Archive for October 25, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021

Photos in iOS 15 and Monterey

Jason Snell:

The Memories feature has been completely reworked into a dynamic multimedia slideshow—though it won’t arrive on macOS until later on in the cycle. New sharing features make it easy to pluck images out of Messages and pop them into your library—and in the case of some images, they’ll show up in there even when you don’t ask them to.

Every year, Apple seems to apply more machine-learning algorithms to scan your photo library, and this year is no exception. The system now identifies all sorts of objects, scans all the text found in images, and exports a lot more of that data into Spotlight search.


Beginning with macOS Monterey, Photos can import the contents of one Photos library into another—with a few important limitations. All the photos will be imported from the other library into the one you’re currently using. However, your albums and keywords will be left behind, so don’t consider this a complete merger. It’s more accurate to think of this as importing all the images from one library into another, just as you’d import images from a camera.

Federico Viticci:

Besides Live Text, the most relevant changes to Photos this year involve integration with Look Up and, at long last, the ability to view rich metadata for images inside the app.


The company also claims “expert film and TV music curators” selected a set of default songs for Memories, which are combined with your music tastes, the contents of your photos, their original date, and their location to recommend songs that where popular when and where you captured an image or video.

I don’t know how to put this: either these curators need a crash course in music industry news, or the algorithm is way off on my iPhone.

Ryan Jones:

This was driving me mad… iOS 15 live text photo search only works via Spotlight, not 🤦‍♂️ So dumb.

Kyle Howells:

Just tried using the memories feature of the Photos app in iOS 15 and it’s such a big downgrade for how I used it.

It used to basically be my favourite video editor. I could point it at an album of photos and tell it to make a video. Then go in and manually edit each photo and video clip segment included.

Now it’s just a slideshow that plays music at the same time.


Before, when it guessed wrong and showed you a clip of the video which ends just before the bit you actually what to see, you could press edit & adjust which bit of the video it includes in the memory video.

Now those controls are completely gone. You get what it gives you.

Greg Hurrell:

Last time, a bunch of photos mysteriously disappeared after importing into Photos app and then updating. And it’s not just my device. Partners phone also has problems syncing to a different Apple computer. So much for seamless integration.


macOS 12.0 Monterey Released

Apple (Hacker News):

Connect, share, and create like never before. Say hello to exciting new FaceTime updates. Explore a redesigned Safari. Discover and invent powerful new ways to work using Universal Control and Shortcuts. Stay in the moment with Focus. And so much more.

Mr. Macintosh:

This database will contain download links for macOS 12 full Installer pkg files (InstallAssistant.pkg). This file is the same full installer that you would download directly from the App Store for Intel and Apple Silicon M1 Mac Computers. The InstallAssistant.pkg is stored on Apple’s servers and contains the full “Install”. Once downloaded, all you need to do is install the pkg and the full installer of macOS will be in your applications folder.

Juli Clover:

macOS Monterey adds quite a few features that have already been introduced on iOS devices with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. FaceTime has gained spatial audio support and voice isolation to cut down on background noise, and in the future, it will work with the SharePlay feature for screen sharing and watching tv and movies with friends and family over FaceTime.


To give a better overview of all of the new features that Apple has brought to the Mac with macOS Monterey, we have a dedicated macOS Monterey roundup that’s available.

John Voorhees:

Monterey’s focus is all about system apps, a topic near and dear to me. With the technical building blocks in place and a refined design out of the way, Monterey is one of the most tangible, user-facing payoffs of the past three years of transition. More than ever before, Apple is advancing system apps across all of its platforms at the same time. Finally, everything is everywhere.

However, as much as it pleases me to see the groundwork laid in years past pay dividends in the form of new features being rolled out simultaneously on all platforms, Monterey’s payoff isn’t an unqualified success. Every OS release has its rough spots, but this year, Shortcuts is especially rough.

Michael Potuck:

Just last week, Apple confirmed that Universal Control will be coming “later this fall,” and not with the initial launch of macOS Monterey.

And although SharePlay has been enabled for all users on iPhone and iPad with iOS 15.1, the feature has been pushed to “later this fall” as well.

Howard Oakley:

When Apple announced details of Monterey in the summer, features varied considerably according to model. To help discover exactly what your Mac would benefit from when upgraded, I produced a chart.

David Sparks:

Once you get it installed, there are several features that I found delightful through the beta[…]

Stephen Hackett:

I’ve added macOS 12 to my macOS Screenshot Library for your viewing pleasure[…]


Update (2021-10-29): Jason Snell:

The big new features of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are also the big new features of macOS Monterey.

Unfortunately, some of the biggest features are still missing. The most important new feature in Photos is missing from the Mac, though Apple says it will arrive soon. And one of the biggest features being imported to the Mac from iOS, Shortcuts, is in a half-finished state.


