Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Unite 4 - Turn websites into apps on your Mac.

How we decide which companies get our data, how we manage our personal music collections, our thoughts on iPhone and Apple ID security, and the last time we felt like a clueless technophobe.

By Dan Moren

Tweetbot and Twitterrific updated with option to opt-out of subscription refund

When Twitter shut down third-party clients in January, it not only left out in the cold the users of those apps, but the developers too. Many of those apps were significant sources of revenue for the teams behind them, and that income was cut off capriciously, without any warning.

Subscription Refund

One additional complication is that some clients had shifted to a subscription-based system in recent years, with users paying by the month or the year. Since those subscriptions were generally prepaid, users ended up in a situation where they essentially no longer had access to the app they’d paid for.

Now two of the most popular iOS clients, Twitterrific and Tweetbot, have been updated to offer options to their former customers. By default, if you take no action, you’ll get a pro-rated refund for the amount of time left in your subscription at the point when Twitter cut off access.

While that’s well within your rights as a consumer, it’s also kind of awkward, given that the money comes out of the pockets of those independent app developers like Tapbots and The Iconfactory, who got just as much of the short end of the stick as their users—if not more so. So for both apps there’s also an option to opt out of the refund. (Though you remain eligible if you change your mind.)

In the case of Tapbots, which has recently launched the Mastodon client Ivory, there’s also an option to transfer your existing Tweetbot subscription to Ivory on a non-recurring basis.

Unfortunately, chances are the developers will still end up refunding the majority of subscriptions, if for no other reasons than most customers will probably not even know these options exist, given that they have probably not opened their now defunct third-party Twitter client since they stopped working. But if you’re a former customer who feels like they got their money’s worth over the time you used one of these app, you can at least help lighten the load on those developers as they move on to their next projects.

[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 Back Page: Inside Apple’s most secret secret research & development group

Apple is a notoriously secretive company. A company so secretive that, in the past, when information has leaked out, it has stridently told its employees that it’s doubling down on its already secret secrecy but secretly it’s quadrupled down on its secrecy. (You haven’t heard about that because, well, it’s secret.) Of course, two men can keep a secret if one of them is dead. And the other is Tim Cook, because he is very good at keeping secrets. And doing away with people who leak secrets. Secretly.

So, when a reporter gets ahold of a story about a secret Apple design group working on secret projects—and no, not that secret group or that secret group, yes literally, a more secretive third secret group—you can draw two important conclusions: first, that whoever disclosed said secret has already been entombed within Jony Ive’s featureless white cell to live out their days in perpetual oblivion.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

Myke is joined by Casey Liss to discuss Mark Gurman’s report on Apple’s ‘Moonshot’ efforts. Also, what is that ‘ComputeModule’, how thick will the Pro Max camera bump be, and how does Casey fare in a brand new segment?

By Dan Moren for Macworld

Apple’s machines are learning more intelligently than Bard and Bing

There’s an age-old take when it comes to Apple and hot new technologies: if the company hasn’t shipped whatever everybody else in the industry is currently focusing on, it must be behind.

This is rarely the truth.

Apple’s business is like the proverbial iceberg: we only see the tip of what the company’s doing, while the vast majority of its research and development efforts are looming beneath the surface. Just look at its finances in its most recent quarter: it spent $7.7 billion on R&D, accounting for more than half of all of its operating expenses.

The latest technology to feature in this storyline is, of course, artificial intelligence. How can the company compete in this burgeoning new market if it doesn’t come out with a chatbot or image generator post haste? (Never mind that it still hasn’t shipped its virtual reality headset that was the last market where the company was clearly falling behind.)

But, as is always the case with this particular canard, the truth is that Apple’s been doing AI in its own particular way, and it’s never about chasing the market.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

By John Moltz

This Week in Apple: A stopped Watch

Is the Apple Watch about to become as scarce as woke liberal elites at Elon Musk’s birthday party? Meanwhile rumors about the iPhone 15 and the Apple headset are heating up, hopefully not like the devices themselves.

Apple Watch fracas

Like squirrels storing nuts, is it time to buy up and stash away Apple Watches?

Well, that’s one strategy. A strategy employed by rats with good hair style. If you want to go that way. I’m not here to judge your role models.

If things continue apace, the U.S. International Trade Commission could ban imports of most Apple Watch models due to a patent ruling in favor of a company that makes electrocardiogram technology. ECG technology is in every currently shipping Apple Watch model except the SE.

Is this game over for the Apple Watch, one of the most successful Apple flops ever?! Before we even get the recently rumored blood glucose testing?!…

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Blood glucose monitoring and machine learning

With Jason off on assignment, Dan recruits his Clockwise co-host Mikah Sargent to talk about reports of Apple’s latest medical device and how the company uses machine learning.

