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Apple is Taking a Different Stand on Artificial Intelligence Agents

1:15 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Link

Apple & AI Agents

In the science fiction of yesteryear, artificial agents were presented as helpful, local companions. The scope of the internet and its ability to drill into our private lives wasn't a pervasive theme. Nowadays, we have AI agents built by giant technology companies that want to build AI agents to learn about us, store that data, and sell things instead of simply make us smarter or more efficient. Except Apple. Apple's public morality goes in another direction. Thank goodness. It's all on page two of Friday's Particle Debris column.

Denver, Boulder get Transit Data in Apple’s Maps

11:19 AM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Colorado is finally getting in on the Maps transit directions game because Apple just added Denver and Boulder. That means you can get direction that include busses and light rail, and if either city ever adds subways, those would show up, too. Apple added transit direction to Maps in iOS 9 with a limited number of cities. That number is slowly increasing and includes locations such as New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. More cities are coming, so hopefully yours will show up soon.

Apple Says No to GOP Convention Over Trump

9:19 AM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Trump is enough to keep Apple away from the GOP presidential convention

Apple won't provide any funding or support to the Republican presidential convention because of Donald Trump's negatively charged position on women, minorities, and immigrants. Other tech companies are staying out of this year's event, too, and some are scaling back their support, showing how controversial the Republican presumptive president nominee is.

Squarespace Supports Apple News Format for Customers

9:07 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Squarespace announced support for Apple News Format this week. Squarespace is a do-it-yourself website publishing platform that specializes in gorgeous themes. The move to support Apple News Format means Squarespace customers can publish to that format directly from their site, and that means their content could be subscribed to in Apple News and be discoverable within the service, too. Apple News is a curious beast whose top quality as of this writing is that it's part of Apple's Proactive service on iOS devices. That sort of real estate ensures it has eyeballs, which in turn makes it a desirable place to be. Services like Squarespace supporting Apple News Format is not only beneficial to its customers, it increased the value of Apple News, too. I also imagine developments like this indicate that Apple's little news service is picking up steam, because supporting it is does require resources for a small company like Squarespace. Speaking of which, competitors like Wordpress require third party plugins to support Apple News Format, for now. I suspect it will eventually be built into the Wordpress engine, too.

China’s iPhone 6 Sales Ban Not a Big Problem for Apple

7:22 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

China says iPhone 6 copies local company's patented phone design

Beijing's Intellectual Property Bureau has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the city because it infringes on a Chinese company's design patent. Of course, Apple is appealing the ruling and—wait...there's an intellectual property bureau in China?

Many Apple Pay Customers Confuse Simplicity with Vulnerability

6:05 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Particle Debris

The iPhone and Apple Watch contain sophisticated security and encryption protocols for use with Apple Pay. To make it very easy for customers, Apple has brilliantly made the setup and use incredibly simple. Has that simplicity fooled customers into thinking that the Apple Pay process is risky and makes them vulnerable? A Pew study suggests that potential customers mistake the simplicity for various kinds of vulnerabilities, and they shy away.

CoogyLoop, an Easy Game that Sucks You In

5:58 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I found one of those games. You know, the ones that look sort of interesting, so you download it. No worries, you'll just try it out a little. It's not like it's going to suck you in until you're left scrambling to understand what just happened to the last hour of your life, and ZOMG THAT REPORT ISN'T FINISHED AND YOU'RE GOING TO GET FIRED! It's called CoogyLoop, and the instructions are easy: "Tap anywhere when the ball is inside the coloured area. Easy, right?" The ball spins in a circle, and a random portion of the circle is highlighted once per rotation. Just tap the screen when the ball is inside that random area, and you're good to go (find a new job because you will probably get yourself fired after playing this all day). It's free, with an in-app purchase to remove ads if you wish. Good luck. And oh: you're welcome. 

Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones: $69.99

5:43 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

Check out Bone Machine, Bluetooth headphones that conduct sound to your inner-ear through your skull—without them being over your ears. That has the practical effect of allowing you to listen to music, a podcast, a voice call, or whatever without blocking out the road. There's a promo video on the deal listing featuring a woman running, for instance, an excellent example of a when you might want to still hear your surroundings. The price on this device through our deal is $69.99, some 30 percent off retail.

Report Claims No Dual Lens Camera for iPhone 7

9:47 AM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

The next iPhone will have dual rear-facing cameras. Or not.

