June 2019

iOS & Apple news

WWDC 2019 is taking place this week. Apple has posted the Keynote from yesterday. It has a lot of new news. It was long. Maybe longer than any other time: it’s 2 hours. You can watch it in chapters, and it’s marked with the different segments: Apple TV, Watch, iOS, etc. It’s worth watching in segments.

On the other hand, if you want a brief overview (!) Here is the 9-min version of the Keynote:

Apple's iOS 13 preview is posted.

A list of apple devices compatible with iOS 13.

Here is a preview of iOS 13:

Macrumors has summarized the iOS 13 highlights.

HomeKit Secure video! Yes. (See link above)

Betas for iOS 13 already show Dark Mode, New Find My App, Performance Optimizations and More.

Apple introduces `Find My' app for both iOS and macOS. Finds your devices even if they are offline. Finds your friends too :-)

For iPads, the big news is iPadOS, with a preview posted by Apple.

Here are details on iPadOS.

Apple's watchOS 6 preview has been posted.

The next macOS release is Catalina, take a look at Apple's preview.

Here is macOS Catalina overview by Macrumors.

iTunes on macOS is being replaced by 3 new apps: split into three apps: Music, Podcasts, and TV. Coming this fall.

You will no longer need iTunes to back up your iPhone or iPad on your Mac (if you have been using this method). You will simply connect your iOS devices and it will show up on your Finder window (presumably as a mounted volume, but also with the option to back up).

iTunes for Windows remains.

Continuing the new change from 2018's WWDC, Apple announced some hardware:

The new Mac Pro.

Finally, they showed their new Pro Display.

Apple launching Sign in with Apple button for apps, ‘no tracking’ login. WOW!!

Furthermore, Apps will be required to offer `sign in with apple', if they offer sign-in with other platforms.

Here is a nice overview of the main announcements, by 9to5Mac.

Also, here is a nice overview of the highlights by Macrumors.

Apple executives offer details on iPadOS, rejecting 40% of apps over privacy concerns, more. `Tribble noted that he hopes the United States learns from GDPR, saying that the European Union’s framework “gets a lot of things right.”

iOS 13 brings detailed street view imagery to Apple Maps.

More about Sidecar.

HomePod multi-user support, along with music handoff. It will learn the musical tastes of each user, recognizing their voice.

Some non-WWDC news:

Tim Cook to appear on CBS tonight (Tuesday).

Apple reduces HomePod price, to $299, down from $349.

Apple announced the release of the new Powerbeats. Here is an initial comparison of AirPods vs. Powerbeats, by Macrumors. Nice overview, but a notable omission is a comparison of speaking and phone call abilities. However, it's still a useful to see some of the differences.

iOS apps

Plex new beta release shows they redesigned their Apple TV App.

Trail Maps is an app that lets you download maps, use them on the trail, record your paths.

Petra told us about AllTrails which is also an app for hiking and mapping trails.

Here are all the WWDC Appe design Awards.

Lee told us about VisitAcity.com which is a both a web-based app and an iOS app that gives you a nice way to plan activities and tours while visiting cities around the world.

tips & tricks

How to Stop Robocalls, by the Washington Post.

How to remotely help someone fix their iPhone, iPad, and Mac using Messages and Screensharing.

gadgets & accessories

Kaweco Grip for Apple Pencil gives your Apple Pencil a protective and comfortable sleeve. `Its lightweight aluminum design combines Kaweco's classic octagonal barrel design with a wide, knurled grip section to help you wield your Apple Pencil with comfort and precision. The Grip's integrated screw mechanism holds the Apple Pencil gently but securely, with no wobbling. You can also charge the Apple Pencil wirelessly without removing it from the Grip.' Also, the Kaweco Grips fit both the first and second generation pencils, but the Grip is not compatible with some features of the second generation Apple Pencil. Specifically, the Apple Pencil 2 needs to be removed from the grip to make use of the touch controls, magnetic attachment, and wireless charging capabilities.

Wirecutter reviews and lists the best external lenses for iPhone.

Some iPUG members use Moment lenses with iPhones. Mary Anne has been using the wide-angle version which is useful on travel photography/large landscapes and for large groups. Olga has been using the Macro version.

