Category Archives: Apple

Apple Announced California Streaming Event



Apple announced an Apple Event called California Streaming. It will take place on September 14, at 10 a.m. PDT. It will be broadcast from Apple Park. You can watch it live online at apple.com. That’s all the information that Apple has given about this event.

MacRumors reported that this event will be held digitally with no members of the media to attend in person. They think Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for each new product..

What might those products be? We won’t know for certain just yet. MacRumors expects Apple to announce new iPhone 13 models, the Apple Watch Series 7, and possibly the AirPods 3. They don’t think that new MacBook Pro models and new iPads will be part of the event.

Mashable reported that opening the September 14 event page on an iPhone reveals a graphic that mimics the video being shared by company bigwigs on Twitter: The glowing Apple logo floating over an alpine lake. But when you tap on that logo, “the augmented reality magic happens”.

I tried this out for myself, and saw the glowing Apple logo over a lake. Tapping on the screen started the AR, and I now had a glowing Apple logo on my desk (when viewed through my iPhone). It kind of reminded me of how Pókemon GO uses AR in their game. I could see the date of the event hovering over the lake.

Based on this, Mashable predicts that we might soon see an iPhone AR. According to Mashable, the latest iPad Pro is optimized for AR tech.

MacStories speculated that we might see new Macs, considering that it has been several months since the M1 iMac was introduced. They also think Apple will announce upcoming versions of its operating systems and release dates for each.

Overall, we have no clear idea what Apple will present at the event. That’s part of the fun, I think. Some of the speculation could turn out to be accurate, and some not right at all. Apple could surprise us with something that nobody expected.


Apple Delays Rollout of CSAM Detection



Silvery Apple LogoLast month, Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protection for children. In short, Apple stated that the purpose was to protect children from receiving or sending sexually explicit photos. Parents would get a message if their child or teen viewed or sent one. In addition, Apple stated that was going to scan user’s iCloud photos in an effort to detect CSAM, which if found, would be reported to law enforcement.

Those features were intended to roll out with updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. 9to5Mac reported that Apple has decided to “take additional time” to refine the features before launching to the public.

Apple gave a statement to 9to5Mac:

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

It is unclear when Apple will decide to release those features, and it is unknown what kinds of improvements Apple intends to make.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) responded to Apple’s decision to “take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements.” EFF states that those features will weaken privacy and security on iPhones and other products.

EFF wrote that it is “pleased Apple is now listening to the concerns of customers, researchers, civil liberties organizations, human rights activists, LGBTQ people, youth representatives, and other groups, about the dangers posed by its phone scanning tools. But the company must go further than just listening, and drop its plans to put a backdoor into its encryption entirely.”

Personally, I think Apple really messed up when they announced those new features in a way that made users think the two were connected. It resulted in a lot of confusion. I also think Apple made a huge mistake when it assumed people would be okay with the idea of having their iCloud photos scanned. The best way around this, in my opinion, is to pull your family photos out of iCloud and store them elsewhere.


Apple Explains its Protections for Children



Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protections for children. This comes after information about it has spread across the internet, that may or may not be factual.

Here is some of the information Apple provided:

  • Apple is introducing new child safety features in three areas, developed in collaboration with child safety experts. First, new communication tools will enable parents to play a more informed role in helping their children navigate communication online. The Messages app will use on-device machine learning to warn about sensitive content, while keeping private communications unreadable by Apple.
  • iOS and iPadOS will use new applications of cryptography to help limit the spread of CSAM online, while designing for use privacy. CSAM detection will help Apple provide valuable information to law enforcement on collections of CSAM in iCloud Photos.
  • These features are coming later this year in updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey.
  • The Messages app will at new tools to warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos.
  • The content of the photo will be blurred, and the child will be warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view this photo. As an additional precaution, the child can also be told that, to make sure they are safe, their parents will get a message if they do view it. The child will be warned before the photo is sent, and the parents can receive a message if the child chooses to send it.

John Gruber (on Daring Fireball) has more information about what this does Apple’s child safety initiatives:

The messages feature is specifically only for children in a shared iCloud family account. If you’re an adult, nothing is changing with regard to any photos you send or receive through Messages. And if you’re a parent with child who the feature could apply to, you’ll need to explicitly opt in to enable the feature. It will not turn on automatically when your devices are updated to iOS 15.

John Gruber also wrote: If you don’t use iCloud Photo Library, none of this applies to you. If you do use iCloud Photo Library, this detection is only applied to the images in your photo library the are synced to iCloud.


Apple Warns Sideloading Apps Would Undermine Privacy Protections



Apple has released a report titled: “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps”. In short, it provides information about how the App Store protections are important for the safety and security of iOS and iPadOS. Sideloading would undermine this system because it would enable nefarious apps to cause harm to those who download them.

