iOS 11, new games, iPhone document scanning, Firefox update


Hands on with iOS 11, which we will all have soonish — With the newly revamped iPad app dock in iOS 11, Apple introduces a completely new interaction experience more in line with macOS. Check out the new UI, which supports in-the-dock app interactions and drag-and-drop gestures, in this AppleInsider video.
Apple is also completely revamping the App Store in iOS 11, adding a number of new features and under-the-hood enhancements, while at the same time streamlining the platform’s user interface. AppleInsider goes over all the changes in this in-depth video.
Other changes include Augmented Reality Maps.

Augmented Reality added to Maps in iOS 11 will show landmarks in real time in the distance

Full Throttle Remastered and Layton’s Mystery Journey arrive for iPhone, iPad — Two notable puzzle-oriented games have become available to download from the iOS App Store today, with Full Throttle Remastered bringing a classic adventure game up to date, while Layton’s Mystery Journey lands on iPhone and iPad months before the Nintendo 3DS edition goes on sale.
Requiring iOS 9.0 or later and taking up 3.9GB of space, Full Throttle Remastered is available to purchase from the iOS App Store for NZ$7.49/US$4.99. (The Mac version of the game is NZ$21.99/US$14.99.)
Layton’s Mystery Journey requires iOS 9.0 or later, takes up 1.14GB of storage, and is priced at US$15.99.

How to turn your iPhone into a document scanner (and when you shouldn’t) — Nothing can beat having the iPhone’s camera with you but many, many tools can better how that camera shoots documents and what you can do with them later. AppleInsider staffers show you what apps and hardware we use to scan everything from single receipts to the contents of a history archive.

Mozilla upgrades Firefox for iOS to version 8.0, adds QR code reader and night-reading mode — Mozilla has upgraded Firefox for iOS to version 8.0, with the latest edition of the mobile web browser altering the way it handles tabs, as well as introducing new features including a built-in QR code scanner and a Night Mode that makes Firefox more useful for late night browsing.

New HR head, Irish tax take, Fantastical, spotting wishing emails, Shadow Warrior free


Deirdre O’Brien named as Apple’s new ‘Vice President of People’ overseeing HR — Apple has announced that Deirdre O’Brien, vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations, has been named the head of human resources —a title the company is calling ‘Vice President of People.’ O’Brien has now worked for five Apple CEOs.

Irish government establishing a fund to manage $15.2 billion to be collected from Apple — The Irish government is establishing a fund to manage the estimated 13 billion euros (about NZ$20.38/US$15.2 billion) it will collect from Apple in back taxes, nearly a year after the European Commission ruled the country had provided a “sweetheart deal” on tax to the USfirm, according to Bloomberg.

Fantastical 2.4 for Mac adds attachments, Facebook calendar integration — Fantastical 2.4 for Mac adds key new features, and AppleInsider checks to see if the NZ$74.99/US$50 entry price is worth it. (If you’ve already a user then this update to Fantastical for the Mac is free.) Apple Insider finds that the new Fantastical 2.4 for Mac brings features that may clinch the deal for you.

Some tips for spotting Phishing email — 84% of NordVPN’s National Privacy Test respondents said they would ignore an email request from a bank asking for personal information. Yet statistics show that up to 45% of Internet users keep clicking on dangerous links or providing personal information where they shouldn’t. Here are some tips for spotting this insidious form of malware that Macs are still prone to – because they’re users are humans.

Shadow Warrior: Special Edition for macOS (and Yankai’s Triangle for iOS) temporarily free — Two games are being briefly made available to download for free on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, with the 2013 remake of Shadow Warrior for macOS offered by Humble Bundle at a low charge until July 22, while Yankai’s Triangle is the free ‘App of the Week’ in the App Store.

The Apocalypticon ~ houses on fire, be forgotten, laws and even more crazy stuff


Californian fires blamed on the housing crisis — California is on fire again. CalFire, one of the agencies charged with putting those fires out, is tracking upward of two dozen conflagrations up and down the state at the moment: Detwiller, Grade, Bridge, Wall, Alamo, Garza, on and on— ranging in size from a couple hundred acres to nearly 50,000. And it’s not just global warming, it’s because there are houses in more places than ever before.

