February 2021

iOS & Apple news

Apple commits to $100 Million to HBCU's, Racial Equality and Justice initiative projects. “We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Apple celebrates Black History Month by bringing a variety of new and updated collections and exclusive content that highlight and amplify Black creators, artists, developers, and businesses. From curated features across the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple TV app, Apple Books, and Apple Podcasts, to new Apple Maps Guides, the Apple Watch Black Unity Collection, Today at Apple sessions, and more.

Apple reports earnings Record-Setting 1Q 2021 Results: $28.8B Profit on $111.4B Revenue , reports SixColors.

[ RUMOR ] iPad Pro to Be First Apple Device Featuring Breakthrough New Display Technology, reports MacRumors. `iPad Pro is widely expected to be the first Apple device to feature advanced mini-LED display technology, before it expands to other devices throughout 2021 and 2022.'

[ RUMOR ] Is it true? Apple's iPhone 13 Could Feature Optical In-Display Fingerprint Sensor, reports MacRumors, referencing the WSJ's Joanna Stern.

[ RUMOR ] Apple working on a car with Huyndai? Mary Anne points us to this tweet by E. W. Niedermeyer and link to an article:

iOS 14

iOS 14.4 has just been released. However, with the next release, iOS 14.5 will bring an option to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch if you're wearing a mask. What a great idea. Here it is in beta:

iOS apps

PeakFinder helps you explore mountains: it shows you the names of all the mountains and their peaks. It functions offline and worldwide.

Apple presents the best apps of 2020.

tips & tricks

It’s good to have an iOS 14 refresher: The Complete Guide to Customizing Your iPhone’s Home Screen.

[ DEMO ] Olga gave a demo on how to save a webpage as a PDF.

How to sign a PDF document you got via email on your iPhone. It’s easy to forget how easy Apple has made it. There is no need for 3rd party services, for extra apps. You can do it in 10 seconds.

gadgets & accessories

Aura Strap is a smart band for your watch. It uses bioimpedance analysis to measure fat, water, and muscle mass in your body. Here is how it works. Bernie recently got this and has been using it.

Lee told us about Chamberlain Smart Garage Hub. It lets you monitor and control your garage door remotely. You can also receive real-time notifications with their app.

The Logitech Circle View Wired Doorbell is now listed on the Apple website. It supports HomeKit.


Apple released watchOS 7.3 which includes a new watchface called Unity, in celebration of Black History Month, plus made the ECG function available to more countries.

In celebration of Black History Month, Apple introduces the Black Unity Collection, including an Apple Watch Sport Band that matches the style of the new Apple Watch face to honor the ongoing fight for racial justice. `Inspired by the call to action of both the historic and current movements, the Black Unity Sport Band has “Truth. Power. Solidarity.” laser-engraved onto the interior of the stainless steel fastening pin.’

Also, Watch users got a new challenge this month: Unity Activity Challenge to earn the limited-edition award by closing the Move ring seven days in a row during February.

Apple Watch now offersCardio fitness notifications. It can monitor and classify cardio fitness, which is considered to be a strong predictor of overall health. Apple says: `with watchOS 7, Apple Watch uses multiple sensors, including the optical heart sensor, GPS, and the accelerometer, to estimate lower levels, too. This is significant because direct measurement of VO2 max typically requires a rigorous clinical test with specialized equipment that is not readily accessible to most people.’ `Apple Watch users can got to the Health app on iPhone to review whether their cardio fitness level is classified as high, above average, below average, or low, relative to people in their same age group and of the same sex, according to data from the Fitness Registry and Importance of Exercise National Database (FRIEND). They can also see how their cardio fitness level has changed over the past week, month, or year. If a user’s level falls within the low range, they can receive a notification on Apple Watch, along with guidance on improving it over time and having a conversation with their doctor.'

Apple introduces Time to Walk: `an inspiring new audio walking experience on Apple Watch for Fitness+ subscribers, created to encourage users to walk more often and reap the benefits from one of the healthiest activities. Each original Time to Walk episode invites users to immerse themselves in a walk alongside influential and interesting people as they share thoughtful and meaningful stories, photos, and music.’ Time to Walk work with Apple Watch and AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones.

privacy & security

Apple CEO Tim Cook condemned Facebook's business model, saying that valuing engagement over privacy leads to ‘polarization’ and ‘violence’. Speaking at the EU data protection conference CPDP, `Tim Cook gave the opening keynote with his talk entitled “A path to empowering user choice and boosting user trust in advertising.” Cook covered Apple’s concerns about privacy and security in the technology industry, the hope it sees for change going forward, what it is doing to protect privacy, its deep concerns and consequences with Facebook’s business model, and much more’, reports 9to5Mac.

Cook also said that Facebook increasingly sees “Apple as one of our biggest competitors.” `And just this morning we learned that Facebook may be preparing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple regarding the new ad tracking transparency in iOS 14. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and many others have sided with Apple on this,’ reports 9to5Mac.

Here is the speech by Tim Cook, about 41 mins long, worth watching: