Archive for June 2023 - Page 1


    Apple's WWDC 23 Keynote Recap

    WWDC23 Special Event header image with a stylized Apple logo

    Today Apple held its annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. As expected they announced all of the new operating systems as well as some new hardware. iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS 14 Sonoma, were all covered and each of them included a bunch of new features.


    Apple announced three new Macs today, a MacBook Air, a Mac Studio, and the Mac Pro. Let us start with the 15-inch MacBook Air.

    15-inch MacBook Air

    15-inch MacBook Air in Gold

    The 15-inch MacBook Air is very similar to the 13.6-inch model, in that it has an options for an 8-Core M2 chip with either 8 or 10 GPU cores, a Liquid Retina display, P3 Color gamut, and True Tone on the display. It has 2 Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports. It has a 15.3-inch screen, with 500 nits of brightness.

    According to Apple, it it s 12x faster than the latest Intel-based MacBook Air and it comes with 18 hours of battery life. You can configure it up to 24GB of memory and up to 2TB of storage.

    The 15-inch MacBook Air will be available to order it today and will start shipping next week. The 15-inch MacBook Air starts at $1299 for the 8-Core CPU and 10-Core GPU with 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage. As a side note, the 13-inch M2 MacBook Air is now starts $1099 for the 8-Core CPU and 8-Core GPU with 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage.

    Mac Studio with M2 Max and M2 Ultra

    M2 Ultra marketing graphic

    The Mac Studio is Apple’s latest desktop Mac and it has been popular amongst users who need the additional power of the M1 Max and M1 Ultra. The Mac Studio is a great way of being able to have the connectivity that you need given the myriad of ports on the back of the device.

    The hardware has now been updated with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra. The M2 Max is the same one that comes in the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro, so it has either a 12-core CPU, and 30-Core GPU. The M2 Ultra is double that of the M2 Max, so it has a 24-Core CPU and a 76-Core GPU. The M2 Ultra is capable of streaming 22 8K streams simultaneously, so it is a beefy powerhouse. The M2 Max also includes a 32-core Neural Engine and can support up to 192 GB of memory.

    The M2 Ultra now supports up to 6 Pro Display XDR connected to a single Mac Studio with M2 Ultra, if you need that much screen real estate. On either of the models, you can configure up to 8TB of internal storage.

    The Mac Studio with M2 Max is available for order today and will start shipping next week. The starting price is $1999. The Mac Studio with M2 Ultra is also available to order today and will begin shipping next week. The starting price for the Mac Studio with M2 Ultra, 64GB of memory, and 512GB SSD, and 1TB of storage is $3999.

    Mac Pro

    Photo of the Mac Pro with M2 Ultra

    Mac Pro with Apple Silicon it combines the Apple Silicon with PCI expansion. All Mac Pro comes with M2 Ultra. This is the 24-Core CPU, 60-Core GPU, and 32-core Neural engine.

    The Mac Pro with Apple Silicon comes with the performance of 7 afterburner cards, and it can unjust 24, 4K camera feeds and render them in real-time. There are also 8 thunderbolt 4 ports, six on the back and 2 on the top. There are six open PCI slots that support generation 4 PCI. This allows you to expand your Mac Pro as needed.

    The Mac Pro with Apple Silicon starts at $6999, for the 24-Core CPU, 60-Core GPU, and 32-core Neural engine, and 1TB of internal storage . It can be ordered today and will start arriving next week.

    iOS 17 and iPadOS 17

    iOS 17 on StandBy

    iOS 17 brings a few new features that will help you communicate in new ways through a feature called Contact Cards. Contact Cards are a way of allowing you to personalize your own card that will show up when you call someone. You can customize the photo, font size, font weight, and even the font color. You can choose to use a Memoji instead of a photo if desired.

    Along with a personal contact card, you will also be able to see a live transcription of voicemails that are left for you, and if it is a time sensitive item, you can answer the call right from the Lock Screen. One thing that is coming to FaceTime is the ability to leave a voicemail message, so they will see that you contacted them.

