October 2022

Apple Music

Apple Music crosses 100 million songs milestone, announced Apple. Recall that when it launched in 2015, Apple offered a catalog of 30 million songs. Spotify says that today, they offer over 80 million songs. Apple writes:

`Back in the 1960s, only 5,000 new albums were released each year. Today, anywhere in the world, in 167 countries and regions on Apple Music, any artist of any description can write and record a song and release it globally. Every day, over 20,000 singers and songwriters are delivering new songs to Apple Music — songs that make our catalog even better than it was the day before. One hundred million songs is evidence of a more democratic space, where anyone, even a new artist making music out of their bedroom, can have the next big hit.'


`At Apple Music, human curation has always been the core to everything we do, both in ways you can see, like our editorial playlists; and ways you can’t, like the human touch that drives our recommendation algorithms. Now more than ever, we know that investment in human curation will be key in making us the very best at connecting artists and audiences.'

iOS 16

Recall that iOS 16 is currently only available for iPhones. It will become available for iPads in the near future.

Here is a nice short list of tips to get started with iOS 16 on your iPhone: Customize your lock screen, Link focus mode, Focus filters, Medication tracking, New messages features, Pin your favorite tabs and Set Up Tab Group Start Pages, Try Out Lift Subject From Background, Merge Duplicate Photos, Murge Duplicate Contacts, Safety Check, Merge FaceTime Calls.

If you want a more thorough overview, this deeper dive into iOS 16 is worth bookmarking & reading.

Roger S. tells us there are noticeable improvements with dictation. `It is worth the upgrade just for the new capabilities of dictation. I dictated this without adding any punctuation myself', he wrote in an email.

iPhone 14 models

WSJ's Joanna Stern demonstrated the new Dynamic Island feature:

Photography and iPhone 14 Pro

Austin Mann, professional travel photographer, is at it again: His review of the iPhone 14 Pro is based on a trip to Scottland. He concludes with a useful summary and recommendations for photographers.

Crash Detection

Recall that the new iPhone 14 models as well as the new Apple Watch models offer crash detection. They will automatically call 911 if they detect you are in a crash. WSJ’s Joanna Stern and Kenny Wassus enlisted a demolition-derby driver to crash cars at a junkyard:

AirPods Pro v2

After the big success of the original AirPods Pro, Apple released v2. Are they any different?

Hands-On With the New AirPods Pro 2 gives a nice overview.

Marques Brownlee says they are underrated and `easily the best earbuds' Apple has ever made'. Take a look:

Olga reported that she bought v2 and is very impressed by the battery life (yes 50% increase to 6 hours is significant) and by the sound quality (yes it's REALLY better, even though it was excellent before), and the additional features (controlling volume on the earbuds). In her opinion, these AirPods are perhaps the best device Apple released this season and definitely the most underrated.

other iOS and Apple news

How have retail prices of iPhone changed over the years? Charts show the evolution of iPhone prices over the years and how well older phones held their value. Tha range is widening, with the high end increasing, while the entry level remaining around $400. The entry level inherits features from the high end, after a while.

iOS apps

Apple hs removed the app Dark Sky from the App Store, ahead of the Jan 2023 shutdown, now that Apple has acquired the app and is merging the functionality with the native Weather app on iOS 16. However, Olga laments the lack of Dew Point data in the native Weather app. Dark Sky has the data.

Pause is an app for mindfulness, relaxation, focus. It can help you relax and de-stress in just minutes at a time. It is based on scientific research on relaxation and health. We looked at this app a few years ago when it was experimental. Now it has expanded and offers more ways to take a pause. There is a 7-day free trial. Monthly sub is $4/month, Yearly sub is $20/year.

gadgets & accessories

Roger S. points us to another excellent educational video by Shane Whatley. Setting up a smart home for his grandfather, with the purpose being safety. He uses iOS and HomeKit-based smart devices. The video is chapterized. There are some useful ideas for everyone:

Olga reported that the new AirPod Pro 2 has a case whose dimensions are identical to the original AirPod Pro case. The v2 case has more features, but the dimensions are identical.

This means that a case such as the Elago AirPods Pro Ice Cream Case works just as well.

Olga also mentioned that her old AirPod Pro (original version) would fail to hold a charge on the right AirPods piece, after 3 years of daily and heavy use. However, as it turned out, the defective component was the AirPod case, not the AirPod ear piece. Olga bought a barely-used AiProd case from eBay for $40 and her old AirPod Pros now work beautifully.


Olga reported about an extra security feature with Apple Card.


The new Series 8 overview by Macrumors provides highlights and details.

Mary Anne gave her initial thoughts on the Series 8.

Apple Watch Series 8 Review, by The Street:Best-in-Class Smartwatch. They praise the watch for all its capabilities and safety features. They note it's a more appealing upgrade from a Series 4, 5, or 6, less so for a 7 owner.

Men's Health reviews Series 8. They write:

`The Series 8 is put in a bit of an awkward spot. Yes, the flashy new Ultra has the momentum going out of Apple’s rough and tumble presentation, but that doesn’t mean the Series 8 was just a second thought. I gave the Series 8 a wear test for a just under a week after the big reveal at the Keynote, and I found that consistency ruled with the new device.'

(cont'd) `Should you upgrade? If you want access to the most recent Apple tech, with its most powerful health sensors, safety features, and battery life, yes, especially if your current device is more than a few years old or you've never owned an Apple Watch. If you have an Apple Watch that's only one or two years old, however, you might want to sit this release out (or wait for the super-powered Ultra if its adventure specs are more appealing to you).'

Read: Testing an Apple Watch Ultra in the Scottish Highlands, by David Smith, iOS developer and avid hiker. He took it on a 50-mile hike and tested it over 3 days. He took a regular Apple Watch along as well. His video review is chapterized and worth watching. And watch his summary:

Wondering about the new bands introduced with the Ultra? Here is a great and informative overview which also helps answer the frequently asked questions:

Olga, Bernie, and Mary Anne also reported on their visit to the Apple Store at La Encantada and testing some of these bands on Series 8 and testing older watch bands on the Ultra.

Testing the Ultra in a dive chamber, showcasing the new dive interface and explaining the differences between the max depth the hardware can handle (certified to 100 meters) vs. the watchOS cutoff for casual dives (40 meters):

Sometime later this fall, the Ultra will work with the 3rd party app Oceanic+. `The new Oceanic+ app for Apple Watch Ultra turns the watch you wear every day into a fully capable dive computer for recreational diving and snorkeling. It includes all the core features divers need, and is refreshingly easy to use.' This will require a subscription of $79/year. It will include all the dive-related functions offered by a dive computer. Including: dive planning, water type, ascent warnings, safety stops, mixed gas options.

An excellent and very thoughtful review of the new Ultra, by John Gruber.

Our own iPUG group has Drew and Kandie, two wonderful diving experts, and we look forward to hearing their perspective. :-)

next iPUG meeting

Our next iPUG meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov 1, at 7 pm.