No borders, so how do laws work? Recent court cases are threatening to make the situation even more difficult by demanding a country’s laws be honoured by companies like Google all around the world. On Wednesday, an ongoing case with terrifying implications was kicked up to the European Union’s highest court. In this case it’s the European law that guarantees a right to be forgotten.
~ Some we just wish we could forget. 

Yeah, you knew where this was going! At the first meeting of the Trump administration’s new advisory committee on election integrity [yes, I know! This kind of boils down to ‘Trump’s opponents need integrity, but Trump doesn’t’]  consisted mainly of voter-fraud fear-mongering. As he opened the event, President Trump wondered aloud whether states which have refused to comply with the committee’s massive request for voter data (because it violates state law) have something to hide. “What are they worried about?” he asked. “There’s something, there always is.”

Speaking of integrity, Sean Spicer finally showed some … by quitting. White House press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly resigned last Friday after opposing President Donald Trump’s appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. The president asked Spicer to stay in his role, but Spicer said appointing Scaramucci was a major mistake. Or so wrote The New York Times. NBC News later confirmed the resignation. Spicer tweeted later he will continue to serve through August.
But hey, most US Republican’s think education is ‘bad for the country’. So clearly they deserve to be ruled by a f_ _k-wit. In an increasingly polarised culture, the drastic shift is the latest piece of evidence that institutions of higher education — along with labour unions, banks, churches, and the news media — have been plunged headfirst into a hyperpartisan war.
[So please don’t bring back the draft.]
The US government has been taking steps to scale back its cyber-security. Sounds sensible, right? I mean, if you’re going to be so pally with the Russians, make things easier for them. And this in a world in which an American bloke built a robot to crack safes. [Or should that be to ‘click’ safes?] 

Trump has already started his 2020 election campaign with a big payment — to himself. According to the Trump campaign’s self-reported FEC filings, this has amounted to about $600,000 spent at Trump-owned properties in just the first six months of his presidency.
~ It’s ironic that people like me see him as stupid. We must seem so ridiculously, fundamentally stupid to him, that he can get away with all this.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Prime Minister thinks the laws of maths don’t apply … to Australia. “Well the laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia,” he said. Right. 
Yes, it’s all so inexplicable. Thank goodness we can explain human understanding with cats.

Plastic Earth — Since large-scale production of plastics began in the 1950s, our civilisation has produced a whopping 8.3 billion tonnes of the stuff. Of this, 6.3 billion tonnes – around 76% – has already gone to waste.
~ Another human triumph, right there. 

Artificial sweeteners make us fat — The theory behind artificial sweeteners is simple: use them instead of sugar, you get the joy of sweet-tasting beverages and foods without the downer of extra calories, potential weight gain and related health issues. In practice, it’s not so simple, as a review of the scientific evidence on non-nutritive sweeteners published Monday shows. After looking at two types of scientific research, the authors conclude there is no solid evidence that sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose help people manage their weight.
~ I’ve never been  fan of replacing something natural but bad with something unnatural. 

But I always like to end this procession of human-made disaster-porn on a positive note. So here’s all you need to travel securely. Gah …

Kuiper Belt object, lighter proton, Trappist tides, gravity affect, squishy heart, science song, Indian solar rail, Galaxy mag online, sturdy Tardigrades


NASA captures impossible glimpse Of Kuiper Belt object billions of kilometres away — In about a year and a half from now, the New Horizons Spacecraft will whiz past a distant Kuiper Belt object named 2014 MU69. This rocky relic of the ancient Solar System, located about 6.4 billion kilometres away, just passed in front of a distant star, resulting in one of the more extraordinary eclipses ever captured by scientists.
~ Nice catch.

The Proton is lighter than we thought — You can’t weigh the universe’s smallest particles on a bathroom scale. But in a clever new experiment, physicists have found one such particle – the proton – is lighter than previously thought. The researchers found the mass to be 1.007276466583 atomic mass units. That’s roughly 30 billionths of a percent lower than the average value from past experiments: a seemingly tiny difference that is actually significant by three standard deviations. The result both creates and clears up mysteries, and could help explain the universe as we know it.
~ 4.

Massive tides could boost TRAPPIST-1’s prospects for life — Earlier this year, Earthlings rejoiced when scientists announced the discovery of three rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of TRAPPIST-1, an ‘ultracool dwarf’ star located just 39 light years away. Soon after, astronomers brought us back to Earth, pointing out that it might be hard for life to survive on a world in such a tight orbit around such a dim star. But the debate has now taken yet another delicious twist, this time, in favour of aliens.
~ For Earthlings really now how to party, ultra cool dwarf. 