Olga recently got the Moment strap on a trip to Australia and recommends it highly. She demoed it during our meeting. It helps you avoid having to hold or take your iPhone in and out of a pocket all the time, as you walk around during a trip. It's comfortable and very well made.

Lee told us about the new Acer C202i, a portable and wireless LED projector.


Apple Pay is accepted by 74% of the Top 100 US Merchants and it’s coming to Target, Taco Bell, and more top US retailers, Apple has announced.

JCPenney has been testing Apple Pay. Now, the company explains why it dropped Apple Pay: it was not ready to comply with US mandate by the deadline of April 13, 2019, to meet EMV requirements. Now the company says it is looking into supporting US requirements for contactless pay in the future.

Here is a nice Apple Pay Roundup, giving an overview of how it works and what it does. Worth reading or sharing with friends.


With watchOS 6, new watchfaces.

Apple Unveils watchOS 6 With Dedicated App Store, New Apple Watch Faces and Native Apps.

watchOS 6 will work on these models: all but Series 0.

privacy & security

Smoking and depression apps are selling your data to Google and Facebook, reports The Washington Post on a study. The study looked at sample apps, not everything available. But it is a red flag in general. Be mindful of health apps or any apps that have broad appeal, as they are potential moneymakers. Read privacy policies. Only use apps you trust.

For those who are curious, Olga tracked the actual study. It is published by JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association: Assessment of the Data Sharing and Privacy Practices of Smartphone Apps for Depression and Smoking Cessation. It's a fascinating read. The study apparently did not want to call out which apps are guilty. The goal was to examine how apps behave and characterize the overall landscape.

Here are the main results & conclusions, quoted directly from the study:

`Results: Twenty-five of 36 apps (69%) incorporated a privacy policy. Twenty-two of 25 apps with a policy (88%) provided information about primary uses of collected data, while only 16 (64%) described secondary uses. While 23 of 25 apps with a privacy policy (92%) stated in a policy that data would be transmitted to a third party, transmission was detected in 33 of all 36 apps (92%). Twenty-nine of 36 apps (81%) transmitted data for advertising and marketing purposes or analytics to just 2 commercial entities, Google and Facebook, but only 12 of 28 (43%) transmitting data to Google and 6 of 12 (50%) transmitting data to Facebook disclosed this.'

`Conclusions and Relevance Data sharing with third parties that includes linkable identifiers is prevalent and focused on services provided by Google and Facebook. Despite this, most apps offer users no way to anticipate that data will be shared in this way. As a result, users are denied an informed choice about whether such sharing is acceptable to them. Privacy assessments that rely solely on disclosures made in policies, or are not regularly updated, are unlikely to uncover these evolving issues. This may limit their ability to offer effective guidance to consumers and health care professionals.'

How to Limit Tracking by 3rd party apps on your iPhone, some general advice from The Washington Post.

Facebook attorney says users ‘have no expectation of privacy’.

In case you missed the links below, from our previous meeting, this is worth reading:

Dr. Shoshana Zuboff, Harvard Professor Emerita and author of the book Surveillance Capitalism, explains why Facebook and others do not seem to learn after continuing privacy scandals:

Listen to Dr. Shoshana Zuboff on podcast World Affairs, hosted by former Senior National Security Council Director Jane Wales, and renowned journalists Ray Suarez and Markos Kounalakis:

`In the modern age of Facebook, Google, and smart devices, most of us are under 24-hour surveillance. These data points are collected by large tech companies and are in turn sold to and used by governments and businesses alike to influence our behavior. On this week’s episode, Dr. Shoshana Zuboff discusses her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, which explores what can be done to protect democracy and free thought against these new threats. She is in conversation with Jim Fruchterman, founder and CEO of Tech Matters. Surveillance Capitalism: How Silicon Valley Profits from Tracking Us.

general apps & services

If you ever have to provide an address to shipping or when filling our a form, you might run into errors. This nifty tool helps you correct and comply to standards, for domestic and international addresses: Single Address Verification.

The Webby Awards have been awarded this year. This is an excellent source for services you never knew you wanted. See the best of the web, by category.

You can look around by category, look at the winners and the nominees. All of them are worthwhile. Here is an example: Data Visualization showing bird migration.