The Four Products Apple Should Drop in 2022

For me, these are the four products Apple should discontinue from its lineup. I do believe they’re lost in time and any customer that bought one right now would be disappointed with the general experience.

I agree that it’s high time for Apple to discontinue the iPod touch, Watch Series 3, and Beats Solo3 Wireless. These products just aren’t reflective of the best Apple can offer anymore. Some might say the Apple Watch Series 3 is still a good choice. I’d argue most would be better off with the SE model. It’s only $70 more expensive and much more robust. But the Intel-powered Mac mini? I can’t really buy into this idea, simply for the sake of anybody who still needs to dual-boot Windows and macOS.

Every Apple TV Original Series Ranked, But Not Really

The major omissions from the list, Foundation and Invasion, give me pause. Those series both have huge followings, and I’m baffled at their exclusion. That being said, this ranking of “worst to best” definitely shows the quality Apple is demanding from its original series. The second-worst, Dickinson, is a brilliant comedy loved by the critics and audiences alike. Even the worst-ranked show earned an 85% score from Rotten Tomatoes.

Straight out of the gate, Apple established itself as a dominant programming force and continues to pile on the hits two years later. With the return to television at the end of the month of The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and a new comedy series starring superstars Paul Rudd and Will Ferrell, it’s easy to see why Apple’s content generates so much buzz. While the following list ranks the drama and comedy offerings of Apple TV+ Originals from worst to best, it’s clear worst hardly means bad where Apple is concerned.

Dutch Regulator to Force Apple to Change App Store Policy for Dating Apps

It’s interesting that the focus of this order is on dating apps, when other assaults on Apple’s App Store payment policies approach different genres, or all apps as a whole. The decision comes on the heels of the tech giant agreeing to change its payment policies for “reader” apps and the ongoing Apple v. Epic dispute. It could be one more nail in the coffin of Apple’s monopoly on collecting payment for apps. The Cupertino-based company has, of course, appealed the decision.

Some app providers are dependent on Apple’s App Store, and Apple takes advantage of that dependency. Apple has special responsibilities because of its dominant position. That is why Apple needs to take seriously the interests of app providers too, and set reasonable conditions. That is what we are forcing Apple to do with this order.

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.2 Developer Beta One Without Universal Control

Apple seeded the fist developer beta of macOS Monterey 12.2 on Thursday. MacRumors reported on the, rather limited, details that were available. One thing missing was Universal Control.

Registered developers can download the beta through the Apple Developer Center and after the appropriate profile is installed, betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences. We don’t yet know what’s included in ‌macOS Monterey‌ 12.2, but Apple has yet to implement a major feature — Universal Control. Universal Control is designed to allow a single mouse and trackpad to be used with multiple Macs and iPads, and Apple has said it will be launching this spring.

MobyFox Apple Watch Bands Black Friday Sale

MobyFox, which holds official licenses to just about every geek favorite brand you can imagine, has a site-wide sale. Using the promo code “BF2021,” you can score 20% off any Apple Watch band plus get free shipping. You’ll find officially-licensed Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics watch bands, plus plenty more. The company also features Hello Kitty, Power Puff Girls, Stranger Things, Arsenal, and Willy Wonka. There’s plenty more, so check it out for yourself. The nicest thing about MobyFox isn’t just the amount of geekery you can find. Their Watch bands all come with connectors for all series and sizes of Apple Watch, along with 22mm pins for many Android smart watches. On top of that, they provide a number of free Watch faces to match your chosen band. I’m looking forward to the Beskar Armor band, from The Mandalorian, that I’ve got coming my way.

Roomba Delivers On Its Promise to End Pet Poo Disasters

We’ve seen the videos, those tragic tales of robot vacuum cleaners leaving a trail of puppy poop behind. For all of their AI technology, they simply don’t recognize one fact. Some messes just won’t vacuum up neatly. Your robotic cleaning device ends up doing more harm than good. Roomba maker iRobot says they’ve nipped the problem in the bud. A writer at Daily Paws put this to the test. In her testing, the latest Roomba j7+ really does have the digital smarts to avoid pet messes.

I came home late from work one night to see that my elderly Chihuahua had missed the wee pad by a good bit and left her own dollop of poop on my kitchen floor. I had scheduled the Roomba for a run that was set to begin in a few minutes, so instead of cleaning up the accident myself, I decided to see what the j7+ would do.