Scientists measure gravity effect entity particles for the first time — Humans will probably never explore the area around a black hole, at least while you’re alive. That’s mostly because most black holes are too far away, and even if we could travel to them, it’s unlikely we’d survive their gravitational pull. That means that if we want to study the wacky effects extreme gravity might have, we need to get creative — which is exactly what an international team of physicists has just done.
~ Quick, make more Well semimetal. 

Squishy artificial heart — Researchers in Europe have created a soft artificial heart that mimics the real thing. It still isn’t ready for prime time, but the approach, in which the developers used silicone and 3D-printing, could revolutionise the way patients with heart disease are treated.
~ Are, don’t it just melt your heart! (Yikes!)\

Science picks ‘best’ song — Is there one song, or one kind of song, that’s generally more enjoyable? Recently, author Tom Cox tweeted some musings on the philosophy behind what makes the “best song ever”. A significant portion of the internet, however, argued that he was full of crap because the best song of all time is Toto’s classic 1982 hit, Africa.
~ I still shudder in pure revulsion whenever I hear even one note of any Beegees’ disco-era material. What say you, science? 

India to save thousands of litres of fuel with solar carriages — India’s massive diesel-guzzling railway network is getting serious about its experiments with solar. On July 14th, Indian Railways rolled out its first train with rooftop solar panels that power the lights, fans, and information display systems inside passenger coaches. The train will still be pulled by a diesel-powered locomotive, but a set of 16 solar panels atop each coach will replace the diesel generators that typically power these appliances.
~ I guess people will be dissuaded more from riding on the roofs, then. 

Galaxy online — Galaxy magazine was a pulpy, science fiction paradise from 1950 to 1980, publishing some of the most important futuristic voices of the 20th century — to say nothing of the amazing cover illustrations. And you can read hundreds of issues from its heyday online, all thanks to Archive.org.
~ Yay!

Tardigrades would be tardy survivors — Microscopic tardigrades, also known as “water bears”, are the toughest animals on the planet, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space. In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that tardigrades are poised to survive literally anything that nature throws at them — and that of the animals alive today, they will be the last ones standing before the Sun annihilates the Earth billions of years from now.
~ I’m still not sure I’m jealous, though. 

Five Tip Friday ~ Checking the weather Reminders, Night Shift Calendar & extra extras


1/ Check the Weather quickly using Spotlight — If you’re curious what the weather is like, you can launch the stock or a 3rd party weather app, sure, or just pull down on a Home Screen page to get Spotlight (device and ’net search) to appear. Type in “weather (and location)” to get the weather report for that spot. You’ll get the details you’re looking for. The same applies to any day within the normal seven-day forecast period. This Spotlight trick works on iPad, too. (It even works on macOS in Spotlight.)

2/ Delete all Reminders in a list — Sometimes, you want to quickly delete all reminders in a list. People use the Reminders app as a catch-all for everything we want to remember, whether it’s work-related or a group of tasks we need to cary out.
Within iOS, there’s a way to delete not only the list, but also all the reminders within that list. This works for things you’ve marked as completed, along with tasks that you haven’t tapped to show them as done. Launch the Reminders app and navigate to the list you want to delete.
Now, tap the Edit button in the top right corner of the app.
Scroll to the bottom (if you can’t see it it) and find the item that says Delete List.
Tap that option and confirm you want to delete all the reminders. (This is a viable on Mac too: secondary click (right- or Control-click) the name of the list and choose Delete. If you are working in iCloud.com, you can go to a Reminders list, click on Options, and then choose Delete. When you delete a Reminders list from one device, that action will take place on every device logged into the same iCloud account.

3/ Night Shift Mode into Staying on All the Time — You can have Night Shift on iOS on all the time if you prefer the softer lighting (it’s more yellowish) of Night Shift mode all the time. Night Shift is most useful after sunset, you may want to have it enabled all the time. This display-based setting makes your screen “warmer,” usually at night, to cut down on blue light exposure which is believed to keep people awake. To get to this setting: Settings> Display & Brightness> Night Shift. The default is to have the mode activate at sunset, and then deactivate at sunrise but you can also set custom start and stop times for the mode.
To keep Night Shift on during the day, you need to set custom hours for the feature. Unfortunately, you can’t set the start and stop times the same so you have to decide on a one-minute time of the day (or night) when it’s okay for the mode to briefly deactivate: for example, Night Shift could temporarily stop at 1:59am. Then, the mode turns back on at 2am.

