Podcast Transcript: Mosen At Large episode 129, the WWDC keynote from a blindness perspective
Jonathan Mosen: I’m Jonathan Mosen. This is Mosen at Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. We’re talking exclusively about the WWDC keynote today. Apple has made many big announcements relating to IOS 15, Watch OS 8, MacOS Monterey, and tvOS. Welcome to our post-WWDC special. Apple’s keynote has concluded and it’s been a mammoth event this year, especially when you contemplate what they already announced in terms of spatial audio for Apple music, high resolution, and lossless. All the accessibility features that they announced in conjunction with global accessibility awareness day. Still, there was so much to say. What we’re going to do is go to our panel first for a bit of a recap of all of these things and I’ll introduce that panel now. We’ve got in studio B at Mosen Towers, we’ve got Heidi Taylor. Welcome, Heidi.
Heidi Taylor: Hello.
Jonathan: I got the name right. Yes?
Heidi: Yes. Congratulations.
Jonathan: On the other side of the world in North America. We’ve got Judy Dixon in the great state of– You’re in the great state of Virginia, aren’t you?
Judy Dixon: I am. Yes.
Jonathan: Commonwealth. Michael Fair in Canada. Hi, Mike.
Michael Fair: Hi.
Jonathan: Right. What we’re going to do is go through this event and then we will open it up for comments from the clubhouse audience but I’ll tell you what, there is an awful lot to go through. Can I just go around the panel and ask you for your overall sort of rating of this event in terms of relevance, excitement, new features. How would you rate it, say on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being absolutely epic and one being it’s a yawn. Heidi, shall we start with you?
Heidi: I want to go with something like eight. Yes.
Jonathan: Okay. Judy?
Judy: I’m going to go with seven.
Michael: Yes, I’m with Judy there. I would go with seven. There wasn’t much on the accessibility side that made it to the keynote but there was so much else. There’s lots that will have implications for us.
Jonathan: I think I’d give it a nine. I’m really optimistic about this one, particularly given that there was that big slew of information that came out with global accessibility awareness day. We know a lot more about accessibility than we usually do which is good. Then you’ve got all the Apple music stuff plus all of this. Let’s go and have a look at what they said and starting off with the revamp of FaceTime. What is really clear about this is that they are going after the Zoom market.
Jonathan: The Teams market, the conferencing market. Apple clearly sort of missed the boat there. They didn’t really have a product that was fit for purpose when the pandemic came. For me, the really great excitement about this is that I have been lamenting the poor quality of audio that you now hear on TV and radio with people coming in during the pandemic. Basically, networks are putting anything to air and giving scant regard for the audio quality. That seems to hopefully be leaving us behind as Apple focuses on making the audio in FaceTime sound much better, whether you need to have it hone in on your voice and isolate background noise or echo or that sort of thing or go real Hi-Fi. Let’s go around and see what people are thinking. Heidi, what are your thoughts on all this new FaceTime stuff?
Heidi: It sounds really cool, but yes, they’re definitely going after Zoom so, but it looks like they’ve done a good job with it.
Jonathan: Particularly given that android and Windows users will be able to make use of this as well. Clearly, they want this to be a universal offering. People have been wanting iMessage on android for a long time. It’s never come, but this one you’ll be able to do at least links to FaceTime calls on any platform. Judy, your thoughts?
Judy: I thought there were a number of things that were pandemic inspired, not only the messaging and FaceTime, but all the sharing, different things share with me, share that you can have now in Apple TV and so forth. I think it seemed to be a lot focused on people sharing things with each other and people connecting with each other.
Jonathan: Yes. The SharePlay is a really cool feature which we’ll come back to in a minute.
Judy: That’s very cool.
Jonathan: That’s really, really cool. Mike, your thoughts on the whole, I guess incursion into the conferencing market from Apple with this update.
Michael: I think there’s some pretty big implications. I love how you’ll be able to focus in on your own sound for when that’s necessary and then go the other way and capture everything. That opens up everything from recording if you’re in the middle of an event and you want to capture everything around you, or just eliminate more background noise that is– I love how they made that a choice and that’s going to be great and the Share Play stuff. Once this all gets out there, that’ll make doing demos and things so much easier. If we can pull in sound and stuff and imagery for sighted people from other apps, that has a lot of implications right there. I love the choice and very much looking forward to experimenting with all this.
Jonathan: Spatial Audio is coming to FaceTime so Apple is really doubling down on this. They introduced it with TV last year, and then they announced that Spatial Audio was coming to Apple music. In fact, as we put this show together, there’s a Spatial Audio Apple music events, showcasing Spatial Audio, and demonstrating what that will do. This is supposed to give you a more realistic feel. If people will be in the sound spectrum where they are positioned, which is going to be quite interesting to hear how that works.
The thing that you mentioned there, Mike, I think the key is whether you are going to be able to record these sessions or not. [crosstalk] The Teams had those, Zooms has those. FaceTime you’ve not really been able to record that easily.
Michael: That’s true and that might be a missing element. I guess we’ll find out in the fine print with some of the stuff.
Jonathan: You can clearly identify who’s speaking so I presume that might be available through voiceover in a written form, portrait mode also, can you talk about maybe Judy and Heidi might have a particular interest in portrait mode coming to FaceTime and what the significance of that is.
Judy: Portrait mode blurs the background and features the face, the person themselves. I think sighted people will find it quite appealing. What do you think, Heidi?
Heidi: Yes I think it looks pretty good. I don’t really see how great it would be for blind people, but maybe that would help people with low vision. It makes the person clearer and the background fuzzy and faded so it’s easier to focus on the face. That might be an application of that, but overall it just looks cool. [chuckles]
Jonathan: I’m coming into Clubhouse right now with the i-rig 2 guitar multi-media interface thingy and the only reason why I bought that was because of limitations that appear to exist in CallKit. If you think this is a non-sequitur where I’m going with this is that if all of these high-end audio features are coming to FaceTime and I rejoice and I celebrate, I really do hope that this will mean a revamp of CallKit so that say USB microphones and other USB accessories that you connect through the lightning port on an iPhone, will just work with these things.
That’s really important, and it could make a big difference to apps like clubhouse. I was also really intrigued to see, and I think this is a reflection of the pressure that Apple is under. That a lot of these features are going to be available through an API. The audio quality of Teams and Zoom, and some of these other conferencing services should also start sounding better on the iPhone.
Judy: I was thinking about that with all the developers there, they’re really going to have a great week learning about all these APIs.
Jonathan: Yes. Let’s talk specifically about Share Play for those who weren’t at the keynote or who want to understand this better. This is basically, I guess you’d call it a remote form of airplay that happens over the internet. It’s also designed for just shared experience. For example, you can get a group of people together, listen to music, or watch a TV show. You all have control over skipping and playing and pausing, which I think could be quite fun.
Don’t like this track, no put it back.
Michael: The devil is really in the details here I think, depending on who has control when and yes. What is allowed because some of these things are tapping into subscribed services, so do you all have to have the same subscriptions to do this stuff, or there’s all sorts of details there that I would certainly like some clarity about.
Judy: How would you talk with each other while this audio is playing?
Jonathan: What they seem to be indicating was that you could send the content that you are Share playing to the Apple TV. Then I think if you did that, you would be able to keep the FaceTime audio going, is that right I think?
Heidi: Yes. Well, they showed it with like a video FaceTime call, but yes. If you played it off to the Apple TV, the sound and the picture was on the TV, but the FaceTime call remained on your phone.
Jonathan: It would be perfectly in sync, they say. The best example I have of all the stuff being in sync is Sonos. They do an amazing job of whole home syncing. Apple’s obviously given a lot of thought to making sure that everybody’s watching the same thing. Those things are critical to the shared experience. You’ve got to be able to laugh at the same joke at the same time, that kind of thing.
Judy: We used to do that in high school. Watch the same TV show.
Jonathan: Yes, but that was so retro Judy. It’s in person with people then.
Judy: With a telephone. No. On the phone.
Jonathan: On the phone. Yes. You’re not going to get the spatial audio and the fidelity.
Heidi: Watching the same TV show on the phone late at night.
Heidi: I guess if a TV show was being broadcast to everyone, it’s already pretty much in sync. Whereas if you’re trying to watch a video on a streaming service, you have to be able to like, “Three, two, one, start,” and try and get it started at the right time.
Jonathan: This sounds really cool. I can’t help thinking it’s a shame that it wasn’t here a year ago. Still, it’s going to be really cool. You can imagine people having watched– Describe movie nights, for example. I also didn’t see, and maybe it’s in the fine print, Heidi, how many people can be part of a SharePlay session?
Heidi: They didn’t mention it. I haven’t been able to find anything yet, but I’ll look into it a bit more. [chuckles]
Jonathan: It did become clear that the apps have to expressly support the feature. You won’t just be able to SharePlay from any old app.
Heidi: No. The Apple apps, and then Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, NBA, Twitch, TikTok, of all things, must–
Jonathan: Now don’t you be dissing TikTok.
Heidi: Sorry. ESPN Plus, Paramount Plus, and Pluto TV. There’s no Netflix on there.
Judy: No. Netflix isn’t even part of the app now.
Jonathan: There seems to have been a bit of a falling out there, which is significant because of course, we also learned later that Siri will be able to play content. You’ll be able to use your phone to tell Siri to play content on the Apple TV. One wonders whether Netflix will work with that. Sharing of the screen was a note that I made. This is a really positive thing because you’ve had to install TeamViewer before this. I wonder what the implications might be, whether this is going to be accessible or not. If it is, then that would be pretty exciting, and also, pretty good news for [unintelligible 00:12:39] if there’s a way for [unintelligible 00:12:40] to hook into this.
Heidi: That’s a good idea.
Jonathan: Any other comments on the FaceTime stuff before we move onto messages? No. But it’s good, isn’t it? What a great way to start. Anything that gives us better audio on these things, rejoice. Hallelujah. Praise Tim.
Now, messages. There’s this new thing called Shared With You. What does that look like visually, Heidi? You go into the app and there’s a tab there?
Heidi: Yes. Depending on the app, there’s a field or tab. It depends on the app. Say in Music, you go to the listen-now tab, one of the sections in the listen-now tab is called Shared With You, and it shows you all the things that have been shared. It tells you who shared them to you.
Jonathan: That works in Photos. It works in Music. I can send you a cool, retro song. You’ll see it in the music tab. Very good. What else have we got? That was mainly what we had in messages. It was a bit of less drastic revamp than I think a lot of people were predicting. This is another general comment I wanted to make. I think that Tim has managed to plug the leaks largely.
There was a little bit of a leak from Mark Gurman who’s got sources deep inside Apple, and has the best Apple sources that I know of. There are a lot of surprises there this year. I think Apple will be delighted by that. Notifications, they have a fresh, new look. Basically, you can get a notification summary sent to you, which you can schedule to deliver at the time of your choosing. Basically, the most relevant notifications are going to rise to the top. For example, notifications from people sending you a message, say, that you might need to respond to. Also going back to messages–
Heidi: I think–
Jonathan: Go ahead.