    Messages is getting some enhancements to its search by adding the ability to filter messages using advanced filtering.

    The iPhone also gets a new “Standby” mode. When you put your iPhone in landscape mode, a new layout will appear. This layout will allow you to easily see the items that you need to see, depending on location, and time of day. This is powered by widgets, so you can see upcoming calendar events, photos, and more. StandBy will also support live activities. StandBy will be useful on a nightstand by changing the font to be red, so it will not interfere with your sleep.

    There have been some improvements to both dictation and auto-correct. They will now use on-device learning to be able to more accurately predict what you want to type next.

    There is one last new feature to highlight, called “Check In”. Check In will allow you to automatically notify family and friends when you get home. This is done within Messages and if you are running late, you can also extend time.

    iPadOS 17

    iPadOS lock screen with widgets

    iPadOS 17 is getting some new features of its own, like the Lock Screen, Interactive Widgets, PDF improvements, and the Health App.

    With iOS 16 the iPhone received a way to be able to customize the Lock Screen, including photos, fonts, and colors, and you could even include some widgets. This year the iPad gets the same features, including the ability to add more widgets along the left-side of the iPad. This makes sense given the larger real estate on an iPad. Along with the Lock Screen customizations, widgets also get some improvements.

    Widgets can now be interactive, so this means that you can tap on a task and have it be completed, or you can tap on a Smart Light and have it turn on or off. This is a great enhancement that many users have been waiting for a while. Interactive widgets are available on both iOS 17 and iPadOS 17.

    There is a huge improvement to PDF support within Notes. You can now add multiple PDFs to a note, annotate PDFs, and even collaborate on PDFs. All of the collaboration is real-time so if someone else makes they will be reflected on your copy.

    The iPad is now getting the Health app, so you can now view everything within the Health app across iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS. To go with health, there is a focus on mental health, including the ability to provide context for your mood and you can gain some insights with what is adding to your current feelings.

    There is also a new “Journal” app that will allow you to provide additional information about moments in your life. There are also intelligent suggestions for things like podcasts, music, photos, contacts, and photos, among other sources of information.

    watchOS 10

    watchOS 10 Faces

    watchOS is getting a redesign with a focus on glanceable information through the use of stacks of information. You can quickly glance at a variety of information by swiping as you would on stacks within widgets.

    Activity will now show you a full-screen view of your information for standing, exercise, and calories burned. If you are a cyclist, you now have dedicated

    There are two new watch faces, Palette, which is a three layers of color to provide you the time. The second watch face features Snoopy and Woodstock and this watch face can provide various appearances depending on time of day and current weather.

    For those who like to hike, there are a few new features including two waypoints, Cellular Connectivity, and SOS. The Cellular Connectivity waypoint will show you where you are able to get cellular connectivity should you need to call someone. At the same time, the SOS waypoint will show you where you can make an emergency call. Along with this, you can now see elevations and contour lines within maps, so you can more easily see how difficult your hike will be.

    macOS Sonoma

    macOS Sonoma with on a MacBook Pro

    macOS is a mature operating system and this year’s release of macOS Sonoma (macOS 14) is getting a few features including changes to Safari, widget enhancements, screensavers. For the screensavers you will be able to download screensavers similar to those on the Apple TV. These will also show when the Mac is locked.

    Safari is seeing some new features like profiles. Profiles will allow you to keep work, school, and standard separate. When you enable profiles you will have separate cookies, tab groups, and favorites. What this means is that you can log into the same website on two different windows. One of these could be on a user account or another could be on an administrator account.

    The last big feature to highlight is Interactive Widgets. Widgets are now on macOS Sonoma and they are no longer limited to the Notification Center, they can now be placed on the desktop. Widgets do not get in the way, they will stay in the background and the tint will dim their background and the widget will still be visible no matter of the background color. Widgets on macOS Sonoma will also allow you to use iPhone widgets on your Mac, provided the iPhone is nearby or on the same Wi-Fi network.

