August 19, 2019

First, follow the headline link to see the image. It’s interesting and, at first, I found it hard to believe.

But then I read this. Now I believe.

From the Manage your Apple Card account Apple Support document:

Apple Card is currently available only to customers participating in the Apple Card Preview.

A reminder, this is still Apple Card Preview times. Somewhat like a beta, but with more legal obligations. So if you are not getting the card invite, have patience. Some people are really getting riled up over this. Speaks to the compelling nature of both Apple Card and the ecosystem.

Credit limit increases are not currently supported.

If you tap the “…” button, then scroll to “Credit Details”, you’ll see your credit limit. Given that the vast majority of credit cards offer some mechanism to bump your credit limit, I’d expect this to change. Again, this is a beta period.

Only the account owner can currently use Apple Card. If a family member or friends wants to use Apple Card they will need to apply for Apple Card.

This last one is interesting. There’s an implication that you’ll be able to allow future Apple Cards for family members and friends, tied to your Apple ID. Lots of credit cards allow this as well. A great way to introduce your kids to the responsibilities and mechanics of credit cards.

I wonder if we’ll eventually see a business version of Apple Card.

Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac:

Apple is currently running an internal early access program for its employees, charging a small subscription of $0.49/mo, with one month free trial. It says the testing program ends with the launch of iOS 13.

Today, 9to5Mac was able to gain access to this Apple Arcade early testing program on the Mac App Store.

The $0.49 a month thing is interesting. I’m guessing they needed to test the billing mechanism as well as the games themselves, and the price worked for some reason. I don’t recall anything Apple ever shipped for less than $0.99. No matter, I can’t imagine that price won’t increase at least 10-fold.

Amber Neely, AppleInsider:

The whole ordeal takes just a couple of minutes provided you’ve got a computer handy. Be aware that to do this, know that you have to be migrating from a Spotify Premium account —it isn’t possible to copy over from the free tier.

If you are making the move from Spotify Premium to Apple Music and have playlists you’d like to take with you, this seems worth reading. Another path to consider is the iOS app SongShift (free, with in-app-purchase).

I’d love to be able to tap on a Spotify playlist link and have it just play in Apple Music. Never gonna happen, I realize, but that’s the dream.

UPDATE: Another service to try – Tune My Music. Converts pretty much anything. Nice. [H/T @pinkoos]

August 18, 2019

BoingBoing:

Sumana Harihareswara writes, “The Abstractions tech conference (Aug 21-23, in Pittsburgh) doesn’t tell attendees this before they buy a ticket, but attendance requires you wear their wristband with an embedded tracking chip — and that you don’t take it off at night or in the shower till the conference ends.

Organizers haven’t addressed privacy, health, physical safety, and inclusivity concerns that registered attendees raised privately earlier this month, so Jason Owen is blogging about the issue in hopes of getting them to modify their policy.”

If Macworld Expo had tried this BS back in the day, there would have been a lot fewer people at Macworld Expo.

Engadget:

Formula 1 is no longer about brute horsepower and the smell of gasoline. Since its ’80s and ’90s heydays, F1 has transformed into a greener, safer and more technologically advanced sport. Cars are now powered by the most efficient and complex hybrid gasoline/electric motors in the world.

The rules and complexity of F1 are putting off fans, but it’s the costs that are especially challenging for a mid-tier team like Renault.

I may be looking at the Formula 1 of my childhood through rose-coloured glasses but I don’t find the sport nearly as interesting or exciting to watch as when I was a kid. It must be hard for the vast majority of drivers to know for a certainty they have zero chance of making the podium on a race weekend.

August 17, 2019

MacStories:

We touched on most of this year’s changes to iOS in our iOS 13 overview earlier this summer, but one feature that has mostly flown under the radar is the debut of Activity Trends.

True to its name, Activity Trends is a new way to monitor the progression of your daily activity over time. The feature is exposed via a new tab in Apple’s Activity app in iOS 13, and it breaks down your activity over the last 90 days compared to the previous 365.

I’m really looking forward to playing around with this data.

August 16, 2019

Apple is being sued by two customers who argue that when they signed up for iCloud services, it did not properly disclose that their information could be stored on third-party cloud services. Thereby, it commited breach of contract, false advertising and violated California’s Unfair Competition Law.

I feel like this is just another reason to go after Apple and hopefully score. What I expect from Apple is complete privacy and security with its cloud services. As far as I can tell, they are still providing me with that. I’m happy.

Amazon.com Inc on Friday defeated an appeal by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in what the online retailer has called a $1.5 billion dispute over its tax treatment of transactions with a Luxembourg subsidiary.

Tax laws are so bloody confusing.

The Dalrymple Report: App Store links, Twitter and Google Assistant

Apple will now show you information from an App Store link, no matter the device you try to view it on. This is a big step for the App Store. Dave and I also talk about Google Assistant’s new feature of assigning reminders to other people and Twitter topics.

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Bahubali 2 best scene

This popped up on Twitter last week and is utterly insane. I immediately went to Netflix to watch both of the Bahubali movies.

