December 2018

iOS & Apple news

iPhone XS Max is outselling the XS, reports MacDailyNews, based on analysis by Gartner.

Recall that last year Apple offered a battery replacement program at reduced charges, due to some complaints about performance of old devices. This program is ending Dec 15.

AnadTech’s review of the iPad Pro says it’s `doubling down on performance’. A thorough and detailed review.

Now, 70% of iOS devices are running iOS 12, an adoption rate that is faster than a yer ago with iOS 11.

Tim Cook is the recipient of Anti-Defamation League’s 2018 Courage Against Hate Award. He was scheduled to speak at the ADL’s 2018 Never Is Now event on December 3, 2018, event. He said, Hateful views 'have no place' on tech platforms and that he believes it is `right and "moral’ for technology companies to block hate speech and violent conspiracy theories from their platforms. `We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence. You have no place on our platform. You have no home here.’

Foxconn, a major assembler for Apple, is considering a factory in Vietnam, `to mitigate any impact of an ongoing trade war between the United States and China, Vietnamese state media reported’, reports Reuters.

Apple patent Hints at FaceTime for Apple Watch, reports AppleInsider. `Apple is investigating methods of incorporating camera hardware into its Apple Watch product lineup, focusing specifically on systems that avoid the inherent pitfalls of embedding image capturing equipment in a device not well-suited to the task.’

Apple patent filing hints at future AirPods with more biometric sensors, reports AppleWorld. `The invention involves positioning a biometric sensor along an exterior surface of an earbud so it can be placed in direct contact with a portion of a user’s ear during use of the earbud.’

The number of Apple Music subscribers has grown to 56 million, up from 50m in May, reports MacDailyNews. `Apple is starting to close the gap with Spotify. According to music industry executives who have seen the latest figures, Apple Music recently overtook Spotify to become the top music streaming service in the US, the world’s biggest music market by revenues’.

Apple published a surprising amount of detail about how the HomePod works, reports ArsTechnica. Take a look at Apple's blog post and a summary by Macrumors.

Review: The iPad Pro is the best tablet you can get, writes ComputerWorld.

A nice review and overview of the iPad Pro by Marques Brownlee. He says it's the `greatest iPad ever'. He also criticizes it for not taking full advantage of USB C, hoping that this will happen in the future. Take a look:

Apple Debuts Online Store With 10 Percent Discount for Veterans and Active Military.

Apple has redesigned their Refurbished Store online. Their new design has a much easier navigation, larger images, and continues to give deals of Apple-certified refurbished products.

Samsung tweets from an iPhone, reports ZDNet. A total of 331 times. ;-)

Apple-certified USB c to Lightning cables are expected next year.


DPReview compares iPhone XS vs. conventional cameras' bokeh effect. They note: `The end result isn’t going to convince anyone if they look too closely (the processing has cut-off some of the fine hairs, for instance), but for social media use, it’s hard to deny that the effect is impressive. And we have to assume this technology will only get smarter and more powerful in future generations.'

iOS apps & widgets

BestPhotos is an app that helps you manage your photos by organizing, hiding, deleting, and easily choosing your best photos. Her eis a BestPhotos overview, by MacSparky.

Paper has been updated, since its recent acquisition by WeTransfer. It has added support for iPad Pro including the ability to double-tap the new Pencil and toggle between the two most recently used drawing tools. See Live DEMO by Olga.

Paste is an app by the same development team that made paper. It lets you create easy presentations, integrates with paper, with Slack and others.

Turn your photos into beautiful watercolors with MobileMonet.

Apple presents the best apps of the year, books, games, music, and more.

tips & tricks

Roger points us to How to quickly track your flights in iMessage for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Do you have 3rd party iOS app that asks you to access your Contacts or Photos or other data? It’s a good idea to be very conservative and only grant access if you think it’s absolutely necessary. But what if you do not agree that an app needs access and yet the app requires access to, say, your Contacts, and you `must’ use it? Is there a workaround? In many cases, the answer is yes. Olga recently had to use Viber to communicate with someone who only knows Viber (on an Android no less!). However, Viber will not operate without access to Contacts. So, Olga temporarily logged out of iCloud on her iPhone and removed all her contacts. Then, she temporarily created a single contact entry in her iPhone (the person she needed to communicate with). She then enabled Viber. Once the communication was established, Olga rescinded access to Contacts to Viber, and logged back into iCloud. Viber (apparently) does not check whether access to a user’s Contacts continues after initial install, so Olga can continue the communication via Viber without problems and without ever giving real access to her Contacts database. (Anyone who is curious about company info on Wikipedia.)

