February 14, 2022

Follow the headline link, click on dailydordle or freedordle. Both will display a Wordle-like word guessing setup, with two words being guessed in parallel.

Once you get one of the words (all green), that word will lock and you’ll be left working on the other word.

Nice twist.

Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider:

A nursing student in Australia is encouraging Apple Watch owners to enable heart rate notifications, after the wearable device detected symptoms of a thyroid condition months before being diagnosed.

And:

“Instead of me waiting for the symptoms to get really bad, I could have gone to the doctor back in October, when there was this dramatic drop in a matter of days,” Lauren adds, alongside a screenshot of a graph from the Health app. “It dramatically dropped, which means my cardiovascular system wasn’t working as well as it once was.”

The drop also correlated with other symptoms, including fatigue, a sensitivity to heat, gaining weight, dry skin, and increased irritability. In December, she was diagnosed with thyroid hemiagenesis, and is undergoing treatment.

Here’s a link to Lauren’s video. Sound on.

A few years ago, I had a long conversation with a cardiologist about the future of Apple Watch and the patterns that indicate various health conditions. I walked away from that conversation feeling that the potential for Apple Watch as diagnostic tool is massive, far beyond the benefits we already see, especially as more sensors are developed and integrated with Apple’s Health infrastructure. Lauren’s video made me feel this even more strongly.

Crypto, Facebook/Meta Super Bowl ads

Crypto rivals Coinbase and FTX spent big on these two Super Bowl ads (first two videos embedded below). Clearly, the Coinbase ad (with its floating, corner-seeking QR code) was incredibly successful, as it saw the Coinbase ad shoot from 186th place on the App Store all the way to 2nd place. More importantly, it overwhelmed the Coinbase servers:

Interestingly, from all the NFL and Super Bowl crypto hype, the NFL prohibits crypto, as covered in The Athletic:

“Clubs are prohibited from selling, or otherwise allowing within club controlled media, advertisements for specific cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, other cryptocurrency sales or any other media category as it relates to blockchain, digital asset or as a blockchain development company, except as outlined in this policy,” according to the new guidelines, as read by a team official, who requested anonymity.

Another ad that stuck out in yesterday’s ad-apalooza was the Meta/Facebook Oculus ad (Third embed below). Quality of the ad aside, it’s interesting that the Facebook brand is completely absent (gives me a feeling that peak Facebook is in the past) and that Meta is betting its future on its take on the future of VR.

Whets my appetite to see what AR/VR device Apple has up its sleeve. Four months until WWDC.

February 11, 2022

The Dalrymple Report: Apple wishes, AirPods, and realityOS

Dave and I talk about a few things we would like Apple to add or fix in their current software. We also look at how dominating Apple has become in the headphone industry with its AirPods line of products. Finally, is realityOS finally coming to the consumer?

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February 10, 2022

Follow the headline link, watch the video.

The implication is that Siri thinks it’s speaking on a HomePod with a display. Is this fake? An accidental beta leak? A Siri misspeak?

Either way, interesting. According to the post, this is iOS 14.5 B1, audioOS 15.3.

From the FAQ (click the headline link):

Q: Why is your website so popular? Are you one of those famous people that no one knows why they’re famous? A: No, I’m not famous. It seems likely that most visitors simply mistype gmail.com and end up visiting gail.com by mistake.

And:

Q: How did you manage to get gail.com? A: My husband registered it as a birthday gift back in 1996.

Gmail launched in 2004. So this domain is OG.

And, finally:

Q: How many times a day is this page visited? A: In 2020 this page received a total of 5,950,012 hits, which is an average of 16,257 per day. Looking at just unique hits, we received a total of 1,295,284, for an average of 3,539 unique hits per day. Occasionally, we get Twitter-bombed and may get several tens of thousands of visitors a day. As an example, on July 21st 2020 we received 109,316 hits.

That’s amazing traffic, all accidental. Fascinating.

Statista:

When Apple introduced AirPods alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in September 2016, the reactions were mixed at best. While many were impressed with the technology behind Apple’s first true wireless headphones, their design drew a lot of criticism and the internet was having a field day cracking jokes about the headphones’ looks, price and overall appeal.

That was then. This is now. Follow the headline link and check out the numbers.

  • Apple has 34.4% of the market
  • Beats is next with 15.3% of the market

Taken together, that’s 49.7% of the market. Astonishing.

Reed Albergotti, Washington Post:

Inside Apple, your job classification can mean a lot. The difference between a “level 4″ engineer and a “level 5,” for instance, could mean a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation. And those titles help determine how much Apple employees can make when they leave the company for another job.

