MacOS Catalina, the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system, is now available as a free software update in the Mac App Store. With macOS Catalina, users will now be able to download and play Apple Arcade, Apple’s new game subscription service featuring exclusive games from some of the world’s most creative developers. Catalina also features all-new Mac versions of Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV apps, essentially breaking up the old iTunes app and bringing the desktop OS a little more in line with iPadOS and iOS without breaking the integrity of either OS. A new feature called Sidecar allows users to use their iPad as a second display, or tablet input device using Apple Pencil with Mac apps. Voice Control, a new accessibility feature, allows Mac to be controlled entirely by voice. With Mac Catalyst, a new technology in Catalina that makes it easy for third-party developers to bring iPad apps to Mac, users will begin to see their favorite iPad apps in Mac versions, including Twitter, TripIt, Post-It, GoodNotes and Jira, with more to come. And for the first time, Screen Time comes to Mac, giving users insight into how they spend time in apps and on websites, and the ability to decide how to spend their time.
Spotify has finally launched the capability to play music with Apple’s Siri voice on the iPhone and iPad. The new feature, only just recently came about in iOS 13, puts Spotify on more level ground with Apple Music. It showed up in the beta app in September, but now it has rolled out to all users.
iOS and iPadOS users can now ask Siri to play music through Spotify. Spotify states that Siri can also control the app in CarPlay, and users can use AirPlay to play music on a HomePod with voice commands if a HomePod is present and available.
Lack of Siri capability was one of Spotify’s complaints about Apple that it filed with the EU, which turned around and launched an antitrust investigation of Apple earlier this year. (Apple will also give Siri the ability send messages through third-party apps by default, which could be another step to address similar criticisms.)
Spotify is also releasing an Apple TV app for the first time. It closely resembles the app on other TV platforms like Roku.
Spotify is also apparently redesigning its iPad app to take better advantage of the larger screen real estate. however, the iPad app is still missing features such as Spotify’s animated album art as those videos are more optimized for a phone environment.
Apple will release a software update later on this year that lets up on many of the Siri restrictions for third party messaging apps.
As things are, Siri defaults to using Apple’s proprietary apps when sending messages and making calls. A future update, though, will let her default to the services that are used most frequently, based on specific contacts.
Apple has recently faced much criticism over its restrictions on third-party apps and services. the company has already begun letting up on some of those with changes in iOS 13.
Right now Siri has better control over third-party music streaming services, for example. With an update coming some time later this year, it will function better with third-party messaging apps.
Siri will no longer default to Apple’s built-in Messages and Phone apps for all communication once this change is implemented. It will identify which services are used most frequently and employ those instead.
Here is an example, if you frequently use WhatsApp to message a certain friend, Siri will automatically default to that when you ask it to message that certain friend, you don’t even have to specify “WhatsApp” in your request.
Developers will need to enable the new functionality in their apps themselves. So seeing the change across all third-party messaging apps will take a little time. Support for calling services is also planned for later on.
A statement from Apple says “In the few categories where Apple also has an app, we have many successful competitors and we’re proud that their success is responsible for almost 2 million U.S. jobs in a thriving multibillion dollar market for developers”.
The upcoming update is good not only for developers, it’s also great for iPhone and iPad users who will find many more uses for Siri.
iOS 13.0 was just released and Apple is already pushing up the release date for both iOS 13.1 and iPadOS. Both updates will go live on September 24th instead of the original September 30th release date.
iOS 13.1 will bring several features that, for some reason, weren’t released with the initial iOS 13 release. To include automated Siri Shortcut actions, a share ETA feature in Apple Maps, and data separation for enterprise devices. Apple also promises that 13.1 will bring general bug fixes. iOS 13.1 will have a fix for a lockscreen bypass exploit in iOS 13 as well, which is apparently a pretty big hole in the security of the current hardware.
Other features announced for iOS 13, such as AirPod sharing and new HomeKit features, won’t appear with iOS 13.1 either, but they are promised for sometime later this fall.
iPadOS is the big software update for Apple’s iPads, unlike iOS, which will remain the software for iPhone and iPod touch devices. This is the first time that Apple is splitting its mobile operating systems. From here on out, iPadOS will be developed as a separate branch of software that shares a common base with the existing MacOS, watchOS, iOS and tvOS platforms.
If you have caught my last few videos and streams on YouTube lately (and were able to tolerate the technical issues I had), then you would know that I've made my disdain for Facebook and my aggressive dislike of Mark Zuckerberg no secret. It's also been no secret that those who have downloaded an early version of iOS 13 have started seeing a peculiar notification on their device: "Facebook would like to use Bluetooth."
iOS 13, which is scheduled to launch on Thursday of this week, is packed with new privacy features, the goal of which is to give users far more control over what data they share with apps. Both Facebook and Google are notorious for harvesting data to better target advertisements, a business model that Tim Cook has described as the "data industrial complex."
For those who have downloaded the beta version of iOS 13, the update has already caught apps like Facebook and YouTube employing data-gathering methods that have been in place for a while.
One particular method is to clandestinely tap into a phone's Bluetooth technology to track a person's physical location and their proximity to others' smartphones.
Facebook tracks, and gathers enmasse, personal data on users' connections with one another and can combine proximity information gathered from Bluetooth with GPS data to make inferences about their relationships. For instance, Facebook could log that you spent a few hours near someone else at a private residence and differentiate that relationship from other Facebook users you come into contact with only at an office building.
In addition to hoarding as much personal data that they can to use for targeting ads, Facebook could, in theory, use the relationship-mapping data in its newly launched dating service, designed to compete with apps like Tinder and Bumble.
Much to the chagrin of Facebook and Google, iPhone users have the option to turn off location services — including through GPS, Bluetooth, and cell towers — for specific apps, and iOS 13 should provide a more detailed breakdown of which apps access which location services. To use Facebook Dating, however, users must agree to turn on location services. So my personal suggestion to anyone would be to not use these "services" in any way shape or form, whatsoever.
Last week, ahead of the iOS update, Facebook published a blog post explaining its location-gathering practices and noting that users can turn off location services to prevent the app from using Bluetooth and GPS to track them.
However, even with location services switched off, Facebook could still track a user's location "using things like check-ins, events and information about your internet connection."
So in my ever so humble opinion, which I've more or less stated several times over the last few weeks, the likes of Facebook should be stayed away from. Their nefarious practices of garnering our personal information for their own benefit needs to come to a stop. But I do understand that many people still "need" Facebook for one thing or another. My advice to that sort of person would be to at least stop using the Facebook app. If you absolutely need Facebook, contain it to a desktop browser.
I could say the same thing about Google, as their practices are not at all dissimilar. It's simply the fact that Google provides a far wider, and much more productive, range of services that would otherwise cost the end user a significant amount out of their bank account.