It expertly avoided my pup’s poop. I was absolutely in awe. Once again, after the clean, the iRobot app asked me if this was a temporary obstacle, and I confirmed.

Apple to Stop Breaking iPhone 13 Face ID After Screen Replacement

Earlier in November, we learned that Apple had engineered the iPhone 13 in a way detrimental to Right to Repair. Currently, if Apple doesn’t “bless” your iPhone 13 screen replacement, iOS deactivates Face ID. Now, the iPhone maker has told The Verge it’s backing down on that requirement. A software update is coming to make things a lot easier. Repair technicians replacing iPhone 13 screens won’t have to worry about that microcontroller.

Apple tells The Verge it will release a software update that doesn’t require you to transfer the microcontroller to keep Face ID working after a screen swap.

M1 Mac mini vs. Mac Pro: a Surprising Outcome

Tech video blogger Max Tech decided to test how well the 2020 M1 Mac mini could stand up against a 2019 Mac Pro. The results are astounding, considering the Mac Pro costs $15,000 compared to the $899 Mac mini. While the Mac mini is beat out on most benchmarks, it held its ground in real-world tests. In fact, the Mac mini outperforms the Mac Pro in compiling Xcode projects. It’s also faster at HEVC video stabilization. When viewing and processing Canon R5 10-bit video footage, the M1 Mac mini blows away the Mac Pro. It’s also slightly more responsive in Lightroom Classic despite having to run the app through Rosetta. The Mac Pro does beat the M1 mini in many Final Cut Pro tasks, but it has much higher memory specs. In the end, Max Tech says, “For most video editors, the M1 is just fine in Lightroom.”

Facebook Blocking Warnings of Identity Theft from Quizzes

The growth of “fun” quizzes on Facebook has been like an out-of-control wildfire. You know the ones. They ask you a few seemingly harmless questions, like your first job or the street you grew up on. At the end, you learn which Hogwarts House is right for you. The problem is these questions often mirror the security questions your bank, finance company, or credit card company use. They help identity theft happen. The really scary thing is that at least one person has tried to let folks know the danger by linking to Avast’s warning. Facebook removed the post, claiming it went “against our community standards”. I can’t help but wonder just why Facebook would be opposed to a post trying to help avert identity theft.

The questions in these quizzes are all meant to tease out as much personal data as they can possibly get from you, including hints to your passwords and identity verifications, such as “What was the name of your first pet?” or “What street did you grow up on?” At the end of the string of questions, you will get a made-up answer, such as “You belong in Gryffindor!” At the end of the same string of questions, the data scrapers will have enough to start building (or adding to) a profile of all your information.

A Closer Look at Apple's $20 Polishing Cloth

The folks over at iFixIt have done their traditional teardown of the new MacBook Pro. They also took the time to tear apart the $20 polishing cloth Cupertino has begun selling. The cleaning cloth feels like the inner lining of an iPad Smart Cover, they say. That accessory features a thin layer of microfiber on the inside. Both apparently have a synthetic leather feel to them along with a bit of fuzziness

The new Apple Polishing Cloth earns a 0 out of 10 on our repairability scale, for distracting us from a very important MacBook Pro teardown and not going back together after we cut it into pieces with scissors.

Stargate SG-1 Cast to Read AI-Generated Script

More than a few of us have been wishing for a reunion of our favorite Stargate: SG-1 characters. It looks like it’s finally happening, but not the way we thought. Someone fed thousands of hours of Stargate SG-1 episodes into a Google AI bot, and then let it write the script. On November 6, 2021, some of our favorite Stargate stars will do a table reading of that script. Could be good, could be bad, but it’s bound to be fun.

The whole script — every single line, every stage direction — was, according to the teaser, produced by an AI from Google. Some of it is in clear homage to classic Stargate’s sense of humor. But there’s also some of the gravitas that Thor and the Asgard brought to their interactions with SG-C and allies. If what we know about Markov chains is any indication about what is to come, this reading may include word salad, but it’ll be light, and pretty meme-ready. It isn’t the reunion we deserve… it’s the reunion we need right now.