And:

In widely used databases that companies refer to for verification of job information, Apple changes the job title for every employee, whether they’re a PhD in computer science or a product manager, to “associate,” the company confirms.

And:

The practice recently came to light when Cher Scarlett, a former Apple software engineer who raised concerns about alleged discrimination and misconduct at the company, filed a complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that when Apple changed her job title to “associate,” it delayed the hiring process at a prospective employer by nearly a week, during which time the company rescinded the offer.

This is a long-standing practice for Apple, but it seems obvious that this can be an issue for folks who leave Apple and list a specific job title on their resume. What’s the harm to Apple if they change someone’s title to, say, “Former Level 4 Engineer” or some such? And what’s the benefit to Apple in changing someone’s title to “Associate”?

February 9, 2022

From OS X Daily. Follow the headline link for a detailed walkthrough.

In a nutshell, go to Terminal and enter:

defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true; killall Dock

To return to normal:

defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool false; killall Dock

This has been around a long time, but I’ve never encountered anyone using it. Would love an option to put all running apps in its own section of the dock, as is done with recently used applications. There a setting for that?

Lightyear

Fantastic trailer for Pixar’s “Lightyear”. Was expecting a Toy Story look and feel. Very different than that. It’s about the fictional astronaut who inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy.

Also, Buzz is voiced by Captain America, Chris Evans. Coming June 17th.

If you use Zoom on your Mac, this is a bit of a must read. Great list of shortcuts.

For me, the most important one is Shift-Command-A, to mute/unmute your audio.

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

For years, Apple has had thousands of software and hardware engineers working on an AR and VR device. The first iteration of this project is believed to be a standalone headset, featuring high-resolution displays and M1 Pro comparable performance.

We are now seeing more references to ‘realityOS’, the operating system that the headset will run, leak out in Apple open source code, as the hardware gets closer … to being a reality.

First things first, accident or not, have to acknowledge Benjamin’s pun game there at the end. My brain automatically substituted this link when I saw the ellipsis at the end of the second para.

Back to reality:

Excited to see Apple’s AR/VR device tip-toeing closer to announcement. Will the first generation focus on Augmented Reality, as opposed to Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality? That seems to be the thinking in the rumor mill. Completely different set of applications. Can’t imagine Apple will eventually play in all three spaces. Massive application potential in each.

As I mentioned in this post:

Imagine having adjustable lenses for your glasses, able to zoom in on something that would normally be beyond your range of vision, for example.

Or switching between far view and detailed close up view, sort of like bifocals or progressive lenses, but with a full field of view and the ability to change on command. Need to read a far away street sign? No problem. Thread a needle? No problem. Same lenses, just a Siri command away.

Might we get a hint of what’s coming in June’s WWDC? Just four months away.

February 8, 2022

Apple:

Apple today announced plans to introduce Tap to Pay on iPhone. The new capability will empower millions of merchants across the US, from small businesses to large retailers, to use their iPhone to seamlessly and securely accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets through a simple tap to their iPhone — no additional hardware or payment terminal needed. Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available for payment platforms and app developers to integrate into their iOS apps and offer as a payment option to their business customers. Stripe will be the first payment platform to offer Tap to Pay on iPhone to their business customers, including the Shopify Point of Sale app this spring. Additional payment platforms and apps will follow later this year.

And:

Once Tap to Pay on iPhone becomes available, merchants will be able to unlock contactless payment acceptance through a supporting iOS app on an iPhone XS or later device

And:

Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available to participating payment platforms and their app developer partners to leverage in their software developer kits (SDKs) in an upcoming iOS software beta.

Coming later this year to a future release of iOS and a partner-enabled iOS app.

Jason Snell, Six Colors:

It’s time for our annual look back on Apple’s performance during the past year, as seen through the eyes of writers, editors, developers, podcasters, and other people who spend an awful lot of time thinking about Apple.

This is the seventh year that I’ve presented this survey to a hand-selected group. They were prompted with 12 different Apple-related subjects, and asked to rate them on a scale from 1 to 5 and optionally provide text commentary per category.

Look forward to this every year. Great read, interesting takes. Happy to take part in this.

Apple follows up The Perfect Apple TV+ Ad with another Jon Hamm spot

If you’ve not seen that great Jon Hamm commercial from last week, take a look.

With that as context, here’s a follow up ad, called “Everyone but Jon Hamm — Billboard”.

