In watchOS 6, you can finally delete some of the stock apps from your watch. If you don’t need them, and don’t want them cluttering up your watch, you can remove some apps. This is the same process you can use to delete third-party apps that you’ve added to your Apple Watch, though you can do the latter in the Watch app on your iPhone; you cannot delete stock apps in the Watch app, for some reason.
To do this, press the digital crown to display your apps.
If your apps display in list view, press and hold the list until you see this:
Tap Grid View; you’ll see your apps in a grid:
Lightly tap and hold on any app until the icons wiggle, as they do on iOS:
Tap the small x icon to delete an app.
As you can see here, you cannot delete all the stock Apple apps. For example, you cannot delete Mail, Phone, Calendar, News, etc. You cannot even delete the Stocks app. You can delete apps such as Noise, Period Tracker, Timer, Alarm, and Stopwatch, but not World Clock, Calculator, or Reminders. So you may be able to lighten up your app list a bit, but not by a lot.
I regularly use Apple Music, and sometimes the recommendations I receive in the For You section are spot on. They learn from what I listen and what I love (though I don’t love tracks or albums very much), and they recommend music by the same or similar artists, or from similar genres. On any given day, I’d say a quarter of their picks are things that I really would like to listen to. And I think that a 250 batting average for this type of recommendation, which is all done by algorithm, is pretty good.
However, when they recommend classical music, they tend to strike out a lot more. Last night, I listened to an album of Schubert’s piano trios, and this morning, I see these recommendations:
It’s fair to say that I’d be potentially interested in listening to many if not most of these recommendations, but are they really “like Schubert: Piano Trios, Op. 99 & 100?” No, not really. There are two recordings of violin concertos, an opera, some vocal music (Monteverdi’s Vespers), and some solo piano music.
What would be “like” those Schubert piano trios? Perhaps other chamber works, such as piano trios by Haydn or Beethoven. Maybe some string quartets by Schubert, Beethoven, or other Romantic composers. Or some other music by Schubert: his piano music, lieder, etc.
It’s not clear why these recommendations were chosen. With pop, rock, or jazz, the recommendations tend to be based on the artists performing the music, whereas here, this isn’t the case. None of the three artists who performed the Schubert trios I listened to (Andreas Staier, Daniel Sepec, and Roel Dieltiens) are present in the recommendations. Two of the recommendations are on the same label, Harmonia Mundi, and, in classical music, that can a good reason to recommend music, as independent labels do have a specific character. But I scratch my head to try to figure out how these recommendations were chosen.
The Igor Levit set is in my iCloud Music Library, and I have listened to it before, but I don’t know any of the other recordings. The only commonality I find is that the Schubert I listened to was released in 2016, and five of the seven recommendations were released the same year, with two others in 2014 and 2015.
It isn’t easy to tailor recommendations for classical music, and I suspect that Apple Music is simply looking at what other people who have the Schubert recording in their libraries are listening to, or what’s in their libraries, similar to the way the Genius feature works. Providing better classical recommendations would require additional metadata for classical recordings, beyond just the “classical” genre. There would need to be metadata for eras (Baroque, Romantic, etc.), ensemble sizes (trios, quartets, orchestras, etc.), and styles.
The classical market is too small for the big streaming services to provide this sort of recommendation, and other players, such as Idagio and Primephonic, are entering the field in an attempt to do so. This is probably not something that can be done by algorithm, in part because of the absence of extended metadata specific to classical music.
To be fair, a bit of browsing on Apple Music allows me to find plenty of classical music, but I really would like the kind of recommendation that pushes me in the right direction, especially for composers that I don’t know well. I’m not that interested in paying for another streaming service, because that sort of fragmentation with music is just an annoyance. But I wish the big streaming services – Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon – would take classical music seriously.
Apple has released iOS 13 for the iPhone and iPod touch, and the newly-named iPadOS 13 for the iPad. This is the first year that the company has created differently named versions of its mobile operating system for different devices, and there are a number of new features specific to the iPad.
Here are some of the new features in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.
As iOS 13 is out, Josh and Kirk discuss its new features and what you can look forward to. They also discuss how smart TVs spy on you, sending data about everything you watch. They also discuss a new SIM card flaw, and an iOS 13 lock screen bypass.
A lot of people are getting confused by one of the changes that Apple made in iOS, the method for deleting apps. Previously, you would tap and hold any app icon, then wait until the icons wiggle, then tap the little x on the corner of the icon.
In iOS 13, this is different. When you tap and hold an icon, you no longer see the icons wiggle. Instead, you see this:
Tap Rearrange Apps, and you then see the wiggling icons:
The word “rearrange” is a bit confusing, because most people simply want to delete apps, not move them around.
If you press, hold, then move an app’s icon, apps immediately switch to wiggle mode, and you can quickly reposition it, or just tap the x icon to delete.
I use a Netatmo weather station to keep track of the temperature outside my home and in my home office. I have the Netatmo app set up to send notifications for certain conditions, such as as when the temperature hits a certain threshold.
Today, around lunch time, I got a notification on my Apple Watch. I was surprised to see this, because it wasn’t particularly warm out, and when I looked, here’s what I saw:
I was a bit confused. Was it telling me something about needing to ventilate my office? I had had a high CO2 alert earlier in the day, because I had the door closed all morning.
