May 2021

on current events

Andy Slavitt joined the US surgeon General today to announce a goal of 160 Million people vaccinated by the 4th of July and more:

Apple event news

Apple held a special event on April 20, announcing new products. Here is the whole event, it's 1 hour long, chapterized video: Intro (0:00), iPhone 12 (04:51), AirTags (06:06), Apple TV (10:36), iMac (18:21), iPad Pro (36:34).

And if you want the abbreviated version: Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes:

The new Apple TV comes with a newly re-designed remote. In fact, you can buy the remote separately and use it with your current Apple TV.

The new Apple TV overview is on Apple's website.

iPhone 12 got a new color: purple.

The much anticipated new iPad Pro is here:

Apple's iPad Pro overview and model comparison page show the new models.


Marques gives us a nice demo of airtags and their precision finding capability in action:

Apple writes What to do if you find an AirTag of get an alert that an AirTag is with you.

Apple has posted a video: Get to Know AirTag sounds:

and, How To Set Up and use AirTags:

An in-depth look at traveling with a suitcase with an AirTag attached by Executive Traveler. A lot of useful info. Some highlights:

A). `While airlines have banned rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs from checked luggage (including so-called ‘smart luggage’), this doesn’t apply to the tiny single-use lithium CR2023 cells. '

B). `The first issue is that the AirTag’s live here-I-am tracking isn’t intended for objects that are moving, unless they’re doing so at the most leisurely pace. And while the average airport luggage belt is no threat to Usain Bolt, it runs too fast for the AirTag’s virtual hand-waving to be properly identified by your iPhone.'

C). `Even with an iPhone 12 to take advantage of Precision Finding, the only time the AirTagged bag appeared on my screen while being carried along the belt was when it was literally right in front of me.'

D). `AirTags have a clear application to help find anything you might travel with but also risk leaving behind or losing: your passport wallet, a briefcase or jacket, even the carry case where your noise-cancelling headphones reside when not in use (there’s a reason noise-cancelling cans are among the most numerous items when airports auction off their lost property).'

E). `Putting the AirTag inside the bag instead of on the external strap made no discernible difference to the range or accuracy of tracking.'

And of course, iFixIt has done it:AirTag Teardown. It shows you an AirTag in 360 degree X-ray and where to drill a hole safely, if you are inclined to attach it directly to a lanyard or similar, instead of getting a case for it.

Finally, Apple AirTag vs Tile Pro and Chipolo One Spot compares all 3 options and their features. With Ultra-Wideband and Precision Finding, plus better integration with Apple's ecosystem, AirTags have the advantage.

iOS 14.5

Yes, we finally got iOS 14.5! Here is Apple's official announcement.

Yes, you can now unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask if also wearing an Apple Watch. This works very well.

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is part of this iOS update:

Here is WSJ's Joanna Stern describing ATT with iOS 14.5:

Here are all the main new features with iOS 14.5.

Note that yesterday (May 3) iOS, tvOS, watchOS and macOS all got .1 updates to resolve some bug fixes.

other Apple and iOS news

[ RUMOR ] iOS 14.6 Beta 1 Code Hints at Upcoming HiFi Apple Music Support.

Pre-order and orders for the new iPads, iMac and Apple TV began last week and are expected to continue with high demand, amidst chip shortages.

iPad Shipments to Stay Stable in Second Quarter Despite Chip Shortages.

Delta Airlines to give 19,000 flight attendants an iPhone 12 for 5G and AR use, reports iMore.

photography & video

The call for 2021 submissions just closed and now the International iPhone Photography Awards is reviewing all the entries before the announce the 2021 winners. Meanwhile, the IPPAWARDS Gallery shows all the previous years' winners and all the categories. Take a look at some extraordinary photos.

iOS apps

Amaziograph helps you create mesmerizing tessellations and mandalas on your iPad. There is also a macOS version. This is a very fun and powerful application and Olga recommends it. You can use it to create manydesigns, to print them, or create digital cards, or backgrounds, or let your imagination run wild.

tips & tricks

With 14.5 iOS and tvOS updates, you can now use your iPhone to calibrate your TV screen. How to Use Color Balance in tvOS 14.5.

Some people prefer to rely on visual notification cues when a call or text comes in: how to set up visual notifications using LED flash.

gadgets & accessories

Bernie points us to the review of Maotoam Pro, by CultOfMac. `It brilliantly combines laptop stand with 13-in-1 USB-C hub.'

Hunter Fan Company Expanding Lineup of HomeKit-Enabled Ceiling Fans, reports Macrumors. Hunter announced the new lineup today.

Apple Pay

Apple Announces Apple Card Family for Sharing Apple Card With Spouses and More.


[ RUMOR ] Apple Watch could add blood sugar and alcohol readings after deal with UK tech company, reports The Telegraph. An SEC filing reveals that Apple is the largest customer of Rockley Photonics and it says its next generation sensors could be in devices in 2022. `The British company has developed ultra-accurate sensors that read multiple blood signals that are typically only detectable using medical equipment, by beaming infrared light through skin from a module on the back of a smartwatch. Rockley, which has offices in Oxford, Wales and Silicon Valley, revealed its relationship with Apple in listing documents as it prepares to go public in New York.'

privacy & security

Apple's conflict with Facebook over privacy and other practices goes back to the days of Steve Jobs, emails show, reports CNBC. Some tidbits:

`Internal Apple emails between Steve Jobs and executives Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller show the company was battling with Facebook over App Store rules as far back as 2011.'

`In the emails, Jobs calls Facebook, “Fecebooks,” and said it should not be allowed to host its own apps.'

`` The conflict is part of the reason it took Facebook more than a year to create an iPad version of its app.''

Meanwhile, with iOS 14.5's new App Tracking Transparency feature, Facebook & Instagram now tell users that tracking helps keep the apps `free of charge'.`

general news

It's the time of year again: voting is open for the annual Webby Awards! The best of the internet. Vote for your favorite nominees. Or just explore these to find out some new website and services you probably never knew you wanted. You can start by looking at categories and navigate to areas of interest.