Heidi: Sorry. I think they said that they didn’t put messages in the summaries. I think you get messages as they come in. I think it’s more for app push notifications.
Jonathan: I wonder what determines what the relevant ones that go to the top are. Perhaps how often you pull your apps have control over that.
Judy: The last time you accessed the app.
Jonathan: Yes. Perhaps there’s machine intelligence that knows how often you act upon a notification. [crosstalk]
Michael: They were saying, “On-device intelligence,” quite a lot in this presentation, so I kind of think that’s probably going to set a lot of this stuff. Then you’d be able to presumably give it your preferences, or it’ll detect what you use when and kind of learn about you.
Jonathan: Yes, it’s really nice that it’s kind of Whatsapp-like. Your status will be displayed in messages. If I’m about to send a message to somebody who’s in do not disturb mode, then I will know that. That’s pretty nice. What else have we got? I’m just going through my notes here. Focus mode, alrighty. This is obviously a really good response to the pandemic. It’s not unique to Apple. Windows has had a focus mode for a while. This seems quite well developed though. The idea here is that it matches your device to your current mindsets or functions. If you, for example, have a busy day job and you’re getting messages from Slack or Teams or your work email account then you may be in work mode, but then you can switch your focus. You can set up multiple foci. Is that the plural of focus, Judy?
Judy: I think so. [chuckles]
Jonathan: When I was working with [crosstalk] Scientific I never knew whether to say focusses or not.
You can set up multiple foci to match different requirements. Presumably, I can set up an out-of-hours one and that will not give me notifications from Teams, from my work account. I think this is a great idea.
Judy: I think this is fabulous.
Heidi: How do you suppose you’d switch among them?
Jonathan: Did they show them the UI, Heidi?
Heidi: They showed some pictures. They didn’t show how you’d get to it, but I think it’s to do with the do not disturbs so it’s probably going to be in Control Central, or whatever, or something like that. They showed all the different profiles they had. They have just general, do not disturb. Then they had a personal focus, a work focus, a sleep focus. You can choose which one’s active at what time. I assume there’ll be some form of scheduling like there is already with do not disturb.
Michael: I thought they mentioned settings when they were talk– You’d be able to do a lot of this, like set up what’s in each profile, things like that, in settings.
Jonathan: Yes. My understanding is they will have preset focus options, but that you can create your own from scratch. Is that right, Heidi, do you think? Is there an add new button or something like that?
Heidi: Again, they don’t show you specifically where you add it, but they’re shown where they’re editing one of them. There’s a field of allowed apps and you can add new ones or remove ones that are already there. Then you choose to allow those ones through on this particular focus.
Jonathan: Okay. This will become clear really quickly when people get their grubby hands on the developer beta and break their phones.
Judy: You could have a presentation focus so you can turn off all your notifications, but leave on certain things that you really would want to know about.
Jonathan: Yes. One of the things that interests me is I have a very small number of people, family members, who I allow to break through my do not disturb and their calls go through. I do that by saying that anybody who calls me who’s in my favorites can override the do not disturb. That’s a feature that’s been in there for quite a while. I do that, in case family urgently needs to contact me, but there are certain times when I just cannot be disturbed at all. Say, if I got a call from my son now, just to say, “Good morning,” which would actually be quite a mind-blowing experience-
-then he would interrupt this clubhouse session. There are certain times when I just can’t be disturbed by anybody so it will be great if there’s that kind of granularity there.
Judy: One of the things they showed off, at least in the imessage section of it, is when someone’s muting the notifications or silencing the notifications with their focus setting, if it’s really important there’s an option to override it and say, “Notify anyway.” If it was really, really bad you could push through their settings to get it to them.
Jonathan: That’s interesting. This is going to be fun demoing this. This sounds really good. Next on my list was a feature that I’m not sure whether this will make a difference to us or not because it sounds like to some degree we may have already had it and it could be an example of where accessibility benefits everybody. This is this live text feature that they talk about where you can take a picture, say, of a white board or photos and it extracts the text and essentially makes it actionable. It might turn it into a hyperlink where that’s appropriate. This sounds like it could be a big accessibility win potentially.
Heidi: It’s like how on the iPad, they’ve got the feature where you can write in handwriting and it knows what you’ve written and you can turn it into search or copy it as text. Essentially, it’s allowing you to extract text from an image and do the same thing. Whether it’s handwriting or on a sign or something, you can search for it. If you’re looking for a photo with something that might have text in the background, you can search, or you can copy the text out of a photo or on a phone number, you can tap on that and call the number was an example they used.
Michael: I guess the big difference for us is that this makes it interactive. I guess with voiceover now, giving us text and image descriptions and texts, things like that, we can hear it but we can’t really interact with it. With something like this, it sounds like we’ll be able to actually copy that phone number or dial it right from a picture. They had a picture of a restaurant with the phone number in the demos. That I can see having some key accessibility right there just to be able to copy and send these bits of texts where they can do us the most good.
Jonathan: Very good. Who is a spotlight ninja in this group because I must confess, I seldom use it.
Judy: I almost never use it.
Michael: I almost never use it.
Judy: Yes, I used to but–
Heidi: I have used it quite a bit but I only use it to look for apps because I’ve hidden so many away. I just search for apps instead of trying to find the icon. But other people do search for that. I don’t really use it for anything detailed.
Judy: I use braille screen input for that.
Jonathan: Right, yes. They keep coming back to Spotlight search faithfully in most WWDC’s and I keep thinking, no, maybe I’m missing a trick. I seldom use it either but this time, there are significant changes and they include a quick access to contacts, turning into more of a search engine really because you can search–
Judy: It feels good. If it becomes more functional, then we might use it.
Michael: That’s, I guess the idea. It’s like a universal, anything on your device you can just get at from Spotlight. I can see myself using that if it really does live up to the hype, I guess but especially with it being able to tap into, to use intelligence to– They had one where you searched for photos of– I can’t remember what the example was but there was an example like that and it was looking for the image elements in the photos to figure out what you wanted.
Jonathan: Sometimes it feels like they’re just re-announcing the same thing over and over with Spotlight. I guess they’re not. We had a couple of instances, both in terms of talking about home features and there was no announcement of HomeOS which some people anticipated. Whether HomeOS was a typo or they’re just not ready to talk about HomeOS yet, who knows. There were a lot of these features and they started with the Wallet app. They talked about the emphasis on keys for cars, for hotels, all sorts of places, for your home–
Heidi: For your house.
Jonathan: Yes, really taking advantage of the ultra wide band chip in the newer iPhones. Again, those who bought the iPhone SE (2020) model, you are out of luck because there’s no UWB chip. This was one of the reasons why I strongly advised against it because it was clear that the UWB chip was going to be used more and more for features. You’d buy a new phone and you’d be locked out of it all which is really unfortunate for a lot of blind people who making an iPhone purchase is a big decision. Its a big financial commitment and it really does look like, unless you really have to have the touch ID button, it looks like backing the iPhone SE was backing the wrong horse.
These keys will work with hotels as well, which I think is a really cool idea. Just tap your phone on your hotel room door and it’ll unlock. Identity cards, now, is this going to be controversial? Does this run counter to Apple’s privacy concept, the idea that you can build an ID card really for yourself? I don’t know whether there was any pictures that showed what the ID card contained, Heidi, in terms of information but presumably name, date of birth?
Heidi: Yes, the way it works is say you have your driver’s license, which I know is not a good example. You scan that and it takes all the information off it and saves it into your ID. Then when say you’re at, I think they used an airport so the TSA, you tap your ID card onto the reader, and it will share the information that they need. They’ve got legal name, date of birth, gender, height, all sorts of stuff that they might need. It takes only what they are requesting and sends that to them.
Jonathan: Why does TSA need that information?
Heidi: I don’t know, it’s just the example.
Judy: How are they going to get to know?
Jonathan: Let’s watch that one with interest. There’ll be some discussion about that, I’m sure. For those cards to be official, they will need to be supported by the state or country that you are in and so Sage is going to opt into that. Just scrolling through my notes here. Anything else about the wallet app before I move on to weather?
Okay, we’ll move on to weather, I’m rattling through because I know that there will be people on Clubhouse who want to have their say, as well, we are going to get to your comments. You’re welcome to raise your hand in preparation for that and when we bring you on the stage, if you have time, if you could please double tap the room actions button.
When you’re on stage, you will find an option called audio quality and if you double tap that and choose high quality, it just makes it sound so much better for the podcast. Thank you. Weather, not too much to say really about this. I don’t think from an accessibility perspective, except it sounds like there’s a bit more information in it and it looks cool.
Heidi: Yes, pretty much.
Jonathan: Yes, all right.
Now maps, let’s talk about maps. Do want to say something about the weather Judy?
Judy: No, I was wondering what Heidi was so underwhelmed about? [laughs]
Heidi: I don’t know, it’s not that great, though. It’s such a great weather app and I’m like, “I don’t even use it because it’s dull.”
Jonathan: Do you use a weather app of any kind at the moment?
Heidi: Yes, I use the MetService one.
Jonathan: Yes, that’s a New Zealand’s weather app and I use that too, because it has weather stations everywhere and it gives you really good local temperature, which is mainly what I’m, “What’s the temperature? Is it going to rain?” [chuckles] I know, there are some real weather nerds out there, though. Both of you Mike and Judy do you use third-party weather apps at the moment?
Michael: I use Weather Gods. Unless they’ve really added a lot in to the native weather app, I can’t see myself switching back to it.
Judy: I use the weather app on the phone when I travel but I use Netatmo at home because we have a weather station inside, outside. If I want to know what the outside temperature is, in my own backyard, I can just ask Siri or I can ask Alexa.
Jonathan: Does that work well for you in terms of reliability?
Judy: It works great. There’s an accompanying app called Comfort that is completely accessible, that you can run and that’s where you get all the scales from and so forth.
Jonathan: We should have a look at this Heidi, it’s one of those things that we need.
Heidi: Very cool.
Jonathan: Awesome. Maps is a different experience from as I understand it, in North America, from the boring old run of the mill app that we have here. I haven’t been to North America for a couple of years now so I’m not sure how big a difference it is and I noticed that the new map features are coming to more places later in the year, including Australia, across the ditch, but not here.
In maps this year, in iOS 15, they are adding a lot more detail for certain key landmarks and I can imagine that could be very handy for blind people wanting to understand the location before they go or even when they’re there. If you can get a lot more description of the place and landmarks and you also of course get a reminder when you’re at your stop if you’re using maps for transit, which is always very welcome.
Michael: The added a lot to the transit part of that, I noticed and I can see a lot of people really liking that. Especially if they have all the bus stops and those landmarks and things that you can get directions right to that could be hugely helpful. Now, of course, there are all kinds of other apps that do this so whether it’s a case of too little too late or not, I guess we’ll see but it does sound like they’ve really beefed up. They did mention also that they were adding a lot more labels to things which could tie in for us in terms of more recognizable landmarks and details and things that we might be able to access with voiceover presumably.
