April 2018

iOS & Apple news

This year’s WWDC will be June 4-8, 2018, Apple announced. We get to see a preview of iOS 12, the follow-ons to macOS, tvOS, and all the rest. This is mainly a software event, though last year they also announced new hardware, breaking the trend.

Apple released iOS 11.3 with many new features, reports MacDailyNews.

iOS 11.3 comes with a beta feature for battery health. Here is an overview about iPhone battery and performance.

Apple held a special event for education and announced a new iPad with optional Apple Pencil, starting at $329, and $299 for education.

Additionally, Logitech released a new stylus for iPad for education.

The 5 biggest announcements from Apple's education event.

David Sparks gives an overview of all the announcements.

Everyone can code! Everyone Can Code is Apple's comprehensive curriculum for learning how to code on iOS and the Mac.

iWork apps have been updated for Mac and iOS, with new features and Pencil Support for iPad.

A toddler locked his mom's iPhone for 47 years! His mother had given him the iPhone to watch movies. The 2-year-old repeatedly entered the wrong passcode and locked it for 25 Million seconds.

Last month we looked at the new HomePod ad directed by Spike Jonze. Here is a look behind the scenes which is as fascinating to watch.

Apple has a new page on Families, with tips on how to manage data sharing and privacy for kids and other family.

The iPhone X has a superb screen. Here is a very detailed analysis of the screen, deemed `visually indistinguishable from perfect.’

Apple has proposed new emoji for accessibility.

Some of us think emojis are just a shortcut or for fun. But an Israeli judge ruled that Emojis prove intent.


Steven Soderbergh's latest movie opened in Tucson just a couple of weeks ago. Here is the official trailer:

Soderbergh says this is the future and only wants to shoot with iPhone from now on. He also called it a gamechanger. I've seen it 40 feet tall, he said of the 4K footage captured on an iPhone. It looks like velvet. This is a gamechanger to me.'

11 Movies Shot on iPhones, reports Indiewire. Steven Soderbergh is not the only one.

Detour (above) is a short movie shot entirely on iPhone, showcasing the adventures of a small tricycle as it takes off down French roads in search of its young owner.

iOS apps & widgets

Dropmark is a service that comes with an iOS app. It lets you easily collect and organize links, files, and notes in visual collections. You can create a collections for all your ideas for a trip you are planning, or collect all the articles you want to read on a hobby. Additionally, you can share a collection with family or a team when you are collaborating on a project. It comes with web browser extensions, an app for the Mac, and the ability to sync across all your devices. It's free for the basics or a paid subscription for advanced features. Olga recommends this. Take a look:

Professional photographer Austin Mann specializes on iPhone photography and has put together a short video to go over his Top 9 iPhone Photo Apps. He discusses 3 planning apps: RadarScope, MeteoEarth, and PhotoPills, 3 shooting apps: NightCap, Slow Shutter, Hydra, and finally, 3 editing apps: Snapseed, MetaPho, and Mextures. Take a look at his short video overview.

Here are The Best Music memo Apps, as listed by CultOfMac. They review and highlight the iOS native app, Voice Memos, and compare others, such as Just Press record, Music Memo, Ferrite, and AudioShare.

Workouts++ is a free app that lets you see your workout data that is in your iPhone and/or Apple Watch. The app provides new ways to view your existing workout data. It's a very nice app and it gives you more information than the native apps. It also comes with an optional Watch companion app.

gadgets & accessories

Halo Effect is a set of smartphone mounts that let you use your iPhone in a variety of settings: mount it inside your car, prop it on your kitchen counter while cooking, affix it on your arm while biking, mount it on your bathroom mirror as you get ready in the morning, and more. They started the their IndieGogo campaign. Take a look:

HaloEffect from TM on Vimeo.

Pico is `the world's first smart color reader'. You can use it to measure the color of anything, accurately and easily. It works with an iPhone or iPad. If you are planning to paint your home, or are an artist, designer, or love colors, Pico is for you.

Mary Anne gave us a demo of her Amazon Echo Dot 2. Here is and overview and review from TechHive.

Here is a list of Alexa uses.

Olga gave us a demo of her new HomePod. Here is an overview:

Here is a list of 6 tips for HomePod.

Here is a comprehensive list of How-to's for HomePod.


Apple Pay has added over 20 more banks across the uS, reports 9to5mac. It already works with nearly every major financial institution in the US, but there are minor and regional credit unions and banks being added.

Apple pay will soon be available in Brazil.

Merchants together with Apple frequently offer in-app Apple Pay discounts. Look for these in apps you already use or stores you visit.

Apple pay participating banks in Europe and ME. The list is expanding.


Apple releasednew Apple Watch bands for spring.

Facebook, the meltdown

This past month, Facebook’s `perfect storm’ became public. Though it seems FB itself has known about this since 2015. 50 Millions users' personal data and profile descriptions were given and taken by political consultants and used for political campaigns.

Some reports refer to what has happened as a `data breach’. This is not accurate, or at best it’s misleading. Facebook enabled a breach of trust and an abuse that it set up and enabled with full awareness, despite warnings. Facebook did not have a security failure. What happened is consistent with FB’s business model: they collect a mountain of personal data from users, create detailed profiles based on user activity, and sell the info for profit to advertisers and other businesses. Many of these businesses create their own Facebook `apps’ that automatically collect the user’s personal data plus Facebook’s profile info, depending on each app.

In this case, Facebook provided an app all the data they had legitimately paid for. The app also collected data from the friends of the users. (While this stretched the agreement that FB made with the app’s developers, this was easily enabled by Facebook’s own structures and business model.) When Facebook learned about this (a couple of years ago), they merely sent a form to the developers asking them to confirm they deleted the extra data. Facebook did not ensure the data was ever deleted. The whole incident was kept quiet. Now that it is public, Facebook ousted the whistleblower.

The FTC confirms open Facebook probe after controversial data practices.

general news and crossover

Amazon knows why Alexa was laughing at its customers, reports the NY Times.

general apps & services

Giphy lets you find animated GIFs. Search to your heart's content.

For cloud backups, Backblaze is used by many.