Become a member (members, sign in) to listen to this podcast and get more benefits.

How we listen to digital music, would we pay for increased account security, keeping our devices clean, and Apple’s pricey upgrade costs.

Report: Apple working on non-invasive glucose testing device

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple is working on a “moonshot” project for continuous non-invasive blood glucose testing, and that it’s looking promising:

Apple is taking a different approach, using a chip technology known as silicon photonics and a measurement process called optical absorption spectroscopy. The system uses lasers to emit specific wavelengths of light into an area below the skin where there is interstitial fluid — substances that leak out of capillaries — that can be absorbed by glucose. The light is then reflected back to the sensor in a way that indicates the concentration of glucose. An algorithm then determines a person’s blood glucose level.

Rumors of Apple working on this have been around for at least as long as the Apple Watch, and it meshes nicely with the company’s focus on health.

But there are a lot of challenges still to overcome. Gurman mentions that the prototype is likely to be the size of an iPhone and will be strapped to the user’s bicep. Obviously, the company will probably want to get it smaller (and less obtrusive) than that over time. In an ideal world, I’m sure they would like it to be simply a feature of the Apple Watch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the first version is an accessory.

The bigger challenge is probably regulation. Apple can get away with saying that the Apple Watch’s blood oxygen sensor is “not intended for medical use” and “only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes.” That’s not going to cut it with glucose monitoring, where an inaccuracy could have significant damaging consequences to those who rely on it. This tech needs to be absolutely rock solid before the company can deploy it, which suggests that it may still be many years before it’s ready for consumer use.

—Linked by Dan Moren

By Joe Rosensteel

Music to no one’s ears

Look, I’ve been hoping that at some point, the rocky transition from iTunes to the Music app would be over and we’d all look back on it and say, “Wow, I can’t believe that was so brief.” But it isn’t over. Here I am, in the year 2023, and I have the same problems using the app that I’ve had for about half a decade at this point. And yes, many of these problems are tied to changes made for the Apple Music service.

Apple Music's Listen Now screen
Somehow, none of these things are what I want to actually listen to now.

When launching the Music app on macOS, you always start off at the Listen Now section of the app. It doesn’t matter what I was previously listening to in the app—that information has been lost to the sands of time. I can’t resume playback of anything I was listening to on this device, or any other.…

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Susan Wojcicki steps down as YouTube CEO, what will her legacy be? Ant-Man performs well at the box office, but do reviews indicate ‘Marvel Fatigue’? And guest-host Myke Hurley quizzes Julia on why he has to wait for shows to premiere in the UK.

By Dan Moren for Macworld

If Apple is making a bigger MacBook Air, why not a smaller one too?

A wise green puppet once contended that “size matters not.” Obviously he never had to contend with navigating Apple’s product lineups.

Recent reports suggest that Cupertino might soon be releasing a MacBook Air with a larger 15-inch screen. Strategically, that makes a lot of sense: the MacBook Air is Apple’s best-selling Mac, and for it to only be available in a single size is a missed opportunity. Yes, there are upsell opportunities for those who want a larger display above all else, but given that currently entails a jump all the way from $1200 to $2000, many customers won’t take the leap—especially if they don’t need the power or performance of a MacBook Pro.

Screen size has proven to be a key differentiator in many of Apple’s other product lines, and even the MacBook Air was itself available in multiple sizes in its past incarnations. But I say why stop there? There are plenty of other Apple products where another screen size might make a big (or small) difference.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

With Jason on vacation, Myke is joined by David Smith. They discuss a potential delay for Apple’s headset and what that may mean for WWDC. Also, David’s AI-powered podcast transcription website, and the introduction of ‘Ask Underscore’.

By Dan Moren

Setting up iOS’s two-factor authentication for Twitter

If you’re already using two-factor authentication on your Twitter, account, great! But with the company’s announcement Friday evening1 that it would be discontinuing two-factor authentication via SMS for all but its paying Twitter Blue subscribers, you may suddenly find yourself wondering what a person’s to do if they want to keep their Twitter account secure?

Have no fear: while these changes were perhaps hastily and questionably enacted, there is a silver lining here. Two-factor authentication via an authentication app is more secure than using SMS, and, better yet, if you’re using a recent version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, then not only is the ability to set up that feature baked right into the operating system, but the system will even autofill the password for you every time you login.

Here’s how to set it up:

First, fire up Twitter, either on the web or in the app. In the toolbar on the left, tap the More button (the one with the three dots), and then tap Settings and Support; under the menu that appears there, tap Settings and Privacy.

This will take you to the account section of your Twitter Settings; tap the entry for “Security and account access” and then, on the right hand side of the screen, tap Security.

