Third-party Cookies now Fully Blocked by Default on Safari

John Wilander, Webkit Blog:

Cookies for cross-site resources are now blocked by default across the board. This is a significant improvement for privacy since it removes any sense of exceptions or “a little bit of cross-site tracking is allowed.”

Safari continues to pave the way for privacy on the web, this time as the first mainstream browser to fully block third-party cookies by default. As far as we know, only the Tor Browser has featured full third-party cookie blocking by default before Safari…

Jasper Patterson, 1Password Blog:

Starting in Safari 13.1 for Mac and iOS 13.4, there are some additional changes to Intelligent Tracking Prevention. Information a website stores in local storage will now be erased if you don’t visit that website at least once every 7 days. This affects full-featured web apps like 1Password that use local storage for legitimate purposes. For example, 1Password stores your Secret Key in local storage. If your Secret Key is removed from Safari and you don’t have it stored anywhere else, you won’t be able to access your account.

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iPad Pro desk setup

The 2020 iPad Pro

Mike Rockwell, Initial Charge:

But I can say with certainty that the iPad Pro is an excellent computer. It’s the most powerful I’ve ever owned and runs the most exciting operating system on the planet alongside my favorite applications.

I’m still using my 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro and won’t be upgrading to the 2020 model, but this sums up my exact sentiments towards the iPad Pro, even at near two years old.

PERMALINK

Ulysses Writing and Text Editor App

In celebrating the iPads upcoming tenth anniversary since launch, the MacStories team is having a week-long write-up covering various aspects of the iPads ten-year history. Three articles have been published so far including one where the team ‘explore the most impactful iPad apps of the decade’.

One of the apps featured in that article is the writing and text editor Ulysses, where Ryan Christoffel wrote:

Ulysses offers a unique twist on Markdown editing, offering full Markdown support but opting to hide certain syntax – most notably URLs – behind visual content blocks. This approach isn’t for everyone, but I absolutely love it. I have a hard time using traditional Markdown editors now because I’ve grown so spoiled by the way Ulysses hides links, displays image previews automatically, and by some of its other design choices. The editing interface is clean, minimal, and enables customization of key details like font, font size, and text spacing. When you write for a living, the last thing you want to do is stare at a displeasing editor design, so this is very important.

Another strength of Ulysses is its top-notch export features, several of which I use all the time. Exporting to PDF provides an array of beautiful style options, more of which can be downloaded online or even customized yourself on the Mac. I also export to plain text Markdown regularly so I can save my drafts in Working Copy when collaborating with Federico and John. The most crucial export option for me, however, is WordPress publishing. This feature works flawlessly, offering access to all the tools you’d want such as tags and categories, and it’s something you just won’t find in practically any other Markdown editor.

There is no shortage of excellent text editors on iOS and iPadOS, thankfully. I have dabbled with some, and used some extensively: Bear, iA Writer, and Ulysses, with each offering their unique interfaces and feature-sets. Ulysses has been the text editor I used the most and Ryan has outlined all the reasons why I stuck with it in the quote above.

Although I don’t write for a living, I certainly enjoy writing Chambyte and in doing so, seek out the best tools for the job that fits my use-case and preference. For now1, Ulysses is the text editor that ticks all the boxes for me, especially when it comes to the way it handles linked URL’s in a visual content block as you write, which helps maintain a clutter-free interface. I too, love this feature amongst many of its comprehensive list of features it has to offer.


  1. I took advantage of Ulysses’ 50% Off Sale and subscribed for a year, which is due for renewal in August 2020. In my efforts to limit app subscriptions, I will decide whether to renew or use other apps like iA Writer that offer similar capabilities.

Apple Acquires Dark Sky Weather App with its API

Adam Grossman, Dark Sky Blog:

Today we have some important and exciting news to share: Dark Sky has joined Apple.

Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy.

There is no better place to accomplish these goals than at Apple. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach far more people, with far more impact, than we ever could alone.

Dark Sky Weather app to this day remains the longest third-party weather app I’ve used on iOS. What drew to me to Dark Sky was its rich collection of meteorological conditions and granular custom notifications that enables you to receive down-to-the-minute alerts on various weather change patterns. For example, users can set a custom notification as follows; notify me at 7 pm if the temperature falls below/rises above 10° at any time/during the day/overnight.

I’m excited about such functionalities coming to the native iOS Weather app which hasn’t seen any significant improvements since iOS 7. This is good news as I continue my shift to using native apps on iOS and iPadOS.

iPadOS Cursor Support with Magic Trackpad 2

Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2
Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2

I have used a Bluetooth mouse as a pointing device since iPadOS added compatibility through AssistiveTouch as part of the Accessibility features. I recently got the Magic Keyboard to complete the pairing for my desktop mode external pointing and typing input peripherals, and they both worked amazingly well. Using an adaptive accessory via AssistiveTouch to replicate touch was a taster to the possibilities of full mouse cursor support on iPadOS. iPad users like myself longed for full native cursor support and the interest kept growing over time. Apple took notice.

Steven Aquino:

It’s my understanding the development of the iPadOS 13 AssistiveTouch pointer feature was “handed off” internally, from the Accessibility group to the broader iOS team for more expansive integration. This is good—if anything, it shows Apple has noticed the AssisitiveTouch pointer feature has gained traction for “mainstream” users. To wit, iPad aficionados saw that you can use a mouse with an iPad and they pounced on it.

Many have tried imagining the direction and approach of how Apple will implement full native cursor support on the iPad. Most imagined outcomes limited to borrowing cues from macOS, because it is the platform that uses a traditional pointer, and also based on the belief of the two platforms expected convergence.

