On this unexpected and mysterious macOS Big Sur 11.5.2 update

Dear Apple, as an owner of an M1 Mac mini, a MacBook Air and an iMac, don’t you think that I’m entitled for an explanation about what does this update fix? I think I do.

Excited for a… keyboard

I got the new Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. I chose the one without the numeric keypad; the desk space being scarce. Setting this thing up took one minute. I had to read the (slim) manual as I wasn’t sure how the pairing would work: connect the keyboard to my M1 Mac mini with the provided USB-C to Lightning cable, quickly press the M1 Mac mini power button two times to trigger the setup process for Touch ID configuration (Bluetooth is automatically configured). The Touch ID setup screen looks similar to the one on the iPhone when settings up Touch ID for the first time. It’s one of the best Apple keyboard; keys feeling is similar to the previous generation. Touch ID is the star of the show here, and I love it. Only works with M1 Macs. This Magic Keyboard brings to the Mini, a feature otherwise only available to the MacBooks (and the M1 iMac). That’s why I bought the keyboard. It’s not cheap, but convenience has a price for Apple.

About the Store, the Store Tab.

There is so much to think or write about a simple “Store” tab. Something so “obvious” can lead to weird design decisions, even for Apple. I love this (rare) blog post from Ken Segall.

Sarcasm ON: “I’m feeling inspired by Apple’s new way of thinking. It’s liberating. Who needs “Apple” when you have “Store”? Generic is just so much easier, don’t you think?” - Ken Segall

To be honest, I don’t remember when there was a dedicated Store section on the Apple.com website. Apple brought it back, leaving “Buy” buttons scattered around every single product pages. It is now so much easier to buy something from Apple these days.

Sarcasm OFF

(Re)Introducing the Store Tab

Yesterday, Apple made some changes to their website with the introduction of a new Store tab at the top of their website. Not only that, but the store design has been completely redone. I find it a bit disorienting at first, but after a few minutes, I think the elements and general reorganization make sense; I find it easier to navigate in general. Apple chose the horizontal scrolling sections instead of going vertical. I’m not always sure this is the best way to go, though. The bouncing effect is inconsistent, it’s there while going to the right but not when hitting the limit on the left. AirTags have their section, which is surprising for such a small device.

It’s interesting to note that Apple’s top navigation bar is now spanning a store, physical products, services, support, search, and a shopping cart.

Apple is getting ready for this fall slew of new products. Oh, one of the first thing I noticed is that the Magic Keyboard With Touch ID that is bundled with the 24” iMac is now sold separately. I ordered one for my M1 Mac mini. It will take less space on my desk and Touch ID will so much more convenient for the mini. One last thing: convenience has a price: 179 CAN$. Ouch.

Magic Keyboard with Touch ID for Mac models with Apple silicon — available separately. 😳🤔👍🏻

I Love This Machine

It is light, fast and an absolute design gem. Small, but not too small. It runs a powerful operating system. It’s highly portable. It is venerable. It is a rare “species”. There is something really special about it. Furthermore, it has a real keyboard that I can trust. Battery life is good. It is out of the way. It’s the perfect device for writing and blogging.

It’s a 2013 11” MacBook Air.

I’ll explain in the coming week or so.

Apple: everything is at least to taps away™ #apple #safari15 #newdesigntrend

It’s always saddening me a bit when, on the day of a new issue of my newsletter is being published, a few people decide to unscubscribe. I know, I cannot please everyone, people are busy, etc. And yet… 😒 oh well. 🤷🏻‍♂️

I’m mostly done with the latest issue of my Numeric Citizen Introspection newsletter. It’s been a year since I started this free monthly newsletter and I still love it. While waiting for the next issue tomorrow, why not give a look at the previous one here. Subscribe, it’s free!

Documenting past home screen arrangements

Matt Birchler had an interesting blog post this week about a screenshot of his 2013 iPhone home screen. There are a few interesting things to note. In 2013, it was the arrival of the controversial iOS 7 redesign. It’s interesting to look at the Camera+ icon design which was still not updated for the new style. The dock design style was pretty basic and felt out of place. A few apps are not longer among us these days: Path (which was really a great design example) but most of the third-party apps are still available today.

I wish I had kept screen shots of previous home screen arrangements in the past. Something that I have kept is many screen shots of my password manager user interface dating back pre-iOS 7 era. Here is an example below. When I saw iOS 7, I didn’t have the courage to rework my design. The development of my app stopped right there. I made five thousands dollars with this adventure, between 2009 and 2013. Now I’m using a combinaison of 1Password and Apple’s passwords vault.

On Safari 15 in iPadOS 15 Beta 4

Apple is slowly but surely getting there with this release of beta 4 of iPadOS 15 and Safari 15. I like what I’m seeing, on the iPad. Yet, “_when you don’t know what is best, just add an option to Settings so the user can decide_” strategy seems to be the way to go this time. You know what’s my choice, don’t you?