Nessy Nessy Chic:

At no other chateau in all of France will you find a Soviet helicopter parked on the back lawn. Or a 1970s hovercraft. Or a record-breaking collection of World War II fighter jets for that matter. Not to mention a warehouse full of vintage firetrucks, 200 antiques motorbikes, 36 racing cars – and the list goes on – all sitting comfortably in retirement amongst the vineyards of Burgundy.

Michel Pont is the world’s biggest private collector of fighter planes according to the Guinness World Book of Records. Among his hundred-odd airplanes parked in the shadows of the Chateau Sevigny-lès-Beaune, one of them was once armed with atomic bombs during General Charles de Gaulle’s presidency, while another hanging from the ceiling in the barn is one of the earliest airplanes ever made.

What an odd place for such a collection. But now I want to go see it.

9to5Mac:

It would be much more convenient for Spotify users if they could simply select Spotify as their default music player.

That would benefit many of Apple’s customers, but what about Apple itself? It might seem that Apple would be shooting itself in the foot to help a competing streaming service in this way.

I’d argue the opposite, however. I think Apple would be doing itself a favor on three counts, with almost no downside.

Apple should allow users to replace any default app they choose, not just Spotify.

Engadget:

If it wasn’t for the iMac, Apple as we know it today wouldn’t exist.

Most Apple fans know the story: Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997, after Apple bought his company Next. He took over as interim CEO that September, and immediately set about tightening up the sprawling mess of products Apple was producing. But in May of 1998, Steve Jobs introduced the first product that came to define his next decade at Apple; it went on sale three months later.

I will always maintain that it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of the iMac to Apple. It literally saved the company from a buy out by any number of vultures and is the foundation today’s Apple is built on. It’s the last remaining product from that time and Apple has kept the name for 21 years, longer than any other single product line.

MacRumors:

In an annual test comparing Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa on smartphones, Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster found that Siri was able to correctly answer 83 percent of questions, beating Alexa but trailing behind Google Assistant.

Munster asked each digital assistant 800 questions during the test to compare how each one responded. Alexa answered 79.8 percent of questions correctly, while Google Assistant answered 92.9 percent of questions correctly.

Second place is “nice” but Siri still only answers approximately 83% of questions correctly.

The patent largely describes a camera that can “capture, compress, and store video image data in a memory of the video camera, but really it pertains more to Rawcode, Red’s format for holding RAW footage, unprocessed imaging data from the sensor. Apple believes that some of the claims of the patent are “unpatentable,” and that the patent itself should be invalidated.

Apple’s arguments start with how the patent does not provide “written description support” for some claims, such as the disclosure of “outputting the raw mosaiced image data at a resolution of at least 2k and at a frame rate of at least about 23 frames per second.” While the patent describes decompression and demosaicing algorithms, it “does not disclose image resolution or frame rate parameters, let alone a camera system capable of meeting such parameters.”

I don’t know about this patent in particular, but other patents have been intentionally vague so they cover as much as possible.

August 15, 2019

Apple today filed a lawsuit against Corellium, a mobile device virtualization company that supports iOS. Corellium describes itself as the “first and only platform” that offers iOS, Android, and Linux virtualization on ARM.

In the lawsuit, filed today in the Southern District of Florida, Apple accuses Corellium of copyright infringement for illegally replicating the operating system and applications that run on the iPhone and the iPad.

I would think companies would know better than to do things like this, no matter the reason.

Thirty-three years ago, five friends sat down at a kitchen table in Tulsa, Oklahoma and decided to start a company. Among them: president of Maccor Andy MacKay and his wife Helen, who runs personnel. Today, less than a mile from that spot, Maccor now occupies 80,000 square feet of space and has earned itself a reputation as the top manufacturer of battery testing systems in the world.

Maccor is one of 9,000 American suppliers that Apple spent a collective $60 billion dollars with in 2018, which supports 450,000 jobs. Altogether, Apple is responsible for creating and supporting 2.4 million US jobs across all 50 states, four times the number of American jobs attributable to the company eight years ago. Apple is on pace to directly contribute $350 billion to the US economy by 2023, which the company announced in January of 2018.

This is absolutely incredible. Apple has a huge workforce across the U.S. (and the world), but we often forget how many jobs Apple is creating outside of the company.

Amazing ice hockey kid

Talk about a kid who really works hard. I have a feeling this kid is going to the show someday. Hope he makes it to my team (and not Jim’s).

[Via TYWKIWDBI]

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

Apple has recently updated its App Store Preview pages for stories to allow users to view the full content of stories from inside their desktop web browser. App Store stories have always been shareable as links, but the web version was just a title and a navigation link to ‘open this story in the App Store’.

Huzzah! Great to see this. I often encounter a link to an app on Mac Safari. A pain (and broken marketing for the app creator) to force me to re-find the link on my iOS device to learn more.

As an example, try opening this iOS link to PCalc on your Mac. Instead of just text telling you to open the link on an iOS device, you’ll see all the images, reviews, etc. Great!