Apple's iPhone 7 won't sport dual lens cameras, contrary to earlier rumors that claimed it would. Or, more accurately, there's a new rumor that says something different than the old rumor, and no one knows what Apple really has planned for the next iPhone update.

TMO Reader Builds Awesome DIY Office Chair Mat

8:04 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

I love inspiring someone to do something really cool, and one of TMO's readers totally ran with my suggestion to get a quality chair mat instead of the plastic kind every office supply store sells. Reader Geoduck took my glass chair mat advice to heart, but went above and beyond by designing his own portable hardwood mat. It looks great, is functional, and was made from reclaimed parts that otherwise would've become just more waste in a landfill. The whole project cost Geoduck under $100, and now he has a quality office chair mat that should last pretty much for ever.

Netflix Adds Support for Picture-in-Picture on Newer iPad Models

7:04 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Netflix slipped out an update with a very cool feature this week: picture-in-picture (PIP) support. This allows you to watch a streaming movie on newer iPad models in a small window while another app is running. Models covered include iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 2 and newer. To use the feature, simply press the home button while a movie is streaming—the movie will collapse into a small window that shoots to the corner of your screen. You can move it to another corner by dragging or flicking it around. Tap the movie to get the option to pause, quit it, or go back to full-screen mode. This was a feature technically added to iOS 9, but developers had to specifically implement it. I'm delighted Netflix has now done so. In the screenshot below, Supernatural is playing inside Angry Birds 2. Don't judge me*. *Go ahead and judge me. 

ACM 364: Tim Cook Brings Diversity to Apple’s Stage and Other WWDC Observations

6:10 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin & Jeff Gamet · Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple Context Machine Podcast

Apple CEO Tim Cook put his money where is mouth is and brought significant diversity to the WWDC stage this week, including four powerful women.  Bryan and Jeff think it was cool. They also dig into watchOS 3, Swift Playgrounds, and ask if Steve Jobs would have opened up Siri, Maps, iMessage, and Phone to third party developers.

The Mega Macbook Giveaway

5:55 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Assorted MacBooks

Our friends at Stack Commerce have put together another gievaway for us, the Mega MacBook Giveaway. By signing up for our deal newsletter—something you should do anyway, you'll register to win a 12-inch 256 GB Macbook with a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 Skylake processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.2 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and an Intel HD Graphics 515 graphic card. Pretty cool, right? Good luck!

Lynktec Takes its Apex Fusion Electronic Stylus to the Next Level

5:25 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · John Martellaro · In-Depth Review

Lynktec Apex Fusion review

Lynktec has continued to evolve the Apex line of electronic styluses. In late May, the company released a sleek, new version called the Apex Fusion. It's slimmer, better looking, and is available in black, silver, gold and rose gold. It's drop-dead gorgeous and features a fine point for accurate drawing and a rechargeable battery. John takes a close look and reports.

Uniloc Hits Apple’s Messages with Patent Lawsuit

10:05 AM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Uniloc says Apple's iMessage technology infringes on its patents

Apple's iMessage got attention beyond just the company's annual Worldwide Developer Conference this week because Uniloc file a patent lawsuit alleging the platform infringes on four of its VoIP-related patents. The case was filed in Eastern Texas District Court, which seems appropriate since the court is a favorite for patent trolls.

macOS Sierra Closes Flash’s Coffin Lid, Keeps Safari Plug-in Disabled

6:03 PM EDT, Jun. 15th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Adobe's Flash is dead and blocked in macOS Sierra

As if we don't already have a long enough list of reasons why Flash shouldn't be installed on our Macs, Apple is giving us yet another with the introduction of macOS Sierra: Flash in Safari will be disabled by default. That means the decreasing number of Websites relying on Flash, like the BBC, will finally realize we aren't living in 2002 any more.

Prizmo OCR Scanning for the Mac: $29.99

4:20 PM EDT, Jun. 15th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · TMO Deals

If you're looking for scanning and OCR software on the cheap for your Mac, The Mac Observer has you covered. Our deal today gets you 59 percent off Prizmo 3 from Creaceed. It's regularly $75, but you can pick it up for only $29.99. Head on over to our daily deals and check it out!

Apple is Pouring on The Coals With macOS Security

3:40 PM EDT, Jun. 15th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Analysis

macOS and its security future

Apple's recent dispute with the FBI combined with the older architecture of OS X/macOS compared to iOS means that Apple is likely to place new emphasis on Macintosh security.  It's been an evolving process, but it's likely to accelerate from now on.