Taika Waititi: Fix those MacBook keyboards

It was rather silent around the MacBook Pro/Air keyboards in the past few weeks and months – ever since Apple presented the newest 16” model. But the Oscars on Sunday night became another negative highlight in their history. Here’s the clip that has been going around for the past few hours:

Yes, Apple has fixed the keyboard, but so far only on the 16” MacBook Pro*. Yes, it’s noticeably better than before and one can only hope there won’t be any other major issues on these machines that require a yearly replacement. But, and this is a big but, all other MacBooks to this day still come with the problematic butterfly keyboards.

I still can’t understand how long it took – or rather, it’s still taking – for Apple to fix these problems and come out with a new keyboard. They went from a version that worked as everyone expected, to a complete nightmare starting with the 12” MacBook in 2015.

I also wonder how many people just can’t afford to let go of their possibly only computer for a few days just to get a new keyboard, no matter how complicated it is to live with a keyboard that’s repeating keys or entire keys that don’t work at all. This problem does and will haunt many MacBook owners for years. Multiple generations of MacBooks will go unserviced and once the 4 years of free replacements have passed, people won’t be willing to pay the enormous bill that comes with a new keyboard.

The first MacBooks are already past this timeframe and, coming up at the end of this year, the first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar will be on that list as well. I’m also afraid the resale value for those machines won’t be as good for their current owners as it has been for other Macs in the past. Once a single key is toast it’s hundreds of dollars you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. As John Gruber notes: „Apple could switch every single Mac in the lineup to the new keyboards tomorrow, and people would still be joking about MacBook keyboards for years to come.“

No more autoplay: Netflix finally allows you turn off automatically playing trailers

Those of you who use Netflix day in, day out have probably come across one of the more annoying features of their apps: automatic playback, audio and video, of previews. You weren’t able to turn this off and just had to live with it. Until today.

Now you can turn it off by heading to your Netflix profile on the web and opening Playback settings. There you can turn the automatically playing trailers using autoplay. If the changed option doesn’t trigger immediately just switch to a different profile and switch back. According to Netflix that’s supposed to load your chosen setting instantly.

Python 3 in macOS Catalina: Fixing the abort trap

At some point in the beta program of macOS Catalina Homebrew’s python 3 broke and only ended up showing an “Abort trap: 6” for every command that involved using it. This included pip3 and other tools that were previously downloaded and worked as expected.

After a bit of searching I found hints that there was an issue with some OpenSSL libraries. Using the current openssl package, Homebrew has openssl@1.1, there’s a simple fix (exact command might differ once the package gets updated) for the problem:

ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/openssl@1.1/1.1.1d/lib/libcrypto.dylib /usr/local/lib/libcrypto.dylib
ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/openssl@1.1/1.1.1d/lib/libssl.dylib /usr/local/lib/libssl.dylib

This will take care of it until openssl gets updated and the symlinks eventually break. I’m sure I’ll have to get back here to remind myself on how this gets fixed in the future.

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13: These filesystems are supported as of developer beta 2 (Update: beta 3)

With iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Apple has added the ability to natively support external storage such as thumbdrives or SSDs on iPhone and iPad in Files.app. You might have to use a powered USB dongle* to use the Lightning port on older iPads. After Teymur asked what filesystems were supported on iPadOS/iOS 13, I decided to test some variations on 12.9″ iPad Pro (2018) with a SanDisk Ultra 64 GB Dual Drive running developer beta 2.

These filesystems are recognized as of iPadOS 13 developer beta 2:

👍 Mac OS Extended Journaled (MBR/GUID): read/write works
👍 Mac OS Extended Case-sensitive, Journaled (MBR/GUID): read/write works and properly supports case sensitive filenames

👍 APFS (GUID): read/write works
👍 APFS Case-sensitive (GUID): read/write works and properly supports case sensitive filenames

👍 MS-DOS FAT (MBR/GUID): read/write works
👍 exFAT (MBR/GUID): read/write works

These filesystems aren’t recognized, some of them don’t even result in an error and just silently fail as if there’s nothing connected:

👎 Mac OS Extended Encrypted, Journaled (GUID): you get an error message
👎 Mac OS Extended Encrypted, Case-sensitive, Journaled (GUID): you get an error message

👎 APFS Encrypted (GUID): silently fails, not detected
👎 APFS Encrypted, Case-sensitive (GUID): silently fails, not detected

👎 NTFS: you get an error message

This list might still change in future iOS/iPadOS 13 betas. For example APFS was added in beta 2, so there’s a little bit of hope that at least read support for NTFS and maybe even encrypted APFS/Mac OS Extended volumes might get added in upcoming betas. I have no idea how much work is necessary to add any sort of FileVault support and it might be just too late to make it into this year’s version of Apples operating systems for iPad and iPhone. It’d definitely be nice to be able to use encrypted drives between Mac and iPad, but the current state is already a giant step forward.

Update: These are the changes for iPadOS 13 beta 3.
👎 Mac OS Extended Encrypted, Journaled: silently fails, not detected
👎 Mac OS Extended Encrypted, Case-sensitive, Journaled: silently fails, not detected

tl;dr for beta 3: they removed some error messages and now the drive just doesn’t show up.

MacRumors: Powerbeats Pro vs. AirPods 2

Juli Clover writing for MacRumors:

Apple’s AirPods 2 and new Powerbeats Pro earbuds are clearly aimed at different target markets. While the AirPods 2 are for casual listening on a day to day basis, the more expensive Powerbeats Pro are designed for physical activity including sports, workouts, and more.

Juli put together a good comparison between AirPods and the just-announced Powerbeats Pro. Both earbuds have good reasons to exist at the same time. While I would personally prefer using AirPods because of their less obtrusive design, unfortunately genetics aren’t on my side for choosing earbuds. Just like EarPods the wireless AirPods will not stay in my ears so I have to use some sort of in-ear solution (or use regular headphones of course).