Airborne Drone Deliveries to Start in Dallas-Fort Worth

Anybody want their prescriptions airlifted to them? Walgreens customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will have that option soon. Alphabet-owned drone deployment system Wing has partnered with the drug store chain to make drone deliveries a reality. The drone flights have been in testing out of Fort Worth-based Hillwoods Alliance Texas Flight Test Center. In the coming weeks, the drones will launch from Walgreens parking lots. The’ll initially deliver to a portion of the Dallas-Fort Worth region including Frisco and Little Elm. If successful, the companies plan to roll the drone deliveries out even further after a few months. Alphabet says businesses can also deploy the drones from rooftops or next to buildings. UPS began testing drone delivery in 2018. The company has recently used drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, but this is yet another commercial application of the technology.

Until now, this type of service in the United States has been limited to smaller towns, where land usage is less crowded and complex. Wing’s reliable aircraft and advanced flight planning and routing capabilities make it uniquely capable of operating a highly automated drone delivery service in more crowded, complex operating environments.


Study Shows VR and AR Are Now Mainstream Tech

The time may be ripe for Apple to go all-in with virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) products. What was once mostly fantasy is now mainstream, according to the sales data. There’s still plenty of room for growth. International Data Corporation “only” expects just shy of $2 billion in sales from VR and AR for 2021. That might sound like a lot of money. However, it pales in comparison to the $289 billion expected of smart home sales. Still, the increasingly popular VR/AR gaming genre should continue growing, IDC thinks. It may even grow faster than other parts of the new mainstream product categories. The analysts predict almost 68% growth over the next 5 years.

IDC expects AR and VR combined to show the most growth out of the three categories, thanks to both businesses and individual consumers. The latter is particularly interested in “robust gaming solutions,” IDC said. Businesses represent the bulk of AR spending today, but IDC thinks the market for AR headsets targeting the general public will grow. It predicted a 67.9 percent compound annual growth rate from 2020 to 2025 for AR and VR combined, which is more than 10 times the next competitor, smart home tech (10.1 percent growth rate).


Users Noticing CarPlay Crashing With iOS 15 and iPhone 13

Some people using iOS 15 and iPhone 13 are noticing issues with CarPlay, MacRumors reported. It seems to be crashing when users try and play music through services like Apple Music and Spotify.

Dozens of posts on Apple Support, the MacRumors Forums, and Twitter include users complaining that only on their new ‌iPhone 13‌ does ‌CarPlay‌ not work correctly. According to users, attempting to play music from any ‌CarPlay‌ app causes the system to crash, but it works just fine when they try on older iPhones.

Jay Z Makes Huge Investment in Smart Home Tech

Rapper, songwriter, businessman Jay-Z has reportedly made a huge investment in smart home tech recently. Through Marcy Venture Partners, Jay-Z sent $110 million into Wyze Labs’ coffers. That brings the smart home device maker’s total funding to date to $146 million. The smart home tech company, founded in 2017 by Amazon veterans, has more than 300 employees. The work Wyze is doing with AI and camera technology will definitely. benefit from the extra cash.

“We are doubling down and investing heavily to build world-class artificial intelligence into our camera products,” Wyze co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Dave Crosby told GeekWire in a recent piece. “Just in the last year, our AI team has built person detection, vehicle detection, package detection and pet detection into our cameras. “Right now we have AI features in the works that we truly think will be game-changing for any camera, let alone one that costs less than $36.”

The DIY Raspberry Pi Automatic Guitar Tuner

First of all, “music is notably mathematical” is a brilliant pun. Second of all, this project is a brilliant merger of Maker DIY tech and music, especially since the gadget actually turns the pegs for you to tune your guitar strings. This Raspberry Pi project is based on Band Industries’ Roadie 3 automatic tuner. I love the fact that Jean-Gilles not only provides the instructions and source code for the project, but also the 3D printing files.

Music is notably mathematical, so it should come as no surprise that many makers turn to creating their own Raspberry Pi-based solutions for musical problems. Today we’ve got a sharp, problem-solving creation to share from maker Guyrandy Jean-Gilles. Tired of twisting his pegs, Jean-Gilles opted to develop his own Raspberry Pi Pico-powered automatic guitar tuner.

Apple Releases Another AirTags FirmWare Update

For the third time in recent days, Apple released new AirTags firmware on Tuesday. AppleInisder reported that the software mainly contains bug fixes. It is automatically installed over the air.

