More Communications Safety, Updates and Tweaks, and Let’s Get Inked

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Apple’s child protection push pushes further, updates and tweaks for Apple services, and let’s all go get tattoos!

Communications Safety in Messages Expanding to Six More Countries

Apple’s Communication Safety feature for kids is hitting six more countries. If you’ve forgotten what the feature does, it’s basically there to be a… an inappropriate picture block for children. It’s meant “to help protect [children] from viewing or sharing photos that contain nudity in the Messages app,” according to an Apple Support doc. When opted-in or on, the company says: 

If Messages detects that a child receives or is attempting to send this type of photo, Messages blurs the photo before it’s viewed on your child’s device and provides guidance and age-appropriate resources to help them make a safe choice, including contacting someone they trust if they choose.

Launched in the states in 2021, the feature has since expanded to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and Spain. Now a piece from MacRumors says the option will go live for folks in Belgium, Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Sweden “in the coming weeks.”

Apple points out that the whole process happens thanks to “on-device machine learning,” and “is designed so that Apple doesn’t get access to the photos.” That’s likely stressed to keep people from freaking out the way they did over Apple’s child sexual abuse material (CSAM) detection plans. Initially, those had Apple trying to spot known CSAM stored in iCloud accounts. MacRumors says Apple nixed those plans back in December, after significant pushback from “security researchers, policy groups, and politicians…”

Apropos of Shopping: Apple’s Apple Store App Gets an App Store Update

Apple’s Apple Store app, available in Apple’s App Store, has gotten an apropos update with applicable feature. 9to5Mac says the Cupertino-company has revved the app with features that should have been in a shopping app for quite some time. Well, I says they should have been there for quite some time. What 9to5Mac says is that the updated apps for iPhone and iPad add “new features focused on lists and saved items.” They also make it “easier to find more details on Apple Store locations and their surroundings.”

The new features, according to Apple’s release notes:

  • Easily share lists of saved items with your friends and family.
  • Access and continue shopping your saved items in more places throughout the app.
  • View more details about our Apple Store locations and their surroundings.

Fun for the whole family! (Assuming your family thinks a list of stuff you want from Apple is fun). 

Apple’s Apple Store app is available in Apple’s App Store. Not sure whether I mentioned that. Seems appropriate to do so, though.

I know that was ridiculous, but stuff like that makes me… ‘appy.

Apple Maps Adds Cycling Directions and Three ‘Detailed’ City Views in Germany

iPhone users in Germany can get on your bikes and ride. iLounge says Apple Maps has lit up cycling directions for users in the Bundesrepublik. According to the report:

The update brings cycling directions along bike-friendly roads, bike paths, and bike lanes, with details such as street crowd density, elevation, and if there are stairs along the route. 

Oh! You take away all the fun, Apple Maps.

I’m kidding. That sounds really helpful. 

Bicyclists aren’t the only Deutschlanders getting Apple Maps love. The same iLounge piece cites a Macerkopf report that says the service’s “Detailed City Experience” has added detail to Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. Apple’s site on that feature says users scoping a detailed location “can experience a three-dimensional city view with rich detail, enhanced navigation, immersive walking directions, and more…”

Apple Support Visit Prompts ‘Invalid URL’ Error for Some Users

Apple’s support site seems to have been not so supportive for some as of late. 9to5Mac says a number of people are complaining of an “Invalid URL” error when trying to access According to the report:

This problem isn’t affecting everyone, but there are complaints on Twitter, and some [people] at 9to5Mac are also experiencing the outage. Affected users say that they get this “Invalid URL” error message every time they try to visit Apple’s Support website.

Personally, I tried several times and had no problem. I also checked Apple’s System Status page (as did 9to5Mac) and saw no issue listed. Funny thing about that though — While the System Status page is part of Apple Support, it doesn’t seem to have a category that would cover whether support was working. Maybe they figure if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be able to see the page? I don’t know.

Anyway — if you’re having trouble accessing Apple Support online, it is apparently not just you. 

Apple TV+ Animated Short Wins a BAFTA

Congrats to the crew at Apple TV+. AppleInsider says the Cupertino-streamer picked up a trophy at the BAFTAs over the weekend for the hand-drawn animated short, “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.” Released on Christmas Day 2022 and executive produced by Sir Jony Ive, the thing nearly made me cry three times. 

Just so heartfelt and tender and… blech. 

While the animated offering was the only Apple TV+ BAFTA nominee this year, the service is no stranger to the British award. “Previously” AppleInsider says “it has won Bafta awards for documentaries such as ‘9/11: Inside the President’s War Room’” and “1971: The Year that Music Changed Everything.” The Apple TV+ film CODA also picked up BAFTA’s last year, with one going to Troy Kotser for best supporting actor and the other to Sian Heder for best adapted screenplay

Original MIB iPhone Sells at Auction for $63K

And finally today, let’s all go get tattoos! And I know the perfect place (I hope). A couple of weeks ago I told you about a special iPhone going up for auction. What made the original iPhone special was the fact that it had never been opened. Despite its pristine condition, there was a problem with the device. When iPhone launched in 2007, it was an AT&T exclusive in the states. But, the recipient was a Verizon customer. So she says, she wrapped it in a pair of pajamas, put it on a shelf, and went about her life.

Flash forward 16-years, and she has a dream. She wants to run a tattoo studio. So — out of storage the iPhone came, and onto the auction block. She’d hoped the phone would fetch $50,000 for her fledgling enterprise. Looks like she’ll be able to afford a few extras. A piece from Cult of Mac says the auction ended Sunday. Closing price on the original Jesus phone — $63,356.

Let’s all go get tattoos!

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor and I will be talking about my obsession with whatever it is Apple is trying to turn Apple TV+ into. Plus, Mailbag Monday a day early and taking up a collection for a second headset. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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