4/ Set your default Calendar across devices — People can find their Mac set to add events by default to one calendar while their iPhone is adding them automatically to a different one. This can make it seem that iPhone events are colour-coded differently to Mac events, which is confusing.
All your Apple devices that can sync with your iCloud account have a “default calendar” setting that’ll be applied when you don’t specifically change which one you’d like to add an event to. On the iPhone and iPad, this option is listed under Settings > Calendar. On the Mac, this setting is within Calendar > Preferences under the “General” tab.

5/ Dealing with other calendar services — When a device is set to sync to a calendar (say, a Google one) and that particular calendar isn’t even configured on another of that person’s devices, it will make it seem like everything from one device is disappearing. You can check which accounts you’ve got set to sync calendars on the Mac under System Preferences > Internet Accounts.
Any of your accounts that have “Calendars” listed in grey underneath their names are syncing that service with your Mac. Verify that you’ve got the same list turned on for your iPhone or iPad at Settings > Calendar > Accounts.

Extra – The Health app: as Apple Insider puts it in a detailed explanation, the launchpad for all things is the Health Data tab, which lists all of the categories the app can handle. While Activity, Mindfulness, Nutrition and Sleep are front-and-center, others include Body Measurements,  Health Records, Reproductive Health, Results and Vitals. These all break down into numerous subcategories, where the real meat of the app is found. Under “Activity,” for instance, are items like steps, workout duration, and active energy consumption. Tapping on one displays a graph with adjustable views, as well as an explanation, suggested apps, and a set of configuration options.

Extra extra — the logic of iPhone/iPad Force Quitting: The Mac Observer has a detailed description of why and when you may need to do this, and when you should’t worry.

Aussie lobby, 7nm process & Samsung, Clips gets Disney, Intel nixes wearables, Files app i iOS 11, YouTube for iPhone, Blackberry Apple & NSA


Apple sends top executives to lobby Australian government over proposed encryption laws — Apple has sent top privacy executives to Australia twice over the past month to discuss proposed cybersecurity laws that could compel technology companies to provide law enforcement agencies access to encrypted customer messages. [Pass out a few iPhones and Bob’s yer uncle?]

TSMC’s 7nm process enhancement may keep Apple from using Samsung for ‘A12’ chip production — Samsung may not return to making Apple’s A-series processors in 2018 as once thought, with a new report claiming chip producer TSMC’s 7-nanometer FinFET fabrication process could help the firm retain its status as sole processor supplier for the upcoming ‘A12’ chip.

Clips now features Disney and Pixar characters and new graphic overlays — Apple has updated Clips, its app that allows iPhone and iPad users to create ‘expressive videos.’ It lets you combine video clips, photos and music into videos to share with friends through the Messages app, or on Instagram, Facebook and other social networks.
The update includes dozens of new graphic overlays and posters, plus usability improvements. Users can now add classic Disney and Pixar characters to their videos.

Intel reportedly disbands wearables division as it focuses on AR — Intel has reportedly laid off the few employees working in its health wearables division, which includes fitness trackers and the Basis smartwatch, as the company refocuses on augmented reality.

Watch Apple’s new Files app for iOS 11 — Wondering how Apple’s new Files app for iOS 11 works on iPad? AppleInsider takes an in-depth look at the upcoming file management system in this video.

YouTube TV grows, now services 15 markets and serves 48 channels to iPhone — YouTube has expanded its live television service to 10 more markets, and boosted the number of available nationwide channels to 48 including BBC America, Syfy, plus assorted sports and news channels.

Blackberry joins Apple in gaining NSA approval for secure communications — BlackBerry has received approval from the National Security Agency (NSA) to sell tools for securing phone calls and text messages to the United States government, with the Canadian smartphone producer joining Apple on the list of companies endorsed for federal government use.

