Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

The Back Page: Release Notes for Apple Reality 1.0.1

We’re delighted you’ve chosen to embark upon Apple Reality. Today is the first day of a whole new world for you, and we hope that you enjoy living in it as much as we did creating it.

With Apple Reality, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to not only provide you with an immersive experience but to actually improve on reality itself.

We’re committed to making Apple Reality the best reality you can experience, and to that end we plan regular updates to add new features, improve existing capabilities, and fix any bugs that may arise. A major update coming later this year will add one of our most requested features: the ability to experience multiple realities.

Today, we’re releasing Reality 1.0.1. This launch-day update is recommend for all Reality users and includes the following enhancements, bug fixes, and security updates:

  • Corrected inconsistent rendering of sky that could make it appear white or gray and fixed issue where it could leak.

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

A lot will be announced at WWDC, but wearables will steal the show

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is imminent. In just a few short days, all that rumor and speculation will finally be answered, and we can make way for…new rumor and speculation. (At least then it will be based on things we’ve actually seen.)

But as we enjoy our last hurrah before the hurricane of news and updates hits, it’s time to compile a look at what exactly we might be expecting when Apple executives appear (in a no doubt slickly compiled video) at Apple Park next week, and what isn’t likely to make the cut.

Apple Classical launches on Android before Mac and iPad

Zac Hall at 9to5Mac:

Prioritizing Apple Music Classical for Android over Apple’s other platforms does make sense, though. The separate app is based on Apple’s acquisition of Primephonic, which was a standalone classical music subscription service, and the Android app went away with Apple’s purchase. That’s similar to how Apple Music for Android has served as a replacement for Beats Music for Android.

Well, yes and no. I’m sure the Apple Classical app leverages a lot of Primephonic’s work, but just looking at the app also makes it clear that it’s drawing heavily from Apple Music; it seems unlikely that it’s more technically challenging to bring Apple Classical to the Mac and iPad than it is for Android.

That said, Apple could very well have metrics from both Apple Music and Primephonic showing which devices people use to listen to classical music, and it decided to prioritize where there were more users. I also wonder if developers of Android apps at Apple might have somewhat more availability than engineers working on apps for its own platforms—especially right now.

Despite all that, the lack of support for macOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and CarPlay definitely feels a bit awkward. Here’s hoping a subsequent release will not only improve the Classical app for iOS (which hasn’t been substantively updated since launch) but also bring users of the rest of Apple’s platforms into the fold.

—Linked by Dan Moren

Behind Apple’s new voice cloning feature

Fast Company’s Harry McCracken talked to some of the team behind Apple’s new Personal Voice accessibility feature about its development as well as some more fine details:

When it came to enabling third-party apps to speak via Personal Voice, Apple put privacy measures in place similar to those it imposes for photos, location, and other bits of personal data in its care. Such apps can only hook into Personal Voice with the user’s permission, must be running in the foreground, and receive only enough access to read text in the voice, not to get at the data used to generate it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the privacy implications, but the implementation of this feature certainly seems that it will be harder to abuse than something like ElevenLabs’s voice cloning tech. For example, just having to spend fifteen minutes training the model with a random set of words is going to make it a lot harder to create a model of someone else’s voice without their knowledge, even if it does give me shades of training the ViaVoice dictation software circa 2000 by reading Treasure Island to it.

—Linked by Dan Moren

By Dan Moren for Macworld

On the heels of new pro apps, where does the iPad go from here?

More than a decade ago, on the heels of the iPad’s announcement, I took to the pages of this very magazine—then still available as a physical object shipped to your home—to describe it as not just a third device, but a third revolution.

And at the time it was: Apple’s attempt to once again remake the idea of personal computing, a thesis it would return to several times in the subsequent years, perhaps most cogently expressed in the “what’s a computer?” ad from 2017.

But in recent years, that future has seemed in jeopardy, as the iPad has entered a kind of holding pattern, like the understudy waiting in the wings that’s never asked to step into the main role. The Mac, which seemed poised on the brink of retirement, not only kept trucking along, but even garnered a late-career resurgence with the transition to Apple Silicon. The iPad’s big break suddenly evaporated.

This past week, Apple once again took a step towards the idea of the iPad as the modern-day computer replacement with its long-awaited announcement of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for the platform—but is it too little, too late?

By Dan Moren for Macworld

The must-have accessory for Apple’s AR headset will be an Apple One subscription

As Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference approaches, so too does the rumored announcement of the company’s much ballyhooed mixed reality headset. Expectations for the device are high—as is the reported price tag—and much of the tech community is waiting with bated breath to see if Apple can deliver a game-changing device where other competitors have foundered.

If Apple does manage to pull a rabbit out of its hat, the company will surely attribute that success to its signature ability to combine hardware and software into one seamless package, delivering a product in the way that only Apple can.