I tapped on my watch, and saw this:
Ah. Spam. They’re spamming me. Via notifications. On my Apple Watch.
4.5.3 Do not use Apple Services to spam, phish, or send unsolicited messages to customers, including Game Center, Push Notifications, etc. Do not attempt to reverse lookup, trace, relate, associate, mine, harvest, or otherwise exploit Player IDs, aliases, or other information obtained through Game Center, or you will be removed from the Developer Program.
4.5.4 Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes or to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.
This is sleazy activity, and I have reported it to Apple. No developer should be allowed to do this (though, to be fair, Apple sometimes violates this rule themselves), and any developer who does should be punished. I believe this is only the second time I’ve had this sort of spam notification; I don’t recall which app did it previously, but it’s something that I promptly deleted.
I hope Apple takes swift action against the company.
Amazon today announced Amazon Music HD, an extension of their paid music streaming service offering 50+ million tracks in lossless FLAC format, and “millions” of tracks in high-resolution formats. (It’s also available from Amazon UK.)
Amazon, the music streaming service that is probably not used by that many serious music fans, hopes that this can get them to be a serious player in this market. But I’d expect that many if not most people who use Amazon to stream music probably use an Alexa device, in most cases devices where lossless audio won’t sound better than the MP3s that they serve.
Amazon has used all the audiophile tropes to try to sell their service, and this graphic sums them up:
They then discuss bit rates. MP3 is “up to 320 kbps,” or what most people can hear correctly. But for the “high definition” audio – lossless, or CD quality – they say “up to 850 kpbs.” Anyone who understands lossless compression knows that the bit rate of a lossless file depends on the density and volume of the music, and higher bit rates are not better. In fact, it’s not uncommon for lossless files to have bit rates above 1,000 kbps, such as with this Clash album:
Or even well below 320 kbps, as with this album of piano works by John Cage:
And for “ultra HD,” or what is more commonly known as high resolution, saying “up to 3750 kbps — more than 10X the bitrate of standard streaming services” is disingenuous at best. If you have magical bats’ ears, you might hear the difference, but whether the bit rate is 3750 kbps or half that makes little difference if you don’t have high-end audio equipment, and especially if the music isn’t mastered well.
“So,” you are thinking, “Isn’t it time for Apple to offer something similar?” I doubt it. While providing lossless streams would fit well with the niche the company is trying to create for the HomePod (a mono device, mind you, where lossless or high-res music won’t provide a full stereo experience), most people who listen to music don’t care, and it is not very useful for mobile devices. I’m sure that one day Apple will offer a lossless plan for Apple Music, but I can’t see it as a priority.
In any case, if Apple does offer lossless streaming one day, I hope they won’t use the same type of deceptive language that Amazon is using.
hen you buy a product like Philips Hue’s smart lights or an iPhone, you probably assume the people who wrote their code are being paid. While that’s true for those who directly author a product’s software, virtually every tech company also relies on thousands of bits of free code, made available through “open-source” projects on sites like GitHub and GitLab.
Often these developers are happy to work for free. Writing open-source software allows them to sharpen their skills, gain perspectives from the community, or simply help the industry by making innovations available at no cost. According to Google, which maintains hundreds of open-source projects, open source “enables and encourages collaboration and the development of technology, solving real-world problems.”
But when software used by millions of people is maintained by a community of people, or a single person, all on a volunteer basis, sometimes things can go horribly wrong. The catastrophic Heartbleed bug of 2014, which compromised the security of hundreds of millions of sites, was caused by a problem in an open-source library called OpenSSL, which relied on a single full-time developer not making a mistake as they updated and changed that code, used by millions. Other times, developers grow bored and abandon their projects, which can be breached while they aren’t paying attention.
Most people don’t realize how much open-source software is used in commercial software. Apple’s operating systems are based on Unix, and use dozens of not hundreds of open-source tools, including cURL, the subject of this article.
“Spring ahead, fall new iPhone.” I think that’s what they say. Like clockwork now since 2014 and the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple this week announced the latest model of the iPhone along with other new products and services.
Eschewing the Roman numeral naming for the device, this one goes to 11. (I know, it’s a cliché, and fortunately, Apple didn’t use it.) The iPhone 11 comes in two models: standard and Pro (three models, if you count the Pro Max separately). This is the first time that Apple has used the term Pro for the iPhone—a term that has been used for Macs and iPads for many years—and the Pro models (in regular size and Max) now come with three rear-facing cameras instead of two.
The iPhone 11 (without the “Pro” modifier) is the replacement for last year’s iPhone XR. Coming in at $699 for the base model with 64 GB storage, this iPhone comes in six colors, and features two cameras. Unlike last year’s iPhone XS models, these cameras come with wide and ultra-wide lenses. (The two-camera versions of the iPhone X and later had wide and telephoto lenses.) This is an interesting choice, since the ultra-wide angle lens doesn’t seem like something that many people would be interested in. It’s great for expansive landscape shots, or interior photos if you want to show a whole room, but it’s not very versatile.