Apple tops profits, Jobs opera, XEffects, video organiser, biggest turbines, Shairwaves for audio


Apple ranked as most profitable US company by far on newest Fortune 500 ranking — Apple once again has claimed the top spot in global profits, according to Fortune’s annual ranking of U.S. companies shaping the world. In Fortune magazine’s 63rd composition of the list of Fortune 500 companies, Apple has seized the third spot in revenue, behind only Walmart and Berkshire Hathaway. However, ranked by profitability, the company destroys all challengers, reaping $45.7 billion in profit and handily dispatching second place JP Morgan Chase with $24.7 billion. [That’s where cutting the affiliate payouts got Apple?]

Steve Jobs opera set to premier this week after two years of preparation — Almost two years after the Santa Fe Opera commissioned The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the narrative, music and rehearsals are complete and the production is set to open this Saturday as part of a limited six-show run. [The only rhyme that springs to mind in all this is ‘crapple’.]

XEffects 3D Video Walls plugin released for Final Cut Pro X — FxFactory has released a new Final Cut Pro X plugin called XEffects 3D Video Walls. Developed by partner Idustrial Revolution, it allows the user to add moving video or still images to video walls in 3D space. A video editor can use a single panel positioned in 3D space with reflections and depth of field or put together a tumbling panel of 15 cells in three rows. 3D Video walls is launched at a discounted price of US$49 for a month.

Videux is a new video organiser/player for macOS — Half8Fish has introduced Videux, an organiser, player, and workflow assistant for macOS. It’s designed for use with video collections. The full version of Videux Pro launches with an introductory offer of NZ$149.99/US$99.99. Its requires macOS or higher and is available at the Mac App Store. A seven-day demo is available from the Half8Fish website. (Play LT at NZ$7.49 is different in that it includes primarily only the player portion of Videux, along with the ability to pick/cull, rate and sort video.)

Apple’s Oregon wind power project to use the biggest turbines ever deployed in the area — Regulators have cleared Apple’s Oregon wind power project to use the biggest turbines ever deployed in the Pacific Northwest, reports the Portland Business Journal.

Shairwaves makes it easy for Macs to share connected audio devices — Coolatoola’s Shairwaves is an HD audio device sharing app that provides the ability for Macs to share their connected audio devices. Just as printers and screens can be shared, so now audio devices can be shared as well. Although it’s similar to Apple’s AirPlay, Shairwaves doesn’t use AirPlay’s protocols. Shairwaves supports macOS and higher. Pricing starts at US$5.

iPhones still in use, Lightroom app, Qualcomm action, tvOS 10.2.2, Nokia health, Speidel Watch bands


The classic Speidel watch band is now available for Apple Watch

Almost two-thirds of all iPhones are still being used — Nearly two-thirds of iPhones sold since the 2007 launch remain in use, according to data from Newzoo (as cited by Digitimes). The market intelligence firm says that 728 million Apple smartphones remained in use as of April, which represents about 63% of all iPhones sold in the past decade.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.8.0 update for iPhone brings 3D Touch to brush selection tool — Adobe has updated its Lightroom app for iPhone and iPad, with changes to the brush selection tool, in-app camera fixes, and support for the latest digital cameras and lenses.

Four Apple manufacturers launch antitrust complaint against Qualcomm, with Apple’s backing — Four of Apple’s manufacturing partners (Hon Hai/Foxconn, Compal, Wistron, and Pegatron) have filed counterclaims against Qualcomm, accusing the chipmaker of violating two sections of the Sherman Antitrust Act. [Is this practical or use vindictive?]

Apple Releases tvOS 10.2.2, a Security Release — Apple has released tvOS 10.2.2. Apple notoriously doesn’t include patch notes for most tvOS releases, but like the other updates released on Wednesday, this is likely a maintenance and security release.

Apple once again selling Nokia health accessories — Back in April of 2016, Nokia bought connected-body accessory manufacturer Withings, a company that makes the Body Cardioand Body+ smart scales, Thermo Thermometer, and BPM+ Blood Pressure Monitor. Due to a patent battle with Nokia over intellectual property licensing, Apple pulled the products from sale at Apple retail and online stores.

The two companies settled their differences in May of 2017, with Apple agreeing to a multi-year license to the patents in question and also agreeing to put the products – now branded as Nokia products – back in stores. Having the devices back in Apple’s retail ecosystem is probably a relief for the former Withings group, as Apple customers are the target market for the now-Nokia products.

