April 2019

iOS & Apple news

Apple has quietly refreshed the iPad line: The iPad with a 9.7-inch screen, an A10 chip, Apple Pencil (G1) support, and the ability to use multiple apps at once. An excellent choice for the majority of users. The refreshed iPad Mini is more powerful than the standard iPad (withan A12 chip and support for the Apple Pencil (G1)). And the Pro with support for G2 Apple Pencil, tiny bezels, with Face ID and the A12X processor.

Apple continues to offer trade-in for your older devices.

The iPad 9.7 inch did not get updated, but but schools should keep buying it, writes 9to5mac, pointing out the affordable entry point and the broad appeal for most users, including schools.

Apple also released a 2nd generation AirPods with H1 Chip, Hey Siri support, up to 50% more talk time, and optional Wireless Charging Case.

Here is Apple’s AirPods announcement and overview, with the new chip, switching between iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad or Mac is two times faster.

How AirPods are made (this is fantastic!):

Here is a short overview of the new AirPods (more practical info):

The new AirPods and running with Hey Siri.

Another overview of the new AirPods, by 9to5mac.

Apple held a special event last week. Here is the short version, all announcements in 6 minutes:

Everything you want to know about Apple News+, by Macrumors.

Here is A Complete List of All the Magazines Available for Apple News+ in the U.S. (So Far).

Over 200,000 People Subscribed to Apple News+, in First 48 Hours After Launch, reports the NY Times. `Media Companies Take a Big Gamble on Apple.’

Many publications joined Apple’s News+ service. However, notably absent are the NY Times and the Washington Post. Journalists wonder if it's a trojan horse, reports Vanity Fair, detailing the NY Times and Washington Post skepticism and resistance.

Here are some very early impressions after a week with Apple News+, by Loop Insight.

Here is thew new Apple Card.

How Apple Card Works, by TechCrunch.

Apple released iOS 12.2 with Apple News+ service, new Animoji, HomeKit and AirPlay updates, and more.

Apple released software upgrades for HomePod. `OS 12.2 includes support for joining most enterprise or university campus 802.1x networks that do not require unique credentials to join.’

In an unprecedented move, Apple canceled AirPower, reports TechCrunch. `After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,’ said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering in an emailed statement.

Here are AirPower alternatives.

IDC Report: Smart home market to grow 27% in 2019, Apple to continue gaining traction, reports 9to5mac.

An excerpt from an upcoming Tim Cook biography describes how he `bet the company’ on Apple’s fight with the FBI.

photography & film

iOS apps

100 apps that work with Siri Shortcuts, a list compiled by iMore.

Airbuddy is or using AirPods with your Mac. For $5.

Overwhelmed by all your photos on iPhone or iPad? Gemini photos may be your answer. `Remember the 20 photos you took to get one perfect shot? They are sitting on your iPhone and gobbling up storage. With Gemini Photos, you can keep the photos you actually want and clear those you don’t — without the drag of removing them manually.’ Olga recommends it.

Bob and Marlene told us about Bellus3D, an app that creates a 3d scan of your face/head.

tips & tricks

A tip for your Mail app settings in order to avoid automatically giving info to senders about when you read their email. On iOS, go to Settings > Mail > and uncheck Load Remote Images. On macOS, go to Mail > Preferences > Viewing and uncheck the option to Load remote content in messages.

Olga recommends the macOS app DaisyDisk. It recently helped her easily find what was eating up a lot of disk space on her iMac: it was old iOS backups from devices she had sold or given away. Deleting these old and unnecessary backups helped clear up about 100 GB of space. Of course, DaisyDisk does more and can be used for many purposes. It's fast and easy to use.

gadgets & accessories

Selfie Cork started out as a Kickstarter project and now it’s a full product. Use it to take group photos with friends and family. The smallest tripod possible. Olga demoed two Selfie Corks.

EarBuddyz Ultra Ear Hooks and Covers for Apple AirPods and EarPods , now Featuring Bass Enhancement Technology (Medium, White). Olga has the previous version (without the bass enhancement) and recommends them highly, if your ears are smaller than average and/or you need to secure AirPods better.

Review: Lutron’s Fan Speed Control is the best way to retrofit your ceiling fan with HomeKit, writes 9to5mac.

These strange-looking glasses help cure motion-sickness. If you are a passenger in a car, reading on an iPhone or iPad or even a traditional book, you might experience motion sickness. These glasses help you recover while reading, in about 10 minutes.

Here is a nice roundup of all things related to HomePod, by Macrumors.

LG Announces Additional TVs With AirPlay 2 and HomeKit Launching Between April and June.


See the new Apple Card announcements above, under iOS/Apple news.


An Apple Watch skeptic discovers Afib days after ECG app reaches Europe, reports 9to5mac. The new user is in Germany. He sent an email to his doctor. In the email, the user explains how he had “never noticed” anything wrong with him until he decided to try the ECG feature on his Apple Watch “just for fun.”

Over 2,000 Participants Received Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification in Apple Watch Study, reports Macrumors.

How to use the Podcasts app on Apple Watch , by iMore.

MiniWiki brings Wikipedia to Apple Watch.

Another life saved by Apple Watch, reported ABCNews.

Wristwatch heart monitors might save your life—and change medicine, too, writes Dan Hon for MIT Technology Review. He has type-2 diabetes and discusses how he uses an Apple Watch to monitor his health and exercise. He writes, `It begins seven years ago, when my doctor asks me whether I want to lose my foot. I say to him: No, I do not want to lose my foot. ‘Good,’ he says back: Monitor your blood sugar, keep it down, and we can manage this disease.`

privacy & security

Smart home devices attract hackers in their first five minutes online. The report highlights the need to change default passwords immediately.

What Google Knows About You, a good overview by Axios. Some of these may be obvious to many, but it’s worth remembering some others, such as: activity from 3rd party apps (unrelated to Google) that use Google services, and the extent and breath of location data.

Facebook planned to spy on Android phone users, internal emails reveal.

Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years.

Worried about your Facebook password? Here’s What You Need to Know, reports the NY Times. Other than deleting your FB account, that is ;-)

`Why is it legal to collect data on kids, let alone sell it?’, asks Roger McNamee, the early Facebook advisor who has become an outspoken critic.

Facebook’s Data Deals are under criminal investigation, reports the NY Times.

Dr. Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard Professor Emerita and author of the book Surveillance Capitalism, explains why Facebook and others do not seem to learn after continuing privacy scandals:

Listen to Dr. Shoshana Zuboff on podcast World Affairs, hosted by former Senior National Security Council Director Jane Wales, and renowned journalists Ray Suarez and Markos Kounalakis:

`In the modern age of Facebook, Google, and smart devices, most of us are under 24-hour surveillance. These data points are collected by large tech companies and are in turn sold to and used by governments and businesses alike to influence our behavior. On this week’s episode, Dr. Shoshana Zuboff discusses her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, which explores what can be done to protect democracy and free thought against these new threats. She is in conversation with Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO of Tech Matters. Surveillance Capitalism: How Silicon Valley Profits from Tracking Us.

general apps & services

It’s time to Vote for the Webby Awards 2019: voice your opinion on the best of the internet, by category. But even if you don’t want to vote, the Webby Award nominees are worth perusing, you will discover some excellent websites and services you never knew about.

Estefany points us to Imagecompressor that lets you compress PNG/JPG images. It’s an online free tool. This tool aims to keep the quality of your images while reducing the size of the files, improving a website’s usability.