April 7, 2021

Apple TV+ drops Mosquito Coast trailer

“Pack one bag. Be ready in 10 minutes.”

That line just sticks with me. This could be a great series.

Exec produced by the author, stars his nephew. As far as I can tell, first two episodes will drop April 30th (three weeks from this Friday). Looks excellent.

Deadline:

Apple TV+ will prepare Mythic Quest fans for the comedy’s sophomore season by dropping a bonus episode ahead of the season two premiere.

“Everlight,” a standalone episode from season one of the gaming workplace comedy will launch Friday, April 16 on the streaming platform. Following the special “Mythic Quest: Quarantine” episode, the half-hour episode is directed and executive produced by Rob McElhenney and written by Ashly Burch. The episode will see the Mythic Quest crew return to offices and co-workers following the coronavirus pandemic for their annual Everlight party. Anthony Hopkins lends his voice to the episode.

Week from Friday. On my calendar. Three weeks from then, the new season starts.

Love this show. Right up there with Ted Lasso.

Om Malik:

In December 2020, with the release of the iOS 14.3, the owners of iPhone 12 Pro (and ProMax), got to experience Apple’s new photo format, ProRaw. In simplest terms, the iPhone camera captures multiple image frames, picks out the best bits from these frames, and stitches them together in a photo with higher amount of data that can be manipulated for editing later. These are big files — about 10-12 times the sized on normal files captured by the iPhone.

On the Adobe Photoshop side:

The term ‘Super Resolution’ refers to the process of improving the quality of a photo by boosting its apparent resolution,” Adobe engineers write on the company blog. “Enlarging a photo often produces blurry details, but Super Resolution has an ace up its sleeve — an advanced machine learning model trained on millions of photos.”

The results are pretty amazing. Follow the headline link, keep in mind that the two base photos were captured with an iPhone. The crops used Photoshop’s Super Resolution machine learning to tease extra resolution and sharpness out of those originals.

April 6, 2021

Anton Shilov, Tom’s Hardware:

As spotted via Twitter, if you want to boost the power of your Mac, it may be possible with money, skill, time and some real desire by removing the DRAM and NAND chips and adding more capacious versions.

Here’s the tweet:

Back to Anton:

With a soldering station (its consumer variant is not that expensive at $60), DRAM memory chips and NAND flash memory chips, (which are close to impossible to buy on the consumer level), the engineers reportedly upgraded the Apple M1-based Mac Mini with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage to 16GB and 1TB, respectively, by de-soldering the existing components and adding more capacious chips. According to the post, no firmware modifications were necessary.

There has been a lot of discussion about the M1 memory being on the M1 chip itself. As the tweet above shows, this is a bit misleading. The memory is on the M1 SoC package, as opposed to inside the physical M1 chip.

Here’s a pic, via iFixit, that shows this up close.

Note the M1 chip, which is the silver bit with the Apple logo. And next to it are two RAM chips (the black rectangles), each one with 4GB of SK hynix LPDDR4X memory.

I tweeted about all this here. Please do reply there if you’ve got anything to add or any corrections. I find this fascinating.

Rene Ritchie on the The Day Apple Killed the PC

This is a fascinating video, with Rene Ritchie walking through and deconstructing Steve Jobs’ original iPad rollout keynote. Some wonderful anecdotes and insights. Delicious look back.

Side note: Rene pronounces his name as in renegade. Like REH-nay. I asked.

Kara Swisher:

I’m Kara Swisher, and you’re listening to “Sway.” My guest today is Apple CEO Tim Cook.

A few cherry picked Tim Cook responses, though if you have the chance, read the whole thing:

From the very start, we’ve always believed in curation. And so we review every app that goes on the store. That doesn’t mean that we’re perfect at doing it. We’re not. But we care deeply about what we’re offering our users. And when we have a news product like Apple News, we have human editors that are selecting the key stories. And so, they’re avoiding all of the misinformation that is out there. The reality is that the web in some areas has become a dark place. And without curation, you wind up with this firehose of things that I would not want to put into an amplifier.

And:

If you think about a surveillance world, a world where you know somebody is always watching everything you’re doing — and in the case of a phone or a computer, it’s also what you’re thinking, because you’re typing in searches and so on and so forth. And so I think in that kind of world, you begin to do less. You begin to think less. Your freedom of expression begins to narrow. And the walls move in on you. And I start thinking about that at its natural endpoint. And I don’t want to be a part of that society.

