The Next Track, Episode #162 – Apple’s New Improved macOS Media Apps

Doug and Kirk spend a half hour or so discussing Apple’s new apps that replace iTunes on the Mac. They rant, they praise, they shrug, they laugh, and they reminisce on what was, while imaging what could have been. It was a very good year.

Find out more at The Next Track website, or follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast.

Opinion: The worst part of Apple TV+ is the TV app – 9to5Mac

The Apple TV+ debut is a mixed affair. It may only have a handful of shows right now, but people seem to be enjoying them (even if most critics didn’t). I know I am anxiously looking forward to Friday for the next episode of The Morning Show and For All Mankind.

However, Apple TV+ content is only available through the TV app. And the TV app is pretty bad, mediocre at best…

The TV app is a bit of a mystery. As the article points out:

The TV app now has to juggle being a somewhat neutral curation of every TV show and movie available and act as the venue for Apple’s TV+ original content. It has to serve dual duty as directory and provider.

I don’t understand why there’s not a tab for Apple TV+, as there is in the Music app for Apple Music, or in the App Store app for Arcade.

I want the TV app to only show me the stuff that I pay for and can actually watch right now. Advertising of the full iTunes store or Apple TV Channels library should be in a separate tab, like a new “Browse” experience. The primary tabs like “TV Shows”, “Movies” and “Kids” should not be thinly-veiled ad platforms.

Yep. Apple is pushing the channels that they can get their commission on rather than making an app that is viewer friendly.

By the way, when are the next episodes of those Apple TV+ series coming out? I can’t find anything about dates in the TV app.

Source: Opinion: The worst part of Apple TV+ is the TV app – 9to5Mac

There Are Too Many Gestures on iOS; Apple Needs a Gestures App To Help Users

iOS has always been dependent on gestures for accomplishing certain tasks, and this is even more the case with iPadOS. But these gestures are hard to discover, and even harder to remember. Do you know how to make the proper three-finger pinch to copy text on your iPad?

Much of the power of iPadOS comes through new gestures, and while Apple offers a Tips app, this app only shows a couple of the new gestures, and none of the older ones. macOS features visual assistance for gestures on the trackpad or mouse, and you can view them in System Preferences > Trackpad, or System Preferences > Mouse. (Of course, you have to know to look there.)

Trackpad

It would be useful if iOS and iPadOS came with similar instructions. They could be in the Settings app, or there could be a dedicated Gestures app, to which users could refer when they want to refresh their memories about how to do something, or to learn about gestures they aren’t aware of. Apple does offer detailed user guides for iOS and iPadOS, but their descriptions of the gestures may not be sufficient for people just learning how to use these devices. The little videos in the macOS preferences, as in the above screenshot, are much easier to understand.

It is a bit of a shame that these powerful features are so hidden. It wouldn’t be that difficult for Apple to provide a more efficient way for users to discover them and get more out of their iPhones and iPads.

Use Your Apple Watch to Unlock Your Mac and Authenticate

You’ve been able to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch for some time now. If your Mac is asleep, and you wake it up, if you’ve activated this feature, the Mac confirms your identity via your Apple Watch and wakes up.

This is an interesting chain of identification. It requires that you have two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple ID, and having authenticated on your iPhone by entering your passcode, your Apple Watch then inherits this authentication (or you can authenticate on the Apple Watch by entering its passcode), and the Mac then accepts this as proof that the watch belongs to you.

To activate this feature, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General and check Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac.

Apple watch unlock

This allows you to wake up your Mac, and approve certain secure actions in macOS. For example, if you want to access a secure preference pane – one that shows a padlock at the bottom left of the window – click the padlock then authenticate on your watch by pressing the side button twice (this is the same gesture you use to authenticate for Apple Pay).

