HomePod And Other Products That Need Attention

Apple regularly rolls out product updates, but that doesn’t mean some products couldn’t benefit from a little TLC. Dan Moren at MacWorld suggested which products he’d like to receive some attention, including the HomePod.

What is the HomePod to Apple? In the almost two years since its release, the company still hasn’t quite landed upon an answer. It’s a wireless smart speaker, to be sure, but when it comes to what differentiates it from its competitors from Amazon, Google, and Sonos, there hasn’t been a particularly compelling argument—beyond the fact that as an Apple product, it’s simply better. (An assertion that even numerous HomePod owners, including myself, would challenge.) If Apple does want to continue down the HomePod road, then the company needs to make some decisions. Is the HomePod simply a premium product? While it started out at a pricey $350, it’s become more and more common to see it floating around the $200-$250 range. Frankly I can’t remember the last time I saw an Apple product with that kind of deep discount.

Location is One of The Big Factors in Advertising

Jennifer Jolly wrote an article wondering if Siri was spying on her because she began to see ads in Spanish after her husband began speaking Spanish at home, within “earshot” of her iPad. The answer is, of course, no. In her buried lede she tells us that she had just moved to a predominantly Spanish-speaking part of Oakland California. It seems reasonable to me that you would see Spanish ads in a Spanish area. Although I’m sure the device’s language is a factor. We did have news last year that contractors listened to some snippets of Siri recordings, but that was to improve the service and not sell ads. Meanwhile, if you turn on Limit Ad Tracking in Settings, your advertising identifier is zeroed. After that, location becomes one of the big factors in advertising.

And Apple says it engineers its devices to protect user privacy. When it comes to Siri, which is integrated in nearly every Apple device, the assistant is designed to activate only after the wake word (“Hey, Siri”) or a waking action is completed, Apple says.

One Eight Hundredth Geek Out! – Mac Geek Gab 800

What to do for the eight hundredth episode? Share tips, answer your questions, and solve your problems, of course! Today learn about HDMI adapters, iOS backups, mounting network shares, Copying from Screenshots, and a cool edit to the iOS Share Sheet. What more can you ask for? Well, maybe a rant about Neil Young, too! Listen and learn five new things with John F. Braun and Dave Hamilton, that’s what!

New Apple Arcade Ad ‘A New World to Play In’

Apple uploaded a new video ad for Apple Arcade on YouTube. Set to “Welcome to My World” by Dean Martin, it’s a fun video that highlights the universal nature of the gaming service: Play on any (Apple) device, at any time, in any place, and at your own pace. Here are the games shown in the video:

[0:05] Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, by Cornfox and Bros. [0:13] Skate City, by Snowman [0:20] Little Orpheus, by Sumo Digital [0:29] WHAT THE GOLF, by Fun Plus | Triband [0:35] LEGO Brawls, by LEGO | Red Games Co. [0:45] Shinsekai: Into the Depths, by Capcom [0:50] Ultimate Rivals™: The Rink, by Bit Fry Game Studios, Inc.

CERN Replaces Facebook Workplace With Open Source

CERN is ending its trial of Facebook Workplace and replacing it with open source alternatives, like Mattermost and Discourse.

Facebook Workplace is Facebook’s corporate-focused product for internal real-time communication and related communication needs within organizations. CERN had been making use of Facebook Workplace and in addition to data privacy concerns, they were recently confronted with either paying Facebook or losing administrative rights, no more single sign-on access, and Facebook having access to their internal data. But now they have assembled their own set of software packages to fill the void by abandoning Facebook Workplace.

I hope to see more of this. Facebook is the Fox News of social media. Like The Mac Observer’s editor-in-chief Bryan Chaffin says: “Death by a thousand paper cuts.”