On the Mac, the Shortcuts app feels like something from an entirely different operating system—or maybe solar system. Editing items becomes a process of hunting and clicking for just the right gesture that will get you what you want—there’s nothing like trying to insert a Smart Variable in the proper place by precisely control-clicking in a text field. In a Save File action, the Replace option doesn’t offer to replace the file you’re saving, but changes which folder the file will be saved into. Pop-up windows are awkward. Keyboard support is weak.


Most notably, macOS Monterey does nothing to address the failure of notifications, Notification Center, and widgets from macOS Big Sur.

And there are even more alerts that are narrow.

Andrew Cunningham:

The Finder’s Go To Folder (or Command-Shift-G) search field has been reworked with a design that more strongly resembles the Spotlight search box. It will offer to autocomplete your folder path for you, and your most recent locations will be displayed without needing to click-through to a drop-down menu first.

When hovering over a folder in a Finder window, holding the Option key will show you the full path of the folder in the lower-left corner of the window, and you can click anywhere in the path to hop up to the parent directories or parent volume. Right-click any folder within that path, and you can copy the path to the Clipboard, view the folder in its parent directory, or open a Terminal window that has already navigated to that directory.


It turns out that whether you’re using an Apple Silicon or an Intel Mac, Low Power Mode operates primarily by reducing CPU clockspeed, thus reducing CPU voltage. Examining Activity Monitor while running Geekbench 5, we saw all eight of the M1’s cores being lit up in similar patterns whether Low Power Mode was enabled or not.


After a big year with Big Sur, Monterey is a return-to-form macOS update. Most people will be able to find at least one or two new things that they really like. Other people will continue using it without noticing that it’s different. And it would benefit from a major bugfix update or two. The hardware is changing a lot, but macOS remains macOS.

Jason Snell:

When you copy a file in macOS Monterey’s Finder, you will see a floating copy window, of course[…] There’s just one thing about that window that’s unusual. The red circle used to close windows, inactive in previous versions of macOS, is now active. […] Once you close the window, it won’t reappear for subsequent operations until you choose Show Progress Window from the Window menu. But Finder is still providing you with some feedback that a copy operation is happening. In List views, a circle to the right of the filename slowly fills in clockwise until the copy is done. In Icon views, a progress bar fills from left to right across the bottom of the icon.


After upgrading to macOS Monterey, you might see notifications like the above [overlayed with a circle and a slash].

If so, the simple solution is to logout and then back in (or restart).

Tim Hardwick:

There have been several reports on Reddit, Apple’s Developer Forums, and Apple’s Support Communities about the issues. In some cases, users say the the USB 3.0 ports on their hub no longer work since upgrading to Monterey, while HDMI, USB-C, and other hub ports continue to work as expected.

See also: Hacker News, Rene Ritchie and John Gruber.

Update (2021-11-15): Monica Chin:

Downloading macOS Monterey, by contrast, has not impacted my life much. I installed the first beta over the summer, forgot that I was using it within a few days, and tried to download it again the following week. It looks like Big Sur, with some tweaks here and there. Many of them seem to be catch-up efforts, equipping Monterey with features that iOS (or competitors) already had. A few of the features are useful for me, but they’re features you have to seek out and set up. And we’re still waiting on some of the most innovative parts of Monterey that Apple announced earlier this year to arrive.

So my ultimate view on this operating system is, “Sure.” It’s a stable release that I’ve been using reliably for a few months. Nothing’s terribly broken. If you’re someone who prefers to exercise maximum caution and wait a while before upgrading, you’re also not missing all that much.

Sami Fathi:

macOS Monterey, released last week as the latest version of macOS, is bricking older Mac computers, rendering them unusable and unable to even turn on, according to a number of reports from users across social media and online forums.


iPod at 20

Roger Cheng (via Joe Rossignol):

When Apple executive Jon Rubinstein, who had been tasked with creating a music player, came knocking in early 2001, Fadell was already working on his own startup, Fuse Systems, with the goal of creating a mainstream MP3 player. It was a nascent market, with more than a dozen players from different companies including Creative Labs and RCA. The problem: Sales of the devices, which cost a few hundred dollars apiece, only totaled 500,000 units in 2000, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Fuse itself faced plenty of rejection. Still, Fadell saw the Apple consulting gig as a chance to keep his own project alive.


After a few weeks of negotiations with Jobs, Fadell joined Apple in April 2001 and assembled a team made up of Fuse and General Magic employees to put together what would become the iPod. The project immediately faced an uphill challenge. The team needed to work with a lot of new components, including a brand new hard drive from Toshiba that Rubinstein, who oversaw the whole project, identified as the key ingredient for the iPod.