Speidel Twist-O-Flex watchbands make it to Apple Watch — A product that has been around about as long as Dennis Sellers and me is making a reappearance in a new way. Speidel, the maker of the Twist-O-Flex watchband that has been around since 1959, is now selling its classic expandable-bracelet watchband for the Apple Watch at a very affordable US$50.

Isabel Ge Mahe for China, macOS iTunes & Logic updates, dual-screen wallpapers, machine learning, dev tools, ChapterWork, Transmit 5, MacStock


Apple appoints Isabel Ge Mahe as managing director of Greater China  — Apple has named vice president of wireless technologies Isabel Ge Mahe as managing director of Greater China, where she will report to CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams. Under the newly created role, Apple said in a prepared statement that Mahe will lead and coordinate Apple’s team in China.
Mahe was born in Shenyang, Liaoning, and is fluent in Mandarin. She earned both Bachelor and Master of Electrical Engineering degrees from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also serves as an industry advisor to the school’s EE/CS department.

Apple Releases Security Updates for OS X Yosemite and El Capitan — Apple has released security updates for OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan. Apple’s patch notes for both updates specify only that, “Security Update 2017-003 is recommended for all users and improves the security of OS X.”

Logic Pro X gets more Drummer options, Alchemy enhancements — Apple has updated Logic Pro X, its digital audio workstation, with a group of new features as well as various bugfixes. The upgraded software includes extra “Pop,” “Songwriter,” and “Latin” Drummers, according to Apple. New Drummer loops can be added to a song and tweaked using performance controls. The free update is available via the Mac App Store.

Apple Releases iTunes 12.6.2 for Mac as a maintenance release — Apple has released iTunes 12.6.2. It’s a maintenance release, with Apple’s patch notes saying only, “This update includes minor app and performance improvements.”

Twelve South providing free Charleston-themed dual-screen Mac wallpapers — Charleston, SC is not only the home of Apple accessory design shop Twelve South, but a city that’s often listed in compilations of the most beautiful cities of the world. Twelve South is giving all of us who aren’t privileged to live in Charleston to share in its beauty through the release of three dual-screen Mac wallpaper sets.

Apple allows publicity, transparency for in-house researchers with new Machine Learning Journal — Apple has launched a new machine learning sub-site written by Apple engineers discussing techniques in use for better results and to assist burgeoning developers in the field.

Apple rolls out new developer tools to aid in subscription retention — Apple has announced the launch of server notifications and enhanced receipts for subscriptions, including auto-renewable subscriptions, tools that provide actionable information for retaining paying users.

ChapterWork for macOS simplifies work on chapter tracks, markers in digital movies — einstein’s legacy’s ChapterWork is a macOS utility for working with chapter tracks and markers in digital movies. It provides a simple, but effective, graphic interface for creating, updating and internationalizing chapter tracks in your visual masterpieces. [I believe einstein’s legacy’s name, at least, is under-capitalised.] ChapterWork requires macOS 10.9 or higher and is available for NZ$29.99/US$19.99 from the Mac App Store.

Panic Releases Transmit 5 File Transfer Utility for Mac, Supports Panic Sync and Cloud Services — Panic announced the release of Transmit 5, seven years after the release of version 4 of its popular file transfer app. New features include support for Panic Sync and 10 cloud services.

New Mac conference — Newcomer Macstock Conference and Expo aims to have something for everyone. The Mac Observer‘s staff ventured this past weekend to Crystal Lake, Illinois for Macstock 2017. Good times were had by all.

Aussie back door, Google Glass & iPhone AR, Bluetooth mesh networking, Kygo, more Apple Pay, Starling Bank, Snapchat’s new features


Australia’s Attorney General thinks he can convince Apple that encryption back doors are good — Australia is proposing laws that would require companies like Apple and Facebook to give the government access to our personal encrypted data, and now the country’s attorney general thinks he can convince Apple that’s a good idea. Australia Attorney General George Brandis is meeting with Apple this week in an effort to coax the iPhone maker into voluntarily building back doors into its encryption. [Gah!]

Google resurrects Glass for enterprise as new AR headset for iPhone 7 is unveiled — Google appears to have ditched the concept of Google Glass as fashion accessory in its latest industry-focused revision to the augmented reality product, and a new headset called the Mira Prism [main picture, above] will allow users to snap in an iPhone 7 to reflect the screen into the user’s field of vision. Newly announced, the Mira Prism is an augmented reality headset that resembles a set of safety eyeglasses designed to incorporate an iPhone 7. The iPhone’s display is reflected onto the headset through the Mira app, so it will not quite be universal.

