Tag Archive for ‘iPad’

Safari 15 ➝

I’m reserving judgement on the new design for now, but the radical changes coming in Safari 15 brings the sorry state of third-party browser support on iPhone and iPad to the fore. If the changes to the overall design make Safari miserable to use for you, you’re basically stuck.

Sure, you can change your default browser, but you’re still going to use Safari View Controller in other apps, you’ll lose access to Content Blockers, you won’t get access to browser extensions, along with dozens of other little annoyances. Safari is the only game in town because Apple is unwilling to give developers the freedom to build apps that can actually compete.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Apple’s 2021 WWDC Keynote Announcements ➝

I’m pretty excited about widgets coming to the iPad Home Screen. But if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure if I’ll actually end up using them. I’ve been using the same strategy for organizing my home screens for so long that it takes a lot to make adjustments.

macOS Monterey seems like a massive improvement, though. My iPad sits next to my iPad throughout the work day and Universal Control will be a very welcome change. I love the idea of fluently moving from my Mac to my iPad and back again with the same keyboard and mouse.

And then there’s Shortcuts on macOS. This is the real deal. Nothing on macOS in the automation category has ever clicked for me quite like Shortcuts has on iOS. Bringing that power and ease-of-use to the Mac is going to fundamentally change how I perform a multitude of tasks. And I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

➝ Source: thesweetsetup.com

Option C

John Gruber, in reference to The New York Times’ piece on Apple, China, and user privacy:

It’s a big report, but the above is fundamentally true and gets to the heart of the conflict: physical access to the hardware in the facility is game over. But what’s missing from the whole piece is any serious discussion of what else Apple could do. Apple has no option other than to comply with Chinese law, or else stop selling products in the country.

Option A: Apple does what it did — store all Chinese users’ iCloud data on servers in China, under the ultimate control of the Chinese government.

Option B: Apple refuses to do so, and the Chinese government shuts down iCloud in China and probably bans the sale of Apple devices.

Is there an Option C? I don’t think there is.

There’s a very clear and obvious Option C — build Apple products that are less reliant on iCloud.

If access to the physical servers is the biggest privacy issue, then give users the tools to effectively opt-out of it entirely and take control of their own data.

Why can’t the iPhone backup to a shared Time Machine drive on the local network? Macs have been able to do this for years. It’s not as if iPhone’s have some sort of hardware limitation — the iPhone of today is significantly more capable than the Macs of 2008, when Time Capsule was first introduced.

Backing up your device to iCloud is actually the biggest point of failure of iMessage’s security. Despite the fact that iMessage is encrypted end-to-end when sending messages, Apple can access and view your messages within iCloud backups. If Apple offered a more convenient way to backup your iPhone locally, it would give users the option of better security if they prefer it.

Reintroducing Time Capsule would be the best way to do this, as it would be an easy, single-purchase solution for users that want to own their data.

But it could go beyond just device backups — Apple could pitch the Time Capsule as “iCloud at Home” and mimic many of the services that iCloud offers on a box that you physically control.

iCloud Photos, iCloud Drive, Notes, and any other service that syncs or stores data in iCloud could be stored locally on a Time Capsule. Apple’s servers would just be there to tell the device I’m using how to connect to the Time Capsule on my home network. In other words, Apple facilitates the connection and then my devices talk directly with the Time Capsule using end-to-end encryption.

This would seemingly eliminate offsite backups, leaving you vulnerable to data loss if there was a fire, flood, or something else that physically damages your Time Capsule. But this could be solved too. Apple could develop a system where you could pair a Time Capsule in your home with a Time Capsule in a friend or family members home giving them the ability to backup data to each other. Synology already offers this, actually.

But of course, there’s always the possibility that China pulls the rug out from these endeavors — enacting policies or practices that hamper these types of services or outlaws the sale of Time Capsules outright. But at least Apple would be making more of an effort. And a rising tide raises all ships — I imagine a lot of iPhone users would jump at the opportunity to buy an “iCloud at Home” Time Capsule to take greater ownership of their data.

And then there’s the issue of censorship in the App Store. This one is simple and I’ve advocated for it a number of times, even outside of the discussion of China — open up the platform to apps from outside the App Store. Make it more difficult to police iOS software by decentralizing.

This would almost certainly introduce the possibility of spyware on the platform, but given China’s relationship with large tech companies, one could argue that this is already happening. The difference is, if there was an app that the Chinese government didn’t want their citizens to have access to, instead of it simply being banned from the App Store, they would be be able to install it. Albeit through underground channels. But even that would be tremendously empowering.

Multi-Tasking on the iPad Is Actually Pretty Great ➝

Josh Ginter:

Certain apps work better than others inside the Slide Over deck, and when they’re optimized, their convenience is unmatched. I keep a calculator app in Slide Over at all times, I keep an iteration of all messaging apps in Slide Over, and I like to keep an iteration of the Files app available at all times. These kinds of “in-and-out” apps are exceptional for Slide Over.