    The last item to cover is the biggest announcement, the Vision Pro Headset

    Vision Pro Headset

    Vision Pro headset with battery

    It has been long rumored that Apple was working on a headset, and today they announced just that. Their product is called Apple Vision Pro. The Apple Vision Pro Headset is an all-new product category for Apple and the first product category since the AirPods in 2016. The Apple Vision Pro headset is designed to work well in a spatial environment. The Vision Pro Headset is designed to augment what you see by providing overlays of the apps that you are used to.

    The Vision Pro Headset has a feature called “EyeSight”, which will allow others to easily see if the user is able to see them, or if they are fully immersed in what they are doing. As a user, you can adjust the size of any app window to the size that makes the most sense to you. This means that you can watch a video in a window that would be similar to that in a theater, or even just in a corner, so you can watch what you want and continue to perform work.

    Given the 3D nature of the Vision Pro headset, you can record videos in 3D, and even play them back at a future date. The Vision Pro headset is powered by an all new operating system called visionOS. From Apple’s announcement:

    visionOS features a brand-new three-dimensional interface that makes digital content look and feel present in a user’s physical world. By responding dynamically to natural light and casting shadows, it helps the user understand scale and distance. To enable user navigation and interaction with spatial content, Apple Vision Pro introduces an entirely new input system controlled by a person’s eyes, hands, and voice. Users can browse through apps by simply looking at them, tapping their fingers to select, flicking their wrist to scroll, or using voice to dictate.

    Battery life on the Vision Pro Headset is two hours with the battery pack, or all day when plugged in. The Vision Pro Headset will be available in early 2024 and it will start at $3,499. It will be available in the United States only, via and in Apple Retail stores. You can read more about the Vision Pro headset on Apple’s dedicated Apple Vision Pro headset page.

    Closing Thoughts

    The items outlined above are just a fraction of what was actually announced. I think a lot of the work this year went into the Vision Pro headset as well as visionOS that powers the Vision Pro. While we did get some great features for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, with widgets. There is a lot more information in the actual Keynote, which you can watch on the Apple Special Events page.


    M2 UltraMac Studio and Mac Pro15-inch MacBook AirVision Pro Headset

    Blocking the .zip Top Level Domain with an iOS Content Blocker

    Screenshot of Safari blocking the URL '' using a content blocker.

    A few years ago Apple introduced the ability for a new type of application, content blockers. Content blockers are aptly named in that they will help you block content on the internet. The reason why you may want to block content can vary, and content blockers can help allow you to block exactly what you want to block.

    The file format for the data for a content blocker is JSON. Each entry consists of two parts, a "trigger" and an "action".

    Google has recently made a few new top-level domains, or TLDs, available for registration. The two problematic ones are ".zip", and ".mov". Bleeping Computer has a good write up on how these could be used in a malicious nature to trick users into visiting a site where they can get infected. The issue with these domains, as opposed to other domains, is that the ".zip" and ".mov" extensions are used as file type extensions and this could be the cause of confusion.

    If you want to block a top level domain you can use the following code to block .zip domains, but still be able to download .zip files from other sites.

        "trigger": {
                "url-filter": ".*\.zip\/"
        "action": {
            "type": "block",

    The reason that .zip domains are blocked, but files work is due to the " / " in the "url-filter". The ".zip" will match .zip domains. Domains will have a trailing forward slash, whereas files will not. The "url-filter" trigger above will match the trailing slash.

    I am not sure how many people will do this, but I am providing the code should anyone want to block the .zip, or .mov top level domains.

    For more information about content blockers be sure to check out Apple’s documentation site.


    My WWDC 2023 Wishlist

    WWDC 2023 header which looks like the Apple logo in six different colors

    Apple has been on a yearly release cycle for their operating systems since 2011 when they released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and iOS 5. It was not confirmed until the following year. Each year there is a bunch of new features in each of the platforms. A few years ago I would do a prediction post, in hopes of being able to figure out what Apple might end up announcing. However, over the last couple of years I have changed this to be a wish list. I mad this change because Apple is a secretive company and it is easier to come up with a list of what I would like to see instead of trying to guess what Apple might do. With that, let us look at what I would like to see from Apple, starting with the Home App.