Jonathan: Quick poll, which map app out of Google Apps or Google Maps or Apple Maps is each of your primary map sources when you need GPS directions, that kind of thing. Heidi?
Heidi: I typically use Google Maps, but that’s just like a flow on from when Apple Maps was awful.
Jonathan: You no longer think Apple Maps is awful. You’re just being a creature of habit now.
Heidi: Yes. I think they’ve made decent improvements and is similar now, but creature of habit.
Jonathan: Yes, and Judy?
Judy: Apple Maps, because I can do it so fast. I can just tell Siri I want to walk to the Apple Store and suddenly I have all the directions, everything right on my screen. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to input text. I don’t have tell it anything.
Jonathan: What about you, Mike? Who’s going ping?
Judy: That’s my watch.
Jonathan: Mike, what’s your map app choice?
Michael: I guess, I would typically use maps, because it’s just there. It’s the default.
Jonathan: Yes. We have one, right?
Michael: Yes. Typically, that’s what I would ask directions of, if I wasn’t using something like BlindSquare for more local stuff.
Heidi: I sometimes use them at the same time.
Jonathan: BlindSquare and Apple Maps?
Heidi: Yes, because BlindSquare will tell you what street you’re coming to and things like that. Apple Maps doesn’t do that, but then Apple Maps will tell you when to turn. It’ll tap my watch and tell me which way to turn, like I don’t know.
Jonathan: Now, that is one of the reasons why I have gravitated to Apple Maps over time. I do like the social integration of Google Maps and some of the cool features like that, like restaurant reviews and different things, but I find that I’m using Apple Maps more for directions because of the Apple Watch integration. Just having that tapping on the wrist and you get to know when it means left and when it means right is great. I actually use maps a lot less than I did since Uber became my primary transport method of choice, because unlike taxi drivers, it’s very rarely that you find a direction a challenge to Uber driver, their driver app does seem to be quite good in that regard. It’s good to have it there.
A bit of a random comment that they made here that I took a note of, and that is, that voice search is coming to Safari. This I guess puts it on a par with Chrome which has had a voice search button for some time. Presumably, that will be powered by Siri. All right. Now, AirPods. I think I’m the only person on this group who doesn’t have them because when I had them I couldn’t really use them because of my hearing impairment, so gave them to Bonnie. It will interestingly enough introduce some elementary hearing aid type functions this time, because they’re going to help you focus on the conversation and reduce ambient noise. It would not surprise me if what we’re seeing is a gentle dipping of the toe in the water towards Apple coming out with a full hearing aid.
Heidi: There have been rumors about that.
Jonathan: Yes. What do you think Mike, because you’re in the hearing impaired community yourself?
Michael: Well, yes, I’ve got a pair of hearing aids and I can thankfully use AirPods at least at now that generation two AirPods with my hearing aids. I couldn’t do that with the Pro because you have to insert the tips right into your ear. It’s a tighter seal so I don’t want to do that at the same time as I’m using hearing aids. The Max, I’m a little hesitant. I don’t know how that would work with an over-the-ear headset. I’ve been hesitant to spend anywhere near that money on something because of my hearing difficulties. Would I get bang for my buck or not is a very, very iffy proposition. This spatial audio and everything that they’re adding I don’t know that that’s going to apply to my AirPods or not.
Certainly, the Siri notifications from messages and notifications now. That I could use but why would I when VoiceOver essentially does that for us anyway. It’s one of those things where I guess the spatial audio again I’m not sure that will trickle down to regular AirPods or not. I don’t know what to expect really from this upgrade.
Jonathan: Speaking of trickling down, Apple has a feature called Live Listen which AirPods use but also so do Made for iPhone hearing aids. It’ll be interesting to see if some of this noise isolation thing that they’re talking about with AirPods is going to be introduced to the Live Listen mode for Made for iPhone hearing aid wearers, because that could be quite handy if you can give your iPhone or put it in the middle of a table in a restaurant situation for example and it’s doing active noise cancellation and perhaps focusing on the person who was speaking, it could potentially take the place of some devices like the Roger pen from Phonak.
Michael: I’ve actually tried using the live listen as a backup in case anything God forbid happens to my hearing aids, and it’s workable, but it’s last resort workable. It’s not something I would choose to use really for any length of time. Because it, you get what comes at your iPhone mic but it doesn’t really give you a stereo sense. I wouldn’t use it for navigating or anything like that. There are limitations to the live listen thing that anyone contemplating as I did using it for hearing aid backup should think about.
Jonathan: Yes. Those of us who have been on this hearing aid journey for a long time will feel your pain because whenever you use any of these devices, like the Roger pen or anything, you’re getting a mono source. It’s the exact same thing sent to both ears. That means that you have no direction. If I’m in a meeting and I put a Roger pen or the iPhone in live listen mode in the center of a table, it’s really important for me to hear first via my hearing aid microphones, where somebody is speaking from because when I activate the Roger pen exclusively, I don’t know where they’re speaking from.
Everybody’s coming through both ears exactly the same way, and I have told hearing aid manufacturers about this and it’s amazing how difficult it is to get them to understand that. It’s very frustrating. The other thing, I don’t know if you’ve found this Mike, but with live listen, there is quite a bit of latency. Just enough so that when you notice yourself echoing back.
Michael: When we’re trying to have a con– Because it causes your own voice to change. You’re trying to deal with this lag. Sarah certainly has noticed that when we’ve experimented with doing that.
Jonathan: Now this WB chip is coming into its own again with AirPods. It’s really great to see that some, the AirPods are becoming part of the find my nework now. I presume this must be, is it just AirPods pro that there are so many models now? But those Airpods that have the W1 chip you’ll now be able to locate them like an air tag and it’s even got proximity detection in there. If you bury your AirPod in a couch, you should be able to find it.
Judy: I lost one of mine under the couch one time, but I didn’t know that’s where it was, and there are actually third-party apps that will make your AirPod ding, but it happened to be under the couch. Couldn’t hear it, and the apps didn’t tell you the proximity parts, the best part about this.
Michael: Yes. That will be a huge help, and again, because I’ve just got second generation AirPods I won’t be able to get that, but that is a good idea. Because I’ve left my Airpod behind and realized thankfully in time to recover it, but it’s easy to do so very happy they’ve added that at least for the more modern, more expensive AirPods.
Jonathan: Sometime in the next 365 days, you’ll be having a birthday there, won’t you?
Michael: This true. This is true.
Jonathan: Yes. Spatial audio coming to TVOS. This is good. That makes sense, and we would expect that with all the emphasis on spatial audio that Apple is doing at the moment in music on TV and everywhere else.
Heidi: Only for AirPods pro or AirPods max.
Jonathan: Yes. Okay. Thank you very much. Okay. Which one have you got?
Heidi: I’ve got like the first gen ones. The basic ones.
Jonathan: Well, you’ve got a birthday coming up. Your birthday has just been.
Jonathan: Should we have a look at iPad OS? Which I have to say is playing catch up, isn’t it because Apple really got badly pinged last year, and since then they have introduced this lovely new iPad pro powered by the M1 chip, and everybody said, well, this is all very well, but you need the software to match the specs of the hardware. Last year we got widgets on the iPhone moving to anywhere you want on your home screen but iPad always did not, which was extraordinary really. They’ve got parity there and also some changes to the way multitasking works. I got a bit lost on the description of the actual changes to multitasking. Did anybody get a grip on all of that?
Michael: Sounded like you would slide an app to the edge and that would make room for another app that then could split the screen between those two apps. There was a shelf for elements within an app. If you wanted to leave a mail message
in a window to work on at the same time as something else, you could do that too. It sounded fairly in-depth in terms of that. You’ll be able to take notes or files in an app and put an open them to have them viewed as part of a split-screen. They were talking about the shelf that you can stick stuff on kind of. Presumably, that will all work with voiceover.
Jonathan: They’re normally very careful about that. Did you notice anything from a visual perspective, Heidi?
Heidi: Yes, they’ve done a lot. I doubt I’ve ever used an iPad with multitasking, but I’ve seen them used. What they’ve done now, is when you’re in an app, there’s now a new button in the top center of the screen, which you can tap, and that you can choose how you want your window displayed essentially. You can choose to move it to the left, the right, make it full screen, or make it one of the floaty ones that I can’t remember the name of, what are those called?
Michael: The docking–
Heidi: They slide over or something. Then when you choose that, so say, you’ve got Notes, full screen, and you choose, you want it on the right. It then slides it so it’s hidden and takes you back to your home screen, you can choose any app to open up on the other side. Instead of having to drag it up from the dock, which I think is what you have to do currently, it lets you go back into the full system and choose what you’re pairing together.
Jonathan: Very good. All right.
Judy: It’s hard to understand how that’s easier.
Heidi: I don’t know.
Jonathan: They mentioned a new set of keyboard shortcuts, which made me take a note here that I really wish command + tab would come back to the iPhone. It used to work. Then they decided that a command + tab on the iPad was a feature and they took command + tab away from the iPhone. This worked exactly like alt + tab does in Windows. It used to work on iOS a long time ago. Now, it doesn’t. I really wish we could have that back.
All right, Notes on the iPad has received quite a significant revamp and I think Apple does an epic job with their Notes app. It’s actually really useful, it’s got a lot of utility. Now, it includes mentions. That’s pretty common practice these days with notes apps that support collaboration. There’s an activity view that shows what has changed in a shared notes since you last tuned in, and you can also add a tag to a note, and then there was a tag browser so that you can quickly find notes by tags.
This is really good if you’re working on a project for example, and you want to do a range of notes together. You also use tags a lot, don’t you, Mike?
Michael: I actually use Bear for my Notes and that’s one of its main features, is that you don’t have to use folders and things, you can just put tags to organize your notes with, and it just keeps everything. You can just pull out a sidebar, choose the tag. It’s a really quick way of just having organized notes without having to actually organize the notes into books or folders. It sounds like that’s a big thing they’re bringing into the Apple Notes app, which I will have to take for a spin.
Jonathan: Every WWDC, we say what third-party app has Apple killed today, they eventually get there. There are system-wide translation options. This applies to everywhere, but they mentioned it in iPad iOS, but it works on iPhone too. You can select text including a photo, and then you can choose to translate it and it goes ahead and does that. That’s a nice feature and it’s on the Mac as well, I see here from my notes and– Go ahead.
Michael: It’s on device. You could have these languages operating on your device without any internet connectivity needed. I can see that being huge for business applications, as people travel again all over the world and need that and need it private and secure, you can have that now.
Jonathan: Yes. I wish I had had this stuff when I was traveling to countries where English wasn’t the first language. I’m not really doing that now, but it’s very good. You can build apps for submission to the App Store all on an iPad now. I really hope that this encourages more blind people to get into development. I know that people have had a good play with Swift Playgrounds and that it seems to be a great experience. In fact, there’s a blind developer who’s doing great things, who’s had a lot to do with Swift Playgrounds and the accessibility experience. You’re building an app, Heidi?