And (on privacy and transparency):

Steve commented on this with you over a decade ago. He said something like, privacy means people know what they’re signing up for in plain English, repeatedly. The individual should own their data. And they should own the ability to say who gets it and what of their data they get and what they use it for. And frankly, that’s not the situation of today.

And:

I think that you can do digital advertising and make money from digital advertising without tracking people when they don’t know they’re being tracked.

And:

The App Store is not cast in concrete, you know? And so we’ve changed over time. And in fact, if you look at the commissions, Kara, and I would sort of reframe a bit from what you said, because the vast majority of people pay nothing. Because there’s not an interchange of a digital good, right? And so, like, 85% of people pay zero commission. And then with our recent move with small developers, developers earning less than a million dollars a year pay 15%. Well, it turns out that that’s the vast majority of developers. And then, we also have rules that say that if you have a subscription model in the second year and later years, you only pay 15% of those. And so we’ve only reduced the price over time. It’s only gone in one direction. It’s gone down. More apps were exempted. But those rules are applied equally to everyone. So you’ve mentioned Amazon getting 15%. That’s true for any kind of video streaming service that meets the guidelines of that program.

And, on Ted Lasso:

There was no better show during COVID. I’m getting notes from a lot of different people that love it.

This is fact.

And, on Apple TV+:

We’re putting all of ourselves into it. It is not a hobby. It is not a dip your toe in. Because it’s an original focus, we don’t instantly have a catalog with 500 things in it. We’re going to build over time. We’ve gotten over 300 nominations now for awards and have won 80.

And, on Tesla and Apple Car:

I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built. I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space. So I have great appreciation for them. In terms of the work that we’re doing there, obviously, I’m going to be a little coy on that. The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view. If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And so there’s lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we’ll see what Apple does. We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day. I’m not saying that one will not.

So much more to this. Great job pulling this together by Kara Swisher.

Troy Hunt (who runs Have I Been Pwned):

The headline is pretty self-explanatory so in the interest of time, let me just jump directly into the details of how this all works. There’s been huge interest in this incident, and I’ve seen near-unprecedented traffic to Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) over the last couple of days, let me do my best to explain how I’ve approached the phone number search feature. Or if you’re impatient, you can head over to HIBP right now and search for your number.

And:

There’s over 500M phone numbers but only a few million email addresses so >99% of people were getting a “miss” when they should have gotten a “hit”. The phone numbers were easy to parse out from (mostly) well-formatted files. They were also all normalised into a nice consistent format with a country code. In short, this data set completely turned all my reasons for not doing this on its head.

This Facebook hack just adds more fuel to the fire for me. Facebook. Feh.

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Facebook and Apple are squabbling over document requests in the ongoing Epic v. Apple legal battle, according to a new discovery letter filed with the court today. Facebook is involved because Facebook executive Vivek Sharma is set to testify on behalf of Epic.

And:

According to Apple, Facebook has been continually ignoring requests for documents and using delaying tactics. Apple says it served multiple subpoenas to Facebook starting in December and met with Facebook several times to narrow the scope of the requests, but Facebook has refused to produce many of the documents in question.

Fascinating chess match here, with Apple and Facebook coming to an agreement that came unraveled when Epic added Sharma to its witness list.

April 5, 2021

At the 27th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, actor Jason Sudeikis won a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series for his leading role as the eponymous English soccer coach in Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso.”

Turns out, Ted Lasso is Apple’s premiere show. Who knew.

LG Electronics Inc. (LG) announced that it is closing its mobile business unit. The decision was approved by its board of directors earlier today.

LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services.

I really like LG as a company. I have several LG TVs and they make quality products, but the smartphone business is dominated by Apple and Samsung. It makes sense for LG to focus its efforts in places it can have a larger impact.

Apple today announced it is introducing two entirely new game categories and adding more than 30 incredible titles to Apple Arcade, its popular gaming subscription service for players of all ages. Apple Arcade offers breakthrough, unique benefits players love: no ads, no in-app purchases, support for Apple’s high user privacy standards, and one all-inclusive subscription offer with access for up to six family members. In addition to new exclusive Arcade Originals, including “NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition,” “Star Trek: Legends,” and “The Oregon Trail,” the service is introducing two new game categories, Timeless Classics and App Store Greats. Arcade Originals are playable across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Timeless Classics and App Store Greats are available on iPhone and iPad.

With the new categories Apple’s catalog now has 180 games for its users.

