparing the software update – you are affected by this issue.

Bottom line, make sure you have a good amount of free space on your Mac before you start the install. Personally, I’d make sure I had at least 50GB free. But follow the headline link and scroll to the section titled, How can I prevent this from happening to me?

The man who produced Steve Jobs’ keynotes for 20 years

Cake:

Wayne Goodrich was the producer for every keynote Steve gave after his return to Apple. Before that, Wayne helped him create presentations at NeXT and Pixar. He is writing a book about what it was like on the inside.

A fascinating Q&A with pics and “working with Steve” anecdotes. Great read.