Apple TV+’s CODA and Tragedy of Macbeth each get three Academy Award nominations

The official Academy Award nominations came out this morning, and CODA got three nods:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Troy Kotsur, who played the dad)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay

And The Tragedy of Macbeth added three more nominations:

  • Best Lead Actor (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel)
  • Best Production Design (production design: Stefan Dechant; set decoration: Nancy Haigh)

This is a big day for CODA, for The Tragedy of Macbeth, for Apple, and the Apple TV+ team.

Remember, Apple TV+ launched just a bit more than 2 years ago. This is an important milestone.

Here’s the complete list of nominations.

Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge:

Apple’s upcoming iOS 15.4 software update appears to have quietly added a massive quality of life change for its Shortcuts app: the ability to disable the incredibly annoying notifications for personal automations that users have set up on their devices, as spotted by Fjorden developer Florian Bürger on Twitter.

Here’s the tweet:

This is a huge step forward. The Notification is annoying, but it’s the delay that it causes in the sequence that is the real issue. Great to have this eliminated.

Note that this is a feature in the iOS 15.4 beta. No guarantee that this will make it into the actual release version, but why would they remove it?

Apple TV+ series Severance reviews: “A must watch”

Things are looking great for Severance, a new Apple TV+ thriller series that launches February 18th (week from Friday).

From Apple:

From Ben Stiller and creator Dan Erickson, Severance centers around Mark Scout (Adam Scott), a leader of a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives.

This experiment in ‘work-life balance’ is called into question as Mark finds himself at the center of an unraveling mystery that will force him to confront the true nature of his work… and of himself.

Incredible cast including Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Oscar winners Patricia Arquette and Christopher Walken, Emmy-winner John Turturro, lots more.

From the AV Club review:

“Outtie” is Lumon’s sickly cute terminology for an employee when they’re outside the office. The “Innie” clearly receives the short end of the stick: What would motivate your work self without the memory of your family or outside life in general? You don’t know if you’re putting kids through college or saving up for a tropical vacation. You never experience nights and weekends or even sleep. Lumon’s severed employees aren’t pursuing their passions, either, as the work is so tedious it almost feels deliberate. Why would anyone endure this for the sake of their “Outtie,” who’s technically another person entirely? Well, it’s not so easy to leave. “Innies” can submit resignation requests but their “Outtie” must approve them, and Helly’s “Outtie” is quite content with the current situation. There’s a chilling moment when Helly’s “Outtie” tells her through a pre-recorded message that she’s not a “person.” Only Helly’s “Outtie” is real.

And:

Lower is a delight to watch as Helly, who moves through every scene like a caged animal.

And:

Severance’s entire cast is a symphony without a single off-note.

And consider the title of the SlashFilm review:

This Mind-Blowing, Unpredictable Series From Apple TV+ Is A Must-Watch

Between those takes and the trailer (embedded below), you should have a pretty good sense of whether this show is for you.

Me? Added to Up Next, on my calendar.

February 7, 2022

The Dalrymple Report: Face ID, Wordle, Apple Wallet

This week, Dave and I talk about the advances Apple has made with Face ID, especially around the pandemic and wearing a mask. We also talk about Wordle and how it has become so popular and then being sold to The New York Times. The World Trade Center is replacing office keys with Apple Wallet and Dave gives us a few shows and movies that he’s watching.

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Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider:

An armed man who allegedly searched for former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg’s daughters and kidnapped a housekeeper was arrested on Thursday, after being tracked down via the victim’s iPad.

And:

Investigators arrested Beecher on Thursday at a motel in Cheyenne, after determining the housekeeper’s location via her iPad. It is unclear whether the Find My network was used, or other methods.

Damn.

Rare 1979 Steve Jobs business card for auction

Check out that business card, with the embossed Apple logo (just to the left of the word Apple), the old school name (Apple dropped the word “computer” from its name back in 2007), and Steve’s title (Vice President, Operations). I tweeted a still frame of the card here.

Even more interestingly, jump to about 1:23 in to see a floor plan for that Stevens Creek address. Amazing to see how small Apple was back then.

The auction will close on March 17th. Bidding does not yet appear to be open, but here’s a link to the auction calendar page, on the chance you’d like to own this piece of history yourself.

Joe Rosensteel, Six Colors:

I have to search for a lot of movies to watch on my Apple TV because I have a movie podcast. If a movie is located within a service that I’m already paying for, then I’d like to get that.

Amen. Far too often, I search for a movie that’s available on a streaming service to which I already subscribe, and I get pointed to a place to rent/buy the movie instead.

But it gets worse:

Recently, I asked Siri to display “Fight Club,” and was presented with a button to start watching it right away in Prime Video. So easy!