April 2, 2021

The Dalrymple Report: CarPlay, Siri voices, Apple TV remote

Dave bought a new car, so we talk about his first experience using CarPlay. Apple recently released new Siri voices that allows users to choose a wider variety of voices from around the world. There are more rumors about an a new Apple TV remote.

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April 1, 2021

Audience reacting to Steve Jobs revealing some magic

The specifics of the video embedded below aren’t important. It’s the magic, that wow factor that comes with the reveal of something both delightful and unexpected, done by a master of reveal.

Back then, leaks of important features were uncommon, if not totally unheard of. Now, such secrecy is incredibly difficult to maintain, due both to Apple’s rise in newsworthiness, and in the complexity of the chain of parts that bring those features to life.

This video is just a taste of that old school magic.

Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch:

Apple is adding two new voices to Siri’s English offerings, and eliminating the default “female voice” selection in the latest beta version of iOS. This means that every person setting up Siri will choose a voice for themselves and it will no longer default to the voice assistant being female, a topic that has come up quite a bit with regards to bias in voice interfaces over the past few years.

This is part of iOS 14.5, beta 6.

Great move on Apple’s part to make the choice of voice part of the onboarding process. No more defaulting to a female voice.

Want to hear the new voices? Play the video in Gruber’s tweet below:

A few days ago, we posted an article from 9to5Mac titled Apple developing new Remote for the next-generation Apple TV.

Yesterday, 9to5Mac posted an update (click headline link), adding:

This appears to be an alternative Apple TV Remote that Apple worked with cable companies to make. As the report below explains, this remote was designed for cable companies, hence the Guide button. It may not be sold by Apple directly, but instead was designed in collaboration between Apple and cable companies. It is being distributed by Universal Electronics.

So will we see an updated Siri Remote? Lots of complaints about the current “which side is up” design, would love to see a new, not quite so symmetrical take on it.

And this is the press release for the Universal Electronics remote that seems to be the mistaken identity above. I do love this, though there’s no trackpad, so not likely we’ll ever see this shipping with Apple TV.

Apple Support note:

iOS 14.5, coming later this spring, includes an update where the battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users. Symptoms of this bug include unexpected battery drain behavior or, in a small number of instances, reduced peak performance capability. This inaccurate battery health reporting does not reflect an issue with actual battery health.

Have an iPhone 11 series phone? Read the linked note.

Patently Apple:

In response to the development of AI, Internet of Things and other developments, the IP giant ARM Ltd. announced late yesterday that it will launch a new Armv9 architecture. This is the company’s first new Arm architecture in the last decade. It’s to roll out at the end of this year. At this point in time, it’s unknown when Apple’s adoption of this new architecture will take place.

Note that the headline is verbatim from Patently Apple. A quibble, but it implies that Apple has endorsed the new Arm architecture. That last sentence in the quote makes it clear that is not the case. Yet.

Still, this seems important news. And others are jumping on board:

Apple is usually silent when it comes to providing testimonials and this time is no different. However, many of Apple’s competitors such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, Google (for Android), Xiaomi and others have all signed on.

Read the article, watch the embedded video for details.

Apple, on Brooklyn artist Efdot, using his iPad Pro to design cards for Topps:

His canvas today is a baseball card. While it might seem like an unexpected place to find modern art, there’s a renaissance under way for these collectables, thanks in part to visual storytellers who are transforming sports memorabilia into pocket-sized masterpieces.

And:

Last year, Efdot started working with Topps, the official trading card company of Major League Baseball (MLB), for Project 2020. It was a limited edition release of 20 baseball cards illustrated by 20 different artists that attracted not just collectors and sports enthusiasts, but art and culture lovers too. It’s part of the reason that topps.com saw an astounding 250 percent increase in sales from 2019 to 2020.

As an old school collector, I’m both gladdened and fascinated by this resurgence.

This year, Efdot is part of Project 70, which enlists even more artists and tastemakers to reinterpret cards from the 70 years that Topps has been immortalizing baseball players. New cards are released online every weekday through the end of the year and each card is available to buy for 70 hours only.

Follow the headline link and scroll to get a look at some of this art. It’s fantastic. Gorgeous. Magical. Love the marriage of iPad technology with the art of the sports card.

Wondering how long it will be before Topps announces the NFT of the original art. If it happens, hope Efdot and fellow artists get their fair share of that payday.