    Home App

    HomeKit was introduced within iOS 8 in 2014, and HomeKit is the framework that powers all of the actions that occur within Apple’s Home app, as well as with third-party apps. When HomeKit was introduced it was originally only available through third-party apps. And it was not until 2016 with the release of iOS 10 when the Home app was made available. Over the years HomeKit, and the Home app, have both seen significant improvements, including a completely redesign for the Home app with iOS 16/iPadOS, and macOS Ventura.

    There is one change that I would like to see, and that is the ability to remove devices that have a status of "Not Responding" for a length of time. As an example, I have a message within the Home app that says:

    "LIVING ROOM (2) Cannot connect to Living Room (2). Make sure it is powered on and connected to the Internet."

    I do not have any devices named that, there is no item in my iCloud account named that and there is no way to remove the device at all. I think the Home app should have the ability to remove devices from within the app, without needing to go to iCloud. Removing a device from the Home app could possibly also remove it from an iCloud account at the same time. One possible down side is that this could end up being used maliciously. Malicious intent could be somewhat thwarted by requiring the owner of the iCloud account to to confirm that they want to remove it before it is actually removed through the Home app.

    The second thing I would like to see is the ability to not allow speciic devices to be considered "Home Hubs" within the Home app. There are some devices, like an original Apple TV HD, that I would NEVER want to be a Home Hub, but due to not being able to limit home hubs, it is possible that it could become one, which could slow down responses with Siri. I know I mentioned this on my wish list last year, and it remains there because it is still not possible.

    Both of these would be nice additions to HomeKit and the Home app.


    The HomePod is a great device for being able to interact with Siri, listen to music, and even use a single HomePod, or a pair of HomePods, as the default output on a TV that has an Apple TV connected. There is one HomePod specific feature that I would like to see. All HomePods use "private" addresses, meaning that when they are connected to a network they randomize the Machine Access Code (MAC) address that is used to uniquely identify the HomePod. This address can change at any time. When it does change, it requests a new IP address from your router and for most people this is not a problem. However, it can become problematic in some situations.

    I would like to see an option, even if it is under an "Advanced Settings" section where this could be disabled on a HomePod, or even a setting within the Home app that disables it entirely for all devices. I do not expect Apple to provide this, but it would be a nice feature to have and I would not have to see the IP address pool on my router be depleted because the HomePod decides to change its MAC address.

    One of the tasks that you can do with a HomePod is make requests of Apple’s voice assistant Siri, and I have some wish list items for that.


    In the last six months there has been much talk about Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. While Apple is undoubtedly looking at seeing how they could improve Siri with a large language model, that is not what I am concerned about. Instead, my wish list item for Siri is when it is triggered.

    Right now, there is an algorithm that makes a determination as to which devices should respond to a "Hey Siri" request. In theory this should be a HomePod most of the time, and other devices after that. However, I think this needs to be tweaked. If I have a pair of headphones on, and playing audio, and I say "Hey Siri", no other devices should respond, except for the one that my headphones are connected to.

    The only exception to this would be if the headphones are in an orientation where they are laying on a surface and not actually on, or in, one’s ears. At that point, any device can respond. My experience is that the HomePod will ALWAYS respond, even if I want to skip to the next track on my headphones. This is rather annoying for those times when I cannot manually move to the next track because my hands are full.

    It is situations like this that make me decide to not use Siri for requests because I cannot rely on it choosing I am currently using, like skipping a song, having just any device respond makes Siri effectively useless for voice requests.


    Over the last few years Apple has position iPadOS as their own operating system by providing it with features that are exclusive to the iPad. This approach makes sense because some features are only possible on a larger screen. The most recent of these is Stage Manager, which is only available on larger iPads and the Mac. The iPad is not nearly as popular as the iPhone and when it comes to which platform receives feature first, iOS and the iPhone will always get new features first.

    Last year with the release of iOS 16 Apple introduced widgets on the Lock Screen on the iPhone. I hope that these come to the iPad and include even larger widget options that would feel at home on the iPad, similar to the larger widgets that are available on the Home Screen. Alternatively, even just allowing more of them would be great. Along with Lock Screen widgets, I would also hope that there can be multiple lock screens that can be tied to a particular focus, just like on the iPhone. I suspect that we will get this year, but you never know because if it is not ready, then Apple will not release it.