But there’s another element of Apple’s business that will play a big part in whether or not Apple’s headset is a hit, and you don’t have to go very far down the company’s balance sheet to find it: services.

by Dan Moren

Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro come to the iPad at last

Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro on iPad

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today unveiled Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad. Video and music creators can now unleash their creativity in new ways that are only possible on iPad. Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for iPad bring all-new touch interfaces that allow users to enhance their workflows with the immediacy and intuitiveness of Multi-Touch.

Over the past several years, Apple has brought more “pro” features to the iPad, including support for trackpads and external displays, but one thing that’s been missing in action is Apple’s own in-house pro apps. Bringing over Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro removes yet another limitation on the platform that may open up the device to new markets.

But adapting these apps has always been a tall order: they’re not only exceptionally powerful, but they’ve never been made with touch interfaces in mind. Apple says it has created a brand new touch interface for Final Cut Pro, including the ability to use the Apple Pencil’s new hover feature on M2 iPad Pros to preview footage. Logic Pro also adds a few new features, such as a new sound browser and a new time and pitch-morphing plugin called Beat Breaker.

It’s not clear whether these apps provide full feature parity with their Mac counterparts, though Logic Pro supports full roundtrip compatibility for projects; Apple says Final Cut Pro, on the other hand, can export its projects to the Mac, though it’s less clear whether that runs in the other direction.

In terms of what devices you’ll be able to run these on, Final Cut Pro has the steeper requirements, needing an M1 chip or later, while Logic Pro just requires an A12 Bionic processor.

These also mark Apple’s first major subscription software venture: each of the pro apps will be available on May 23, running $4.99 per month or $49 per year; they’ll both offer a month-long free trial.

—Linked by Dan Moren

By Dan Moren for Macworld

25 years ago, Apple introduced the product that changed everything

In 2023, Apple is sitting on top of the world. At times ranked as the most valuable company around, its influence in technology and media—and even some realms beyond—exceeds almost any other single corporation. But it wasn’t always that way, and much of where the company is today can be attributed to a product released 25 years ago: the original iMac.

I vividly remember the first time I saw a picture of that machine: sitting in my high school library, just a few days shy of graduation, I was leafing through my copy of this very publication (in classic dead-tree format), devouring the cover story on this weird new computer that, unbeknownst to any at the time, would set the course for Apple for years to come.

As an avid Apple fan in the darkest period of the 1990s, it was hard to deny that the iMac sparked excitement. Here was something new, something distinct from everything else on the market, something that perfectly exemplified the company’s then-only recently adopted slogan, which, though only in use for a few years, became its most iconic motto: Think different.

by Dan Moren

Google adds passkeys for accounts

Jess Weatherbed at The Verge:

Google’s next step into a passwordless future is here with the announcement that passkeys — a new cryptographic keys solution that requires a preauthenticated device — are coming to Google accounts on all major platforms. Starting today, Google users can switch to passkeys and ditch their passwords and two-step verification codes entirely when signing in.

I set this up immediately, and it works pretty well, although when I tried logging into my Google account via a private browser tab, it still made me go through the standard password and two-factor verification step. But logging out in my main browser and logging back in with a passkey was a breeze.

Google Account Passkey

There’s no doubt for me that the entire technology industry will be shifting to passkeys over the next few years—the advantages are huge for both users and services—but it’s still likely to be a very slow transition, and there will no doubt be holdouts and laggards.

My biggest question remains how to deal with shared accounts. Unlike passwords, passkeys can’t easily be shard with others, which is more secure but also way less convenient. Third-party apps might offer a way to fill in this gap, but it definitely feels like a first-party problem; you can’t just fall back to copying and pasting, so there needs to be an easy way to share these universally.

Still, I’m primed and ready for our passkey future. Death to the password!

—Linked by Dan Moren

By Dan Moren

Wish List: Auto-resume for walking workouts in watchOS

For a smart watch, the Apple Watch can sometimes be…less than intelligent. Case in point: more than a few times in the past weeks, I’ve found myself bitten by one relatively minor missing feature.

There I am, out for my daily walk—with the outdoor walk workout running on my watch—when I pause to pop into a store on an errand or to grab a snack. Being the honest person that I am, I manually pause my workout. But ten or twenty minutes later, as I’m on my way home, I realize I’ve forgotten to resume it.

Walk, interrupted.

So, I ask: why can’t the Apple Watch detect that I’ve started my walk again and offer to un-pause—my workout?

If you find yourself thinking that this feature sounds familiar, that’s because the Apple Watch already auto-pauses and auto-resumes outdoor running and cycling workouts. Moreover, it can detect when you’ve forgotten to start a walking workout, prompt you to start it, and retroactively apply that workout back to the beginning. And it can automatically figure out when you’ve stopped your workout and forgotten to turn it off or pause it.

