Siri eavesdropping controversy underlines why Apple must be more transparent [Opinion]

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Siri
Apple backed down after a privacy backlash this week.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple wants you to know that, at least for now, it has stopped listening to Siri queries made by users. It’s the right move to make. But it’s the unnecessary result of a backlash Apple brought upon itself.

The Siri eavesdropping controversy perfectly illustrates why Apple needs to be more transparent with users — even if that means sacrificing some ease of use.

Apple’s big spend on Intel modems is pocket change in Silicon Valley [Opinion]

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Apple just snapped up Intel's modem business for $1 billion.
Apple just snapped up Intel's modem business for $1 billion.
Photo: Mathieu Turle/Unsplash CC

The $1 billion Apple spent on Intel’s modem business is the second-largest acquisition in the company’s 42-year history.

Still, while a huge amount of money by most normal standards, rival tech giants regularly dwarf Apple’s big spend on Intel. For a variety of reasons, Apple just doesn’t roll that way.

What Game of Thrones tells us about Jony Ive’s departure from Apple [Opinion]

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The epic downfall of Daenerys Targaryen left many Game of Thrones fans disappointed.
Why Jony Ive is like Daenerys Targaryen and Apple is not doomed.
Photo: HBO

It’s been more than a week since the shocking news that Jony Ive is leaving Apple, and everyone is still trying to make sense of what it means for the company’s future.

According to some, it’s an internal coup: Tim Cook’s operations team finally wrested control from Ive’s industrial design crew, and the company‘s glory days of innovation are over. Others claim Ive’s days have been numbered ever since his dream of a solid gold Apple Watch flopped.

How can there be so many conflicting accounts of one man’s departure? Surprisingly, it may be for the same reason that the final season of Game of Thrones sucked. It all boils down to how we tell stories.

Making music on iPad forced me back to the Mac

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Tuning a ukulele
Sometime the old ways are the best.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I use my iPad for almost all my computing. I write, read, record and edit music, edit photos — you name it. I’ve used my decade-old Mac less and less in recent years, as the iPad, or rather iOS, has gotten ever more capable.

But this week I dusted off my Mac, ordered some extra RAM (yes, it’s still available!), and fired it up. Why? Because, as powerful as the iPad is, the Mac is still way, way better for some tasks. In my case, that task is recording and editing music.

iPadOS makes Apple Pencil much faster and better [Opinion]

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Apple Pencil in iPadOS 13 decreased latency
At WWDC, Apple VP Craig Federighi revealed one of the ways iPadOS 13 improves the Apple Pencil.
Screenshot: Apple

Without changing the hardware, iPadOS 13 manages to decrease the latency of the Apple Pencil. And that’s just the start: there are also new features for non-artists to take advantage of this active stylus.

Check out our first impressions of using an Apple Pencil with the initial beta of Apple’s next operating system.

External drive support is iPadOS’ best new feature [Opinion]

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iPad Pro with thumb drive
With the right adapter, an a tablet running iPadOS 13 can access USB-A drives and SD cards.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Mouse support has drawn more attention, but giving iPad Pro full access to external drives is the biggest improvement in iPadOS 13. It will make using a tablet easier and cheaper for professionals and average users alike.

With adapters, it’s now possible to access everything from hard drives to microSD cards. This feature is a real gamechanger.

Apple has the wrong attitude toward mouse support on iPad [Opinion]

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An iPad trackpad?! Too bad it’s only a dream.
It could be so much better.
Photo: Brydge

Apple will finally bring mouse support to iPad (and iPhone) when it rolls out major software updates this fall — and that’s awesome. Finally, you will gain full control over your device without needing to lift a finger.

But I think Apple takes the wrong attitude when it comes to mouse support on iOS.

Its current approach could hold back development of the feature later on, and could negatively impact people who really need it. It also goes against Apple’s mission to make the iPad a laptop replacement.

Safari in iPadOS is almost as good as macOS [Opinion]

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Safari in iPadOS desktop-class browsing
At WWDC, Apple Safari and Desktop Engineer Charles Ying promised iPadOS will include a full-featured browser.
Photo: Apple

Apple promised the Safari browser coming to iPads later this year will be “desktop class.” That’s a vague term, but tests with the first beta of iPadOS 13 show that it comes very close to the macOS version. There’s still room for improvement, though.

Even so, this is a major milestone for Apple’s tablets. Limitations in Safari have held the iPad back for far too long.

iPad is a whole new beast after leaving iPhone behind

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Ipados
The iPad is now almost as capable as the Mac. Almost.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

At first look, iPadOS — Apple’s new operating system designed specifically for the iPad — doesn’t seem to have added so much. If you discount the iOS 13 features that the iPad shares with the iPhone, the iPadOS extras look rather pedestrian. But these small changes show a big change of direction for the iPad. Apple is turning it into a new kind of mobile computer, instead of a big iPhone.

Imagine that you saw somebody roll a rock a few feet away from another rock. Maybe it crests a small bump in the grass. But then, when you take a step away, you see that the rock is now perched on the edge of a canyon. To mix metaphors, iPadOS is like Wile E. Coyote floating over the big drop. Only the drop goes up instead of down, or something.

iOS 13 hopes: 6 small tweaks that would bring big improvements [Opinion]

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iPhone iOS 12 lock screen
The two application links on the Lock screen are pre-set. iOS 13 really should allow users to choose these.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Reports of significant changes in iOS 13 have been popping up for months, but there are plenty of minor modifications that would enhance day-to-day use of the iPhone and iPad.

Here are half a dozen we think Apple should include in the next iOS version when it debuts this fall.