Mesh networking addition to Bluetooth LE revealed, could help boost Apple HomeKit coverage — The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has updated the specification for the wireless communications technology, with the introduction of mesh networking allowing Bluetooth LE devices to more easily communicate with each other, potentially helping home automation platforms such as Apple’s HomeKit as well as larger scale networks.

Apple Music releases trailer for Kygo: Stole the Show Documentary — Apple Music just pushed out a trailer for Kygo: Stole the Show, a documentary on the life and career of DJ/musician Kygo. This documentary is another original movie from Apple Music, and it culminates with a huge show in 2016 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Apple Pay expands to 27 new US banks, plus new options in China, Ireland, Russia, Italy & Starling Bank — Apple on Tuesday added 27 US banks and credit unions to the Apple Pay roster, while simultaneously bringing the platform to more options in China, Italy, Ireland, and Russia, and for UK’s mobile-only Starling Bank can now add their debit cards to Apple Pay, potentially before they even receive their plastic cards in the mail.

Snapchat Adds 2 new features: Tint Brush and Multi-Snap — New Snapchat features have arrived for iOS (and Android) users. Tint Brush lets you selectively change the colour of objects or areas in your snaps. Multi-Snap lets you continuously record multiple 10 second snaps.

Macs unbroken, wipe before selling, iTunes Connect change, free iDevice backup, Editors Keys site


iMazing Mini is a free Mac app that lets you back up your iPhones and iPads over WiFi networks

macOS, Mac apps only account for 0.3% of common computer repair issues in 2017 — Here’s another good reason to keep using Mac, or switch if you’re not currently a Mac user: macOS and macOS apps only account for 0.3% of computer repair issues in 2017, as compiled by the RESCUECOM computer repair company.
“Windows apps are the biggest problem this year due to buggy Windows 10 updates,” says RESCUECOM. “While Microsoft fixes the errors, they still cause problems and frustration.”

How to backup, wipe and restore your Mac before selling it — Planning to sell your Mac? AppleInsider covers the step-by-step process of backing up your files, wiping the hard drive and restoring everything on a new machine in this video. [This is important as tech to get ‘deleted’ files from Macs is widely available.]

Apple announces new customer support role in iTunes Connect — Apple has announced, via its Developer web portal, a new iTunes Connect feature that allows developer customer support teams to respond to submitted App Store reviews. iTunes Connect is a suite of web-based tools for managing content sold on iTunes, the iBooks Store, and the various app stores.

iMazing Mini for macOS lets you backup iOS devices over a Wi-Fi network — DigiDNA has introduced iMazing Mini, a free macOS utility designed to automatically backup iOS devices over any local Wi-Fi network.
The app provides the ability to backup your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch whenever the device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac. Backups can be encrypted for security, and the incremental nature of the backups allows restoring a specific version of the backup.
iMazing Mini requires macOS 10.8 or higher and is available exclusively through the iMazing website. (A Windows version is in the works.) [Via Apple World Today.]

Editors Keys gets new site — The English company selling keyboard overlays and recording equipment has had a major site makeover.

Tuesday Talk ~ When enemies are good, and Apple succession


When Apple was an underdog fighting the Wintel hegemony, Steve Jobs believed it was good to have an enemy. In Apple’s early days, Steve Jobs had IBM as the enemy, which seems odd now that the companies collaborate too much. Having an enemy keeps employees and fans alike focused on the company and the platform, which can be a dream scenario. Steve Jobs was expert at stoking those fires, and then reversing course and embracing the enemy as a long lost – and necessary – friend. There’s no tech company Apple is particularly disenchanted with now, so no obvious enemy – Apple has been working with Microsoft, for example, for years, and even when the incendiary Balmer was it’s CEO it never got really bad. Now collaboration is even better thanks to CEO Satya Narayana Nadella.

