Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Apple’

Apple Further Explains Why iGBA Was Removed From App Store ➝

Joe Rossignol, reporting for MacRumors:

Notably, Apple confirmed to us that emulators on the App Store are permitted to load ROMs downloaded from the web, so long as the app is emulating retro console games only. Apple also said it had approved iGBA’s functionality, before learning that it was a knockoff app, suggesting that Game Boy emulation is permitted on the App Store, but the company has yet to share any other examples of retro game consoles.

I learned about iGBA on the App Store when Retro Game Corps published a YouTube short highlighting it. I was going to write about it here on Monday and discovered that it had been removed.

I’m happy to learn that there wasn’t a mixup in app review and that emulators are allowed. I think there’s some question about what Apple considers to be “retro” emulation, though.

My suspicion is that Apple isn’t going to make an explicit decision on this and will, instead, rely on their policy of restricting access to JIT to limit what their hardware is capable of emulating.

Without access to JIT, current emulators that are available through sideload are only able to emulate up to PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn for home consoles and PSP and some Nintendo 3DS for handheld consoles.

Regardless, though, I look forward to seeing more emulators make their way onto the App Store.

➝ Source: macrumors.com

The Magic Is Gone

I remember around ten years ago, whenever I was near an Apple Store, I just had to go. If I was visiting family in Pittsburgh, I had to visit the Apple Store. If I was around Syracuse, if I was in Philadelphia, wherever. If there was an Apple Store nearby, I had to take the time to visit, even if just for a little bit.

From my earliest days with Apple products, in 2004, I’ve always been 2-3 hours from the nearest Apple Store.

But the products felt so cool during that era. The idea of having a half an hour or so with the entire lineup was too much to pass up.

I’d check out every MacBook they offered and chat with my wife (then girlfriend) about which one struck the right balance for my needs. I’d check out the Mac Mini, each iMac, and the Mac Pro and have an internal debate about which one I’d buy if money was no object. Even after leaving the store, I’d spend the rest of the day thinking about my dream setup.

I’d check out the latest iPods, iPads, iPhone, and browse through all of the accessories. Sometimes I’d leave with something — a new pair of headphones, a power adapter, or the like — and sometimes I’d leave completely empty handed.

Today, though, I can’t remember the last time I even went to an Apple Store. It was probably before 2020 and it was more than likely because I actually needed to go there for something. The last time I made a point to go to the Apple Store just to browse was probably a year or two prior.

The magic of Apple’s retail stores is gone.

Part of that is because Apple products are a bit more accessible in my area now. I can go to my local Target or Walmart and toy around with the Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPads on display. If I want to check out a new Mac, the local Best Buy carries a good portion of those.

But even more so, Apple’s products aren’t really exciting to me anymore. Most of what they release is a relatively minor iteration over the previous version. Sometimes with, what feels like, downgrades compared to the previous model. I’m looking at you, Action Button.

“But what about the Vision Pro”, you’re invariably asking? Well, that product isn’t appealing to me in the slightest. I have no interest in augmented or virtual reality. I consider it to be more akin to 3D television or motion controls in games. Neither of those will necessarily go away entirely — they will rise and fall in popularity over time, but they’ll never be the predominant medium or even a major player.

Maybe I’ll eat my words, but I don’t expect the Vision Pro or any other AR/VR computing product to ever be much more than a novelty device.

Outside of the lack of excitement for Apple’s new products, though, there are obviously other factors that have an impact.

I’m at a different part of my life now than I was ten years ago. My wife and I have started a family, I have a great job, and with that comes a bit more disposable income and a lot less free time. I can often just buy products that I would have, previously, had to save for.

And the lack of time means that I’m unable to obsess over all of the little details of an announcement. Or read through every line of the product pages and press releases. All of the things that built excitement for actually getting my hands on the products.

All of this isn’t a bad thing, of course. There are the clear benefits of spending time with family instead of caring so much about the products of a former computer company.

I think the lack of excitement in folks like me represents an opportunity for another company to build something truly neat. To get people excited and start making waves in the consumer electronics industry.

Valve’s Steam Deck and the recent explosion of retro emulation handhelds from Retroid, Anbernic, and others immediately comes to mind. There’s a lot to be excited about in that market.

But I’m hoping for something bigger. Something that will give me the same feeling I got from Apple in the late 2000s. The type of feeling that will have me going out of my way to spend a few minutes with a new product in a retail store.

Apple’s New Rule for Emulators on iOS ➝

From Apple’s App Review Guidelines:

Additionally, retro game console emulator apps can offer to download games. You are responsible for all such software offered in your app, including ensuring that such software complies with these Guidelines and all applicable laws.

When I first saw the email announcing this change last night, I saw the word “emulators” and may have jumped to conclusions about what this would mean.

I suppose it’s still possible that emulators like RetroArch and PPSSPP would be allowed, but it seems like the rule could imply that this is just for retro game collections that allow for downloading of more games within the app. More like Sega releasing a Sonic the Hedgehog collection that utilizes emulation or a game developer that wants their homebrew NES game available on iOS.

I suspect someone will test the rule and see exactly where the line is drawn, but I get the feeling we’ll still need sideloading to have what we think of as “emulation” on iOS.

➝ Source: developer.apple.com

It’s Time for a New AirPort ➝

Joe Rosensteel makes the case for Apple to rejoin the wireless router market. I’ve advocated for this in the past and while I still believe it would be wise for Apple to do so, I’m not positive I would end up purchasing one. At least not from the Apple of today.

The Apple of today would just use the AirPort lineup to sell more services.