So there’s really only one missing piece of the puzzle, and yet it’s one that drives me bananas. I’m not quite sure why watchOS can handle part of the equation but not the exact opposite.

There are reportedly a lot of big changes expected for watchOS 10 when it’s unveiled in June, and I’m glad to hear the Apple Watch is getting some love, but while the company’s at it, maybe they could throw in a few little features too.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

by Dan Moren

The juice jacking isn’t worth the squeeze

Are Technica’s Dan Goodin throws cold water on recent warnings about “juice jacking” (i.e. devices being compromised by being plugged into public USB charging ports):

The problem with the warnings coming out of the FCC and FBI is that they divert attention away from bigger security threats, such as weak passwords and the failure to install security updates. They create unneeded anxiety and inconvenience that run the risk of people simply giving up trying to be secure.

I admit, I’ve been wary of public charging stations for the last several years, but Goodin’s thorough breakdown explains why this kind of exploit—though technically feasible—is extremely difficult to pull off. Most importantly, he points out that there have been zero documented cases of juice jacking ever having happened outside of proof of concepts demonstrated by security researchers.

There are a lot of these kind of exploits that get shown off by researchers, and that’s good, because it encourages device makers to continually improve their security. But they also tend to be stories that are ripe for scaremongering because they garner a lot of attention and get shared and amplified without actual understanding.

In short: your public USB charging port is probably fine. But it’s never a bad idea to carry your own charger and cable, for convenience if nothing else.

—Linked by Dan Moren

By Dan Moren

The Back Page: The many moods of Tim Cook

Tim Cook - Shutterstock
Goooooood mornnnnnning!

We here at Six Colors don’t get a lot of scoops—simply put, it’s not what we do. Sure, we hear rumors from time to time, and sometimes even a little birdie or two crosses our path with an interesting tidbit, but they generally don’t rise to the level of an entire story.

However, on rare occasion, just such a nugget does come to our attention, and it’s simply too good to pass up. Which is why we can exclusively report upon a recent development inside Apple that changes the very way the company handles its internal projects.

Tim Cook is, obviously, a very difficult man to read. He’s buttoned-down. He plays his cards1 close to his chest. On which he wears a button-down. That can be quite a challenge for the Apple executives who want to sell him on a particular project they’re working on: how best to gauge whether or not Tim is receptive to a specific idea?…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

Are you ready to give Apple all of your money?

Since the advent of Apple Pay back in 2014, Apple has slowly but surely rolled out a number of other financial-related products: Apple Cash (née Apple Pay Cash) in 2017, the Apple Card in 2019, the recent Apple Pay Later service, and just this past week, the new Apple Card savings account.

It’s a lot of interest—if you’ll pardon the expression—in the financial realm for a company that tends to be focused on cutting edge technology, especially given that, in the U.S. at least, the banking system is anything but.

Nevertheless, with all of these various offerings, Apple seems well poised to become something a bit like a bank in its own right. Why would Apple want to be a bank? Well, in the apocryphal words of famous bank robber Willie Sutton: “that’s where the money is.” But to zoom out and take the 35,000 foot view, there may be even more of a long game playing out here.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

How dicey rumors get from Apple’s secret labs to your computer screen

If you’re an avid follower of Apple rumors, you’d be excused for wondering exactly what the heck is going on in Cupertino these days. The last couple weeks have seen stories retracting several previously suggested features, shipping time frames, or even entire products.

But, if you’ll pardon me unlimbering my bat for a game of inside baseball, all this only illustrates the many and varied reasons that such rumors should be taken with entire chunks of salt. It’s not simply because they’re rumors, but rather because of the nature of how many of those who report such rumors acquire the details in the first place.

Rumors, like sausage and politics, are a little less magical when you see exactly how they’re made, so join me on this journey inside the rumor mill. You may never look at them the same way again.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

How Apple can use small OS upgrades to make a big splash at WWDC

With the official announcement of the dates for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, all eyes have turned to June for the next barrage of Apple updates. Chief among those, of course, is the much-rumored Apple headset—despite recent reports that it may have been delayed.

But even if the headset sucks up most of the oxygen in the Steve Jobs Theater (or wherever Apple is showing this year’s keynote), WWDC is traditionally a time for the company to show off the latest versions of all of its platforms, and it’s not as though it can let iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS simply lie fallow for a year.

While earlier reports suggested that this year’s updates might be more like “bug fix” releases, more recently it’s been suggested that we’ll see some “nice to have” features, if not the kind of big marquee enhancements that we’ve come to expect year over year.

And that’s not a bad thing. There are plenty of rough edges in Apple’s operating systems, and places that could use some minor tweaks and improvements. So let’s look ahead at what the company might do to improve its platforms in small ways.

