Archive for May 3, 2023

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

CarPlay in the Age of Large Screens

Stephen Hackett:

Yesterday, I picked up my new truck, a 2023 Toyota Tundra. Coming from an older Tacoma, this truck is amazing, and that includes the large 14-inch screen. The truck has wireless CarPlay, and I noticed something right away: CarPlay’s UI doesn’t stretch very gracefully for these larger displays.


The phone app is okay but the full-width cells in that table view are a bit odd. I also have no idea why the dialer looks the way it does.


Full-screen media playback is perhaps the worst of the screens, with both Overcast and Apple Music showing how much work Apple needs to do here[…]

My car has a 9-inch screen, and it’s frustrating how CarPlay doesn’t seem to use the space very well:


Arc Browser

Matt Birchler:

While Vivaldi targets people who want absolute control over everything and who always want more functionality, while Arc is more focused on appealing to Mac enthusiasts who want a reliable browser that looks great and sports all the keyboard shortcuts and advanced features if they want them. Oh, and a couple surprises you probably didn’t see coming on top of that.


Browser apps have used top navigation and tab organization since the invention of the Internet, so there are more than a few years of muscle memory to overcome. But with Arc’s vast keyboard shortcut support and the power of the left sidebar, a little practice inside Arc will pay dividends in short order.

I was immediately turned off because when you launch the app you have to log in, and the “Why do I need an account?” help page talks about how they care about privacy but does not actually give any reasons why you need an account.

Though still in limited beta—Mac-only—it already has support in 1Password, unlike Orion, which has been available to the public since 2021.

David Pierce:

Arc, the new browser from a startup called The Browser Company, is such a divergent idea about how browsers should work that it takes some time, and some real effort, to get used to.


Arc wants to be the web’s operating system. So it built a bunch of tools that make it easier to control apps and content, turned tabs and bookmarks into something more like an app launcher, and built a few platform-wide apps of its own. The app is much more opinionated and much more complicated than your average browser with its row of same-y tabs at the top of the screen.

Another way to think about it is that Arc treats the web the way TikTok treats video: not as a fixed thing for you to consume but as a set of endlessly remixable components for you to pull apart, play with, and use to create something of your own.

Adam Engst (Mastodon, Hacker News):

I realize calling Arc “the most transformative app I’ve used in decades” is a bold statement that requires a lot of support. I won’t skimp on words in this article telling you why—it’s that important and requires new ways of thinking about how you work on the Web.


Space is a collection of tabs in the sidebar. The icons Arc uses to represent SpacesIt’s easy to switch between them using keyboard shortcuts (Control-1, Control-2, etc., or Command-Option-Left/Right Arrow) or by clicking little icons at the bottom of the sidebar.

You can assign each Space a color, providing an instant visual clue for what Space you’re in.


Arc lets you set up each Space with its own Profile. In Arc’s world, each Profile maintains its own logins, history, saved passwords, extensions, and more.


Arc’s designers have thought deeply about how to help users create appropriate levels of persistence. In the process, they eliminated bookmarks entirely, replacing them with pinned tabs. (For performance reasons, Arc keeps only recently used pinned tabs active, so unused ones don’t consume more resources than a bookmark would have.) Both are just URLs under the hood, of course, so what makes eliminating bookmarks possible is Arc’s focus on its sidebar. The sidebar has sections for three levels of persistence: Favorites, Pinned Tabs, and Today.

John Gruber:

[Hursh Agrawal’s] tweet has a two-minute video that outlines a tremendously ambitious plan:

  • Swift on Windows (compiler, debugger)
  • VSCode integration, Swift bindings for WinAppSDK
  • Porting Arc to Windows


Update (2023-06-13): David Pierce:

Boosts has two features. You can use it to change the colors and fonts on a page, or you can use it to hide any given part of the page.


Update (2023-07-25): Arc has now reached 1.0 (via Hacker News). It still requires an account.


Yeah their messaging is a bit strange. Perhaps someone with more info on Arc can clarify, but their landing page makes a strong point about them being privacy-conscious, and their summary of their own terms of service is “TLDR: we won’t spy on you”, but at the same time you must log in to use the browser. What is their monetization strategy? If something is VC-backed and free, it’s hard to believe that they aren’t ad supported in some way, which almost always relies on some amount of tracking.