I’m really underutilizing Slide Over.

➝ Source: thenewsprint.co

The Future of Code Editor ➝

From Panic’s Weblog:

Code Editor — originally called “Diet Coda” then later “Coda for iOS” — was our powerful and full-featured iOS editor for developers. Introduced in 2012, it was packed with innovation, like our “Super Loupe” designed to make iOS cursor placement more precise — even fun, and an “iPad Preview” that let you use your iPad as a dedicated website preview screen long before Sidecar. The goal was to make a great code editor for iOS that anyone could use on-the-go.

Unfortunately, like Transmit iOS and Status Board before it, we’re discontinuing Code Editor as it doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover its continued development.

This is pretty disappointing. I’ve long considered Coda (now Code Editor) to be one of the best applications on iOS and something you could point to as an example of an application built for “real work”.

I wrote Initial Charge’s WordPress theme in Code Editor and still use it regularly for file management over FTP and for developing various tools for my sites. I’ll continue using it for as long as I can — at least until I find a replacement. But I’m just not sure if there is any alternative that has the same level of polish that Code Editor has.

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but this is yet another example of why Apple needs to open up the platform. Not just so developers can explore other options for monetization, but to loosen up the arbitrary restrictions on what is even possible on the platform. How many apps like Code Editor do we have to lose before Apple wakes up?

➝ Source: panic.com

The New iPad Pro ➝

The marquee features are Thunderbolt, an ultra wide front-facing camera with Center Stage, M1, 5G in cellular models, and Liquid Retina XDR Display.

It’s a good iterative update, but if you have an iPad Pro from the last few years, it’s probably not worth the upgrade.

➝ Source: apple.com

My Backup Strategy

Time Machine Preference Pane

We all know backups are important, but they’re not as flashy and interesting as the next Apple Silicon Macs or nifty new piece of software. So they don’t really get discussed as often as they should. But in honor of World Backup Day, which I didn’t know existed and just happened to conveniently take place while I was already working on this piece, I thought I’d share my current backup strategy.

Macs

We have three Macs currently in use in our house — my work MacBook Pro, my wife’s MacBook Air, and our Mac Mini home server. The Mac Mini has an OWC ThunderBay 6 connected with a handful of drives inside — an SSD boot drive, a couple of 4TB drives for storing media, and a couple of 8TB drives for storing backups.

The Mac Mini shares the backup drives over the network as Time Machine destinations. And every Mac in the house backs up over Time Machine to these drives. So all of our local backups and media are stored in a single box — the ThunderBay.

We use TimeMachineEditor to have a bit more control over when our Time Machine backups take place. I have the Mac Mini setup to backup in the middle of the night and the MacBook Pro setup to backup at lunch time on weekdays.

The Mac Mini and my MacBook Pro are also setup with Backblaze to continuously backup all relevant data to the cloud. We will likely setup Backblaze on my wife’s MacBook Air too, but she only recently started using it again and we just finished the initial Time Machine backup.

iOS Devices

I pay for a 2TB iCloud storage plan that is shared with my wife. Our iPhones and iPads all backup to iCloud nightly. We store all of our documents on the service too.

We don’t use iCloud Photo Library, though. Instead, we use Google Photos — the primary reason being their excellent Partner Sharing feature. The feature automatically shares each photo and video to each other’s library. This means we don’t have to worry about who took a given picture or where the full version is stored — we both have access to all of the.

And seriously, Apple, get that feature figured out so I don’t have to maintain an additional service.

But Google Photos doesn’t give us the option to store local copies on the Mac, so a few times each year we manually backup photos from our iPhones and iPads to the Mac Mini server using the Photos app.

So every single photo we take and video we record is stored in six locations — the original device, Google Photos, the iCloud device backup, the Mac Mini’s media drive, backup drive, and Backblaze. It might seem like overkill, but our family photo library is almost certainly the most important data that we have and I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Overall

The pillars of my backup strategy are Time Machine, Backblaze, iCloud, and Google Photos. As I mentioned above, it would be nice if Apple finally introduced a solution for family photo libraries. Then we could eliminate Google Photos from our setup and we’d no longer need to manually backup photos to the Mac Mini, since the Photos app offers the option to store full size local copies of everything in your iCloud Photo Library.

But in terms of locally stored backups, I’m pretty happy with the setup. Since everything is stored inside the OWC ThunderBay 6, if there was ever an emergency, I could grab my iPhone and the ThunderBay. Those two items contain all of the important data in my life.

New Linen Wallpapers Available ➝

I’ve added variants for the new iPhone 12 models and the iPad Air (4th-generation).

➝ Source: initialcharge.net