July 2020

on current events

We continue to hold our iPUG meetings via Zoom for safety and needed social-distancing, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

Apple is once again temporarily closing stores due to Covid-19.

Now that everyone is required to wear masks in Tucson and Pima county when unable to social-distance, some mask options:

Recall that iOS 13.5 introduced faster faceID rejection when you wear a mask, to help avoid delays and extra fiddling, so you can type in your passcode and use your iPhone or iPad. However, this mask (above) works with faceID.

A reminder why we wear non-surgical masks: primarily to protect others, and secondarily to protect ourselves. If we all do it, we are all protected.

why masks help

Professional dog groomer Dede Croy is a Youtube superstar on all things grooming, but she also offers a somewhat rare item for sale: clear face shields. For anyone who is in a risky position due to work or circumstances, shields protect more than masks.

Tom Hanks featured in LA Times:

A useful, pragmatic look at what 5 experts do in their daily lives today, including Dr Fauci. They answer questions: When and where do you wear a mask? Do you shop in grocery stores, or order online? Do you wash the items off or disinfect the outside of packages once you get home? And more.

WWDC news

WWDC took place a couple of weeks ago. It was the first all-virtual and remote WWDC in history. Apple posted the entire keynote, as usual. It is 1 hour and 48 minutes. They have marked chapters so you can skip around as you wish.

The topics / chapters are: Introduction, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, Privacy, tvOS, macOS, Mac.

The keynote is also a surprisingly good opportunity to see the Steve Jobs theater and Apple campus in general:

In case you want the shorter version, here is Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2020 in just 13 minutes, created by Macrumors:

In case you want an even shorter overview, here's Apple's own recap in just 2 minutes:

iOS 14 at WWDC

Here is a very nice iOS 14 Overview, by Macrumors.

iMessages is one of the most used iOS apps (possibly the most used). Apple's iMessage updates for iOS 4 are summarized by Macrumors.

Hands on with iOS 14:

List of iOS 14 supported iPhones (and iPod touch).

iPadOS at WWDC

Here is a thorough iPadOS 14 roundup.

iPadOS 14 supported iPads

A nice demo of Scribble on iPadOS 14:

Another nice demo of Scribble:

Post WWDC, Craig Federighi was interviewed by Marques Brownlee. It was a short but very informative interview.

macOS at WWDC

And then there is macOS and the WWDC announcements...

2020 marks the beginning of macOS 11. Eleven. No more ten... And the first release is called Big Sur.

A good roundup of macOS Big Sur.

A list of Macs upgradable to Big Sur.

Here is a nice visual comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur.

Hands on with the next macOS -- macOS 11, a.k.a. Big Sur: Completely New Look & Features.

Apple Silicon

As had been rumored, Apple will transition to custom chips, in favor of its own, ARM-based chips, in order to favor performance and power reduction. Another era is dawning, away from Intel.

The transition will take place over 2 years. It will start by the end of 2020.

iOS apps will work on ARM-based Macs.

Recall that Apple announced the transition to Intel chips in 2005, away from the IBM PowerPC. Here is a short video, from 2007, with Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Phil Schiller, who took some questions about Apple’s adoption of Intel chips.

more news

Roger S. points us to Shane Whatley, whose YouTube channel focuses on building a smart home using HomeKit. Shane posted a video running down Apple’s announcements concerning HomeKit at WWDC:

Ireland releases COVID-19 Tracker app using Apple/Google Exposure Notification API, reports 9to5Mac.

iOS apps

Quarantine Chat is not exclusively an iOS app, but it comes with an iOS version. It helps connect random strangers, as all of us become isolated during quarantines. This is done in a private and secure way. `We simulate the magic of having a surprise conversation with someone—something that is becoming increasingly rare during the times of a viral epidemic.' It is free and international.

Mastermind is the classic code-guessing logic game, available on iPhone. There are several implementations but this is fast and lean. It's free.

Lee points us to Citizen SafeTrace, an app that uses the Apple/Google API appears to work anywhere in the US.


Consider Darknet Diaries, a podcast series about hackers and cybercrime. If you are missing a good spy movie, this could fit the bill. The stories are non-fiction. And they are based on factual reporting, with sources provided. In particular, Olga recommends listening to the episode 64: The Athens Shadow Games which is riveting. It's about hackers who got into the lagest cellphone network in Greece before the summer 2004 Olympics. `And what they were after took everyone by surprise.'

gadgets & accessories

Lee points us to MECO 1080P Doorbell Camera. He got it from Amazon on a lightning deal for $58. There is no HomeKit or other support. Lee reports it works well and is super easy to use. Regularly $80.

Recall that AirPods Pro come with a set of 3 different sizes and they give flexibility to fit a large majority of ear sizes. However, for those who want to try another option, foam tips by Comply aim to security and comfort.

Here is a review: Hands-On With Comply's Foam Tips for AirPods Pro:

privacy & security

Apple's WWDC keynote dedicated a chunk of time on Privacy. They articulated these guiding principles: Data minimization, On-device computing, security, and transparency & control for users.

Lee points us to this column about contact tracing technologies: Yes, Apple/Google COVID-19 Tracking Is Now On Your Phone—Here’s The Problem. The author offers his thoughts and an overview of how some countries have considered or rejected the Apple/Google approach. He sees this as a failure, claiming a preference for a centralized cloud approach.

This non-trivial, as the potential for abuse is in all architectures. However a centralized approach is rife for abuse.


Apple Card now has a website:card.apple.com. They make everything easy to access, read, understand. It's truly an Apple product.

Apple is once again allowing Apple Card customers to defer payments due to COVID-19.


Roundup of watchOS 7: what was announced and what is coming this fall.

New features overview of watchOS 7: Sleep App, Watch Face Sharing, Handwashing & More.

Series 3 and higher can be upgraded to watchOS 7.

If you don't want to wait for watchOS 7 in the fall to track your sleep, here is a roundup of ways you can do it today using the native Apple option or 3rd party apps.