Unfortunately, when it started playing, it was a very compressed, blocky stream, and I could immediately tell something was amiss. I pressed the back button and discovered that what I had clicked on was actually “Popular Movies and TV — Free with ads” within Prime Video. In other words, Amazon had embedded its ad-supported IMDb TV service inside of Prime Video, with very little to differentiate the two very different presentations.

Yup.

But in fairness, it’s also possible that some of these cases are simply caused by underfunded tech staffs at billion-dollar companies where money is spent wildly on the next big swords-and-sorcery streaming series but not on the developer who has to maintain an AppleTV app and interact with a huge back-end media database.

If Apple wants to be the hub for all movie/TV streaming, they need to solve this problem, make the user experience richer, do a better job identifying the user’s current context (I’m already watching the movie on, say, HBO, so find that before you offer to rent me the same movie).

I recognize that proprietary data might be a big part of the problem here, that Netflix/HBO/Amazon/Disney databases might be incompatible with Apple’s, and that third parties enthusiasm to make the Apple TV experience rich might be limited.

Great writeup, Joe.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

There are currently two major bills on the table: The Open App Markets Act (S. 2710) and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S.2992).

Mark makes the case that neither bill is likely to pass, but this seems more of a reprieve than a sure to fail. Both bills are worth knowing about.

The first bill is The Open App Markets Act. From the bill itself:

The bill prohibits a covered company from (1) requiring developers to use an in-app payment system owned or controlled by the company as a condition of distribution or accessibility, (2) requiring that pricing or conditions of sale be equal to or more favorable on its app store than another app store, or (3) taking punitive action against a developer for using or offering different pricing terms or conditions of sale through another in-app payment system or on another app store.

A covered company may not interfere with legitimate business communications between developers and users, use non-public business information from a third-party app to compete with the app, or unreasonably prefer or rank its own apps (or those of its business partners) over other apps.

In effect, this would force Apple to allow sideloading. As Mark Gurman states:

If passed into law, this would put more than $20 billion per year in Apple revenue at great risk.

The second bill is The American Innovation and Choice Online Act. From that bill:

This bill prohibits certain large online platforms from engaging in specified acts, including giving preference to their own products on the platform, unfairly limiting the availability on the platform of competing products from another business, or discriminating in the application or enforcement of the platform’s terms of service among similarly situated users.

Further, a platform may not materially restrict or impede the capacity of a competing business user to access or interoperate with the same platform, operating system, or hardware or software features. The bill also restricts the platform’s use of nonpublic data obtained from or generated on the platform and prohibits the platform from restricting access to platform data generated by the activity of a competing business user. The bill also provides additional restrictions related to installing or uninstalling software, search or ranking functionality, and retaliation for contact with law enforcement regarding actual or potential violations of law.

The first paragraph of the bill talks about Apple giving preference to its own apps over third party apps (think App Store ratings, exposure).

But to me, the second paragraph has the bigger potential impact. Feels like this would open the door for third party apps to use Private APIs, typically forbidden by Apple. It also opens up any data gathered by Apple, and addresses what seems to be whistleblower retaliation.

February 3, 2022

William Gallagher, Apple Insider:

A Connecticut man has been arrested after police witnessed him attempting to use Apple AirTags to track a victim’s car.

And:

Local police in the town of Waterbury, say they were dispatched following a “reported domestic dispute.” An investigator on the scene “discovered the accused placing a tracking device… in the victim’s vehicle.”

Even if the perpetrator had not been witnessed, Apple’s anti-stalking prevention methods would have alerted the victim. After a period of time, the victim’s iPhone would show a notification that an AirTag had been tracking them.

This is still jarring to me. Specifically, the phrase “After a period of time”. If someone wants to stalk someone home from, say, a bar. Is the period of time short enough that the victim would see the alert in time to know not to go home?

And:

When asked by authorities, Apple will report who the registered owner of that AirTag is.

Not clear if this is a comment on official public policy, or a comment on the possibility of Apple reporting on the ownership of an AirTag.

Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge:

Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has made Face ID useful again in iOS 15.4 by finally adding the ability to use the face unlock feature while wearing a face mask.

Face ID has been useful for quite some time, even with a mask, with the caveat that you have to be wearing an Apple Watch, and be willing to type in your passcode for things like Apple Pay.

That aside, the new beta feature, Face ID with a Mask, is definitely a big gain for users.

Back to Chaim:

It’s not Apple’s first attempt at solving the Face ID / mask issue: iOS 13.5 would recognize when you were wearing a mask and show the password prompt more quickly, and the company added a feature for automatically unlocking your iPhone when wearing an Apple Watch in last year’s iOS 14.5 update. But the new Face ID mask support is a much more streamlined solution that has the benefit of not requiring the purchase of additional Apple hardware.