Heidi: I haven’t built an app. Maybe I could. I’d need a Mac or an iPad though, now.
Jonathan: Oh, well, I’ll buy one for you. Let me think of an app that doesn’t exist.
Judy: You need apps, yes. You could take up a collection.
Heidi: Send all your requests my way.
Jonathan: Let’s talk about Apple is doubling down on privacy. They’ve been emboldened. I think by the way that their do not track feature has been received with certain apps. I’ve read some statistics about the take-up of this feature on apps like Facebook and it’s huge. Last I read, it was about 80% I think, who hit that ask app not to track button, and people are pressing that ask app not to track button regularly. People want this and it’s sending shivers and shutters through the various industries.
Now, we have a really big one, a big one. This relates to the little beacons that apps like MailChimp and a lot of these mass emailings that you get, that look like they’re addressed to you but they’re mass mail. People want to collect this data, they want to know, and people spending money on it want to know how many people have read my ad, how many people have acted on it. Apple is basically taking that away by allowing you to block these beacons. This is a huge play from them. Stunned into silence we are.
You just watch, there are going to be a lot of complaints about this. As a consumer, I think it’s comforting. As somebody who does have to send out some of these emails in my day job, it really does sometimes help us to know who has read them, who’s opened them. so this is going to be an interesting wee fight, play out.
Michael: Now, I wonder whether it will reach a point where consumers are really going to regret. That we’ll get to a point where we start dismantling stuff we take for granted now on the internet that’s funded by this data collection and data sale. Are we going to reach a point where we think twice about hitting that do not track button?
Jonathan: This is right, and this is where you see some of these apps now getting quite inventive about their pitches. What you’re seeing with some of these apps now is that they will pop up a screen before Apple’s screen. On that first screen, they’ll try and sell to you, why you should allow the app to track. They’re getting quite inventive and pleading and explaining, this helps us keep it free or whatever, and then you get the apple screen. They’re trying to persuade and I wonder how email list providers would do the same thing.
You can also now, in iOS 15, you can go into an app privacy report for every app that you have when you run an app and it asks, say for permission to access stuff on your network or permission to use your mic or your camera. You will then be able to delve into in an app privacy report for each of the apps you have, and it will tell you how frequently it is taking advantage of those permissions.
What else do we have? Oh, then we went on to talking about Siri in the context of privacy, because there has been a lot of controversy about various voice services, listening to you, taking recordings. They say, “Well, we’re taking them for data analysis purposes, but sometimes they have been requested by authorities.” That kind of thing. Siri has now got on device speech recognition.
Obviously that can’t be recorded, but what it also means is that when Siri doesn’t have to go out to the internet for information. Like for example, on device functions, turning on your do not disturb, various things like that pertain to a device function. I presume clearing your calendar, because that will be on your device. It’s going to be very, very quick, which will be a huge relief because it is amazing how often Siri stumbles and falls talking to its server and says, hmm, on it and all sorts of other nebulous things.
Michael: Very looking forward to that, because I’ve had many requests that you’d think would just be handled anyway on the device hang because of that reach out. I’m very happy with this.
Jonathan: Did you have something there, Heidi?
Judy: This seems to be worse lately.
Heidi: Apple has finally pushed the pages to their website, telling us all about the things, so I have fine print about this in particular. With the Siri on device, you have to have an iPhone with at least an A12 bionic chip and you have to download the speech modules, which I guess makes sense. They’ve got all the places that is actually going to be available listed as well. It’s not everywhere necessarily.
Jonathan: The A12 goes back to what?
Michael: 10R, I think.
Judy: That’s the 10.
Michael: In the 10.
Jonathan: That will mean the SE (2020) gets that, so that’s good. Does it? Yes, I think. It doesn’t have a list of models there, does it, Heidi?
Heidi: No. Just says with A12 or later.
Jonathan: I’ll have to go back and check that.
Michael: The SE (2020), didn’t it have the A–? It was either the A14 or A13.
Jonathan: What are we up to now?
Michael: The 12 has the 14 chip.
Jonathan: I didn’t realize we were up to that high a number. I’ll just check the model number, I’m sure I’ll be able to chime in on this in a minute. That’s great. We’ll look for it. They also said that Siri has a lot of new features this year. I don’t know whether there’s any more information on the website about iOS 15 and Siri and the new features they were referring to, but that’s good because it really has lagged.
Then we talked about what happens if you get locked out of your Apple ID and I’ve actually had to try and help family members who got into this predicament, for various reasons. Now, you can give a recovery code to friends or family to help you get back in, which is really good. As the kind of family tech support person, I will happily store those codes in a safe place. That will make life a lot easier.
Also, just like Google, who have done this for a long time now, Apple is introducing legacy contacts. That when you eventually shuffle off this mortal coil, somebody will be able to get into your Apple stuff and let Apple know that they shouldn’t really be taking money from you anymore because you’re dead. I’m hoping that I will be uploaded to the cloud before that happens, that’s interesting. I can just keep running as a routine.
That’s my goal. I want to upload myself. There’s iCloud Plus. This doubles-down to more on privacy. They’ve got this thing called Private Relay. That encrypts the traffic that leaves your device, and then it’s sent through two separate internet relays, so it’s very hard to decrypt. It sounds a bit like a VPN, but VPNs are typically a bit laggy, they affect performance. Apple claims that performance is not going to be compromised with this feature.
Now, this Hide My Email feature is an interesting one, because I worry about the abuse potential for this and I guess the devil will be in the detail. It lets you share unique, private email addresses. Then when people reply to those addresses, they’ll come back to your regular email box. It’s kind of like the signing in with Apple option that you already have. You can delete these, for lack of a better term, burner email addresses at anytime. Any thoughts on that from anyone?
Judy: Wouldn’t it be like the credit card where you can get a burner credit card number now from your bank and use that when you’re concerned about a transaction?
Jonathan: I suppose. I guess it is traceable in the end.
Judy: It’s a one-time thing. That’s what would make it work, is that it only works one time.
Jonathan: I guess what I’m getting at is, if somebody sends an email that’s abusive or defamatory or something like that. I guess in the end, if people became involved who needed to investigate that, if you had performed some sort of illegal action with it, then Apple would have to disclose, I presume, wouldn’t they? That’s the thing that worries me.
Judy: If they would disclose anything else about you.
Jonathan: What mischief could people make with these burner email addresses?
Judy: They could go get one from Gmail now.
Jonathan: Yes, that is true. Anyway, that’s cool. I can see the value in it too. Obviously, sometimes, you may want to be kept up to date. Say a conference, this is a really good example, actually. You want to sign up to a conference that you want to attend, but sometimes, those conference providers take the liberty of spamming you forever more once you’ve attended the conference. If you could use one of these email addresses for that, then you could just delete the email address when the conference is over.
Judy: I don’t know if that’s the way it’s going to work. I got the impression it wasn’t persistent, that it was a one-time. You could just generate an email address that wasn’t yours, you’d use it, and then it would go away. [crosstalk]
Jonathan: My notes here says you can delete them at any time.
Judy: They are persistent?
Heidi: Yes. In your iCloud settings, you can create a new iCloud address, and then when you’re done with it, you can delete it.
Judy: You can do that now with Gmail.
Jonathan: Yes. What else have we got with iCloud Plus? It’s got some features for connecting security cameras and doorbells now.
Heidi: It’s unlimited now.
Jonathan: Unlimited, so that it doesn’t count against your storage. I don’t know if this is a New Zealand thing, but it’s hard to find at the moment doorbells that are compatible with HomeKit.
Judy: I haven’t tried.
Jonathan: Well, we’ve got the Ring video doorbell and I do not like it. I’d be happy to replace it with a HomeKit compatible option if I could just find one. Perhaps Apple’s new open standard that they’re working on, who I didn’t catch the name of that open standard, but they’re working on it with a bunch of other home appliance manufacturers that could help with this. Changes in the Health app, walking steadiness measures how fast and how evenly you walk. That will be good, I guess it could provide you with some warning.
Interpreting lab results. That’s good when you get your lab results, assuming you can get them in an accessible format and you can tell the Health app about them. It’ll tell you how your lab results compare. Are they in the normal range? Should you be alarmed? What do all these statistics mean? That’s a fantastic feature. You can also, if there is a compatible medical record system, share your data selectively. The data that you want to share with a medical professional. You can set up a family circle, where your health data can be available to other people.
I thought they told it quite beautifully, in terms of the use case for this. There is a point in your life when you’re in the middle and you’ve got perhaps elderly parents who you are supporting and potentially children that you’re supporting as well, or perhaps two at different times. This is a nice feature if it’s handled carefully. WatchOS 8 was a bit quiet this year. The enhanced Breathing app is great, that includes reflections now. I know people can be a bit scathing about the Breathe app, but mindfulness is a good practice.
You can now track your respiratory rates in the Sleep app and elsewhere, which can give you some clues as to your health. Anybody using the Sleep app, by the way?
Heidi: I use it.
Michael: I use AutoSleep for my watch.
Jonathan: What does AutoSleep give you?
Michael: It gives a bit more in terms of deep sleep versus non-deep sleep. It tries to track the stages of your sleep. If I had a more advanced watch, I guess it would track blood oxygen and to keep track of more factors. Apparently, the Sleep app on the Apple, the regular one, is a bit more basic. I like hearing that they’ve added more to it, that’s going to do some good. For a lot of people, you don’t really need anything super-detailed unless you have known sleep issues. I can see that this is being a pretty good addition.
Jonathan: How about the Sleep app, Heidi, that’s default, that’s what you’re using? How does that work for you?
Heidi: It works pretty well. I mainly started using it because Henry’s sleep schedule is so screwed up, that it screwed up mine, and I wanted to re-regulate mine. I’ve been using it to get back on track and monitor how well I’m sleeping and things like that. It works pretty well for me.
Jonathan: Yes, because Henry works sometimes during the day, and then sometimes he has to switch and work during the night.
Heidi: Then in the days in between, his sleep schedule, rises and falls all over the show, so he doesn’t even have a sleep schedule.
Jonathan: Is he using the Sleep app?
Jonathan: They mentioned the Fitness+ stuff. Is anybody using the Fitness+?
Judy: I have tried, I have really tried. There are a few that are accessible enough to use, but a very few. They just have made no effort at describing what they’re doing. It’s really difficult.
Jonathan: I was really disappointed by that. I got the trial, and then decided not to keep it because it was actually that. Unusual for Apple because I really had high hopes. That’s one area where accessibility has let the side down.
Judy: I wrote to the accessibility email address about it, and they never answered me. [laughs]
Jonathan: Really? Normally, you would at least get, “We’ll pass your feedback on,” which basically means they’re not going to answer you.
Judy: I know.
Jonathan: Oh, dear.
Michael: That’s certainly a widely spread disappointment among the blind. I’ve seen a lot of commentary on Twitter and other places about that and I share it. I can use the Walk, there’s some podcasts talks.