An obvious foe, you’d think, would be US President Donald Trump. He’s anti-gay, anti-foreigner, retrogressive, aggressive, big-mouthed and, most likely, mentally unbalanced (or at least mentally inadequate), yet even Apple isn’t game to take him on. Although honestly, I suspect Jobs may have been obstreperous enough. (Jobs’ father was a Syrian refugee, but Steve was born in the US and adopted out). Yet Tim Cook has worked with Trump’s advisory teams on occasion, despite abhorring Trump’s anti-gay stance and his anti immigrant bias and, I’m sure, quite a lot more. Apple has also pledged to guard its users privacy while Trump calls for tools to decrypt everything, or at least encrypt data less (all of which may complicate Apple’s push into Artificial Intelligence, which you have to admit looks more attractive in the light of where so-called ‘human intelligence’ appears to be leading us these days).
While Tim Cook has made veiled references to Facebook and Google’s harvesting of data for profit, they’re, you know, veiled: “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it,” he said in a 2015 speech. “We think that’s wrong.” My italics – “They”being mostly Google and Facebook.

I’m not criticising Cook – I think Jobs made a great choice in him. And succession can be such a poison chalice. Just look how badly the New Zealand Labour Party has handled that over the last ten years, and where that’s got us: National is floundering and there’s no one able to capitalise on it.
But who would succeed Cook, who has piloted Apple through stormy waters while continuing to make vast profits, while growing Apple’s services into a money-making behemoth?
Tim Cook was already Chief Operating Officer and essentially running Apple during the illness of Steve Jobs in 2009-11, learning every aspect of the company while being groomed to take the helm. If the only candidates are Phil Schiller and Jeff Williams, they’re gifted and very competent, sure, but also both very ‘white bread’.

I think Apple needs to keep promoting diversity within the company to stay successful in this divisive world  If either of these guys end up in charge, they need a strong, connected and diverse management team under them to keep engaging with world concerns – and world markets.

Password minder, Runescape on iOS, iPads in hospitals, Apple Pay promotion in China, Subway Apple Pay, Honda going CarPlay


Never forget a password again: new app delivers three levels of encrypted security for free — New Zealand App developer Lookiimedia has just announced Mycena, a new password management app for both iOS and Android devices.
Designed for non-technical users to make saving and retrieving passwords fast and painless, Mycena provides up to three levels of password security, free for the first five passwords. Additional password storage is available via small one-time payments rather than monthly or annual subscription fees.
Mycena can be used on multiple devices including a mix of iOS and Android, and passwords can be synchronised via Mycena’s cloud service. However, O’Toole says the company recommends that users delete the cloud copy of their passwords once synchronisation is complete. Pricing is free to cover 5 passwords, NZ$4.49 for 20 passwords, NZ$7.49 for 50 and NZ14.99 for 120  (all are one-off costs, and multi device). In US dollars this is roughly $3.29, $5.48 and $10.97. Mycena has a blog with more info.

RuneScape and Old School RuneScape will come to mobile and tablet devices — Publisher Jagex has announced the two titles will be the first mainstream and fully-established Western MMORPGs to deliver the complete MMO experience to PC and mobile platforms and feature full interoperable play, allowing players to jump from PC to mobile platforms and back again. Old School RuneScape is set to debut on mobile platforms this winter, with RuneScape to follow.
Players will be able to have a RuneScape and Old School RuneScape adventure just on their mobile devices if they choose, enabling past RuneScape players who have moved from PC to mobile as a preferred platform, to reconnect with the game and their characters once again. You can find out more and join the Beta program should you wish.

Apple Wants to get iPads into more hospitals — Apple wants an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient, and is working to make it happen. Apple has therefore begun working with hospitals in the US including Jacobs Medical Center, MetroSouth Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai. Meanwhile a Cedars-Sinai pilot is using  Apple’s iPad to provide patients with data and to control infection in NICU.

Apple Pay promotion in China offers users steep discounts on goods, better bank rewards — Apple is making a play to attract Chinese users to Apple Pay, and is offering discounts of up to 50% on goods from a wide array of merchants.

Subway to use Apple Pay in new self-order kiosks & iPhone preorders — Subway is in the middle of testing a new restaurant design that will make Apple Pay an integral option when ordering food, in some cases before people even walk through the door.

Honda says Apple CarPlay coming standard on 2018 Accord 2.0T, optional on other trims — Honda has announced that the 2018 Accord, launching later this year, will once again offer Apple’s CarPlay, which allows iPhone owners to bridge Siri and select apps with a car’s dash interface.

Apple Mac, iPhone & iPad news for New Zealanders

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