By Dan Moren

The Back Page: We got nothing

  • TIM COOK (60s, ruggedly handsome) sits at his desk, eyes closed and hands folded on his lap, as though he is an android who is in sleep mode.
  • There's a knock at the door and JEFF (60s, ruggedly handsome) pokes his head in.
  • JEFF
  • Hey, Tim, sorry to bother you.
  • Tim's eyes open, but he doesn't move. Then he smiles suddenly and broadly.
  • TIM
  • Good mornnnnning.
  • Jeff hesitates, glances down at his watch, then walks into the office.
  • JEFF
  • Tim, it's 3:30. Are you okay?
  • TIM
  • I'm so excited to be here today.
  • JEFF
  • Okay, uh, great. Look, I wanted to talk to you about WWDC.
  • TIM
  • We are so excited to show you what we've been working on.
  • JEFF
  • Yeah, that's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about. Look, I know we were planning on the Apple Headset being the focus of our keynote, but it looks like we're not going to be able to hit our deadline.

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

By Dan Moren

Review: Aura’s digital photo frame is solid, if not quite picture perfect

Aura Mason Luxe

Of all the standalone devices that I couldn’t imagine I’d need in the year 2023, I would have put a digital picture frame near the top. To me, they’re a device that seems to belong in that mid-2000s era where people switched to digital cameras, one of those weird bits of translation that supposes that every analog device needs an exact digital counterpart, rather than acknowledging that we simply treat our photos differently now.

But then I had a kid.

Suddenly I found that, despite the thousands of photos I’ve already taken of this child in the first eight months of their life, I had no easy way to display them around the house. I could, of course, always have some digital photos printed out and hung in various places, but that would only allow for a subset of all the great pictures I’d taken.

Suddenly a digital photo frame didn’t seem like such a wild idea, so when the opportunity arose for me to check one out, I didn’t hesitate. What I discovered is that there is definitely a niche for this digital spin on an old favorite, but that even a good entry falls short in a few ways.

Continue reading “Review: Aura’s digital photo frame is solid, if not quite picture perfect”…

Kirk McElhearn takes Apple Music Classical for a spin

Kirk McElhearn, longtime Macworld contributor and classical music aficionado, has taken an in-depth look at Apple Music Classical over at TidBITS:

I’ve long complained about the way iTunes, then the Music app and Apple Music, have dealt with classical music. The earliest such articles I can find on Macworld date back to 2005. In Corral your classical music, I wrote, “If you’re a fan of classical music, then you’ve probably, at some point, become frustrated with iTunes and the iPod. Track information from the Web is inconsistent, pieces are difficult to tag and categorize, and imported songs don’t flow seamlessly into one another.”

I’m happy to say that Apple has finally solved many of these problems. It’s a shame that it took so long.

Kirk has written more about dealing with classical music on Apple’s platforms than anybody I know, and I’m glad to hear his experience mostly mirrors mine. But he also talks about a lot of things that I wouldn’t have even thought to look into (how good search actually is, for example), which makes it a solid read if you’re wondering how good this app really is for classical music fans.

—Linked by Dan Moren

Apple announces WWDC 2023 for June 5-9

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference now has a date for 2023: June 5-9. The company’s developer site announced the dates on Wednesday, along with a few more details. As in previous years, the event will be free and online, but like last year there will also be an all-day event for select developers and students at Apple Park, which will involve watching the keynote and State of the Union, along with some meet and greets and other activities. You can request to attend and people will be picked randomly and notified next week, on April 5.

Apple also announced the Swift Student Challenge for 2023, which lets eligible students submit an interactive scene for the chance to win prizes.

Expectations are high for 2023’s WWDC, which is thought to feature the unveiling of Apple’s mixed reality headset, as well as annual updates to the rest of the company’s platforms. Let the countdown begin!

—Linked by Dan Moren

iOS and macOS’s Passwords feature needs an app

Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser writing at his blog:

In my dumble opinion, Apple should:

• Break Passwords out into a standalone app, with an actual fully resizable window (!!), and full, proper UI for most of its features

• Make Passwords a toolbar item in Safari for easy access and to be top-of-mind for the user

• Stick to a basic feature set, but do that well

I use both Apple’s built-in passwords feature and 1Password, but I prefer Apple’s because of its seamless integration. To Cabel’s point, though, it’s not publicized nearly well enough: I’ve tried to nudge many people towards setting up 2FA codes in Apple’s Passwords tool, but anything that starts with telling someone to tap down several levels into Settings tends to make their eyes glaze over.

Unlike Cabel, however, I would like Apple to implement some sort of family sharing feature for Passwords. I share a bunch of logins with my wife, and while I can share them with 1Password, there’s an additional hurdle to getting someone on a third-party app that requires their own account, etc. Especially as we shift more and more to passkeys, where traditional methods of sharing will be impractical, it’s more important that Apple make it easier to share credentials.

—Linked by Dan Moren

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