March 31, 2021

Washington Post:

Phillipe Christodoulou wanted to check his bitcoin balance last month, so he searched the App Store on his iPhone for “Trezor,” the maker of a small hardware device he uses to store his cryptocurrency. Up popped the company’s padlock logo set against a bright green background. The app was rated close to five stars. He downloaded it and typed in his credentials.

In less than a second, nearly all of his life savings — 17.1 bitcoin worth $600,000 at the time — was gone. The app was a fake, designed to trick people into thinking it was a legitimate app.

Cautionary tale, both about fake apps in the App Store, and the vulnerability of crypto to non-trackable heists.

Hartley Charlton, MacRumors:

Apple introduced an innovative milled lattice pattern on the ‌Mac Pro‌ and Pro Display XDR in 2019, which is created by machining a spherical array into the internal and external surfaces of the aluminum. The result is a lightweight lattice pattern that maximizes airflow while creating an extremely rigid structure.

The new patent, first spotted by Patently Apple and granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is titled “Housing construction” and covers expanding the lattice pattern to other devices, such as the ‌iPhone‌.

Look at that first image. When I saw the article, then the image, my first thought was a check of the date. Nope, too early for April Fools Day. This appears to be a real patent filing.

Here’s a link to the actual patent, with a page showing the cheese grater on the sides of an iPhone.

Still can’t wrap my head around the use case here. A cheese grater on a device Apple worked so hard to waterproof? Not getting it.

Google Maps blog:

Sixteen years ago, many of us held a printout of directions in one hand and the steering wheel in the other to get around— without information about the traffic along your route or details about when your favorite restaurant was open.

Jarring to watch a movie or TV show where a character peers at a paper map or, for a brief slice of time, makes their way through a list of MapQuest turn-by-turn directions.

This year, we’re on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps so you can get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it. Here’s a snapshot of how we’re using AI to make Maps work better for you with a number of updates coming this year.

A notable feature here is Live View, to make it much easier to navigate indoors, say, in a mall:

We all know that awkward moment when you’re walking in the opposite direction of where you want to go — Live View uses AR cues to avoid just that. Live View is powered by a technology called global localization, which uses AI to scan tens of billions of Street View images to understand your orientation. Thanks to new advancements that help us understand the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building, we’re now able to bring Live View to some of the trickiest-to-navigate places indoors: airports, transit stations and malls.

Check out that first animated image to get a sense of this.

Read the whole post. Google Maps is raising the bar.

From John Gruber’s post on the WWDC announcement:

The invitation artwork consists of a diverse bunch of Memoji characters, peeking at a MacBook display as the hinge opens. (One of them is wearing a hearing aid.) It’s a clear callback to the Craig Federighi hero shot in the M1 announcement event that launched a thousand memes.

When I first saw the announcement, didn’t click for me, then saw this Rene Ritchie tweet, now can’t unsee it. Great callback.

But the other thing: every single one of the Memoji characters is wearing glasses, with the contents of the MacBook screen reflected in them. Does this mean Apple’s glasses product is getting announced at WWDC? I’d say that’s possible, but wouldn’t read too much into it.

The hint at Apple Glass seems so strong, so deliberate, it will be interesting to see what Apple does at WWDC to connect the dots here. If they do not announce Apple Glass (or Apple Glasses, or Apple iGlass, etc), seems to me Apple is playing the crowd here. This graphic clearly leads to a very specific conclusion. Or, if no Apple Glass, it purposely misleads.

Has Apple ever put out an invite graphic that purposely misled? Plenty of graphics that didn’t really lead anywhere, some that were obscure until the announcement made things clear (thinking bokeh event invite). But purposefully misleading? Can’t think of one.

From Canalys:

Smart personal audio devices grew 20% in 2020 to reach 432 million units, while wearable bands grew 10% to reach 185 million units. Both segments continued to be strategic winners as countries emerged from the extended battle against COVID-19, where people grew more health-conscious and became active outdoors.

To give a sense of how big Apple’s lead is here:

  • Apple/Beats audio shipments for 2020Q4: 29.5 million units
  • Second place? Samsung: 9.4 million units

That translates to Apple market share of 26.2%, Samsung 8.3%.

March 30, 2021

Apple, UofSC, Benedict College to set up 8 computer labs

Apple, the University of South Carolina, and Benedict College announced a partnership on Tuesday that will see eight Apple computer labs built statewide. Funding for the project comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief, which awarded $6 million to the school.