The report is an interesting read for those who use iOS and/or iPadOS. It provides details about what happens “behind the scenes” that enables Apple to provide security and privacy protections to users. It also talks about its App Review process, in which developers and users are screened and checked for malicious components like unwanted purchases or providing access to personal data.

In 2020, 100,000 apps and updates were reviewed each week on average by a team of over 500 dedicated experts, who review apps in different languages.

Nearly one million problematic new apps and a similar number of updates were rejected or removed. That includes more than 150,000 for being spam or copycats, or misleading users; more than 215,000 for violating privacy guidelines; more than 48,000 for containing hidden or undocumented features; and about 95,000 for fraudulent violations (predominantly for including “bait and switch” functionalities to commit criminal or other forbidden actions.)

Features like Apple’s privacy labels on the App Store, and its App Tracking Transparency, provide protections to users. Apple points out that allowing sideloading – allowing developers to distribute their apps outside of the App Store through websites or third-party app stores – “would degrade the security of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks not only on third-party app stores, but also on the App Store.”

One of the things that caught my attention in Apple’s report was that sideloading could cause harm to people who only download apps from the App Store. Those that choose to sideload apps will put other iOS or iPadOS users at risk. A malicious developer could attempt to fake something that looks like the App Store, which could trick users into thinking it was the real deal. That app could then grab people’s data, including health and financial information.


Apple Podcast Subscriptions launches today



The podcast market is hotter than ever, and big names from TV and sports are in the game. Now, today, a new chapter begins in the media business. 

Apple, which began this genre way back when it launched the iPOD, is once more at the center of the game. This time it’s with a podcast subscription service. The shows are available individually and grouped in channels and prices will vary beginning as low as $0.49. 

Not all shows are participating because of advertising restrictions. One service, the popular children’s network Pinna, states it’s “an audio-first children’s media company offering the first and ONLY ad-free, audio on-demand streaming service, expertly developed and carefully curated for kids 3-12.” Their channels will run $3.99 each.

You can access all of this by visiting the traditional Apple Podcast app. Maybe you can even dig out that decade old shiny device to listen on.


Apple Stores will Stop Requiring Face Masks Soon



Apple is going to loosen its face mask requirements in Apple Stores as part of its COVID-19 policies in the United States, Apple Insider reported. The mask requirement will be dropped on June 15, 2021.

This decision goes along with Apple’s previous decisions regarding COVID-19. In December of 2020, Apple closed all 53 of its locations in California. In May of 2020, it started gradually reopening stores in South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. Later, it began reopening stores with COVID-19 safety measures. In June of 2020, Apple closed 11 stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona, out of an abundance of caution. The decisions made by Apple on when to close or reopen a store depended upon the number of COVID-19 cases in a particular state.

According to Apple Insider, Apple will make a change that will go into affect on June 15, 2021, in which it could relax its mask policy to allow some customers to be able to enter an Apple Store without wearing a face mask. That information comes from Bloomberg, who spoke with “people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified discussing policy changes that haven’t been announced.”

It appears that the removal of the mask requirement is intended for customers. Apple store employees will still have to wear masks.

Of course, it’s hard to be certain about exactly what will happen on June 15, 2021. While it is entirely possible that Bloomberg really did get some inside information about Apple’s upcoming face mask rules – it is possible that things may change. After all, Apple has a history of checking the number of COVID cases in a location and using that to determine whether or not to close or reopen a store.


Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini Will Support Lossless Audio



Apple posted information about lossless audio in Apple Music. This comes after Apple discontinued the original HomePod in March of 2021, in favor of focusing on the HomePod mini.

Apple posted information titled: “About lossless audio in Apple Music”. The first line under the title clearly states: “Lossless is not yet available but is coming soon.” From the information:

What you need to know about lossless in Apple Music:

  • Streaming lossless audio over a cellular or Wi-Fi network consume significantly more data. And downloading lossless audio uses significantly more space on your device. Higher resolutions use more data than lower ones.
  • AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and Beats wireless headphones use Apple AAC Bluetooth Codec to ensure excellent audio quality. However, Bluetooth connections aren’t lossless.

The Verge reported that Apple is basically saying those who want to delete and redownload their music from Apple have to do it through Apple’s subscription service. However, according to The Verge, Apple will offer over 20 million songs in lossless quality at launch in June. The total number of lossless quality songs will reach over 75 million by the end of 2021.

Can you listen to lossless audio on your HomePod or HomePod mini? Apple answered that question. HomePod and HomePod mini currently use ACC to ensure excellent quality. Support for lossless is coming in a future software update.

9to5Mac reported that broadcast radio, live radio, on-demand content from Apple Music 1, and Music videos won’t support lossless audio. iTunes purchases also cannot be downloaded again in lossless, as its only available from the Apple Music catalog.