Apple squashes FaceTime audio bug with watchOS 6.2.1


FaceTime audio is coming to Apple Watch.
You FaceTime call to friends with old devices should go through now.
Photo: Apple

Apple launched a much-needed update to watchOS Wednesday, eliminating bugs and enhancing performance for the FaceTime feature on Apple Watch.

Apple Watch users running watchOS 6.2 were unable to participate in FaceTime audio calls with iPhones running iOS 9.3.6 or Macs running El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier.

As China’s Wuhan ends lockdown, iPhone app a necessity to travel


China's QR code for health risk
Green means go. Yellow or red sends you back to quarantine.
Photo: Alipay

Residents of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 pandemic began, were free to move about Wednesday after a government-ordered lockdown was lifted, but only if they have the “green light” on their iPhone.

Freedom comes with a QR code residents are required to carry on mobile devices like their iPhones – and can be restricted at any moment should the scanned code flash the wrong color.

Apple pledges $50 million to bail out indie record labels


Apple Music is preparing for invasion
Apple is ready to help its indie music partners hurt by COVID-19 shutdowns.
Photo: Apple

Apple has created a $50 million advance fund to help independent music labels and distributors pay their artists and keep operations afloat.

The global lockdown in an effort to slow the COVID-19 outbreak has been particularly brutal to independent labels. Music stores, in-person venues and TV/movie productions are all closed, killing sales, licensing income and anticipated revenues from shows now canceled.

Facebook’s mushy chat app Tuned lets couples privately document their love story


screenshots of Tuned
Aww, isn't that adorable?
Screenshot: Facebook/Apple App Store

Facebook wants to give you and your boo some space, so it created a chat app for iPhone users in love.

Tuned is the product of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation Team. The engineers designed the new iOS app to give couples the tools to build a “digital scrapbook.” This is not a dating app, but an app for two people who are already dating.

Mac users grow aggravated over macOS 10.15.4 crashes


macOS Catalina is here. But proceed from Mojave with caution.
Crashes with Catalina 10.15.4.
Photo: Apple

Mac users are venting in online forums about frequent system crashes that began after they updated to macOS Catalina 10.15.4.

The crash reports are popping up on a number of online forums with most saying kernel panics seem to happen after attempting large file transfers.

Will people pay for Quibi’s snack-size shows? Free trial might help


Nicole Richie as Nikki FreSh
Nicole Richie is Nikki Fre$h.
Screenshot: Quibi/YouTube

A new streaming service started Monday — but put down the remote. You won’t find Quibi on your television.

Instead, Quibi – its title a mashup of the words quick and bites – brings short-form entertainment through an app downloaded to an iPhone or iPad. If you are just hearing about Quibi, here’s a quick primer on the new streaming service.

Lawmakers want proof Apple’s COVID-19 app protects privacy


The new COVID-19 app and website provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC for users across the US.
Photo: Apple

A group of U.S. Senators is requesting assurances from CEO Tim Cook that Apple has privacy protections built into the company’s new COVID-19 screening app and website.

Senators Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal, Bob Menedez and Cory Booker sent a letter addressed to Cook on Friday voicing concerns about the private health data of Americans.

Celebs join the COVID-19 fight by telling billions to stay home


Selena Gomez shows us how to wash
If the singing thing doesn't pan out...
Screenshot: Selena Gomez/Instagram

Say what you will about celebrity influencers. They are using social media to tell millions of followers to stay home and “wash your hands.”

Taking a break from vanity and self-branding (well, sort of), influencers have answered the call by the United Nations to use their platforms to promote public health messages to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Genius tweak for security cams is just the start of Wyze’s COVID-19 response


Wyze Cam
This Wyze Cam can be converted to a webcam.
Photo: Wyze

A company that makes low-cost home security cameras doesn’t sound like an organization you’d call for help in the fight against COVID-19 as it sweeps across the United States.

Wyze didn’t wait for a call.

Located in Kirkland, Washington, close to where the first U.S. cases surfaced, the company used its worldwide connections and ingenuity to help the local medical community fight the coronavirus pandemic. But it also helped consumers stuck at home better use Wyze’s iOS-compatible security cameras as webcams.