    Apple Watch

    The Apple Watch is a unique device as it initially wanted to be a replacement for your iPhone, but that is not what users have determined they want from the device. Now, the Apple Watch is primarily positioned as a health tracking and notification device. One of the health features that the Apple Watch can provide is a notification for when you have not performed your one minute of standing for the current hour. There are two things related to this that I would like to see.

    The first is RELIABLE notifications when you have not stood. This seems to be hit or miss for me. Sometimes it will notify me, other times it will not. It is not reliable and therefore I end up not getting credit for my standing hour because it did not notify me. Obviously, if an Apple Watch is locked or not on your wrist, you will not notice the notification, but this happens to me when the Apple Watch is unlocked, charged, and on my wrist. So this needs to corrected. One other option is to have a simultaneous notification go to the paired iPhone, so someone would possibly be able to see this notification if they do not get the Apple Watch notification. However, I still think the reliability of notifications needs to happen.

    The second thing that would be nice would be the ability to change when the notification occurs. Instead of being at 10 minutes to the hour, having the ability to set it to 15 minutes to the hour would be a nice feature to have. I doubt we will see anything like this.


    If you were to see me anywhere, it is not likely that you will see me more than 10 feet away from my iPhone at any point throughout the day. I use my iPhone for just about everything from playing games (although some are better on the iPad), sending messages via Messages, and listening to audio of some sort. Sometimes I have to take phone calls and when I do if there is audio that was playing before, particularly music, one of two things will happen.

    Either the music will not continue after the phone call has ended, which is a small annoyance. The second thing that might happen is that the volume on the audio will shoot up to 100% where it ends up hurting my ears. Furthermore, the volume cannot be adjusted until after I disconnect my headphones and reconnect them.

    There is no rhyme or reason why this happens, sometimes it is fine, other times it is not. Sometimes this happens when connected to my AirPods, other times it is with my Beats Solo Pros. Regardless of which device, it is very painful when the volume goes to 100% and not being able to change it is clearly a bug. This is the type of bug that Apple should always make sure never occurs.


    Music is a very personal thing to just about everybody who listens to music. This is because tastes in music can vary wildly between two people. Originally introduced on June 30th, 2015 the Apple Music subscription service has added new features like personalized playlists, radio stations, Lossless music, and even Spatial Audio. It is this last one where I would like to see a particular change.

    Right now you have an option for being able to download tracks using Spatial Audio, if they are available. Right now this is an all or nothing setting. What I would like to see is the ability to keep the option of defaulting to downloading in Dolby Atmos, but also have the ability to download an individual song, or even an album, in the standard stereo mix.

    The reason I would like this is because some songs are just not good versions with Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos can make the vocals on some songs seem muddled and make the entire song unlistenable. In these instances, I would still like to listen to the song, but I cannot enjoy it because of the terrible quality. This could be an option on an already downloaded song that would be something like "Re-download Stereo Version" or something similar. What would be even better would be to make sure that this information is stored somewhere in iCloud so if a song is downloaded on another device, for the same user, that information is remembered.

    Possible macOS Names

    The last item to cover is possible names for macOS. Each of Apple’s macOS releases has a code name. From 2001 to 2013 the code names were "Big Cats". With the introduction of Mac OS X 10.9, the code names were changed to California place names. Last year’s release of macOS Ventura was the demarcation point where there have been more California place names than Big Cats. So, here are my thoughts on what the next version of macOS could be called:

    • Joshua Tree
    • Golden Gate
    • Rancho Cucamonga
    • Napa
    • Laguna
    • Sequoia
    • Calistoga
    • Mammoth - Only if it is a monumental release
    • Redwood

    I actually think this year’s release might be called "Redwood", but that is strictly a gut feeling. I have only been correct once before, so I am not holding out hope for getting the name correct.