Casey Newton, The Verge:

Twitter will begin allowing users to follow interests, the company said today, letting users see tweets about topics of their choosing inside the timeline. When the feature goes live, you’ll be able to follow topics including sports teams, celebrities, and television shows, with a selection of tweets about them inserted alongside tweets in your home feed.

Twitter will curate the topics, minimizing the potential for abuse. And you can temporarily mute a topic so you don’t see spoilers for a game you’ve recorded, a movie or streaming episode you haven’t seen.

The company has been researching the bad incentives that Twitter can create, with the like and retweet often serving to promote outrage and polarization.

Understatement of the year.

Read the text, along with Steve Moser’s comments. Know what you’re getting into, how your data is being shared.

[Via Pixel Envy]

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

Google Assistant is about to gain a new reminder feature that allows you to get someone else to do your bidding.

Called Assignable Reminders, the feature lets you set reminders for other people, so long as they are in your Google Contacts or opted in to your Family Group.

I can see the value here. As long as I have to approve a reminder before it gets added to my list.

Tricky to make this work without adding friction. I don’t want zero friction, where my friends and family can add reminders without my knowing. But I also don’t want to have to do a lot of work to prevent and/or manage outside reminders.

The good side is that I can just disable this if I don’t like it. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple adopts this idea.

Engadget:

AT&T and T-Mobile have started rolling out cross-network call authentication services for their subscribers. That means the companies will now be able notify their customers if the call they’re getting from the other carrier truly is from the number shown on screen or if it’s a spoofed robocall.

Details in the linked post, but seems to me, this is a problem of our own creation. Why not just disable the ability to spoof entirely? If a call comes in that is not on my contact list, I want to see the true phone number, no fake names allowed.

No fines. Just break the spoofing mechanism in the first place. And first carrier to make this happen wins my business.

August 14, 2019

Vice:

Everyone is paying for books when they don’t have to.

There’s so many ways to read almost anything ever published, for free, that it borders on the obscene. Libraries: They’re good! Sure, if you want the latest release from your favorite author you either have to pay or wait for a copy from the library, but for millions of older books, you can get a digital version, legally, for free.

One secret of the publishing industry is that most American books published before 1964 never extended their copyright, meaning they’re in the public domain today.

This has been around for a while but I like reminding people every now and then.

Esquire:

You walk into the restaurant, scan the room, and there he is, hunched over a table tucked close to the wall, catching your eyes with his. Eyes exactly like his father’s.

He pops up from his seat, extends his hand, and gives a big smile—the same smile his father had but rarely flashed. “Hi, I’m Michael Gandolfini,” he says. He’s thinner than his father was, and full of boyish energy. But you notice other mannerisms—the way he runs his fingers through his hair, how he rubs his nose with the back of his hand. And all at once you realize why it was inevitable that David Chase would cast him, the twenty-year-old son of the man who played the adult Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini, as the teenage Tony in the feature-length Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark (2020).

Following in your father’s footsteps is never easy. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it is for this young man.

Deep Fakes: Full House…of Mustaches, and now it’s gone

There’s a clip flying around the internet of Bill Hader being interviewed by David Letterman. Hader does impressions of Al Pacino and Tom Cruise. But in this Deep Fake version of the clip, Hader’s face morphs into Pacino and Cruise as he shifts characters. It’s eerie, creepy, fascinating, and a sign of deeper fakes to come.

If you haven’t seen the clip, take a minute to watch.

UPDATE: Sadly, the whole reason I posted this was the clip referenced below. It’s been pulled. I suspect due to a copyright claim. Search the interwebs, ping me if you find it anywhere. Bummer.

I’ve embedded the Bill Hader clip, so it wouldn’t be a total loss.

UPDATE 2: Found it! Weirdly clipped, but take a look quick, before this gets pulled.

And then watch the clip below. It’s a similar treatment of the opening to the show Full House, but with a special Nick Offerman mustache treatment.

The future.

First things first, this is a terrific Apple Card explainer by Juli Clover for MacRumors.

But have a bit of fun and click on the Apple Card image in the middle of the post. Type in any name you like and see the Apple Card with that name come to life.

Mine is here. Feeling particularly clever? Feel free to reply with your own creations.

Luke Kurtis, Quartz:

A few months ago, I purchased an iTunes gift card off of a popular discount website.

And:

About a week after I redeemed the gift card, I noticed my iTunes account wasn’t working. When I tried to log in, it said my account was locked. I searched online for help, but I couldn’t find a solution. I called up Apple support.

And that’s the beginning of a two month journey. Fascinating read, especially if you consider the personal impact of being locked out of your Apple ID for two months.

Bloomberg:

U.S. airline safety regulators banned select MacBook Pro laptops on flights after Apple Inc. recently said that some units had batteries that posed a fire risk.

In a statement, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was “aware of the recalled batteries that are used in some Apple MacBook Pro laptops” and stated that it alerted major U.S. airlines about the recall.

I totally get this. A bad battery is a bad battery. But my question is, how will they enforce this ban? Will they be checking model numbers on all MacBook Pros? This going to be an honor system thing?