Yup.

After installing iOS 15.4 (at least in its current beta form), the first thing you’ll see is a splash screen asking if you’d like to enable Face ID with a mask. Setting up the feature is relatively simple, although you’ll have to re-register your face (presumably so Apple can dial in even further on the details around your eyes).

And:

There are a few weird quirks, though. If you’re using Face ID with a mask and wear glasses, Apple now asks you to make a baseline scan with each pair of glasses that you own. And when I switched to a different, unregistered pair of glasses, Face ID didn’t work when I was wearing a mask. Face ID with a mask also doesn’t work with sunglasses.

Other fails I ran into were when I covered too much of my forehead, like with a pulled-down beanie with earflaps that covered most of my head. But I did have some impressive successes, too: wearing my full ski gear of a knit hat, face mask, and goggles (albeit an unusually transparent pair of goggles) was still enough for Face ID to work and unlock my phone.

All of this is good to know. Masks are going to be part of our lives, at the very least for the shorter term. Glad to have this improvement.

Apple’s Head of User Privacy speaks!

Rene Ritchie interviews Erik Neuenschwander, Head of User Privacy at Apple. Terrific conversation, filled with detail.

If nothing else, jump to 1:25 and listen to Rene lay out a wide variety of privacy aspects that Apple has to address. Very interesting.

Washington Post, on yesterday’s quarterly Meta/Facebook earnings report:

Facebook lost daily users for the first time in its 18-year history — falling by about half a million users in the last three months of 2021, to 1.93 billion logging in each day. The loss was greatest in Africa and Latin America, suggesting that the company’s product is saturated globally — and that its long quest to add as many users as possible has peaked.

And:

Facebook Reality Labs, the company’s hardware division that builds the Oculus Quest headset, lost $3.3 billion in the quarter, despite bringing in $877 million in revenue.

And:

Meta’s stock price plummeted more than 20 percent in after-hours trading following the news.

And from CNBC:

Facebook parent Meta said on Wednesday that the privacy change Apple made to its iOS operating system last year will decrease the social media company’s sales this year by about $10 billion.

“We believe the impact of iOS overall is a headwind on our business in 2022,” Meta CFO Dave Wehner said on a call with analysts after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report. “It’s on the order of $10 billion, so it’s a pretty significant headwind for our business.”

Interestingly, Google/Alphabet are not having the same issue:

A day before Facebook’s results, Alphabet blew past estimates with its fourth-quarter numbers, and cited strength in e-commerce ads, an area where Facebook saw weakness.

Wehner suggested that Apple’s changes aren’t having the same impact on search as they are on other types of apps. He referenced how much money Google makes for Apple as the default search engine on the Safari browser.

“Given that Apple continues to take billions of dollars a year from Google Search, the incentive clearly is for this policy discrepancy to continue,” Wehner said.

Lots of fingerprinting and political posturing here.

Fortune:

Just as it dominates our economy, Big Tech now dominates Fortune’s annual ranking of corporate reputation. For the third year in a row, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft rank first, second, and third, respectively, based on our poll of some 3,700 corporate executives, directors, and analysts. It’s Apple’s 15th straight year in the No. 1 spot, a fitting coronation for the world’s most valuable company.

15 straight years with the strongest corporate reputation. No small thing.

Interesting to see Pfizer in that 4th spot.

February 2, 2022

The AirPods Max retail for $549 (though you can get them for $449 from Amazon, at least for the moment).

And for an additional $980, you can have a Gucci case to go with. Follow the headline link and check out that first image to get a sense of what your $980 will buy you.

I get it. People who love Gucci and Apple and have the disposable income will see this as a must-have accessory.

But I find it jarring. The Gucci brand is strong. The Apple brand is equally strong. But the AirPods Max and the Gucci design clash violently, at least for me. The colors don’t blend together, and any semblance of soft packability is gone.

Maybe this is gorgeous and I’m just too stodgy/stingy to get it?

Want to play Wordle for the foreseeable future? Here’s how:

  • Launch Safari on your Mac
  • Select File > Save As…
  • Choose “Web Archive” from the Format menu, then tap Save

That’s it. The web archive contains the entire dictionary of Wordle words, so the archive contains everything you need to play, once a day, as you do now. Just double-click the saved archive file and today’s Wordle will open in Safari. Works great.

I’ve played around with saving a web archive in iOS, but it’s not nearly as straight forward. If anyone finds a simple way to do this, a way that you’ve tested and verified, please do ping me. A hat tip awaits.

Makes me wonder if the New York Times will care that this is a thing. Guessing they knew this was going to happen when they made the deal.