June 3, 2021

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.

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.

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.

June 2, 2021

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.

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.

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.

Hartley Charlton, MacRumors:

Spotted by developer Javier Lacort, the Apple job listing for a Senior iOS Engineer in Apple Music explicitly mentions “homeOS” on two occasions, alongside Apple’s other operating systems including iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

And, from the job listing itself (emphasis added):

You’ll get to work with system engineers across Apple, learning the inner-workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS and homeOS, and optimizing your code for performance in ways only Apple can. Come join our team and make a real difference for music lovers worldwide.

The ‌Apple Music‌ Frameworks team owns the technology stack that enables the system-integrated ‌Apple Music‌ experience on all of our mobile platforms: iOS, watchOS, and homeOS.

Great food for thought, guessing we’ll hear more on Monday.

MagSafe fishing finds and recovers an iPhone 12 Pro from a canal

Cool thread on magnet fishing to recover an iPhone and, as a bonus, a Nintendo Switch.

There’s an emerging hobby called magnet fishing. Yes, it’s a real thing. Here’s a link to a beginner’s kit. There are tons of these.

Kind of want to give this a try, but I’m worried about hurting someone (the magnets can be very powerful) and also worried about erasing things like SD/credit cards and magnetic drives/devices.

June 1, 2021

Via iMore, the paper is titled:

Harming Competition and Consumers under the Guise of Protecting Privacy: An Analysis of Apple’s iOS 14 Policy Updates

The paper slams Apple. And includes this bit in a footnote:

We gratefully acknowledge support from Facebook, Inc. in funding this analysis.

Hmm.

iPad Pro (2021) review – Apple’s most impressive (and most frustrating) computer

Jeff Benjamin digs into the new iPad Pro, with discussion of various pain points that may or not be issues for you, but good to know before you buy.

Why I killed the Windows startup sound

This is a fascinating look back on the history of startup sounds on computers, including Macs.

Don’t miss that live background. That is one helluva beautiful setting.

Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac:

After launching in 2015 with free unlimited storage and marketing the service around that key feature, Google Photos has become a popular option even for Apple users. However, that’s changing as the company announced last fall that the free unlimited storage is ending on June 1.

That’s today.

Instead of free unlimited storage, a 15GB limit will apply to photos and videos added from June 1, 2021. So your content that’s been previously added will remain safe. However, this will probably make some Apple users reconsider their photo strategy and take a look at the Apple One bundles.

Read the post for specifics on porting over to iCloud, if the math works in your favor. And if you are an Amazon Prime member, take a look at the last unlimited plan standing, Amazon Photos.

Neil Cybart:

Last week, Apple quietly unveiled one of the more remarkable pieces of technology that has been developed in the past few years. AssistiveTouch allows one to control an Apple Watch without actually touching the device. Instead, a series of hand and finger gestures can be used to control everything from answering a call to ending a workout.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the video showing this off:

Back to Neil:

When Apple unveiled the iPhone in January 2007, Steve Jobs famously said that the iPhone was “literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” He ended up being mostly correct. It took the competition a number of years, and a whole lot of copying, to catch up with what Apple had just unveiled.

With wearables, my suspicion is Apple’s lead is longer than five years.

Read the article for the specifics, but Neil makes a solid case. Between Apple’s investments in custom silicon and their ecosystem that let devices play off each other, Apple has built a seemingly insurmountable lead in wearables.

May 28, 2021

The Dalrymple Report: iPad Pro, Siri Remote, and Cicadas

Dave and I talk about my recent review of the iPad Pro and how I found using the device while on a 10-day road trip. We also talked about the new Siri remote, which both of us ordered and have been using with our Apple TV. Dave opens up his window and lets us hear the strange sounds coming from his backyard.

Follow this podcast

May 27, 2021

As the University of Nevada, Reno resumes in-person classes in Fall 2021, each member of the incoming freshman class will receive iPad Air at no cost. The University is working with Apple to develop a program that will provide a common learning platform and deliver equal access to technology and digital tools. The new initiative will augment digital literacy and enhance student success and curriculum that can be put to use as students join the workforce.

The university has dubbed the program the “Digital Wolf Pack Initiative” which will see each freshman student receive an iPad Air, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil, and a suite of productivity and creativity apps, including Keynote, Pages, Numbers, Swift Playgrounds, GarageBand and other apps.

Faculty will also receive training from Apple so they can be more effective in teaching the students and make sure they get the most out of the program.

The University selected Apple products because of the power of iPad Air and iPadOS, the availability of robust suites of software and apps for productivity and creativity, and best-in-class security and privacy built into the full platform, from hardware to software.

This is exactly what students need. Faculty will be taught how to implement the tools properly and students will reap the benefits of having access to some of the best technology on the market.

Ran across this old folklore.org post, thought you might enjoy it.