Nick Heer:

Trying Arc and having a pretty rough time. You cannot use it — a web browser! — without creating an account. It nags you more than once to set it as the default browser. It looks like it uses Google’s password manager, which I do not want to use. (Trying different browsers would be a lot easier if they used the system Keychain.)

The problem, for me, is that I think it may be conceptually better for me than Safari. I just wish it felt better.

Vivaldi 6

Jon von Tetzchner (via Bob Burrough):

At Opera, we were the first to add their search into the browser interface, enabling it directly from the search box and the address field. At that time, Google was an up-and-coming geeky company.


Now, we are making the Vivaldi browser. It is based on Chromium, an open-source project, led by Google and built on WebKit and KHTML.


A monopoly both in search and advertising, Google, unfortunately, shows that they are not able to resist the misuse of power. I am saddened by this makeover of a geeky, positive company into the bully they are in 2017. I feel blocking competitors on thin reasoning lends credence to claims of their anti-competitive practices.

Tim Hardwick:

Vivaldi web browser this week pushed out its sixth major release, bringing a new Workspaces feature and custom icons and themes to the highly configurable Mac app.

Similar in functionality to virtual desktops, the new Workspaces feature is designed to further enhance the browser’s powerful tab management by letting users organize tabs by category into separate workspaces and switch easily between them.


Elsewhere in Vivaldi 6.0, the browser’s built-in theming tools have been upgraded to include new Custom Icons, which can be found in the Themes Gallery.


Multiple Apple ID Accounts

John Gruber:

The problem I was running into [here] was a bug that resulted from the fact I have split Apple ID accounts: one account for iTunes and App Store purchases, and a separate account for my Apple ID.


Everything is simpler if you only have one Apple ID that you use for both iCloud and iTunes/App Store purchases. The reason I never switched to using my iCloud account for everything, including purchases, is that there’s never been a way to migrate old purchases from a different account. And I’ve bought a lot of music, movies, and apps over the years using my other account.


This situation I ran into — seeing a promotion for a three-month Apple Arcade trial despite the fact that I pay for Apple One (which includes Arcade) — is just one of those glitches. Most Apple One subscribers don’t have split accounts, so they never saw the unnecessary promotion.

I have multiple accounts, too. One started with iTunes purchases. Another was created for .Mac/iTools. Another is for the developer program and was initially based around a person number and a name, but it eventually became a true Apple ID tied to an e-mail address. I don’t want to merge them, but I worry about Apple increasingly assuming that everything on the device is signed into the same account.

Glenn Fleishman:

In hindsight, Apple should have, somewhere in the last 10 years, offered a consolidation option. I and so many people I know have split accounts for historical reasons…and the fragile rigidity of the Apple ID and purchasing system and records.

And it’s not just purchases, since iCloud data is also locked to an account. A lot of people also use a separate account to share data and purchases in a family, due to longstanding limitations of Family Sharing.

Adam Chandler:

Many millions of us have two accounts who had iTools back in the day. Amazing that apple has offered no way to merge them yet.

John Gordon:

I’ve had LOTS of issues over years from having split accounts.

Kirk McElhearn:

For me, it’s even more complicated. Not only do I have two Apple IDs, but they are in two different countries. It is impossible for me to move my main Apple ID to the country in which I live. Because reasons.

Alex Brooks:

I agree that having split Apple accounts can sometimes be a pain, my path for having this is the same as [Gruber’s]. But I enjoy the security via obscurity aspect of it, my iCloud email is unknown (I never use it for email), and my iTunes email is at my main domain but obscure. Makes phishing almost impossible—and after all my iCloud account is probably the most precious of them all.


Update (2023-05-03): John Gordon:

How we did our family transition

Update (2023-05-05): Noah Liebman:

I really like having two Apple IDs. I can sign into the App Store and Apple Music on my work computer, but not have my messages, calendar, and contacts show up on a machine where I don’t want them.