Judy: The audio walking things are nice.
Michael: That’s really the only thing I’ve been able to really make use of with the fitness app so far.
Judy: Some of the yoga ones in there are actually pretty usable, because they actually do describe it good enough to do it.
Jonathan: There’s another third-party app that’s specifically audio-based workouts and the name is blanking on me. [crosstalk] There’s a couple of them.
Judy: There’s several, actually. That’s my next book.
Michael: There we are. [laughs]
Judy: Stay tuned.
Jonathan: Of course, I actually bought when they were on sale, all of the Blind Alive workouts and they’re really good, I enjoy those. Support for find items, hooray. It’s come to the Apple Watch. It was very strange when I got my AirTags and I realized that the Find app on the watch is just called Find People. You couldn’t find your stuff on the Apple Watch, but you will be able to in watchOS 8. It’s good. Are you using AirTags, Judy?
Judy: Yes. I have them and I have deployed them, but I haven’t had to actually use them because I haven’t lost anything.
Jonathan: What’s the verdict? I guess you’ve played with the proximity thing?
Judy: I think so. The proximity thing is very cool. The implementation is great. I wish the sound was louder. I don’t have a hearing impairment and I have trouble hearing them. I wish the sound would continue, it’s only a couple of little things and that’s it, it stops.
Jonathan: Go ahead.
Judy: It would be better if it was like when you ping your iPhone with your watch, it just pings one time. If you actually tell Siri to find your iPhone, it’ll keep pinging. I don’t understand why they did that.
Jonathan: It’s really not good. It goes for a very short time, and it’s not particularly loud, but the proximity makes up for it.
Judy: It does. It’s great.
Jonathan: Just looking at other notes that I’ve made here. There was some comment on tvOS, some fairly minor changes there. Shared With You has a row in tvOS, and there’s also a For All Of You row, which I guess, tries to collect all the interests of family members. I presume it works based on family sharing.
Heidi: Something like that. The way they showed it is there’s the For All Of You row and then there’s an edit button in the row. You can select the profiles of the people who are actually watching at the time.
Heidi: That’s pretty cool. You can change based on if it’s just you and Bonnie, or you and Bonnie and me and Richard and David and Nicola, for example.
Jonathan: Who knows what the heck it would come up with then?
Excellent. A HomePod Mini can be selected as the speakers for your Apple TV 4K.
Judy: I don’t understand this. You can do it now. I have two HomePods, I guess because it’s the Minis. Right now, I have two HomePods for my speakers for my Apple TV 4K.
Heidi: HomePods could already do it and now they’re letting the HomePod Minis do it as well.
Judy: You can do it New Zealand.
They’ve missed the boat. In New Zealand, we are very much a soup drinker country because they arrived here first and everybody has got it. In fact, the Ministry of Social Development spent a large amount of money.
Jonathan: No. I’m telling you. They spent a large amount of money to give any blind person who wants one, an Amazon Echo, for free.
Heidi: Why haven’t you got your one yet?
Jonathan: Because I feel tremendously uncomfortable about somebody on my income taking a free Amazon Echo from the government. I don’t think that’s appropriate.
Sorry, Mike, did you have something on that?
Michael: That’s a good thought. It sounds to me they’re trying to, maybe they’ll do more development with the HomePod Minis and bring more rich features to deal with governing the home, making it Home Hub thing like the Echos already are.
Judy: They are amazing. They sound so tremendous you can imagine, and two of them are so much better than one. I mean more than twice as good.
Michael: The HomePods?
Judy: Yes, the Minis.
Jonathan: The minis, okay, so how would you compare them with the Sonos Range?
Judy: They are different. Sonos doesn’t have any tiny little things like that. This is a tennis ball, it’s the smallest little thing and it sounds so good.
Jonathan: Have you seen the Sonos Roam?
Judy: I have a Sonos Roam and I’ve listened to your Podcast and I still can’t figure how to use it.
Jonathan: Oh no.
Judy: I keep thinking I’m going to sit down with this thing and figure it out.
Jonathan: Siri comes to third-party devices now, that actually had me yelling, exclaiming in surprise.
Heidi: Scaring the guide dog.
Jonathan: Obviously Apple is feeling the pressure with Google Home and particularly the Amazon Echo engine who I won’t name because it triggers it. They’re very clearly having to respond to that, so Siri coming to third-party devices is a massive play on Apple’s part. I’d be interested to see where it goes and who will adopt it and where we will see it. Really cool. Now, what else have we got here? The package protection, so Judy is happy about that.
Judy: I like them that.
Heidi: Of course that will only work if you have the wide field of view camera, because you see the step in front of it.
Judy: And if you have a camera.
Heidi: That too, yes. Some cameras just sort of look at the bit where the top part of the person is.
Judy: I’m ready to shine my phone out of the front door and have it look for a package.
Jonathan: I did notice that my ring video doorbell has now started to get a bit smarter when a person comes to the door. Rather than just saying, “There is motion at your front door,” it says, “There is a person at your front door.” Everybody is getting there. Let’s talk about MacOS Monterey. Not too much here really, but universal control, lets you use a single mouse and keyboard to move between the Mac and the iPad.
Now many people are doing this with Bluetooth keyboards already such as those from Logitec where you can have three devices paired with the one keyboard and switch between them. Of course, the difference is you could use any keyboard because it’s all being handled in the operating system level, and you can switch between your devices in software. Let me see, AirPlay to Mac, now this is nice. You can use your Mac as an AirPlay receiver. Rogue Amoeba had an app that handled this, I think it was called Airfoil speakers or something like that. Now Airplay is built-in so that the Mac can be a receiver. This makes a lot of sense because the speakers in some of these Macs are just tremendous. If you can send via AirPlay to them, that makes a lot of sense.
Shortcuts coming to the Mac. Now, you have to read the code here. What they are saying is that the automate features of Mac are going away. They talked about how this is the start of a multi-year transition. What they are signaling is, start using shortcuts instead of automation because it’s going away at some point. There are also going to be some Mac-specific shortcut-related features as well.
I hope that shortcuts are improved in iOS 15 because some things happened in the last, I think it was with the iOS 14 where they don’t execute the way they used to particularly if you tap them. It’s a similar experience with Siri, but if you tap them you seem to get additional weird confirmation dialogues that defeat the workflow of them. Anybody else seen this?
Judy: Yes I have seen that.
Michael: I think so but I don’t do many shortcuts really.
Jonathan: I have all sorts of shortcuts but they’ve become a lot less useful.
Judy: So do I, and they stop and ask you questions.
Jonathan: Yes. All right and then tab groups so tab groups are coming to Safari for the Mac and they let you save groups of tabs and load them later. Web extensions are coming to Safari for iPhone and iPad as well. That is pretty exciting. Are the web extensions now all compatible with each other that? For example, can you run a web extension from Chrome in Safari? I think you might be able to. Anyway, we’ll find out. That’s a really brief– It’s not a really brief. It’s an overview of what’s going on in Apple land. Any final comments before we open this up for comments from the world?
Heidi: I just want to say that the redesigned Safari looks really good. The one thing I miss most about my Mac, and not having it anymore is Safari.
Jonathan: Why is that?
Heidi: I don’t know. It was just always such an amazing web browsing experience for me. Everything else just isn’t as good. You used to be able to get Safari for Windows, but they stopped that years ago and it made me really sad.
Jonathan: Oh dear. I must admit, it’s looking like a pretty cool package. Any closing thoughts on the whole WWDC keynote?
Michael: I would have liked to see a bit more about accessibility making it into the keynote. I always feel like developers really pay attention to those. It’s always a good idea to showcase some of what’s coming in accessibility with that. I do think that I’ll be keeping a very close ear on the rest of the what is offered in the pavilions and the videos, what I can access as a non developer for the rest of WWDC. To see what other details are going to come out that didn’t make the keynote, because I get the feeling there’s going to be a lot this year.
Jonathan: You don’t think that the approach that they took, where they made a massive number of accessibility announcements on Global Accessibility Awareness Day about iOS 15, and watchOS 8. All that detail, you don’t think that was the right approach?
Michael: I’m not sure. I like how they did that. I just wonder if developers made special efforts to catch that, or whether it might have been better to spring it on them during the conference? It’ll be interesting to see. I certainly appreciate the earlier heads up. I know the conscientious developers that keep an eye out on this sort of thing, I’m sure they did, too. I always kind of wonder about the people who maybe aren’t paying as much attention and just they’re busy developing their apps without the awareness of what they could do to make it better for us and how to capture more of their attention.
Jonathan: Judy, any final thoughts?
Judy: They didn’t mention LiDAR at all?
Jonathan: No. What would you have liked to have seen with with LiDAR?
Judy: They’re going to increase it from 16 feet to 30 feet. That would be nice.
Jonathan: Is that possible?
Judy: Who knows?
Heidi: I think that’s a hardware limitation.
Judy: It probably is, but the next phone is going to have hardware that’s going to increase it from 16 feet.
Heidi: Then that would come in the iPhone event, wouldn’t it?
Judy: Well, yes. Maybe.
Judy: They’d have to tell these guys. I just think it’s very cool, and it’s only going to get cooler. I just wanted to get cooler faster.
Jonathan: I get the feeling that the reason why we didn’t hear much about watchOS 8 is that a lot is going to be dependent on what comes next in the hardware. There are still pretty persistent rumors about the glucometer and-
Judy: Oh wouldn’t that be fantastic?
Jonathan: -that will be a big, big deal. You will see a massive take up in the blind community on the Apple Watch. All right. Let’s open it up. Thank you for your patience. We’ll go to Marvin Rush who’s our first guest. Welcome, Marvin.
Marvin Rush: Well, good afternoon, Jonathan and everybody. Thanks for letting me in. Just a couple of things. The one thing that surprised me was at the beginning of the event they talked about now letting androids into FaceTime calls and that was a shocker. There’s a lot of things that are kind of exciting with watchOS 8. That’s going to be neat when all the neat stuff comes out in the messages. And your right on the phones, I’ve had several friends and I’ve really discouraged them from getting an SE (2020). I went with the iPhone 12 mini just because of the smaller platform and things like that. I think there’s just a lot of really neat stuff coming and I’ll be excited like everybody else to play with them.
Jonathan: I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, and take everybody by the hand and show them that Face ID really isn’t that bad. It seems like there’s a training deficit out there in the blind community to do with Face ID and people are struggling with it in many cases. It’s so unfortunate, because the iPhone SE is not turning out to be a good purchase. It’s becoming obsolete pretty quickly.
Judy: I think they’re doing an extraordinary job.
Jonathan: What was that, Judy?
Marvin: Well that was a learning curve on face ID, but it’s not horrible. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out exactly where to position the phone where the Face ID works. Once you learn that then the learning curves over. Anyway, thanks for picking me up Jonathan. Everybody, have a great day.
Jonathan: Thank you, Marvin. Appreciate that.
