January 2019

Happy New Year!

Cool technology aside, this is a worthy reminder for the new year: Prioritizing these 3 things will improve your life, writes Colby Itkowitz.

iOS and Apple news

Apple Lowers Revenue Guidance for Q1 2019 Citing 'Fewer iPhone Upgrades' Than Anticipated.

Tim Cook: Apple's 'Ecosystem Has Never Been Stronger' and Long-Term Health Has 'Never Been Better', reports macrumors. He will appear on CNBC's "Mad Money" show this evening (January 8), where he will speak with host Jim Cramer.

Tim Cook tweeted:

iPhone film-maker Charlotte Prodger wins 2018 Turner prize, reports The Guardian. `Glasgow-based artist’s film Bridgit praised by judges as ‘unexpectedly expansive.’ `A series of short clips filmed on an iPhone featuring the Scottish countryside from a train window, a T-shirt on a radiator and a cat pawing at a lamp has helped Charlotte Prodger win the 2018 Turner prize.'

Absent from CES, as usual, Apple makes its presence felt in ad tweaking smartphone rivals, reports Mercury News. ;-)

Apple Shares List of AirPlay 2-Enabled Smart TVs From Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio, reports Macrumors.

Vizio announces AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support coming to SmartCast-enabled TVs this year.

Filed under shamelessly copying Apple, 2 years later: AirPod imitations. Watch the ads side by side:

Apple was granted patent for a chameleonic Apple Watch band that glows via LEDs. This makes them glow in the dark. It could have several uses.

LEGO Launches 'Playgrounds' AR App for iOS, Mixing Physical Sets With Augmented Reality, reports Macrumors.

Apple has hired the former CEO of prescription tracking startup Mango Health, reports Appleinsider.`Neither Apple nor Oberfest have commented on what the former CEO would be working on, but considering his past, it is highly likely to be on teams relating to health and wellness. Report sources suggest Oberfest will be looking into the same field as his previous role, namely how to help users adhere to prescription instructions.'

CES 2019: Wired and wireless aftermarket CarPlay head units coming this year, reports 9to5mac.

Apple Phishing Scams Growing More Advanced, With Latest Spoofing Apple Phone Numbers, reports Macrumors.

iPad Pro

Take a look at many setups of the iPad Pro with various stands and keyboards, USB-C accessories, and more. By Federico Viticci.

Using the iPad Pro as my development machine, writes F. Arslan in a lengthy and thorough blog post. He concludes that `the iPad is the perfect mobile device for most of my work, but it can’t replace my main work devices (MacBook or iMac). I agree with most of the people out there that iOS is still limiting in several ways. Nonetheless, I think Apple will tackle this with the upcoming iOS releases, so I’m positive and believe the future of development on iPad will be a first-class citizen.''

iFixIt does a teardown of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, revealing a lot inside. Including the possibility that (perhaps) the new Pencil will be able to understand gestures in the future.

Brydge’s new MacBook-style iPad Pro keyboards now available for pre-order, reports 9to5mac.

Bernie points us to an article about switching to Android from iOS: I only lasted 3 days before switching back. Here's why..

iOS 12

Apple released 12.1.1 with many features including eSIM support, redesigned FaceTime with Live Photos, Haptic touch notifications for the XR and more, reports MacRumors.

iOS 12.1.1 was released with Shortcuts updates.


DxOMark: iPhone XR is 'Best Single-Cam Smartphone We've Tested', MacRumors reports. Take a look at the full review, by DXOMark.

5 Tips to Organize your iPhone photos better, by Adorama Pix.

iOS apps

iPhone app of the year (2018): Procreate Pocket. Take a look at the overview.

The primary version is Procreate, the original app made for the iPad. It's a professional-level app that can be used by mere mortals for fun. There are lots of guides to get you started.

Overcast is a 3rd party app for podcasts. Olga recommends it highly. If you enjoy podcasts, there is nothing better. It has a companion watch app that is superb and solves several little annoyances that Apple’s native app is plagued by (such as syncing only when plugged in, and very slowly, whereas Overcast does it faster and whenever you need it).

Drafts is a smart app to help you write notes and send them via email or text or just keep them. Olga recommends it.

Tip: If you have Watch but you are not paying for independent internet service, Siri Reminders do not work when you are not near your iPhone. This happens to Olga when she is out walking the dogs, wearing her watch without carrying her iPhone, and often wants to remind herself various things when she returns home. Drafts on the watch solves the problem by dictating a quick reminder or even a longer idea.

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

Jay upgraded to the iPhone XS Max primarily to be able to play PUBG, an addictive game he recommends highly. He wanted the best possible performance and best screen.

LookUp is an elegant dictionary app which could become your main dictionary app on iOS.

The Best Podcasts of the Year, from 2018, by The New Yorker.