Andy Hertzfeld, member of the original Macintosh team:

The Macintosh User Interface wasn’t designed all at once; it was actually the result of almost five years of experimentation and development at Apple, starting with graphics routines that Bill Atkinson began writing for Lisa in late 1978. Like any evolutionary process, there were lots of false starts and blind alleys along the way. It’s a shame that these tend to be lost to history, since there is a lot that we can learn from them.

Fortunately, the main developer of the user interface, Bill Atkinson, was an avid, lifelong photographer, and he had the foresight to document the incremental development of the Lisa User Interface (which more or less became the Mac UI after a few tweaks) with a series of photographs. He kept a Polaroid camera by his computer, and took a snapshot each time the user interface reached a new milestone, which he collected in a loose-leaf notebook. I’m excited to be able to reproduce and annotate them here, since they offer a fascinating, behind the scenes glimpse of how the Mac’s breakthrough user interface was crafted.

Follow the headline link, dig in. This is historic stuff.

Sebastiaan de With, Halide blog:

Let’s take look at what’s new with the M1 iPad Pro cameras. In taking a quick look at what’s new, we’ll share a discovery: your iPad has a superpower that not even Apple has told you about.

Superpower? You have my attention.

I’m one of those people that got the nearly-thirteen inch iPad Pro, which is an absolute spaceship of a tablet. It certainly does not evoke thoughts of anything micro, but that’s precisely where its strength lies.

iPad basically comes with a microscope. That’s right: you can take some pretty incredible macro shots of things without any accessories. The iPhone 12 Pro (or any iPhone, really) has a different lens design and only focuses to about 8 cm (that’s over 3 inches) away from the camera lens. iPad Pro easily focuses on things much closer to its sensor.

And:

Interestingly, with the LIDAR sensor assisting autofocus it can sometimes be a bit hard to try this fun attribute of the camera — With Halide for iPad, you can drop into manual focus mode and to get ultra-close-ups of everyday things. Try it out for yourself if you have an iPad!

Yet another compelling argument for jumping on the iPad Pro train. Look at those closeup photos. I use a macro lens on my mirrorless Sony camera, but the display is what holds me back. It’s hard to get the focus just right.

But when the screen is one of the best in the world, and ten times as large? That’s a game changer.

Daniel Howley, Yahoo Finance:

Testifying in game developer Epic’s antitrust suit against Apple, Cook called the notion of putting third-party app stores on the iPhone “an experiment I wouldn’t want to run.” He’s not alone, either. According to New York University Tandon School of Engineering professor Justin Cappos, opening up the iPhone would imperil every iPhone owner.

“I think there’s a very clear line to draw to say that if you let basically people go and run their own effective app stores,” Cappos told Yahoo Finance, “even if they’re installing things like kind of within an app, the potential for malicious code and malicious behavior on the iPhone increases dramatically.”

This seems an obvious point. I’ve never seen it argued that Android is more, or even as secure as iOS. The well known issue is update fragmentation. The percentage of users on the latest version of iOS is always much, much higher than the percentage of users on the latest version of Android.

While Android has gotten better over the years at getting security updates onto user machines, there’s still no comparison. Apple is aggressive about getting their latest iOS onto more and more phones, and has clearly made strides in expanding the number of older phones that can run the latest iOS.

Though the issue of scammy apps on the App Store continues to exist, it’s important to distinguish those subscription hacking apps from apps that take over your phone in some, more malicious way.

Apple has done a great job in locking down the iPhone, from making you more aware of an app’s clipboard copy and paste, to locking down your microphone, camera, and location data. Opening up the App Store to side loading would make users much more open to malware.

That said, the weak point in this argument is the Mac. From this CNBC piece, talking about Craig Federighi and Mac malware:

On Wednesday, Federighi said that the user base of the Mac is about one-tenth the user base of the iPhone. Apple said in January that it had 1 billion active iPhone users.

And:

“For iOS, we aspired to create something far more secure. All indications are that we have succeeded in doing so,” Federighi said. He said that Apple found and removed about 130 different kinds of malware on Macs last year that had infected hundreds of thousands of user systems, compared with three kinds of malware that had infected iPhones.

Apple has a model to look at. More malware on the platform that allows side loading. As you’d expect.

Zoom blog:

Attention all iPad Zoomers! You’ve got some great new features coming to the Zoom app on Apple’s latest iPad Pro models, which were announced at Apple’s Spring Loaded event on April 20.

Two new features – support for Apple’s Center Stage and expanded Gallery View – will help you better participate in calls, potentially stave off video fatigue, and better connect over Zoom.

And:

Previous iPad models can display up to 25 video tiles in Gallery View, but those using Zoom on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can now see up to 48 video tiles (6×8 in Landscape Mode), allowing them to better connect in large meetings.

Don’t have the latest iPad Pro? No worries! Many iPad models are also getting expanded Gallery View, and those users will see a few additional participants on a single screen, depending on the device.

