Wednesday Morning News

An issue affecting some Apple IDs surfaced yesterday, where Apple device owners found that their Apple ID had become locked through no action of their own. Unlocking an Apple ID requires answering security questions and entering a phone number, although it’s unknown why the Apple IDs became locked in the first place. Apple can lock Apple IDs out for security purposes, but it’s unclear whether that has happened here.

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app for the iPad has been updated to version 2.2, bringing a number of improvements including better discovery for third-party Swift content, improved touch gestures for selecting code, and smarter suggestions for further exploration and learning using Swift Playgrounds.

MacStories’ first 48 hours with the third-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro gives us Federico Vittici’s impressions of the latest and greatest iPad. I, for one, appreciate the shorter format as opposed to the lengthy and thorough review that is typically published. As nice as the new iPad Pro is, I can’t imagine why you would expose your iPad to brickwork like that — the photos are nice and all, but I’d be worried about the cosmetic damage.

Yet another Twitter thread by Steven Sinofsky tells us about people dismissing iPads as laptop replacements. Sinofsky points out numerous examples throughout computing history where the newcomer, panned by those with experience, eventually took over the old ways. It happened with PCs and word processors, it happened with GUIs, and there’s the possibility that iPads will replace laptops. Maybe not in their current format, but eventually, it could happen.

Twelve South is back after their iPhone-charging picture frame, this time with new Journal products to offer protection and accessory storage. There’s a MacBook Journal which resembles a large leather-bound book, as well as the Journal CaddySack designed to match the MacBook Journal that’s designed for everything else — charge cable, power adapter, as well as all your dongles.

Spotify has released their Apple Watch app to the general public, and although it’s a very basic watch app, the App Store release notes say that more advanced features are in the pipeline. Playback and volume controls are basically it for this version, and it also doesn’t support the larger displays of the 40mm and 44mm Apple Watch Series 4. But Spotify says it’s working on offline playback for music and podcasts, so perhaps it’s working on updated Apple Watch support, too.

9to5Mac shares some use cases for Alfred for becoming a more productive macOS user. A lot of people use it for more advanced Spotlight search, but it’s much more than that, with a built-in clipboard manager, text expansion, system commands, and, of course, finding files in Finder.

AppleInsider’s tip on replacing macOS Mojave’s Dynamic Desktops with video wallpapers is a thinly veiled post on “here’s an obscure VLC feature you never knew about”. But it’s appreciated nonetheless, and now I know that VLC has a wallpaper mode which replaces your desktop wallpaper with playing video. I’m sure that will come in handy one day, right?

OS X Daily has the real tip of enabling Dashboard in macOS Mojave, which is disabled by default. Head to System Preferences, then Mission Control, to re-enable Dashboard as either a Space or an Overlay.

Stardew Valley has been out on iOS for a few weeks now, which means that by now your virtual farm should be ticking along nicely. TouchArcade has the review, if you’ve never heard of this really great farming simulator that’s actually fun (and already available on a number of platforms).

Notable Replies

  1. Funnily enough I’ve been reading articles and listening to podcasts of people talking about the new shiny things. They all largely agree that this is the “best iPad ever” and I have no doubt, by all accounts it’s immensely powerful, performing above many desktop or laptops…

    I’m also reading all the “you can’t compare it to a laptop”, or the more nuanced, “you can’t compare it how you work on your computer directly”. The point here being that it’s possible to do many (or most) common tasks on an iPad, but you might have to do them differently. Somewhat fair, sure.

    But what are the benefits? Why do I need to change the way I work in order to use an iPad over a MacBook Pro, which can be docked and be my workhorse at the office AND on the road without compromise?

    Weight wise we aren’t even talking a huge difference, 1.37kg vs 1.04kg with the smart folio keyboard. Have we evolved to a point where that is the driving issue?

    Don’t get me wrong, I know people who use the iPad for everything, although in my circles they are what I would consider ‘light’ users. Email, Facebook, consumption of “stuff”. Personally, whenever I have had to use iOS for anything more than reading I quickly find myself back on a ‘real computer’. Multiple tabs that don’t reload, copy, paste… a mouse. I get that I’m old and probably more set in my ways, but it’s just easier to work like that. While I could work on an iPad it’s a world of compromise.

    On a side note, I’ve always complained about not being able to search for text on an iOS device while browsing a webpage… seems you have been able to for a long while, I just didn’t know it.

    To that point, there is probably a lot of other things I just don’t know the different way to do on an iPad, but with the cost differences being what they are I just couldn’t migrate my whole life to an iPad and not have a laptop/desktop computer which means for me at least I’m still needed a computer as well as an iPad.

    Which leads nicely into the next point. Apple seem to have gone back to a product only for the wealthy. Given all the money in the world, each tool has a place that can be justified with an appropriate use case. But that assumes you have the disposable income to pay for it all.
    If I were to order a new iPhone XS, iPad Pro 12.9" and MacBook Pro 15" I’m not getting much change from $10,000 Add in Apple Care for your expensive toys, dongles/adaptors, cases pencils, keyboards etc etc and it just gets worse. Getting the Phone and even the iPad on the plan from a telco can help spread that out, but the cost is pretty much the same.

    It’s getting hard enough to justify the cost of an individual product let alone two or three different ones these days and I’m just not seeing the benefits in the ever increasing price tags for the average user.

    Are we ever going to live in a world where your iPad docks into a full desktop experience rather than the stripped down, curated and controlled experience that iOS says you can have? Then you have a product that would provide the best of all worlds.

    /grumpy old man.

  2. AVC says:

    I’m usually a staunch defender of Apple, and can understand most of the decisions that they make, however I don’t understand the increasing of price of everything without adding much value. For example the Apple Pencil. The previous one was cheaper and included the spare tips. The new one is more expensive and doesn’t include new tips. I would be interested to understand their justification.

    Surely pricing things higher reduces the user base and lessens the amount of devices they’re selling? Or do they not see any significant reduction in sales when they increase price?

  3. Mullo says:

    I agree I can’t see the use case for the CPU in the new iPad Pros when you are locked into the iOS eco system.

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