As I’m currently using BeatsX – I’m now on my third or fourth pair, I honestly can’t remember – as well as a pair of relatively new Sony WH-1000XM3*, I wonder how or if Apple will update these small earbuds. One can hope they’ll introduce in-ear AirPods – just like they used to make in-ear earbuds for a few years. If they don’t and when my BeatsX break again, because they certainly will, I might have to take a closer look at these Powerbeats. One thing I wish they had is a wireless charging case, especially at this price.

As far as the noise isolation goes, there are various third party tips that isolate better or worse depending on what you prefer. I’ve gotten mine from Comply for years now and they are just perfect once you figure out the correct size. I’m sure they’ll offer some variations for the Powerbeats Pro once they’re out.

Anyway, check out the MacRumors comparison if you’re on the fence between AirPods or the Powerbeats Pro. The new earbuds should be available in a few weeks for 249 USD.

This is how you turn a Raspberry Pi into a HomeKit camera

This article is meant to serve two purposes. Fist tell you – from beginning to end – how to turn a Raspberry Pi, the tiny computer running Raspbian, into a HomeKit camera, that you can access using Apple’s Home app. This works for live streams or just stills.

The second reason for this article is reminding me how specific pieces are done. I keep forgetting specifics because I simply don’t have to do some steps on a regular basis or there are tiny details that I’m not 100 percent sure of. I won’t go too deep into Linux specifics, there are other (and better) places to learn about using the command line. Continue reading “This is how you turn a Raspberry Pi into a HomeKit camera”

WWDC 2019 dates: All but official

Joe Rossignol at MacRumors has been digging for some details on the upcoming WWDC:

Apple has yet to announce the dates for its Worldwide Developers Conference in 2019, but MacRumors has uncovered evidence that confirms the event will take place June 3-7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

WWDC took place June 4-8 in 2018 and June 5-9 in 2017 at McEnery, so it would be natural if WWDC 2019 were scheduled for the same week of June. The weeklong conference has been hosted in the first half of June every year since 2007 and at McEnery specifically since 2017.

No real surprises here, but it’s funny to watch Apple still trying to cover their tracks – after things have been published.

Of course hotels are (and have been) pricey down there for that week, as Casey Liss points out:

Of course hotels are catching up to WWDC:

More bad news for Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program

Josh Constine once again has some more details about Apple’s Enterprise Certificates and their lack of control over at TechCrunch:

Given the number of policy-violating apps that are being distributed to non-employees using registrations for businesses unrelated to their apps, it’s clear that Apple needs to tighten the oversight on the Enterprise Certificate program. TechCrunch found thousands of sites offering downloads of “sideloaded” Enterprise apps, and investigating just a sample uncovered numerous abuses. Using a standard un-jailbroken iPhone. TechCrunch was able to download and verify 12 pornography and 12 real-money gambling apps over the past week that were abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate system to offer apps prohibited from the App Store. These apps either offered streaming or pay-per-view hardcore pornography, or allowed users to deposit, win, and withdraw real money — all of which would be prohibited if the apps were distributed through the App Store.

This is yet another instance in which it was shown that Apple isn’t controlling their Enterprise Certificate program. Looks like Facebook and Google were just the very top of the iceberg.

WSJ: Apple wants to “keep about half” of news service subscription revenue

Paywalled Wall Street Journal piece about Apple’s upcoming news service:

In its pitch to some news organizations, the Cupertino, Calif., company has said it would keep about half of the subscription revenue from the service, the people said. The service, described by industry executives as a “Netflix for news,” would allow users to read an unlimited amount of content from participating publishers for a monthly fee. It is expected to launch later this year as a paid tier of the Apple News app, the people said.

Remember when developers called the 70/30 split highway robbery? Now imagine how well a 50/50 split went over.

Bloomberg: These are the things to come with iOS 13 and the next iPhones

As has become a tradition Mark Gurman and Debby Wu have some new details about the upcoming iPhones, iPads and iOS 13:

For 2019, Apple plans successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max — code-named D42 and D43 — and an update to the iPhone XR, said the people. The larger of the new high-end iPhones will have three cameras on the back, and other handsets could eventually come with the upgraded system, too, the people said.

iPhone tldr:

The follow-up to the current iPhone XS Max will come with three rear cameras, that will allow for a larger field of view which means Apple will increase the zoom compared to current models. Software might make it possible to “repair” a photo or video that has been cut-off using this camera. Live photos will capture more frames, going up from 3 to then 6 seconds.

The hardware will look largely be the same, but Apple is testing a version with USB-C. Bigger changes will come next year with the introduction of 5G capable models.

iOS 13 tldr:

iOS 13 will have dark mode, improvements to CarPlay. It will certain enhancements for the iPad like a new home screen, support for tabbed apps, just like a browser tab and better file management.

iOS 13 is most likely to be shown at Apple’s developer conference which usually takes place early June. New iPhones are usually presented in September. According to Bloomberg there won’t be new iPad Pros this year.

I personally have reached the point of where I have to question myself more and more if buying the most recent iPhone on a yearly basis at the end of September. However, the iPhone X was a completely new design with many new features. I also got the iPhone XS Max, because I missed the bigger screen of the previous Plus models after going with the X a year before.

I keep wondering what they need do to make me buy the next iPhone in September 2019? USB C for me would be a reason. But I somehow don’t see this happening. I feel like it might be more likely that they remove the port completely and turn the iPhone into an Apple Watch without any ports at all.

Another aspect is the ever better camera. But unless they have something that works in the realms of Google’s Night Sight I’ll have to see it before actually pulling the trigger.