Judy: Heidi, did such an extraordinary job at teaching us all how to set up Face ID. Do you remember that?
Jonathan: Yes, I really should perhaps dig that out and rebroadcast it.
Judy: It was great and it was super helpful and I remember it every time I have to do it. I’ve suggested it to many people. You remember you taped, send your nose around the circle of a clock.
Jonathan: Yes. It’s a really really good analogy.
Judy: It really helped.
Heidi: Glad I could help. Thank you.
Jonathan: All right, let’s go to Marco next. Hi, Marco.
Marco: Hi, there, everybody. It’s almost–
Interrupter: I was first in line dear.
Marco: Sorry. It’s almost 10:00 PM in Germany right now, that’s where I live. I have a couple of thoughts. For one thing, I thought, “Gosh, this one was packed with information.” It was amazing how quickly they fired off all that info. One thing that I found very interesting was the focus on the speaker when you’re wearing AirPods. I think this is going to be something for AirPods Pro, the ones with the noise canceling and the AirPods Max, but not necessarily for the standard Airpod models. The way I understood it, was that you could use this for example in transparency mode when you’re in a noisy environment, that it actually reduces the ambient noise.
I was thinking of one of these typical American hugely loud restaurant places that we used to go to when we were traveling to accessibility conferences. Even though I don’t have any hearing impairment, I have autism. One of the traits of autism can be that the brain isn’t able to filter noises as well as with neurotypical people. Basically, everything that I hear around me and the person maybe I am talking to, is actually really really noisy and mushy and stuff like that. I can actually see myself benefiting from this even though I don’t have any hearing impairment to be able to focus on the person I am talking to and being able to reduce those ambient noises around me. That sounded like a really cool feature.
Jonathan: That does sound really cool. Brilliant. I appreciate your thoughts there Marco and I agree with you. I said to Heidi, “I don’t recall a WWDC that’s so packed.” Because particularly with the live events, what you get is a lot of sycophantic cheering. It was sort of cute and funny to hear Tim Cook acknowledging all the applauding emojis at the beginning, really.
Marco: That was nice.
Jonathan: Without the audio description, we would have been a bit lost about what was going on there. They did a good job with the audio description, but I do not recall a WWDC that was that information-packed. I guess that’s my only worry, there’s so much new in here that has the potential to be so significant. It makes me wonder, how buggy is this going to be? [laughs]
Marco: The first two or three betas will probably be very interesting. I don’t know if I’ll install them on my regular phone just yet. [laughs] One other thing I was really excited about was that universal feature like the way you can control an iPad, a Mac or another Mac, from one mouse or trackpad. The mouse isn’t that interesting for us, but, from what I understood it is that basically, it’s seamless. It’s not like you have to switch with a Bluetooth keyboard, you have to switch connections. What they did was they moved the mouse pointer to the edge of the screen, just where the iPad was sitting to the left of the Mac.
Then it appeared on that iPad. I know that they dragged a picture from one app on the iPad. I think it was Procreate across the Macbook to the iMac into Final Cut with just the trackpad. I thought that was pretty amazing.
Jonathan: Can you comment on the visuals Heidi, on what they showed?
Heidi: Yes the way they showed it is when you initially try to do a universal control, a little bar pops up on the side of the device it thinks you want to go to, and if that’s correct, you just keep moving the trackpad in that direction. Then with the keyboard, essentially whichever device the mouse was focused on, the keyboard was working for that device. I don’t know how that translates to an accessibility perspective, but that’s the basic functionality.
Marco: Very interesting to see how that plays out. I also look forward to Safari tab groups. I am a real bad tabs user, I open tons of them when I research something and stuff like that. I really look forward to being able to organize those into tab groups and the way they’re going to sync across devices is going to be very, very amazing.
Jonathan: I got to ask you about this. We had a listener who was riding into Mosen At Large in the last full show who said that he was looking for a new computer and it needed to be grunty because he wanted to do audio and a whole lot of things. Then he said he can sometimes have over a hundred tabs open at a time. My question is why? What are you doing with all those tabs?
Marco: The way it works for me usually is I start researching something, and find some valuable information when I write a blog post, for example. Then I need to find something else, either from the resource I am currently checking out. I open a link in a new tab, or I think of something else that I need to research on the same topic then I open a new tab and Google it. Then, because I still need the other information, I keep the other tab open and they just pile up. I don’t know, it’s not like hundreds for me, but I was doing a lot of research because I want to get back into making music with the complete control keyboards and all that stuff, and with using Logic Pro on the Mac.
I was doing research, I was watching YouTube videos, I was reading resources and stuff. I suddenly had like 25 or 30 tabs open on that research alone because there was just so much stuff that I wanted to keep open and reference, then I still wanted to do some other browsing too then it became really tedious to go through all my tabs and stuff. I’m really looking forward to being able to organize those into tab groups and do my research and then maybe even pile up more tabs into these tab groups as time goes on, as the project evolves. That’s how I end up with lots of tabs usually.
Jonathan: I guess I’ve just been using computers too long and I close things when I don’t think I need them anymore and I probably don’t need to do that. I am all clean and neat. It’s interesting the way people use these things differently.
?Michael: Sometimes have four or five tabs open, but that would be about my limit.
Marco: I used to do that too, but I found that oftentimes I actually find more stuff the longer I dive into a project. I tend to keep them open, especially with the M1 Mac that doesn’t break a sweat, no matter what you throw at it. It’s such an amazing beast.
Jonathan: Very good. Well, thanks for sharing your perspective, and I look forward to playing with the betas, of course, in due course, I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to install developer beta 1, but you never know.
Marco: I will definitely not do that. I don’t have a spare device right now, so I’ll be very, very careful.
Jonathan: Yes. I have an encrypted backup just in case.
Marco: Me too, but still. [chuckles]
Jonathan: Good to hear from you. Have a lovely evening in Germany.
Jonathan: All right, bye-bye. Let’s go back to the United States and talk to Christopher next. Hi, Christopher.
Christopher: Yes. Hey, there. Absolutely. WWDC was actually definitely a little more packed than I thought it would be. Actually, the hugest hit for me besides– Well, actually, I forget what else at the top off my head. I texted to a friend of mine while we were both attending this thing online. The wallet thing, the fact that you almost no longer need your wallet, that to me is just, oh my gosh. I would love to see state IDs. I would love to see New Hampshire participate in this because, oh my gosh, that would be such a humongous– Okay, that would be a huge relief. Now, I’ll probably still, of course, have it on standby, but, oh my gosh.
Just like for traveling and such, because I wasn’t still somewhat a traveler before COVID hit. Quite honestly, just the fact of taking out an ID at an airport. I mean, look, it’s easy, but it’s boring you could say. I would rather just double press on the side button and just load that up there. It’s so much easier, or obviously, the wallet app, because I already have most of the time, my mobile boarding pass on there anyway. I’m like, “Okay, why do I have to take out my wallet when I can’t just get it on my phone. Hotel keys too, oh my gosh that would be huge.
Actually, these benefits in regard to the wallet app expanding to smart essentials you could say, that you would normally carry in a wallet. I have to admit this would not only be advantageous for sighted people on their own, but blind people too because sometimes we can lose stuff like that. I would say that that was definitely a humongous highlight.
Jonathan: We don’t use IDs in New Zealand in that way, but what would make a big difference here is if they ever got passports on the– because typically, if we go to an airport, if someone doesn’t have a driver’s license, they just present a passport.
Christopher: Same here. Same here. Same here. Passport card. Passport cards, best thing.
Jonathan: Very good. All right. I know you’re a Mac user. You excited about what they were offering in Monterey is the name of the new operating system. MacOs, Monterrey.
Christopher: Certainly, yes, airfoil, and it is just airfoil that yes, airfoil did accomplish the whole airplay and everything deal, but I am very glad that Apple was finally taking the initiative and bringing it to the Mac. I would love to see that. I would love to see that and actually believe it or not, maybe one of these months I will think about getting one of my old hard drives and getting it bootable into Monterey. We’ll see what happens. You never know.
Jonathan: We have a Monterey festival on Clubhouse. Lovely. Thank you for your thoughts on that, Christopher.
Christopher: Absolutely. Yes.
Jonathan: All right. Thanks. Dean, hi. How are you?
Dean: I’m good. Is that working out? Should be. Because that working [inaudible 01:29:40] request to speak there, [inaudible 01:29:42] to be first, which was rather strange.
Jonathan: Well, I so blame the government.
Dean: I’m actually been quite very much on the beta on here, and there’s also actually in voiceover which is quite intriguing, which I don’t really on summer, just hot flat navigation and grouped navigation, which reminds of the Mac.
Jonathan: You’re saying you’re already running the iOS for–
Dean: Yes, I run it. I literally installed it before I came in here. It’s not awful at the minute, so far. It’s very early impression.
Jonathan: What are you seeing in terms of any voiceover settings changes?
Dean: Not much so far, actually. There’s really not much to do with voiceover I can see at all here so far, which is a bit disappointing. I’ve literally played around with like five minutes, which is it for the settings, and just really become fast through it, so it’s not very much I’ve seen. One thing I did see actually for people who say, especially new to the iPhone, which you can change the delay for the keyboard. For example, when you type anything, you hold down on the key, slide your hands, and it pops over the alternative keyboard below it. You can actually make it longer.
Let’s say for example say someone say type in, and they keep bringing up the alternative characters by mistake, you can make that delay longer. If someone for example, say, who’s new to the iPhone, I’ll say has like, say– Or type, for example, so you can make that longer, so it doesn’t react as fast.
Jonathan: Have you been able to play with the on-device Siri stuff at this point?
Dean: Not yet. No. Literally about five minutes ago installed it before I came here, so literally, just brand new.
Jonathan: Yes, you’re obviously on the ball, because it’ll be a big download as well, I imagine. Four gigs, five gigs.
Dean: It was. [crosstalk] pretty good.
Jonathan: Yes. Tremendous. Very good. I appreciate you letting us know. Any other comments you had on the WWDC keynote?
Dean: I thought the FaceTime thing was exciting. [unintelligible 01:31:37] screenshare, and when they mentioned it, obviously, it wasn’t show up on the screen, but could that possibly be, for example– Because, for example, I say I raise them features or not, or would it just be FaceTime, especially like the screenshare? Because obviously there’s so many times, for example, when saying need someone say have a look at your iPhone and tap something, that could be game-changer for us if it was used properly.
Jonathan: Yes, I’m looking forward to having a play with this.
Dean: Because I’m wondering, obviously, if I can obviously be like– If the API can go into other apps, and Aira possibly could then go in and say, help you for example with stuff on your iPhone, which obviously right now, they can’t.
Jonathan: Yes, exactly right. What they didn’t seem to be saying was that it was a two-way thing. If you are sharing your screen with someone, I don’t think you can control the iPhone. You can’t swipe and tap someone else’s screen.
Dean: Yes, I’m not sure because they’re– you can use it to obviously help family and friends and stuff, they said in there. That’s why I wasn’t sure.