Apple has done a tremendous job rethinking cursor support with new enhanced ways of interacting with navigational and other UI elements along with new rich visual feedbacks that respects the touch-first environment of iPadOS. The implementation befits the current paradigms of a touch interface, which helps maintain familiarity. These new behaviours have breathed new life and much-needed excitement on iPadOS.

The new extensive cursor support redesigned specifically for the iPad is one of the most consciously designed feature additions the iPad has ever seen.

Magic Trackpad 2

During my initial trial of the new cursor support using the Logitech mouse, Immediately I knew I needed a compatible peripheral built to more precisely accommodate the native functions without the need for AssistiveTouch. For that, there’s currently no better than the Magic Trackpad 2.

Using gestures on Magic Trackpad 2 to interact with elements on iPadOS brought me close to the touch interactions I’m familiar with when using the iPad without external peripherals. This alone makes the Magic Trackpad 2 the best companion for the iPad in maintaining the interactive familiarity with the OS when in desktop mode. Whether or not I’ll get the upcoming Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro will depend on my in-store trial when it is released. For now, I am a Magic Trackpad convert happily joining the many iPad users it is delighting.

The compatibility of external peripherals such as keyboards, mouse and trackpads extends the iPads flexibility and gives more options to use the iPad in full desktop mode. iPad Pro stand, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 is now my default desk setup going forward. And I love it.

Fortune’s 100 Iconic Designs of Modern Times Features Eight Apple Products

Fortune Magazine is celebrating the 60th anniversary of putting together a project aimed at discovering and listing the 100 best-designed products of the ‘modern era’ by recreating the same survey in 2019. The survey, according to Fortune, took over a year to complete, again partnering with the IIT Institute of Design (ID) to compile the list of the top 100 iconic designs of this modern era.

Top of the list, is yours truly, the original Apple iPhone (2007):

“An iPod, a phone, an Internet communicator” was how the late Steve Jobs announced the iPhone to the world in 2007. At the time it was an impressive claim. Now it seems like a massive understatement for a device that changed how we live.

Followed by the Macintosh (1984) in second place:

Apple started the personal computer revolution with the Apple II, but the Macintosh defined the category.

“The Macintosh was not the first personal computer, nor was it the first one with a graphical user interface, but it was the first complete product that took all these ideas and more into a complete package. It became a computer one could understand and interact with using both language and vision, typing and drawing. It changed the way we relate to a computer.” — Johan Redstrom, professor, Umeå University.

The rest of the Apple products featured on the list are scattered but all remain in the top 65:

  • Original iPod (2001)
  • MacBook Pro (2006)
  • App Store (2008)
  • iOS (2007)
  • Apple Watch (2015)
  • Apple Pay (2014)

You can see the full list from the source below.

Source: Fortune

WWDC2020

WWDC 2020 ‘All-new Online Format’

Apple Newsroom:

“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead.”

As expected, Apple joins the ever-expanding number of tech companies cancelling planned live interpersonal events this year. The current measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID–19 of the novel Coronavirus outbreak inevitably made holding its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in its usual standard format an impossibility.

Giving the vagueness of the announcement with more details to be revealed in the ‘weeks ahead’, seems to me work on the new format is still an on-going process. I’m intrigued to learn more about how exactly Apple will present this ‘all-new online format’, and how it will compare to the efficacy of their live in-person events. The success of this ‘all-new online format’ will no doubt fuel the discussion on the necessity of WWDC being a live event going forward.


Update: MAY 5, 2020 — Apple to host virtual Worldwide Developers Conference beginning June 22:

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference virtually, beginning June 22, in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website for free for all developers. The company also announced the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground…

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing:

WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms.

On the Rumoured iPad Full Cursor Support

The recent spate of rumours about upcoming Apple hardware and software features published by 9to5Mac have sparked and brought back a few conversations, especially regarding the iPad. One such rumour is the addition of a trackpad to the Smart Keyboard and rich system-wide mouse cursor support on the iPad.

Like clockwork, and as expected, echoes of the iPad losing its identity by extensively enhancing support to the Smart Keyboard and now full mouse cursor input can be heard all over Apple communities.

NetNewsWire 5.0

NetNewsWire 5.0 for iOS Overview

NetNewsWire 5.0
NetNewsWire 5.0 on iPhone

The iOS App Store is not short of great RSS Readers. My current favourite RSS client is Reeder 4 by Silvio Rizzi — I love the elegance, simplicity, and the number of RSS services it can connect to should I ever part ways with Feedly.1

Reeder 4 recently had issues with automatic background syncing with the Feedly service, which coincided with my time Beta testing NetNewsWire for iOS — the highly popular and respected open-source RSS Reader for Mac under development for iOS. As I patiently waited for Reeder 4 to sort out its sync issues, I switched to using NetNewsWire on my iOS devices and loved it. It boasts the same simplicity I found in Reeder 4 but even faster when it comes to fetching and updating feeds.

NetNewsWire is not littered with complicated features as it prioritises speed and reliability to provide an app free of unruly bugs that weakens the experience. The app currently offers Feedbin and Feedly RSS account sources and feeds saved locally on your iOS device. It provides the expected staple features you come to expect in RSS clients on iOS; timeline feed sorting, article and layout options, subscription OPML import and export options.

NetNewsWire values quality over a plethora of ‘Power Features’, which bodes well for the minimalist that wants to launch the app and consume content in the purest form with excellent readability. Such simplicity makes for a compelling reason to give NetNewsWire a good try and see how it fits your use case.

NetNewsWire 5.0 is free to download on the iOS App Store.


  1. Currently on Feedbins 14-day free trial as I explore using RSS clients to consume Newsletters. ↩︎