June 2020

on current events

Tim Cook wrote this letter to Apple reports Bloomberg. He closes with: `With every breath we take, we must commit to being that change, and to creating a better, more just world for everyone.'

Tim Cook also commented on Twitter:

Apple Music Joins Music Industry's Blackout Tuesday Awareness Campaign.

Here are some of the Big Tech’s CEOs Have Reacted to America’s Raging Protests.

More than half of all Apple Stores worldwide have reopened, as we gradually reopen during this pandemic.

Apple temporarily closes US retail stores in wake of widespread looting and protests.

Apple is Assisting Authorized Repair Shops With COVID-Related Expenses.

Apple and iOS news

Apple tweaked Siri's German voice. Users have `reported ‌Siri‌'s German speech comes across as more natural and melodic than before, especially on HomePod, although the changes are subtle, with better pronunciation and different inflection depending on what's being said’.

Just yesterday, Apple released iOS 13.5.1. It includes fixes for the recent 'unc0ver' Jailbreak Vulnerability. Here is info on the Jailbreak vulnerability.

There is also a Catalina macOS update to address this.

iOS 13.5 Adds Option to Share Medical ID Info During Emergency Calls. iOS 13.5 `prompts users to review their Medical ID settings when opening the Health app, introducing options to share Medical ID info during an emergency call and on the Lock screen,’ reports Macrumors. With this, iPhone and Apple Watch can automatically send the information in your Medical ID to the dispatcher who answers your call.

Which U.S. states are using Apple’s Exposure Notification API for COVID-19 contact tracing? 9to5mac Reports.

Recognizing game: iPhone SE praise from an unexpected source, writes the Macalope.

iPhone 11 now ‘the world’s most popular smartphone’ as it surpasses iPhone XR.

Gartner: iPhone sales dropped 8.2% in Q120 amid COVID-19 shutdown, reports MacDaily News.

AirPods have dominated television in the quarantine era, writes iMore: `They're on every channel, worn by everyone, and they all sound amazing.’

Apple is known for its accessibility. Apple engineer Jordyn Castor `is blind since birth, and she’s working on Swift Playgrounds to help visually impaired students learn to program. Just so cool', writes John Gruber. This is about empowerment. Watch her:

Scott Forstall is no longer with Apple but worked on the original iPhone and was `co-inventor’. Recently on a Zoom call, he taked about meeting Steve Jobs for the first time. The Steve Jobs reference starts at about 35:52 (play below). If you rewind, there is a bit about his childhood around 31:51, also very interesting about overcoming adversity.

Apple bought Machine Learning startup startup Inductiv Inc., reports Bloomberg. Apple does not comment on the use of its acquisitions. Butt the article says, `Inductiv developed technology that uses artificial intelligence to automate the task of identifying and correcting errors in data. Having clean data is important for machine learning, a popular and powerful type of AI that helps software improve with less human intervention. John Giannandrea, the Apple executive in charge of Siri and machine learning, has been upgrading the underlying technology that goes into the Siri digital assistant and other AI-powered products from the company. Inductiv was co-founded by machine-learning professors from Stanford University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.’

Apple’s recent AirPods ad `Bounce’ has been named Best of Show in the ADC 99th Annual Awards, the world’s longest continually-running global advertising and design awards show focused on excellence in craft and innovation. Here is A complete list of ADC 99th Annual Awards winners. Here is the ad:

Apple Won 64 Patents Today covering 4 Project Titan Patents that include a Vehicle Charging System, a Braking System and more, reports Patently.

Apple soon to release new Schoolwork and Classroom apps focused on distance-learning, reports CNET.

[ RUMOR ] Over-Ear 'AirPods Studio' Will Reportedly Be Assembled in Vietnam in Mid 2020.

[ RUMOR ] iOS 14 to include built-in translator in Safari, full Apple Pencil support on websites.

[ RUMOR ] Apple to launch iPhone 12 in October, instead of September, according to supply chain sources, due to the pandemic.

iOS apps

Apple Updates Research App With COVID-19 Survey, Hearing Study Noise Test. Apple first introduced this Apple Research app in November 2019. The aim is to make it easier for iPhone users to participate in and contribute to medical research.

Another view: Fix Your Crappy Phone Photos With This Powerful App writes LifeHacker in favor of Snapseed.

Apps that let people listen to police scanners have skyrocketed in recent days

LookUp is a dictionary app. Unlike most dictionaries, it offers illustrations and a Word of the Day feature. It has won awards for its design to for its serach. It’s also a visual learning app for anyone who wants to expand their vocabulary.

Stay Focused is a unique productivity app. `Forest team partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on Earth. When our users spend virtual coins they earn in Forest on planting real trees, Forest team donates to our partner and creates planting orders'. Here is their sponsor info.

Here are 7 productivity apps worth considering.

But then again, puzzles are more fun:


Sheltering at home can be improved by puzzles. Here are some.

National geographic offers a jigsaw puzzle which you can play on a web browser.

Magic Puzzles is a physical jigsaw puzzle. It’s on Kickstarter with only a few hours left. They’re are offering a set of three new 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles. The art is original and there is a magical surprise at the end. The surprises surprise endings use techniques from optical illusions and magic. And the puzzles have over 50 easter eggs to find as you solve.

The New Yorker showcases him in `HOW A YOUTUBER MAKES MILLIONS BY SOLVING PUZZLES: For people stuck at home and self-isolating, puzzles can be a satisfying pastime. For Chris Ramsay, they’re also a business.' Take a look at the New Yorker profile:

Watch this video on The Scene.

Chris Ramsey devotes his YouTube channel on puzzles.


Recode/Decode podcast on Self-driving taxis will be here in 2021 is a worthwhile interview. Host Kara swisher interviews Aicha Evans and Jesse Levinson on their startup that has gotten very strong financial support and is on their way to deliver these autonomous vehicles next year.

tips & tricks

Save those FaceTime calls for later: How to record a FaceTime call on your iPhone or Mac.

How to Enable the One-Handed Keyboard on iPhone and review or modify all keyboard settings on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

How to use Zoom virtual backgrounds on iPhone or iPad.

Apple releases support advice for AirPods Pro users with crackling audio and noise cancellation issues.


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


Apple Watch again dominates worldwide wearables market, analysts at IDC show, as reported by MacDaily News.

Top 5 Wearable Device Companies by Shipment Volume, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2020 (shipments in millions)

Apple released new watch bands with new colors for the spring/summer season.

Also released new bands and watch face in celebration of Pride month and in time for Pride parades.

privacy & security

A researcher discovered a zero day vulnerability with `Sign In with Apple' and reported it. Apple verified it and rewarded him with $100,000. Zero-day in Sign in with Apple: this may have more details than many want to see, but it is nice to see. It affected third-party applications which were using it and didn’t implement their own additional security measures. Apple also did an investigation of their logs and determined there was no misuse or account compromise due to this vulnerability.