Jonathan: That would be wonderful if it was a full remote access solution, but I don’t think that’s what they were promising.
Heidi: All the real documentation on the site is just talking about sharing it to them and showing it to them. It’s not talking about them being able to control your screen.
Dean: That is a real shame. Because that has been so useful for some people. Especially, for example, taking pictures on your phone. They’ll try and take a picture of– if it was like a passport or something, and the problem is lining up with the pain, so obviously Aira could have helped you, but the problem is, you had to do it in the app. You couldn’t for example do it outside the app and put the picture. You had to line up in the actual app itself.
Jonathan: It’s a bit like if you do a TeamViewer session with Aira now with the iPhone. They can see your screen, but they have to guide you where to tap because they can’t tap for you.
Dean: I thought this year there wasn’t– Obviously, we never got much about accessibility, obviously, but looking so far, that it doesn’t seem to very much now. I could be wrong. Obviously, I’ve literally just played this for a few minutes, but I’m sure there’s probably more than obviously, I’m not seeing, and obviously, over the betas, we’ll obviously see more build-up, hopefully.
Jonathan: Keep playing, and let us know how you get on. I’m sure there’ll be some comments on the show this weekend about how people are getting on who are brave enough to install this thing.
Dean: I will. I’ll let you know. I’ve got a backup device. I’m not using my main device, so there we go.
Jonathan: Very sensible. Good idea. [crosstalk] Thanks, Dean. Do you have a backup device for testing, Judy?
Judy: Yes, I do.
Jonathan: You’re going to be rocking the 15 beta?
Jonathan: Yes, you can’t resist. I need to buy an iPhone 12 mini.
Judy: I have an SE.
Jonathan: Tiffany, hi, how are you?
Tiffany: Hi, Jonathan. I’m great. I actually enjoyed watching the keynote. I missed the first 10 minutes or so. I like the audio description. There’s a lot of information in there. I hope they continue this after the pandemic.
Jonathan: Yes, it was good value.
Tiffany: It was. What caught my attention was, I liked the idea of being able to use Siri for certain things without internet, because usually if you try to and you have a low connection, she said something about, “I’m sorry, I’m having trouble connecting,” Or something. Whether that’s just for basic stuff or whatever, that’ll be awesome. It sounds like they’re putting Siri in more home products and I don’t have a lot of smart home things. Actually, I don’t have any. I’m in an apartment, so I’m limited with what I can do. I guess it means to try to get Siri into more places it sounds like. I’d hope with competing with the A lady.
Jonathan: Oh, dear. The jolly old soup drinker?
Tiffany: The jolly old soup drinker, yes, exactly.
Jonathan: Very good.
Tiffany: Did they mention [kids screaming]
Jonathan: We’ll get someone to mute themselves there. Yes, sorry. Go ahead, Tiffany.
Tiffany: Did they mention any devices being dropped? Support for the updates this time around or because I did miss the first 10-15 minutes?
Jonathan: If you drop them, you should be more careful with your stuff. [crosstalk] They did not mention that. Did they? We haven’t seen any specs about which devices iOS 15 more ran on?
Heidi: No, there was no announcement and I don’t think it’s even on the page about it.
Tiffany: I’m not brave enough to install the beta on my 11 which I’m loving rocking the face ID. It only took me a few minutes to get the hang of it. I love it. I might be brave enough to install the beta on my old eight and run it. That’ll be interesting.
Jonathan: What was the last of the bottom device from last year? Was it the 6 plus or something?
?Judy: I believe it was the 6s.
Tiffany: [crosstalk] last time.
Jonathan: 6s. Yes. I’m pretty confident that it will run on the eight. [crosstalk]
Tiffany: I have to give that a go and see what happens.
Jonathan: Let us know how you get on with it.
Tiffany: I will. I’ve emailed into Mushroom FM before. If I can’t get you on Clubhouse, I can email it in. I’ll let you know what happens.
Jonathan: That’d be good and lovely to hear from you.
Tiffany: It’s good to hear from you, thank you.
Jonathan: Just to clarify for people, what we have out today is iOS 15 developer beta one. It is not out in public beta yet. What typically happens is that they will send a couple of developer betas out so that the poor long-suffering developers can beat up on it. Then you will get usually about beta three, beta four of the developer cycle, you’ll get the first public one, which at least has the really, really, really rough edges ironed out but sometimes you still see some rough voice-over edges as well. I’ll be really interested to see what shape it’s in. Now, let’s see if Joe can talk to us. Hi, Joe.
Joe: Hey, Jonathan. I have to admit I’m having a little bit of a fluttery stomach for some weird reason. We’ve not talked to you before. I don’t know what all this is about. I didn’t realize that if I hit this click the speak button that it would automatically unmute my microphone. It would do that.
Jonathan: Have you got a comment on the WWDC?
Joe: Yes. Yes, I do. Well, actually, I have a question for you because I didn’t really get to hear the WWDC. Did you get any of your wish list things granted?
Jonathan: I’m trying to remember what they were now. I think it’s too early to say. A lot of my wishes were to do with voiceover. Until I get to play with voiceover, I’m not sure. I know a lot of people’s wish related to Siri, though. It sounds like we might get better performance from Siri, so that’d be a good thing.
Joe: You can kind of already do that if you have a new Alexa. You can actually kind of still do things if she doesn’t have access to the internet. You can do the time and timers and stuff like that. You couldn’t do on the third gen and below echo devices.
Jonathan: Yes. This seems to have really expanded it. You now download a series of what– how would you describe it? You download a series of files that then live on the device, and you’ll be able to do a lot more than you used to be able to do so that’s really cool.
Joe: I hope we show no more than as a result.
Jonathan: Yes. Absolutely. All right. Well, good luck, and we’ll no doubt hear what you think of it when you install the beta if you get to it.
Joe: All right. Cool. Thanks.
Jonathan: Thanks. We’ll talk to Timothy next. Hi. Hello, Timothy.
Timothy: Hello there. How are you?
Timothy: Actually, I was on the web not too long ago and the last device that will be able to support 15 is the iPhone 6s.
Jonathan: They haven’t dropped anything?
Jonathan: That’s really interesting because that was the last thing that supported the–
Timothy: The exact same devices are able to be supported in iOS 15.
Jonathan: Wow, that’s pretty significant. Anything that attracts you? You looking forward to anything in particular?
Timothy: Offline Siri.
Timothy: A whole bunch of other stuff too, including the extension to iMessage, and we’ll be able to live textings.
Jonathan: Okay. Will you be installing the public beta?
Timothy: Probably not because this is the only device that I have, except for my Apple Watch, and that I don’t want to, you know. [chuckles]
Jonathan: Right. Well, let us know how you get on if you install it.
Jonathan: All right.
Timothy: Will do.
Jonathan: Take care. Good to hear from you.
Timothy: Yes, you too.
Jonathan: Mitchell, hi.
Mitchell: Hi, Jonathan. Can you explain the audio feature that they mentioned for FaceTime?
Jonathan: Yes, I’m sure we can. Would you like to have a crack at that, Judy, because we haven’t heard from you for a while.
Judy: I think you have got to do this one.
Jonathan: Aha. Okay. Spatial audio is something that I haven’t used but what happens is that, as I understand it, it relates to– You have the device in a central location and then where somebody appears in the stereo spectrum will be where your head is in relation to the device. If you turn slightly off-center from the device, then in your head you will hear somebody speaking from– If you turn slightly left, it will sound slightly right because you’re facing away from the person. I think where this could be quite handy is that it might assist the blind person to make sure that they did center into the camera.
Mitchell: That’s interesting.
Jonathan: In terms of music, spatial audio is supposed to add additional enhancements, embellishing the stereo spectrum. We should be hearing spatial audio and music quite soon.
Mitchell: [unintelligible 01:42:01] movies before, it sounds very good, almost like when you’re at the movie theater. It’s like about the [unintelligible 01:42:09] phones out in front of you because if you move just slightly your head will move to left and right. If you say like adjust a position and move like Jonathan was saying it will chase away sometimes and go all on one side. The idea is to keep your phone quite central but it sounds almost like it’s wrapped– the sound is almost traveling around you.
Jonathan: Yes. One of the reasons why– we’ve just moved into a new office in my day job which I’m taking a day off from today so I can do this. [laughs] One of the things I’ve done is I’ve got a Zoom PodTrak P4 in my new office and I have my iPhone and my laptop connected to it. Everything’s coming through a central point. I can plug headphones into it. One of the things I find is that for conferencing in an environment like that, I prefer to use my iPhone because before I go into a video conference, I can open the camera app and voiceover tells me when I’m centered.
I can go into a video conference knowing that I’m dead set in the center of the camera. That’s something that no Windows screen reader is doing. I don’t think Microsoft is exposing that information.
Judy: Jonathan, I’ve used spatial audio listening to movies but the part of that with FaceTime and I’m having trouble grabbing my head around is let’s say you’re talking to five other people, either they’re in little blocks on the screen, so the phone is deciding where those five people are because every one of them is virtually straight in front of you. The five people aren’t positioned around a room somewhere. I don’t quite get the how that’s going to work.
Jonathan: Yes. How’s it looking visually, Heidi? Because every speaker has their own sort of tile. [crosstalk]
Heidi: Yes. [crosstalk]
Judy: Yes, what’s you going to do with the audio?
Heidi: [crosstalk] tiles in front of you.
Jonathan: I guess I’m wondering if the order of the tiles going left to right or up and down or whatever influence where you hear them. If that’s the case, it could be quite an amazing sonic experience if everybody– It’s a bit like what I try to do with shows like this, where I try to position everybody just slightly differently on the stereo spectrum. If you’re listening and–
Judy: It’s not terribly relevant to the direction you should face though.
Heidi: What they’re saying on the site is their spacing them out along the stereo spectrum so that everyone has a direction. I guess when they’re in a grid, it’s like two people on each row. The two people sound like they’re coming from up above. I don’t know how they’re planning on doing it.
Judy: I don’t know.
Jonathan: It will be quite cool. I guess it might work differently from say, listening to music in that case. Where what’s happening with music or TV shows, is relative to where you are to the device. This could be different. This is why we should all be installing the beta.
Mitchell: If I had another device I would, I only have one device. No beta for me. [laughs]
Jonathan: I wouldn’t try it at home just yet then.
Judy: Then we have to find five people to have FaceTime calls with.
Jonathan: Right, yes. I don’t think I could find five people who want to talk to me. [laughs]
Heidi: You’ve got four kids and a wife. That’s five.
Jonathan: Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Mitchell: You got all the people that listen to your show, you can find five people pretty easily.
Jonathan: Very kind. Hey, this is a great question. Thank you so much, Mitchell. I appreciate that.
Mitchell: Another idea. Have you thought about doing a demo on an app called Supersense?
Jonathan: I have not, but that’s not a bad idea. We should see if we can get somebody from Supersense on the show actually.
Mitchell: That’s pretty popular here in the US. I don’t know about over there.