It is unknown what the new firmware with version 1.0.291 (A1291e) brings, and Apple has released no documentation to support the revision. However, the update is expected to bring bug fixes and general improvements to the product. The past firmware was upgraded to the same version number but with a different build number — 1.0.291 (1A291c). The last firmware was released just five days after the previous one debuted.

The Day Richard Branson's Spaceflight Veered Off-Course

Going into space is no trivial feat. It’s actually so dangerous that 1.4 percent of Russian, Soviet, and American crewed spaceflight missions have resulted in fatalities. Still, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origins wants to turn it commercial, and so does Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Richard Branson’s July 2021 maiden voyage out of the atmosphere veered off course early on. Critics say the pilots should have aborted the mission. They didn’t, and Branson still made it safely into orbit and then back home. Nicholas Smidle might be the most knowledgeable journalist on Branson’s Virgin Galactic efforts. The writer shared his knowledge of and insight on the incident. Even though the crew made it home safe and sound, I’m still worried about the safety of space tourism. At least for now.

The craft was about twenty miles in the air above the White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico, and climbing, travelling more than twice the speed of sound. But it was veering off course, and the light was a warning to the pilots that their flight path was too shallow and the nose of the ship was insufficiently vertical. If they didn’t fix it, they risked a perilous emergency landing in the desert on their descent.

Was That a Notchless Next-Gen iPhone on Ted Lasso?

We’ve been hearing speculation that the next generation of the iPhone will have a smaller camera notch than current models. Through either an unintentional leak or just a post-production editing mistake, the Ted Lasso audience got a peek of a notchless next-gen iPhone in the August 27 episode. The handset looks like an iPhone 12 from the rear, but images of the screen seem to show iOS 14 wallpaper without the usual cutout from the camera notch.

Apple is notorious for its secrecy, so it seems unlikely that this is a deliberate signal that the notch is disappearing from the iPhone 13. That said, it’s been rumored for months now that the iPhone 13 would have a much smaller notch or a hole-punch selfie camera. However, a completely notchless display isn’t believed to be in the cards for this year’s iPhone.

Smash Hit Asphalt 8: Airborne Racing to Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade might have been launched to help new and exclusive games, but Cupertino has been adding some really hot titles to the subscription gaming service. On August 27, 2021, you’ll be able to download the popular racing game Asphalt 8: Airborne through Apple Arcade. Sure, the franchise is up to Asphalt 9, but this version won’t tempt you with in-app purchases.

One interesting aspect of having Asphalt 8 available on Apple Arcade is the change in the gameplay model. Current Asphalt games (including Asphalt 8) are free-to-play, meaning that anyone can download them without paying, but the game offers multiple items that can only be obtained through in-app purchases.


This App Helps Kabul Residents Avoid Danger

A homegrown app brings around 20 young Afghan tech workers together to track the advance of the Taliban in Kabul. They broadcast real-time reports of gunfire, explosions, and traffic jams across the city to help other Kabul residents stay safe. Ehtesab is the app helping Kabul residents steer clear of dangerous situations. This is definitely great use of crowdsourced information in a dangerous environment.

“We just want to alleviate some of the anxieties that Afghans have in these uncertain and volatile times,” app founder Sara Wahedi said. “We will find different ways of garnering data about the city and security… That’s the beauty of tech, it knows no borders,” she said.

Support US National Parks by Using Apple Pay

The US National Park Service turns 104 on August 25, 2021. In honor of the occasion, Apple has announced a donation program, a new Apple Watch Activity Challenge, and special content collections to allow you to experience the parks and learn more about what makes them the amazing national resource that we often take for granted. From August 24 to August 27, Apple will make a $10 donation to the National Park Foundation for each purchase made with Apple Pay on its website, in the Apple Store app, or inside any Apple Store in the US. In years past, Cupertino’s offered much less of a donation per purchase, so this is pretty cool.

Our national parks strengthen our connection to nature, to one another, and to the soul of our nation. We’re excited to continue building on our four-year partnership with the National Park Foundation, and to support their work to preserve our parks for generations to come.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO

Today at Apple Session Shows How to Shoot Portait Pics with Mark Clennon

Apple released a new Today at Apple video on Friday with tips on shooting portrait photos on an iPhone with professional photographer Mark Clennon. Mark is a New York-based photographer who has worked with TIME Magazine, Netflix, Esquire, Marvel, Forbes, Sony/RCA, and a long list of other companies and publications. The video has some great tips and is worth checking out.

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