To bring more or fewer people into view on any iPad, simply pinch the display with two fingers to zoom in and out.

Nice to see Center Stage adoption happen so quickly. You’ll need Zoom 5.6.6 or later, hitting the App Store this week.

May 26, 2021

A lot of discussion the past few days about the new Siri Remote and its jog shuttle mechanism.

From a post we put up yesterday:

Scrubbing has two modes. As Tim points out, scrub left and right on the clickpad works intuitively, scrubbing a paused video left and right.

But if you touch the outer ring first, a ring icon will appear, that’s your sign you are in jog mode and you can trace a circle to jog forward or back. Definitely a hidden, low-discoverability feature, but one worth knowing about.

This textual description just wasn’t satisfying to me, though. It didn’t really paint the picture I had in my head. So I did this little video to show the gesture up close:

Kinda liked doing this. Might do some more of these.

Watch the video embedded in this tweet:

I’ve heard the argument that there are just too many apps in the App Store to police properly. But surely there’s some sort of threshold test, perhaps assisted by machine learning or some form of bounty or crowdsourcing, that would flag these sorts of scams.

And the bit about preventing someone from tapping a low star rating. A bad look. I struggle to understand how this is possible.

This is one of those non-obvious things that is so well worth knowing. If you’ve never used your Apple Watch to take a picture, take a few minutes and give it a try.

Great little step-by-step how-to, well laid out.

New Apple TV 4K and Siri Remote teardown

Of particular interest to me? Jump to about 1:33 and watch them pull apart the new Siri Remote. All you need are a few specialty screwdriver bits and you’re off to the races.

Most notable to me is how tight the tolerances are. Was hoping to shoehorn the guts of an AirTag in there, piggyback off the Siri Remote’s power, but no way.

I do appreciate how easy this was to take apart. Not sure if it’d be that easy to reassemble. Guess I’ll have to try that on my own, though I’ll wait til I have a spare Remote on hand.

Just start scrolling and clicking, or sliding and tapping, find your favorite.

I especially love the Steve Jobs quotes. Some gorgeous work here.

Apple:

Apple today previewed Apple Via del Corso, the newest retail location nestled in one of Rome’s most vibrant areas. As the 17th store to open in Italy, Apple Via del Corso will serve as an all-new, centrally located space for Apple team members to provide best-in-class service and support to the local community. The store preserves the grand Palazzo Marignoli, paying homage to Rome’s rich history of art and culture, and making it one of Apple’s most significant restoration projects.

Just look at the images embedded in the linked post. This is a spectacular Apple Store, blending beautifully into ancient surroundings.

My favorite part of all is the video, about halfway down that gives you a bit of a guided tour through the store. This is definitely on my bucket list.

May 25, 2021

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

Swipe left or right across the clickpad to scrub backward or forward in time. For more granular control, rest your finger on the outer edge of the clickpad ring until a ring icon appears on-screen, then trace a circle with your finger around the clickpad ring in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Scrubbing has two modes. As Tim points out, scrub left and right on the clickpad works intuitively, scrubbing a paused video left and right.

But if you touch the outer ring first, a ring icon will appear, that’s your sign you are in jog mode and you can trace a circle to jog forward or back. Definitely a hidden, low-discoverability feature, but one worth knowing about.

Zak Doffman, Forbes:

Despite me telling my iPhone “never” to allow Facebook access to my location, despite me checking Facebook online to confirm it knows “location history for mobile devices” is set to “off.” Facebook continues to exploit a loophole, harvesting photo location tags and IP addresses, all of which it will, in its own words, “collect and process.”

Loophole?

I took a photo with my iPhone and then uploaded that to my Facebook account. I used Facebook’s app on my iPhone, the same app that has been told “never” to access my location, the same account that knows I have this switched off. But Facebook still collects the location tag from that photo, along with my IP address.

And:

Facebook and Instagram do in fact strip the metadata, the so-called EXIF information, from photos that are saved to their platforms. You can see this, because if you save a photo from Instagram or your Facebook albums onto your phone, there will be no location information. That has been replaced with Facebook’s own codes.

And so, you might assume that Facebook has deleted this data. Wrong. If you go to your Facebook privacy settings and select “your Facebook information,” you can download a copy of the data it holds. If you select “photos and videos,” you will see the data that Facebook saved from the images you uploaded.

This is heinous. Read the whole piece. There’s a lot more detail here, but in a nutshell, the loophole is Facebook’s access to your photo EXIF data.

Jump right to the iMac Xray (direct link). So much to see here.

  • Start off with that huge Apple logo (upper middle)
  • Then move down to see two coin cell batteries (presumably to back up the NVRAM)
  • The real mystery is those two massive rectangles on either side

Those rectangles appear to be acoustic chambers for the speakers. Interesting that they are different in shape, though the sound, no doubt, is perfectly symmetrical. Apple has some genius acoustic engineers.

Lots more detail in the post itself. Love teardowns.