August 2017


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iOS & Apple news

We are all waiting for glimpses of the new iPhone line and just got an accidental release of info via beta code from the HomePod, a separate product that apple will release at the end of the year. Gruber summarizes and reports the details.

Apple reported financial results today and Jason Snell graphed everything. `In the most recent quarter, the company earned $45.4 billion in revenue, up from $42.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.'

In the news the last several days: Apple has removed VPN apps from its Chine-based app store, The NY Times reports. The president of one of the VPN companies said: `We gladly filed an amicus brief in support of Apple in their backdoor encryption battle with the F.B.I., so we are extremely disappointed that Apple has bowed to pressure from China to remove VPN apps without citing any Chinese law or regulation that makes VPN illegal.' He added, `We view access to internet in China as a human rights issue, and I would expect Apple to value human rights over profits.'

However, John Gruber writes about China's laws and demands regarding the use of VPN, pointing out that `Amazon is sending cease and desist letters to AWS customers using VPNs in China. Apple is not alone.' In fact, Apple has said that the Chinese government announced this year that all developers offering VPNs needed to obtain a government license. `We have been required to remove some VPN apps in China that do not meet the new regulations. These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business' Apple has said. John Gruber points out that not all encrypted communications are restricted, most notably, iMessage and FaceTime.

A preview of iOS 11: some very nice features when using an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil: Instant Markup and Instant Notes features. Instant Markup lets you instantly mark up a screenshot or a PDF. You do not need to move them anywhere, you can instantly start annotating them. See demo below. Similarly, Instant Notes lets you take a quick note by simply tapping your Pencil on the (locked) screen. Finally, text you handwrite with your Pencil is parsed, indexed and is searchable. See the demo:

iOS 11 Beta, 25 top new features: Here is another nice overview of some iOS 11 features that did not get the spotlight during Apple's keynote. Note that this is a beta preview and some of these aspects could be partially modified by the time iOS 11 releases officially.

Update to iOS 10.3.3: there is an important fix for WiFi vulnerability, assuming your are near a compromised router. Be sure you upgrade.

Apple has officially ended the iPod Nano and the Shuffle, reports Business Insider. The end of an era. Some people have pointed out that a future update to the Apple watch can replace the shuffle function.

A tour of Apple Campus from last month:

A professional illustrator reviewed the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil vs. MS Surface Pro and their new stylus. (Note that the review is written is Japanese and the link shows Google's translation.) Fascinating ways of measuring the Pencil and stylus latency as well as the needed pressure to write on the screen. The Pencil + iPad Pro combination shows its definite advantages.

iOS apps & widgets

Roger points us to Touch-Retouch, an app that lets you easily remove unwanted content from your photos. For example, easily remove poles and power lines. It's available for $1.99..

Audm turns `long journalism' articles to audio. For example, is there a long-ish article in Atlantic Monthly that you want to read? With this app, you can listen to it while you drive, or exercise, or wait in line. The app is free.

Beatmaker 3, for those who want to use their iPad to record and edit music. It has gotten very high praise by reviewers.

Redacted is an iOS app that lets you easily redact parts of an image.

Macworld reviews Softorino YouTube Converter 2, that lets you download web videos and transfer them to iOS devices, concluding that it is the most convenient way to download website videos to iOS devices. Note: this is NOT an iOS app, but an app that works on a Mac or a PC to let you download and convert YouTube videos for iOS. F=Download it here..

Autohabit is a free app that helps you establish new habits. Are you trying to workout more often? Make better financial decisions? Use this app to get nudges.

The Apple Design Awards were announced last month by Apple. These are the apps that stood out in a very crowded field.

Bear, one of the apps that got an Apple design Award, continues to add features and is a worthy alternative to Evernote. Here are the latest features, including special searches and AirDrop support. Take a look at Bear:

Welcome to Bear from Shiny Frog on Vimeo.

tips & tricks

You should NOT Force-Quit App on iOS, writes John Gruber citing many tech writers, and Apple itself. Its wastes your time and you spend more battery life this way. There is no upside.

Here is How to Delete an Old iPhone or iPad from your Amazon Kindle Account . This is not intuitive, but the steps are very easy.

Need to migrate from An Android to iPhone or iPad? Here is how to move your photos, contacts, and more,, a free utility by Apple.

How to Use Two-Factor Authentication for Your Apple Account Without Any Apple device, reports Macworld. An unusual workaround.

gadgets & accessories

WiFi HD Endoscopic Camera attaches to your iPhone and lets you view things your cannot reach.

iDevices have introduced new gadgets and they are having a sale. They have a new wall outlet. Their iShower2 is on sale.

Want to capture color accurately? The folks who created Cube will soon be releasing Pico. Olga has been using Cube for a while and has been very happy with it.

For iPad Pro users, Curt points us to PaperLike which got started as an IndieGoGo project.

Ring 2 is the 2nd generation of the video doorbell that connects to your iPhone. It includes a rechargeable battery pack and they have upgraded the video to 1080p. Also, they offer interchangeable faceplates. ZDNet reviews it and concludes that it's a worthy upgrade, especially the Pro version, due to superior motion detection and video quality.

Ring also makes a Spotlight security camera. It's a motion-activated HD security camera with LED spotlights and a siren alarm. It comes in three power options – Wired, Battery and Solar. It provides detailed 1080HD video with or without the lights on. Also offers a 110-decibel siren that you can use to scare away any suspicious people nearby.

Red wine liquid iPhone case for wine lovers. :-)


[ RUMOR ] Reportedly, Tim Cook is testing continuous glucose monitoring on an Apple Watch. This is not confirmed, but we know that Apple has ben aiming to do this.

This would be the hole grail of functionality for the watch, as MacDailyNews reminds us:

WatchOS 4 wishes you happy birthday on your birthday :-)

privacy & security

Before you hit `submit' this company has already logged your personal data, reports Gizmodo. Filling out a form partially and not submitting the form is enough. User beware.

general news and crossover

Seven years and 3 months after Steve Jobs wrote his (famous) Thoughts on Flash, Adobe has officially announced end of life for Flash.

Intel has axed the group working on fitness trackers and wearables, reports CNBC. Apple Watch is the dominant watch and wearable and its success is increasing.

general apps & services lets you know when and how you can watch a movie. It tracks all the major streaming services (Netflix, Amazon video, HBO Go, Hulu, iTunes, and so on), as well as theaters. You can also add shows in your queue and it will email you when the show is available.

Mountain Duck lets you mount server and cloud storage as a local disk on the Finder app (for Mac) or Windows Explorer (for Windows).