Apple watch padlock

Another action where you can use your Apple Watch to authenticate is if you want to delete files in certain folders. For example, to delete an app downloaded via the Mac App Store, you need to authenticate:

Apple watch approve

If you have a Mac with Touch ID, the Mac defaults to using that option for authentication, but if you have an iMac, which doesn’t offer Touch ID, this can make it a lot easier to perform secure tasks.

Note that this feature is only available to recent Macs, ones that support Continuity and Handoff, not all recent Macs can perform all of these operations. See this Apple support document for more information.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 107: admin / admin

Apple has release a whole slew of security updates this week, stretching back quite far, and we discuss some of the changes, and also Apple’s problematic HomePod update. Equifax is sued for using admin as user name and password to protect sensitive data. (Duh.) And we take a close look at the many security alerts and dialogs you see with macOS Catalina.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

New 13.2 Update Bricking Some HomePods [Update Pulled by Apple] – MacRumors

Update: Apple has released an updated version of the software which should resolve these issues.

“Apple today released new 13.2 software for the HomePod with long-awaited features like Handoff and voice detection for different family members, but unfortunately, some users are running into problems with the update.”

This is disgraceful. It’s not just that they don’t work, but that there is nothing users can do. Apple is having them ship them back to the company to get them fixed. All this because there’s no USB port to restore the device.

What a blunder.

(To be fair, it’s not clear how many people this is affecting. As often with this sort of problem, the media attention makes it appear bigger than it is. Mine both work fine after the update.)

Source: New 13.2 Update Bricking Some HomePods [Update Pulled by Apple] – MacRumors

Google owner Alphabet in bid to buy Fitbit – Reuters

Google owner Alphabet Inc has made an offer to acquire U.S. wearable device maker Fitbit Inc, as it eyes a slice of the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

While Google has joined other major technology companies such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in developing smart phones, it has yet to develop any wearable offerings.

There is no certainty that the negotiations between Google and Fitbit will lead to any deal, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. The exact price that Google has offered for Fitbit could not be learned.

Google and Fitbit declined to comment.

I had a Fitbit for a while, and I thought it was a well-designed device. It did one thing, and did it well. But when Apple came out with HealthKit, and their Health app, which aggregates health and fitness data, and Fitbit decided not to play along, I felt that Fitbit was making a big mistake.

After the Apple Watch was released, it was obvious that Fitbit’s business model – especially them being a closed platform – wasn’t going to work. I think if they had decided to integrate with HealthKit, the Fitbit would probably have done better. There are people who don’t want an Apple Watch, but do want basic fitness tracking. On Android, you can sync Fitbit data with Google Fit, so it’s surprising that the company wouldn’t want the same thing to be possible on iOS devices.

Google buying Fitbit is probably about more than just having a fitness tracker: it’s all about the data. Imagine if Google can add data about your activity, and even your location if you have a device that can record location, to the profile the company has about you already. That fitness data can be used to target ads to you for health-related products, or can be sold to insurance companies.

Fitbit would not be the first deal that Google would be carrying out in the wearables space. Fossil Group Inc said in January it would sell its intellectual property related to smartwatch technology under development to Google for $40 million. Google’s plans for these assets are not clear.

Indeed. Take a smart watch and a fitness tracker – Fitbit’s watches aren’t very sophisticated – and suck up all their data.

Source: Exclusive: Google owner Alphabet in bid to buy Fitbit – Reuters

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 106: Depending on Your Threat Model…

Samsung is foiled by screen protectors, users are spoofed by a clever two-factor authentication con, Firefox offers social tracking protection, and a stalker found his idol by analyzing reflections in her eyes in photos. And Google announces a quantum computing breakthrough that may mean that we need to use reeeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyy long passwords in the future.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Poll: What Do You Think of the New macOS Media Apps that Replace iTunes?

iTunes has been split into four apps in macOS Catalina: Music, TV, Podcasts, and Books, with syncing handled by the Finder.

[yop_poll id=”1″]


Learn more about the new media apps that replace iTunes in macOS Catalina in my new book, Take Control of macOS Media Apps.