You’ll see an entry for “Two-factor authentication”: tap that and you’ll get options for the various ways to secure your account. Tap the checkbox for “Authentication app” and a dialog will appear prompting you to get started.

Twitter Security Settings

Fun so far, right?

Here’s where it gets a little tricky, depending on what device you’re using. To set up the two-factor codes, you’ll get a QR code. While in some apps and websites, macOS/iOS can actually detect the QR code being show onscreen, allowing you to tap and hold on it to set up the feature, that didn’t happen for me on Twitter on the iPad. That leaves two other options for configuring this feature.

Twitter 2FA Setup
Scan this QR code with another iOS device to setup two-factor authentication.
Scan QR code

If you happen to have an iOS device handy, you can point its camera at the QR code on your screen. In the Camera app, as you hover over the QR code, you should see a yellow bubble pop up that says Add Verification Code to Tapping that will open the Passwords section of iOS, and prompt you to add the verification code to an existing account. Search for your Twitter login, tap it, and you should be prompted to save the verification code there.

If you don’t have an iOS device handy, you can do the process manually. Tap the “Can’t scan the QR code?” in the dialog box, and you’ll instead be prompted with a long string of characters. Copy this and go to the Passwords section of System Settings, where you’ll need to authenticate with your passcode or biometrics. Then search for your Twitter login, tap on it, and select the Set Up Verification Code button. You’ll be prompted to either scan the QR code or Enter Setup Key—choose the latter, paste in the string you just copied, and hit OK.

You should now see a new section showing a six-digit code along with a timer counting down. Copy that code and return to the Twitter website to paste it in. (The OS should also offer to autofill it for you when you tap on the verification code feature.)

That’s it! The hardest part is over and now whenever you log in to Twitter in the future, the OS should autofill the two-factor code just like it does for your username and password.

  1. If you have any question that this decision was bad news, couched as it was, then just remember that they put out this news at the end of Friday. 

[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 John Moltz

This Week in Apple: Delayed gratification

The Air might be getting bigger up here, this Mastodon deal keeps getting better and better, and the Apple headset get kicked down the road (disclaimer: kicking an Apple headset down the road will void your warranty).

Serious Air time

How big can a MacBook Air get before it’s no longer able to achieve lift? Asking for a rumored 15-inch Air, possibly coming as soon as April.

15-Inch MacBook Air Rumored to Launch in April as Display Production Begins

15-Inch MacBook Air Will Reportedly Have M2 Chip

Speaking personally, I’m happy with my 13-inch Air and, if anything, a return of an 11-inch Air would be more likely to tempt me. Still, this is a smart move by Apple. Plenty of non-pro users want more screen real estate.

It you’re a fan of smaller laptops, however, you can hang your hat on still other rumors that have the company returning to the 12-inch form factor.…

This is a post limited to Six Colors members.

Windows on ARM comes to the Mac… officially

Microsoft Edge for Windows running in Coherence mode on my Mac Studio.

Parallels announced on Thursday that Microsoft has officially authorized running Windows 11 Pro for ARM processors on M1 and M2 Macs via the Parallels Desktop app for Mac.

Previously, users of Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion have found success virtualizing Windows for ARM by downloading and installing prerelease versions, but it was never approved by Microsoft and only unofficially supported by the makes of those VM apps.

But as of now, it’s all on the up-and-up. Earlier today I downloaded the Parallels Desktop installer, used the app to install Windows 11 Pro directly from Microsoft, bought and entered a Windows product key, and I was off and running.

While Windows itself runs at near-native speeds on M1 and M2, if you want to run Intel binaries on Windows, they’ll run using Microsoft’s code-translation layer—the Windows equivalent of Rosetta—and things will slow down.

Whether Apple and Microsoft will ever make the effort to bring Boot Camp to Apple silicon remains to be seen, but at least running Windows on M1 and M2 Macs is now not just a sneaky workaround but an entirely legal and supported option for Mac users who need to run Windows 11 Pro on Apple silicon.

—Linked by Jason Snell

New Apple betas bring new emojis

new Apple emojis
Five of the new Apple emojis.

Keith Broni at the Emojipedia blog:

New emoji designs have arrived on iOS as part of the first iOS 16.4 beta, including the shaking face, two pushing hands, and the much-requested plain pink heart emoji.

The two pushing hands enable digital high-fiving, and there’s also a Wi-Fi symbol at last. New animals include donkey, moose, goose, and jellyfish. And for those of us who love ginger, there’s good news—the ginger emoji has also finally made it!

The final Apple OS releases are probably a month or two away, but when they arrive, the new emoji will come along for the ride.

—Linked by Jason Snell

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