12 Siri tips that can help anyone.

Now that we have the Files app on iOS, we can access filesystems on iCloud, Dropbox, Box, and other storage. How to organize your files gives a general overview of different approaches for file organization.

iPad Pro works as a Mac Mini display with Astropad's Luna Display.

privacy & security

Apple security expert moves to ACLU `as public interest tech’ builds, reports Yahoo!. Jon Callas is expected to help the ACLU resist governments demanding access to company platforms for surveillance of users and to weigh in on issues including fairness and transparency in artificial intelligence. Commenting on this story, Bruce Schneier, a famous cryptography expect, said, `Discrimination in the 21st century is algorithmic. Free-speech abuses in the 21st century are about platforms. It is no longer the case that these worlds are separate.`

Larger than the population of the US: Marriott's security breach.

Did you forget your iPhone's passode? Are you locked out of your data? DriveSavers claims it can unlock your data and help you recover your data. It’s not cheap: $3500 but it’s a nice service if this is your last resort -- but also apparently exploiting some security hole by iOS, assuming this claim is true. DriveSavers is also using strict identification protocols, in some cases requesting documents that include death certificates, probate documents, court documents, and more.


Bernie points us to Apple Watch discounts motivate people to move.

The new watch’s Fall Detection feature is a very nice idea. It’s on by default for anyone 65 and older and off by default for others (turn in on in Settings)/ However, some people find that it can be triggered by vigorous clapping. Take a look at this discussion.

A good review and overview of the Apple Watch Series 4, by Marques Brownlee. Take a look:

Apple shipped approximately 4.2 Million watches in 3Q18, with Series 3 making up the bulk of the shipments. `Tim Cook said that the company's wearables category set a September quarter revenue record with growth over 50 percent.’

gift ideas & gadgets

Subscription to: CBS app ($15/month) gives you access to all CBS content without adds and on your iOS device, including live TV and archived shows.

Subscription to HBO Now ($15/month) for the full HBO content, and no requirement for HBO at home.

Subscription to Netflix.

Subscription to Amazon Prime which includes Movies and TV shows, plus the ability to download content (good if you are traveling).

Subscription to AudM, an app and service that lets you listen to long articles from top publications when you don’t have time to read but can listen while driving or working out. Gift info here.

Subscription to Apple Music.

iTunes or Apple Gift certificates.

Also, don’t forget that you can easily gift a single app from the App store on your iPhone.

Take Control books or ebooks.

Accessories from Belkin. They are high quality and work well with Apple products. Consider external batteries and other accessories.

Accessories from Logitech. They are high quality and work well with Apple products.

On the other hand, Olga recently bought this Brexlink cable USB C to USB A from Amazon and it works beautifully. Highly recommended for new iPad Pro owners who want to sync and back up to a Mac that does not have USB C ports.

Cables by Native Union are among the best in the market. Getting a long one also works nicely as a tether for your iPhone in bed ;-)

Be careful if you buy `Apple certified’ iPhone cables or accessories from Amazon. Many are fakes, unfortunately. This means they are not guaranteed to work properly as they would not be Apple-certified. Of course there are many that are the real deal. Be careful to choose wisely.

Roger points us to USB-C Travel Dock which is a portable hub for your USB-C-based Mac, to drive an HD display, connect, power or charge up to two USB 3.1 devices and access photos from your camera's SD card.

A Selfie Cork. You just might have to get this for yourself. ;-)

Jay points us to DBrand skins and wraps for your iPhones, iPads and Macs.

A Fracture photo print.

Smart Rope, by Tangram Factory. It counts your jumps and displays them by lighting up in real time as you jump through.

An iPad case from Waterfield Bags. Bernie showed us his new one.

A stand for iPhones and iPads by Lamicoll, sold on Amazon and elsewhere. Bernie showed us his.

Zip portable mini printer is a fun printer for your iPhone photos. You can hand them to people on the spot. Great for parties, great for kids, great for travel.

Another portable little printer is Fujifilm Instax SP-3 Mobile Printer.

A Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, such as the IX500 model. If you want to digitize your papers, bills, archives, the ScanSnap family is great. No paper jams, fast (25 ppm or higher), and reliable.

A Compact mirror that can charge your iPhone.

Colorful travel adapters from MoMA.

Any winter gloves with have tips that work with iPhone and other touchscreens.

For photographers, filmmakers, and travelers, any lens by Moment. These are considered the best quality external lenses for iPhones.

Petra told us about Bluetooth Smart Body Scale. It is a scale that also measures muscle mass, water weight, body fat and BMI and uses an app to track it. This info can optionally be shared with the iOS Health app, which can then feed into other apps like My Fitness Pal or LoseIt, or other apps (food and calorie trackers). Additionally, every purchase a percentage goes to a charity.

A look at the best smart plugs, by TechHive.

Recall that homekitty has all accessories for the house that support Apple’s Homekit (highly recommended for privacy and security concerns).

Brydge Keyboard is designed to bridge the experience between an iPad pro and a Mac, it claims. Sleek design.

adieu, 2018

Another year has gone by. It’s been wonderful to hold our iPUG meetings every month. Thank you to everyone who participates and makes this group such fun. Happy Holidays, Happy New Year. See you in January 2019.