The labs will provide internet access to communities in broadband deserts and can be used by local school districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the South Carolina Technical College System and citizens in the community.

There will be no cost to the user for the labs and availability for lab access will be advertised in each community.

“At Apple, we believe education is the great equalizer, and that access to technology is key to learning and workforce opportunities today,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise & Education Marketing. “We are proud that Apple products and curriculum have been selected by the University of South Carolina and Benedict College for their new education labs. Together, we aim to ensure all South Carolinians have the opportunity to learn, code, create, and grow in new ways.”

Apple has a long history of championing education, including a recent initiative called Apple Teacher Portfolio to help teachers bring creativity to every lesson and any subject, no matter where learning happens.

Gadget Hacks:

Every once in a while, an iOS secret surfaces that makes me wonder, “How am I just learning about this?” I remember the first time I found out how to delete numbers in the Calculator app, and when I discovered you could bulk-move apps around the home screen. Now, there’s another tip to add to the list: a hidden iOS app whose icon you quite literally can’t find unless you know where to look.

In a nutshell, to find the app, go to your iOS Home Screen and pull down to bring up Search. Type in the word “code” and the Code Scanner app will appear. Tap it and you are in the QR-code and App Clip scanner.

Apple called the Code Scanner app by a different name in previous iOS versions. On iOS 13, it was “QR Code Reader,” and on iOS 12, it was “Scan QR Code.” Apple likely moved away from having “QR” in the name since it can also scan App Clip Codes, which can launch miniature versions of apps called “App Clips.”

It’s also in Control Center. One of those hidden things that you might not know.

Makes me wonder what new codes Apple might have up its sleeve, with the rumored AirTags and Apple Glasses. Maybe we’ll learn more at WWDC?

Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac:

We’ve been hearing rumors about the next-generation Apple TV for a while now, but we don’t know when the company plans to officially announce it. Now 9to5Mac has learned that Apple is developing a new Remote for Apple TV, which corroborates some previous rumors about Apple updating the Siri Remote.

Read Filipe’s post for all the details, but this does feel real. If it is real, will this be part of the WWDC keynote? I would love a new remote, one you can clearly navigate in the dark, tell the top from bottom, feel the button shapes you are looking for.

And maybe one compatible with “Find My” for those occasions when it slips behind the couch cushions.

Apple:

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 7 through 11, in an all-online format. Free for all developers, WWDC21 will offer unique insight into the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

And:

Apple also announced that this year’s Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for young developers to demonstrate their coding skills by creating a Swift playground, is now accepting submissions.

Online and free. Perfect.

Will we see the next generation of Apple Silicon Mac? Apple Glass? A new Apple TV remote? Other rumored products? Can’t wait for the keynote.

Entertainment Weekly:

Though season 2 of Ted Lasso won’t premiere on Apple TV+ until this summer, fans who tune into the SAG Awards will be treated to a new sketch starring the AFC Richmond gang, which will open the ceremony on April 4. EW has the exclusive teaser for the two-minute video, in which Coach Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) gives his team a pep talk following their SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

If you can’t get enough of Ted Lasso, follow the headline link, put up with the ad, then drink in the Lasso.

Will It Work: Installing DOS games on your iPhone

I watch every one of the Will It Work videos. Always an interesting twist on connecting obscure hardware/media to your iPhone.

This episode is one of my favorites. It shows off an App Store approved DOS emulator running fresh out of the package DOS games. Nice.

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

Apple has lost a legal bid to block Swatch from registering Steve Jobs’ famous “One more thing” saying as a trademark in the UK, reports The Telegraph.

Here’s The Telegraph link, paywalled.

From the decision:

On Monday, judge Iain Purvis overturned a previous decision that sided with Apple, saying that even if Swatch had meant to “annoy” Apple, the company could not stop it from doing so.

He added that the phrase may have originated with the 1970s television detective Columbo, a character who was known for cornering criminals by asking them “just one more thing.”

That Columbo reference might be prior art here. But still, modern times, that’s a phrase I definitely associate with Apple, no doubt.

In 2017, Apple filed a complaint in a Swiss court over the use of the slogan “Tick Different” in a Swatch marketing campaign, arguing that the watchmaker was unfairly referencing the Apple’s 1990s “Think Different” ad campaign for its own gain.

And:

Two years later the Swiss court agreed with Swatch that Apple’s “Think Different” was not known well enough in Switzerland to warrant protection, and that Apple had not produced documents that sufficiently backed up its case.

Fascinating.