I’ve been invited to test Safari 15 Preview on Big Sur

I’m going to jump in because on macOS, I don’t see the change as controversial as on iOS 15. I find it surprising that Apple seeks feedback on the new design. It’s a good thing but also surprising has they tend to do their thing alone. Now, they look a bit in distress while searching for a solution.

Four days week day? We can only dream it seems

Again, Matt Birchler: > technology and improved general productivity always had the promise of letting us work less, and yet today we work more than ever and have less than before Source: A Four Day Work Week? Yes, Please!

I sure wish we had this four days work week. I cannot see the day it will become reality. The problem in IT where I work, there is a worsening trend of a lack of qualified people for many IT fields. This trend puts pressure on those who are qualified to do more working hours.

I wish I could have used « Digital Citizen » instead of « Numeric Citizen ». Oh well. It’s a branding issue, nothing serious.

Hey, @Medium, what are these updates all about? Are you counting weeks, days? Meanwhile, on my iPad, using splitview… this has been an ongoing bug since forever… If you want to be taken seriously as a reading platform, get your act together and fix your app, once and for all. ❤️

Do you remember when you switched to Apple’s ecosystem?

Matt Birchler writing about Apple ecosystem stickiness:

“As I buy more and more Apple products, all of those Apple products get better. My iPhone is more valuable because of the HomePod Mini I AirPlay my podcast to while I’m working. My iPad gets more valuable because it has seamless file sync with my Mac. Reminders is better because it works with Siri in a way no other app is allowed. The list goes on. But this is of course also a bit of a trap. I can’t really get an Android phone, even if I think I would enjoy it more than my iPhone, because then my HomePods become worse, my Mac gets worse, my iPad gets worse, and my Apple services get worse. Because each additional Apple product makes all my other Apple products better, likewise removing something from that mix brings down everything else.”

You cannot use an Apple Watch with an Android smartphone. In Apple’s garden, every product has an extension that takes the form of a service or another physical product from Apple. Did we forget that once upon a time we made a switch from platforms like Windows or OS/2? When a new offering is really making a difference, we tend to switch. Back in the days, a Windows PC was an island, leaving it for the Mac meant that you had to re-buy new software, a few accessories. All things equal, the switch wasn’t necessarily funny. Today’s digital world is quite different, for sure, but pose a similar kind of challenge when switching.

Photo by Miguel Tomás on Unsplash

Part of my digital garden focusing on Apple’s rumours has been updated this morning. Most recent rumours about upcoming iPhone and Macs now added. Made with @Craftdocsapp.

On iPadOS 15 Photos improvements

I’ve been using Photos in iPadOS 15 since beta 2 and I must say that Apple is in fact offering a major update to their photos application. Beyong the updated Stories automatic creation and management improvements, face recognition has become quite impressive. According to a published article by Apple, people faces should be more detectable and recognizable in more extreme conditions. I can confirm this is actually the case. A large number of new photos were surfaced by Photos’ improved algorithms which brings more potential content for new stories creation. Managing tagged faces is easier too and provides a refined experience overvall. Photos enhancements in iPadOS 15 is a big reason to upgrade.

Thought of the day: you know that you are entering a post-COVID world when you’ve had your two vaccin doses for a while and when you get your first cold in nearly two years. 😳🤧

Moving Adobe Lightroom from one machine to another

I’m finally done moving Adobe Lightroom Classic from my iMac to my M1 Mac mini. A few takeaways: it’s a tricky process involving many folders to copy (presets, settings, photos, catalog, etc.). Lightroom is bad at managing digital assets when things need to be reorganized. The Apple Silicon optimized version is faster but not as much as I thought it would be. My Mac mini never stop to impress me, it’s such a fast device. I’m close to being able to put my 2017 iMac for sale.

How many times one of my colleage at work, knowing that I’m an Apple zealot, said that iPhone was losing ground to Android? Countless times. Where is this guy now? www.ped30.com

Apple vs. Android: In the U.S., they’re neck and neck

THIS! 👇🏻 www.macsparky.com

That Car Project

iPhone 13 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro — That is the question

I’m planning to go big screen this fall with the iPhone 13 Pro (12s?) Max (I currently own an iPhone 11 Pro). I never owned the biggest iPhone (Plus or Max). There is one thing that makes me pause: information density of the Max seems about the same if not a bit higher compared to the non-Max model. There are six row of icons on the home screen on both models (Max and non-Max), which is kind of lame. Am I getting this wrong?

When a 2013 MacBook Air is > than a two-years old Chromebook

I’ll be getting a old 2013 MacBook Air for one of my son to replace an aging Chromebook that I bought about two years ago. Think about it. This eight years old MacBook Air is faster, much better design, much better screen quality, more memory and will be able to run macOS Big Sur and all other apps like iWorks et al. I find this incredible that we can read and hear people saying Apple gear is expansive and that is under Apple’s obsolescence progamming. I call this bullshit.

Weird.