Other breakthroughs included new software for the user interface and a then-new kind of lithium ion pack, giving the device 10 hours of battery life that far exceeded anything else in the market.


Jobs told Fadell he was going to throw marketing dollars at the iPod, pulling resources from its core Mac business. And even though sales of the original iPod and the follow-up version didn’t light any fires, Jobs followed through.

Cabel Sasser (tweet, Hacker News):

Sure, Apple had made other things before (QuickTake! PowerCD!) but they never really felt committed to those things. […] I have fond memories of Dave (who now works on Playdate) reverse-engineering the iPod database storage format so that you could use Audion to load songs onto it. I remember how plain fun it was to use — that click wheel, the original fidget toy! It was cool that I could use it as a tiny portable hard drive. The iPod was really good.


Now, there are a lot of mysteries in the Panic Archives (it’s a closet) but by far one of the most mysterious is what you’re seeing for the first time today: an original early iPod prototype.


A (literally) small easter egg, but I loved this so much. It felt like classic Apple — engineers and designers just having a little fun before things got so big and serious — a tiny reminder that actual humans made the polished things I enjoyed. So of course, Apple removed it from a later firmware revision when the press noticed. Times were changing. (In solidarity, I registered https://☃.net.)

Tony Fadell:

This is a P68/Dulcimer iPod prototype we (very quickly) made before the true form factor design was ready. Didn’t want it look like an iPod for confidentiality - the buttons placement, the size - it was mostly air inside - and the wheel worked (poorly)

Om Malik:

When iPod launched, digital music was a mess. Napster had awakened us to the potential of digital and online music, but the dream was a nightmare. The music industry hated Silicon Valley. (It still does.) You had to buy compact discs, rip them and then put those files onto your devices. These digital music players had exotic names — iRiver, Rio, and Creative Labs, for example. I had them all. I hated them all, though iRiver was pretty awesome for its time. We were so close, yet so far. Against that backdrop came the iPod.

Eamonn Forde (via Hacker News):

In 2001, the record business was in freefall due to digital piracy, and the best way out of this accelerating crisis came in the shape of a white device the size of a deck of cards. The iPod, launched 20 years ago this week, was also how Apple’s Steve Jobs was able to prey on a failing business in order to avenge his own past failures – exiled between 1985 and 1997 from the company he co-founded – by turning Apple into the most profitable company in history.


Teeth were gnashed at the time, but labels had to accept that Apple steered them into a future they could not have reached under their own steam. “In effect, [Apple’s dominance of legal downloads] was the price you paid for entry into the creation of a legitimate marketplace,” shrugs Berman. “The creation of iTunes was the whipped cream on top. It really did create a sense, once things got off the ground, that this had rescued the recording industry.”

Ali Partovi:

In 2007, my music startup, iLike, had pioneered a way for fans to follow artists and watch their videos in a feed.


Our service was so popular that it was the top driver of affiliate sales to iTunes Music Store. I naively thought a record industry in decline would embrace us as saviors. How wrong I was!


I was excited to meet the legendary Jimmy Iovine. He was the top record mogul, with an enviable roster that included Eminem, Black Eyed Peas, and my favorite band, U2. One of his lieutenants had summoned me with overtures about a “partnership.”


Jimmy repeated with emphasis: “You’re building a business off our backs. I can cause enormous harm to you, unless you give us our share. If you want to stay in business, you need to give us 50% of your company.”

Jimmy demanded half our equity simply to continue what we were already doing legally! He started lamenting that he should never have licensed music to iTunes without getting Apple stock, because Apple had built an empire “off our backs.”

Update (2021-10-28): Jack Wellborn:

Flash forward to a few years later, when my mother decided to get my father an iPod for Christmas. Still relatively poor, my role in the gift would be to put my father’s music on the device. This was no small task. My father is an avid music listener and had amassed close to 200 CDs at the time. I persevered, knowing that being able to hold his entire library would be a magical moment for my father. It was. To this day he still prefers his iPod Classic over pretty much any other device, including his iPhone.

Apple Updates Guidelines for Cameron Settlement

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today announced it has updated its App Store Review Guidelines with three key changes related to outside-of-app communications, collecting contact information within an app, and in-app events featured in the App Store.


Specifically, Apple removed the following sentence from section 3.1.3 of the guidelines:

Developers cannot use information obtained within the app to target individual users outside of the app to use purchasing methods other than in-app purchase (such as sending an individual user an email about other purchasing methods after that individual signs up for an account within the app).

Second, a new guideline under section 5.1.1 (x) indicates that apps may request basic contact information, such as a name and email address, so long as the request is optional for the user, features and services are not conditional on providing the information, and it complies with all other provisions of the guidelines.