➝ Source: sixcolors.com

‘Giving Up on Siri and HomePod’ ➝

A great collection of thoughts about Siri and the HomePod, put together by Michael Tsai.

To add my two cents, I’ve disabled “Hey Siri” on every device in the house. I didn’t really find myself triggering it accidentally often, but any number of false positives is enough to be annoying. The real kicker, though, was that I didn’t like the idea of the microphone always being on.

At this point, my Siri usage has been relegated to telling one of our HomePod minis to turn off a box fan, setting timers on the kitchen HomePod, and occasionally asking Siri to start a web search on my iPhone when one of my hands is busy tending to Caleb.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Apple Versus the World ➝

Chris Hannah:

I’m no longer a die-hard Apple fan, so I’m not going to get overly caught up on any of the arguments for or against them. But there’s a reason people talk about Apple’s “walled garden”. And rightly or wrongly, it seems that more and more people are starting to want to tear down the wall.

Ten years ago I felt like Apple could do no wrong. And feel like I wasn’t too far off on that. They had an incredible run, releasing some of my favorite products of all time.

But today, it feels like they make more poor decisions than good ones. I’m sort-of stuck, though, because of the services lock-in and a small number of third-party apps that there aren’t any good options for on other platforms.

I’ll continue to dabble with Linux, though, and consider whether Android is a viable option. And maybe one day I’ll feel like it’s time to make the switch away from Apple.

➝ Source: chrishannah.me

11-Inch MacBook Air

I often find myself checking OWC to see the used Macs that they have available. Especially the Mac Mini and Mac Pro. Two machines that I’ve just fallen in love with over the years.

I currently own five Mac Minis, all of which are in use throughout the house. They’re great for home servers, retro emulation, or general computing. And they’re dirt cheap now. You can routinely find 2014 and earlier models for around $100 with a decent amount of memory and storage.

As for the Mac Pro, I’ve never owned one at all. But back in my early days of writing on the web, I would find myself jealous of folks like Shawn Blanc and Glenn Wolsey who used these powerful machines as their daily drivers. I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on one yet, but the prices on old Mac Pros are reaching a point where they’re just too inexpensive to pass up.

But there’s one more Mac model that I keep an eye out for — the 11-inch MacBook Air.

The 11-inch MacBook Air is my absolute favorite Mac ever released. Ever.

Aside from the 12-inch MacBook, the 11-inch MacBook Air is the smallest and lightest laptop Apple has ever released. And unlike the 12-inch MacBook, the 11-inch MacBook Air has a functioning keyboard and a great assortment of ports — two USB-A ports, a single Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt port, and MagSafe for charging.

I bought two 11-inch MacBook Airs back in 2011. One for myself and one for my wife (girlfriend at the time). The one purchased for her is no longer working properly. It has a bad trackpad, bad battery, and possibly a bad logic board. Mine is now used by my wife as her occasional non-work machine. It’s still on High Sierra, but it can run LibreOffice and Firefox ESR, which is about all she needs it for.

I could probably put some effort into the broken one and get it working, but for the price of a trackpad and battery, assuming the logic board is actually okay, I’m already about half-way to the price of another 11-inch from a later model year and I would get the benefits of a newer machine — faster USB ports, longer battery life, increased performance, and support for later versions of macOS.

Luckily enough, last week while perusing OWC’s available models, I noticed they had a 2015 11-inch MacBook Air with 8GB of memory, in “excellent” condition, with good pricing on storage upgrades. It, unfortunately, only had the 1.6 GHz Core i5 instead of the higher-end 2.2 GHz Core i7. Nevertheless, I pulled the trigger.

I selected the 500GB storage option, paid $300 after tax, and am expecting it to arrive by the end of this week.

I could probably find a better price on EBay, especially if I upgraded the storage myself, but I’ve bought a handful of used Macs from OWC and have always been happy with my purchase.

When the machine arrives, I’ll give it a once over in macOS. I’ll make sure the battery is still in good shape, the specifications are what they should be, and that all of the ports and whatnot are working properly. At that point I’ll more than likely try setting it up to triple boot macOS Monterey, Windows 10, and Ubuntu using the rEFInd boot manager.

And then I’ll have the coolest laptop setup ever.

High-Level iOS Emulator touchHLE Aims to Preserve Old iOS Gaming Apps ➝

Alfonso Maruccia, writing for TechSpot:

There’s a new iOS emulator in town, and it wants to bring 32-bit gaming apps back into a working state on modern machines and operating systems. touchHLE is specifically designed to run games “from the early days of iOS,” with a focus on iPhone/iPod touch apps for iPhone OS 2.x. In its current state, however, the emulator doesn’t even support touch controls, at least not yet.

Born as a “full-time passion project” by a single developer in December 2022, touchHLE is radically different from traditional low-level emulators (like QEMU) as it is based on a “high-level emulator” design: the program’s simulated CPU only runs the code from an app binary and some needed iOS libraries. touchHLE takes the place of iOS, the developers explain, providing its own implementations of the system framework components like Foundation, UIKit, OpenGL ES, OpenAL, etc.

It’s a real shame that there are so many apps and games that would otherwise be completely lost to time without access to emulation. I wish Apple and other platform makers would build things with software preservation in mind.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Apple built a “Classic” mode that was built in to iOS that emulated older versions of the operating system for the purposes of running older software?

You can still see many of these applications and games if you’ve purchased on your account by navigating to Account > Purchased within the App Store. But unless you have an old device laying around, there’s no official way to install and run them.

(Via Michael Tsai.)

➝ Source: techspot.com