    Closing Thoughts

    While I have covered the items that I hope to see, I do not expect Apple to announce any of the things on my wish list, except for the Widgets on the Lock Screen of the iPad. If they do not announce the Lock Screen widgets for iPadOS 17 this year, it will likely be coming in iPadOS 18, unless they are opting to not do them for iPadOS at all.

    Rumors are that this year’s World Wide Developer Conference is shaping up to be a monumental one with the possible announcement of a new product category. The WWDC keynote begins at 10 a.m. Pacific time, 12 p.m. Central time on Monday, June 5th, 2023. I will have a recap of the announcement sometime after the keynote has finished.


    Reading List for May 2023

    Cover for the book 'Brute Force' by Scott Meyer

    May 2023 is now behind us, and it is the meterological start of summer. May was a busy listening month and I managed to listened to 24 titles, of which only one was a new title. The new title I listened to is the one that I want to highlight for the month. The new book that I read is called "Brute Force" by Scott Meyer. Here is the description of the book:

    A peaceful organization of civilized planets is faced with a threat to their very existence. Desperate to save themselves, they turn for help to the most brutal, backward, violent species in the known galaxy: humans.

    Growing up in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event known as "The Bad Week" hasn't been easy for Cross Agarwal. Decades ago, in a world before The Bad Week, he would have been graduating from college, starting a career, and living on his own. But in a post-apocalyptic time when mankind is in ruins and on the verge of self-destruction, Cross works in his father's subterranean cobra farm, tries to avoid getting involved in the turf war between his town and the Southern Basin, wondering if his future will ever be anything but bleak.

    When a group of aliens appears by surprise and invites a select group of humans to join them, it could be Cross's chance to not only find his own place in the universe, but to also help prove that humanity is good for more than just violence.

    There are a couple of things that I would like to mention. First, Scott Meyer is known as creating books that usually have an outlandish and comedic premise. "Brute Force" is no different in that it is outlandish and comedic.

    The second thing to note, you may notice that I re-listened to the "Old Man's War" series by John Scalzi (again). However, this time around I skipped book 4, "Zoe's Tale". It is not that I do not like the book, I do, but having listened to it a few times before, I do not think I will need to listen to it again to enjoy the rest of the series.

    I am not sure how many titles I will end up listening to in June, because June is a busy month with me writing a new book that covers Apple's latest operating systems. I am sure there will be at least one or two books, but I honestly could not even guess how many titles I will end up listening to.

    Note: the links below contain affiliate codes where I get a small commission if you purchase something.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    Orion Awakened (Orion Colony Book 3) Jonathan Yanez and J.N. Chaney No Amazon Apple
    Orion Protected (Orion Colony Book 4) Jonathan Yanez and J.N. Chaney No Amazon Apple
    We Are Legion (Bobiverse Book 1) Dennis E. Taylor Yes Amazon Apple
    For We Are Many (Bobiverse Book 2) Dennis E. Taylor No Amazon Apple
    All These Worlds (Bobiverse Book 3) Dennis E. Taylor No Amazon Apple
    Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War Book 1) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Ghost Brigade (Old Man’s War Book 2) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Last Colony (Old Man’s War Book 3) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Human Division (Old Man’s War Book 5) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The End of All things (Old Man’s War Book 6) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Collapsing Empire (Interdependency Book 1) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Consuming Fire (Interdependency Book 2) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Last Emperox (Interdependency Book 3) Jake Elwood No Amazon Apple
    Foundation (Foundation 1) Isaac Asimov No Amazon Apple
    Foundation and Empire (Foundation 2) Isaac Asimov No Amazon Apple
    Second Foundation (Foundation 3) Isaac Asimov No Amazon Apple
    Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson No Amazon Apple
    Sphere Michael Crichton No Amazon Apple
    You’re Going to Mars Rob Dircks No Amazon -
    The Reckoning John Grisham No Amazon Apple
    Firebreak Nicole Kornher-Stace No Amazon Apple
    Brute Force Scott Meyer Yes Amazon Apple
    Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury No Amazon Apple
    Tunnel in the Sky Robert A. Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Total   24    

    Previous Reading Lists

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