HomePass, the app for managing HomeKit setup codes, adds Apple Watch support, PDF export, more, reports 9to5.

tips & tricks

A worthwhile reminder: Trackpad mode for iPad. Yes, it’s been there for 2 years but many people forget.

A few hardware tricks for the new iPad Pro.

With all the security breaches, consider placing a credit freeze by notifying the 3 credit bureaus. This way, nobody will be able to open an account in your name. The Federal Trade Commission tells us how to do it.

gadgets & accessories

Moment Lenses are considered some of the best lens attachments for your iPhone. Mary Anne bought the wide angle lens, Olga bought the Macro. They are high quality lenses and require a slender case to attach to the iPhone. The case is also very nicely made. The company is devoted to the craft of photography and even organizes photo trips.

Apple begins selling new Beddit 3.5 Sleep Monitor.

Waterfield `Best of 2018' Bags and Cases, as selected by various tech publications. Bernie showed us his new backpack with an iPad sleeve insert.

Bernie also told us about his new Beat wireless headphones that are also noise canceling.

Petra recommended it last month and now Olga recommends it as well: Digital Scale by Greater Goods: it is well made, is affordable, accurate, and reliable. Also has Bluetooth to communicate to an iOS app that will give you Body Fat, Water Weight, Muscle Mass. It tracks your data over time to show you trends. You need not use the app to use this scale, which is nice for any member of the family or house visitors. Olga says it's the best scale she's ever tried.

In fact, Greater Goods makes other products besides excellent bathroom scales. If you are in the market for a blood pressure monitor or kitchen scale, or other gadgets, look at their offerings.

Otterbox unveils new ‘Otter + Pop’ case for iPhone w/ built-in customizable PopSocket, reports 9to5.

Byrd & Belle sleeves for iOS devices are expertly made using high quality felt to protect iOS devices and Macbooks. Olga showed us her new sleve for the iPad Pro.

Satechi launches 30W and 75W USB-C chargers, powers MacBook, iPad, and iPhone simultaneously, reports 9to5mac.

The Wire Cutter lists Best multiport USB wall chargers.

The Tech You Need to Travel Better, writes the NY Times.

The Best Gear for Travel, by the Wirecutter, including a scale for your luggage, noise canceling earbuds, an old iPhone, cable organizers, and much more.


Apple Pay launches in Germany.


Roger reminds us that there is a watch app for iDevice smart home devices. He has used it to control his Christmas tree from afar.

Watch Series 4 (the latest) now supports ECG. CBS interviewed Apple VP of Health:

Apple’s Newest Watch Features Will Transform Heart Health, writes Wired in an overview.

Hands on with new features with watchOS 5.1.2, by Appleinsider. Take a look:

An Apple Watch told a 46-year-old man he had an irregular heartbeat. It was right, reports ABC News.

How to Add Automatic Sleep Tracking to Your Apple Watch, using 3rd party apps Pillow and/or AutoSleep, writes Macworld.

Apple Watch Chief Jeff Williams Says ECG App is 'Huge Opportunity' to Empower People About Their Health, reports Macrumors.

privacy & security

On Privacy: Listen to Preet Bharara, former Attorney General of SDNY, interview Kara Swisher about Silicon Valley. They talk about Apple, Google, Facebook and others. Their discussion about privacy is worth listening to. Does Silicon Valley Have A Conscience? (with Kara Swisher)

On Security: Listen to Preet Bharara interview John Carlin about cyber-security. An eye-opening discussion about cyber attacks (John Carlin is a cybersecurity expert and chairs the Global Risk and Crisis Management practice group at Morrison Foerster. He previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division at the Department of Justice and as Chief of Staff to Robert Mueller at the FBI.) Stay Tuned: Inside the Cyber War (with John Carlin).

'Good for the world'? Facebook emails reveal what really drives the site, reports The Guardian. `documents show internal discussions focused on exploiting developers’ hunger for user data to increase revenue.'

They also write: `The central mythos of Facebook is that what's good for Facebook is good for the world. More sharing, more friends and more connection will `make the world more open and connected' and `bring the world closer together', Mark Zuckerberg has argued, even as his company has been engulfed by scandal. But confidential emails, released on Wednesday by the British parliament, reveal the hardheaded business calculations that lurked beneath the feelgood image projected by Zuckerberg and Facebook.'

Facebook knew Android call-scraping would be ‘high-risk,’ new documents reveal, reports The Verge. `Internal emails show Facebook weighing the privacy risks of collecting call records — then going ahead anyway'. `In March 2018, many Android users were shocked to discover that Facebook had been collecting a record of their call and SMS history, as revealed by the company’s data download tool. Now, internal emails released by the UK Parliament show how the decision was made internally. According to the emails, developers knew the data was sensitive, but they still pushed to collect it as a way of expanding Facebook’s reach.'

Facebook says `a new bug' allowed apps to access private photos of up to 6.8 million users, reports the Washington Post.