March 2024

iOS and Apple news

iOS 17.4 has been released.

What's new is iOS 17.4, by Macrumors.

Also, iOS 17.4 Lets Budget Apps Read Real-Time Apple Card Transaction Info.

Apple Introduces transcripts for Podcasts.

Introducing Apple Sports, a new app for sports fans This is a free app for iPhone that delivers `real-time scores, stats, and more, all designed for speed and simplicity.'

Additionally, iOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.4 Fix Two Major Security Vulnerabilities. More info by Apple on the fixes.

iPhone sales ride high in Japan, plunge in China, reports Mac9to5.

New MacBook Airs are out, Apple announced yesterday. `With the transition to Apple silicon, every Mac is a great platform for AI. M3 includes a faster and more efficient 16-core Neural Engine, along with accelerators in the CPU and GPU to boost on-device machine learning, making MacBook Air the world’s best consumer laptop for AI. Leveraging this incredible AI performance, macOS delivers intelligent features that enhance productivity and creativity, so users can enable powerful camera features, real-time speech to text, translation, text predictions, visual understanding, accessibility features, and much more.'

Apple has also discontinued the M1-based MBAir.

M3 MacBook Air Supports Up to Two External Displays With Lid Closed, reports Macrumors.

Here is the current lineup of MBairs .

You can download the M2/M3 MacBook Air wallpapers right here, reports 9to5Mac.

[ RUMOR ] Supposedly, Apple has canceled the so-called Apple Car , reports Bloomberg. According to this unconfirmed report, Apple has been working on an Apple Car for over a decade but decided it's not a viable project.

Vision Pro

The Apple Store at La Encantada is taking reservations for demos. All Apple Stores offer a wide variety of eye glass Rx inserts to help you demo it. It has been reported that sometimes changing inserts can make a difference, don't just settle for one if you do not have good vision with the Vision Pro.


The 17th Annual iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) is calling for entries. Deadline: March 31.

iOS apps

Weather Up is an iOS app for weather. Their primary focus is visualization and widgets.

Post-it is an app by 3M, the makers of Post-it in real life. They says: `Stop spending hours transcribing notes after a brainstorm. When you download the free Post-it® App, you can instantly capture and share notes with the team without recaps or delays.'

Hopper is a services that offers an iOS app. You can use it to search or book flights, hotels, and more. Olga suggests using it for identifying easily which dates are good or bad for flights (high or low prices).

Timer is a timer app. It gives you simplicity and super large numbers so you can see it from a distance, for example if you are cooking something or if you are working on a project with a group.

tips & tricks

How to set up iCloud sync for Messages across all your devices.

messages & spam

Last month, we discussed how to deal with excess spam. This month Olga provided additional info of what has worked well for her, using iOS 17 tools.

Problems to be solved: Spam text messages. Spam phone calls. An overwhelming volume of these (at times). The problems with these stem from being reachable via a cellphone number and/or reachable via other means (such as an email address), getting text messages especially at sensitive times such as when you are traveling overseas (when daytime spam becomes night-time abroad), or when you are in the middle of an important meeting. The same challenges apply to spam calls.

For your Messages, you can have iOS filter them into known and unknown senders. Go to Settings > Messages > Filter Unknown Senders. Then view only known senders, most of the time. Every so often, at your convenience only, you can go to Unknown Senders and get rid of what you don't want. You can also use the `Report Junk' option we discussed last month.

Keep in mind that sometimes Unknown Senders are not spam, such as when you get verification texts and similar. But this filtering approach helps you buffer the onslaught.

If you are in an important meeting and do not want distractions or interruptions, you can use the DND Focus in iOS.

If you get many spam phone calls on your iPhone, you can have iOS divert them to your voice mail automatically. Go to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers.

Note that this works really well for most cases, but every once in a while you might miss a call you want because it's coming from an unknown number. For example, say you are expecting a callback from a doctor. And naturally, you don't want to have to continuously turn on/off the option to silence unknown calls. Remember to:

Use Live Voicemail on your iPhone. Settings> Phone > Live Voicemail. Once enabled, if you get a call from a doctor who is using an unknown phone number, the call will be silenced, but if you watch for the live transcript, you can pick up the phone immediately.

gadgets & accessories

Belkin has released Belkin iPhone Mount with MagSafe for Apple TV 4K. This accessory is for your iPhone to mount via MagSafe for Apple TV 4K. It attaches securely to your TV `so you can use the powerful rear camera as a webcam for FaceTime and more on Apple TV 4K.'

Shane Whatley gives and overview and review of the Aqara LED Ceiling Light , sold by Amazon. More info on this ceiling light.

And if you want a pricey pencil, consider Colorware's Apple Number 2 digital pencil.

Apple Card, Pay & Wallet

Apple Card Savings Account's Balance Limit Increased to $1 Million. Cardholders are being notified by email, from Goldman Sachs. The previous max was $250K. Apple's savings account currently offers a 4.5% APY.


Apple has released new bands & colors just in time for spring. Sport Loop: Soft Mint and Ocean Blue, Sport Band: Soft Mint, Sunshine, and Light Blue, Braided Solo Loop: Sunshine, Light Blue, and Raspberry. Solo Loop: Pink, Soft Mint, Ocean Blue.

73-year-old NJ man bought an Apple Watch ‘to be cool,’ then it saved his life, reports 9to5Mac.


The WaPo reports on How to Talk to an AI.

Tech companies remind employees: Cyber Criminals Use Artificial Intelligence Too. Artificial Intelligence improves security protections for organizations, but at the same time, cyber criminals are using Artificial Intelligence to improve their tactics to bypass those protections. Cyber criminals use AI and machine learning to generate highly targeted and convincing phishing emails, text messages, spoof voices of senior executives and conduct other social engineering attacks. Grammar mistakes and typos are no longer ways to detect potential phishing emails. Cyber criminals also use AI to create more effective password cracking algorithms that guess passwords with greater accuracy and speed, which reinforces the importance that we use long, complex passwords that are not based on publicly available information available such as social media. Cyber criminals also use AI to create more effective password cracking algorithms that guess passwords with greater accuracy and speed, which reinforces the importance that we use long, complex passwords that are not based on publicly available information available such as social media.

privacy & security

If you use Twitter (a.k.a X ) be sure you note this:

next iPUG meeting

Our next iPUG meeting will be Tuesday, April 2, at 7 pm AZ Time.