Jonathan: I’ve got the app, and I paid for the premium subscription, but we’ve not done it on the show. It’s a really good thought. You’re full of good thoughts today.
Mitchell: Yes. You might stick an email on your list. In a couple of weeks, they’re going to drop the pricing, and there’s also a club up here for that app.
Jonathan: Right. Excellent. Well, thanks for the suggestion. I appreciate that.
Mitchell: No problem. All right. I’ll catch you later.
Jonathan: Have a good one. Bye. Let’s go to Douglas next. Hi, Douglas.
Douglas: Hi, Jonathan. How are you? Hi, Heidi. Hi, everyone. I’m not sure if Michael is still out here, but I know Michael actually. If he’s out here still, if not, sorry, I missed him.
Jonathan: We all know Michael.
Jonathan: We all know Michael. He’s a good guy.
Douglas: [laughs] Yes. He definitely is. I missed the event, unfortunately, I was on a Zoom call and it conflicted. I just had two questions. I was wondering if there was any mention about to do with the battery, because I have the iPhone 11 Max Pro, and I noticed sometimes it has a battery drain. I heard also something about the iPod touch too. Sorry, Heidi.
Heidi: They didn’t mention anything about battery optimization in the software. No mentioned there. They didn’t mention that iPod touch either.
Douglas: Oh, because I read somewhere that they were maybe going to make a new iPod touch or something.
Jonathan: They’re either going to have to make a new one or decide that the iPod touch is over.
Douglas: Yes. I was reading that too.
Jonathan: They didn’t mention that, but that would be a hardware thing. Interestingly, there was some speculation that there would be a new Mac of some kind, a new M1 Mac announced today, but it was purely software. They had so much to say in the software. I guess we can expect all the hardware stuff at the September event.
Douglas: Yes, hopefully.
Jonathan: Yes. All right.
Douglas: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Jonathan: Thanks, Douglas. For those who missed the keynote itself, don’t forget that Apple does have a special events podcast feed. If you’d like to catch it, it’s probably already there. You can go and listen to the actual keynote itself. This one’s worth hearing because it’s going at a real clip. There’s so much in there. Herbie is up next. Hi, Herbie. Wow. Gave him a big introduction, and do we hear him? No, we do not. Let me just make sure that it’s not at my end. I’ve got a pretty busy screen here. No, you should be unmuted, Herbie. We don’t hear you though. In the meantime, I shall look for another victim.
Herbie: I noticed. Let’s try that.
Jonathan: Oh, there we go. Hi, Herbie.
Herbie: All right. I did listen to the WWDC event in full. I guess a couple of questions I have is one, with the spatial audio with FaceTime, is it going to be like Bluetooth audio quality, or are they going to make it at least sound more like FaceTime quality? I’m curious to see how that will work. I think I got most excited about it when you mentioned how it could give us the possibility of being able to be centered on the camera. That actually, [inaudible 01:49:38] a thing that got me more excited than the WWDC event, in that respect.
Jonathan: You can do those. You’ve been able to do it for some years. What you do is you open the camera app, and you switch to front-facing. The voiceover will start telling you one person top left, or bottom left or whatever. When you eventually get it to the point– I have the little iPhone dock that you can buy from Apple and that sits my iPhone on the desk vertically, so it’s in portrait mode, and then you position yourself so that the thing’s constantly telling you one face-centered. Then you can make your FaceTime call, your Zoom call, or your Team’s call and be visible in the frame. For me, that’s really important.
Herbie: Yes, now one question I was curious about. I don’t know if we really touched on this because I’m not an iPad user, but they said this would be coming to the Mac as well. I’m curious if you have an idea of how this might work from an accessibility standpoint. They were talking about this QuickNote feature where you can put notes for different apps across the universe. I was just curious if you had an idea of how that might work from a voiceover perspective or is that just way too soon to–
Jonathan: Did you have a look at the UI for that, Heidi? This is the QuickNote that you can bring it in, type a quick note, and swipe it away.
Heidi: What it’s saying on the iPad page on the website is you can access QuickNote from Control Center with a swipe of your finger, swipe of the Apple Pencil, or the keyboard shortcut and it brings up little mini notes like overlay a slide over and you can just do whatever in there and add the links to the page and stuff like that from there and then come back to it later. [crosstalk] for it.
Jonathan: Yes, hopefully, not one of my custom gestures that I’m [laughs] using for something else.
Heidi: Well, it was up from diagonally up from the bottom right corner was what they were showing, but that’s just the [crosstalk]
Herbie: No, I think the one thing I really got excited about at least from the Mac side of things was the Shortcuts like they were mentioning how you could use a shortcut to open multiple apps at the same time, and I could probably do this with automation too. I’ve never really played around with that, but if that would be easier to set up in Shortcuts. I might need to open audio hijack in VLC media player and just do a command to tell them both open at the same time, that could definitely prove to be something interesting at least to play around with, and see if I make use of it overtime or not.
Jonathan: Do you think that the Mac community will lament the impending doom relating to Automator or will they be okay with Shortcuts?
Herbie: I can’t speak from a sighted perspective. From a blindness perspective, I’ve really not heard Automator even talked about that much. It’s something I’ve never used and I’ve only had the Mac since late 2019. I’m thinking that special shortcuts works. I think that something that will move. As Apple users, we just have to learn to adapt, and sometimes they make changes. For some people, it was the home button with the iPhone, and maybe with the Mac, it’ll be going from Automator to shortcuts. I think we’ll just have to see how well it works and I think that’ll really– I’ve found that people are always going to lament things that disappear.
I’ve still heard the occasional comments about how there’s no more iTunes on the Mac, and I was like, “Okay, [crosstalk] Why do we miss that? ” [laughs]
Jonathan: I’m still lamenting the lack of a headphone jack. Every time one of those [laughs] lightning adapters break, and this is progress. You have a Clubhouse session that breaks because there’s no damn headphone jack on the device. [crosstalk] Lovely. Thank you very much, Herbie. I appreciate the comments and take care. We’ve been going for almost two hours, so I am going to wrap shortly because I want to publish– this as a podcast for those not on here, but we will just take one or two more, so we’ll go to Keao now. Aloha, Keao.
Keao : Aloha, guys. Hi, Heidi.
Jonathan: All these Heidi fans. [chuckles]
Keao: One thing I’m amazed is that I was also watching the audio description track on the tv app, but also there was so much memojis that they were describing too at the beginning
Heidi: Oh my goodness.
Keao: That was a lot. Also, I have a question about the voice isolation. With the noises in the background, I think it was a leaf blower. Did they show the person in the background visually or–
Heidi: There was the person, in the call at the front of the frame, and then there’s the person with the leaf blower at the back of the frame and they push the button on the screen–Well, they show you reaching towards the screen and pushing a button and the leaf blowers still going in the background and we can’t hear it anymore.
Keao: Oh, that’s interesting. I wonder how they managed to do that with FaceTime, but wow. That’s pretty cool.
Jonathan: Very good. Anything else, Keao?
Keao: No, that’s it. Thank you, guys.
Jonathan: Tremendous. Have a wonderful one. You’re back in Hawaii now, aren’t you?
Keao: Oh, I’ve been in Hawaii for a long time, so.
Jonathan: Okay. I can’t keep up. Well, have a lovely Monday. Yes, Monday morning.
Keao: Yes, it’s still Monday. It’s almost eleven o’clock.
Jonathan: Yes. Well, tremendous. All right. Back to the future. Thank you so much. Our final, final contributor is Ksenia, I’m so sorry if I’ve mispronounced your name, but I think that’s how you pronounce it.
Ksenia: Yes, it’s Ksenia
Jonathan: I’m so sorry.
Female Speaker: That’s okay.
well, first of all, I joined those who are looking forward to FaceTime features because I often watch with my mom, in Russia, films. She calls me on FaceTime and don’t speak as loud that she possibly could, so [chuckles] I catch it from the FaceTime, but now– Well, basically, we tried it with Zoom, and we really loved it because we could share a screen. I’m looking forward for FaceTime, to see how that’s going to be like, and to watch the football and other stuff with friends. Also, another thing is Safari extensions.
I’m looking forward to Safari extensions because, on Windows and different browsers, you have extensions, and they really make it work online– well, make it different, make it better. The addons and the bookmarks and Grammarly and all different tools that you can install, so that make the browsing experience smooth. Also, the iPad. I’m happy to see the feature where they say that you can make a note from every app because I’ve got an iPad, but the problem is, with the iOS 14, there has been the focus problem where it would jump from one place to another, so you would have to turn off the hardware keyboard, which makes– Well, it kind of defeats the purpose, because you can’t use all the features of an iPad.
I’m hoping that they’re going to fix old bugs, not just introducing the new features because that’s really important because I really want to utilize my iPad to make it close to my laptop, not maybe as productive, but, obviously, more than– You know, you’ve paying all this money and then, obviously, you don’t get the experience as much as you would want to. I’m hoping to use translator, making notes, using the shortcut keys, and, obviously, the Siri, or using offline, especially on the train. That would be a great feature. These are the main ones for me. Obviously, I’m sure we’re going to see some quiet introduced features which some websites introduce, and they tell us about.
I’m sure we’re going to have more features once the betas are released and maybe closer to the final, but these are my preferences.
Jonathan: That’s brilliant. Thanks so much. That’s a great analysis there. I don’t know the extent to which there’s a really active ecosystem of Safari extensions on the Mac at the moment, and whether there is going to be this– I read somewhere there was going to be interoperability with Chrome extensions. If that’s the case, that could be really cool, and it obviously lessens–
Female Speaker: Yes, they can be.
Jonathan: Yes. It lessens the burdens on developers to have to develop something separate for Safari, so that would be interesting.
Female Speaker: Yes, yes, yes, that’d be great.
Jonathan: Lovely. Thank you so much for that contribution. It’s a great way to finish.
Female Speaker: Thank you, Jonathan.
Jonathan: All right. Take care. Thank you to Mike and Judy and Heidi for all of your assistance. It’s just been so much to talk about today, and I just have everything crossed that we will have a good beta cycle. I don’t care how buggy- developer beta 1 is. What I care about is how buggy the release of iOS 15 and watchOS 8 are, and macOS Monterey. That will be the big test to see whether a lot of attention is being paid to some of these accessibility bugs. We didn’t talk anything about Braille, Judy, and I guess–
Judy: [chuckles] There wasn’t anything to talk about.
Jonathan: No, but I’m just wondering whether we– I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the beta, just to see what might have been done, if anything, there because there’s been a pretty–
Judy: It might be so big that it’ll break anything.
Jonathan: Yes, I know, and sadly, that tinges what has been a really good keynote for, mainly, blind people, what’s broken, essentially. If we could make some progress in that regard, this year, that would be really significant.
Judy: Yes, that would be great. All right. Well, thank you so much. It was great fun.
Jonathan: Well, keep in touch. Thanks to those who’ve joined us on Clubhouse. If you’re listening to this on the podcast, a reminder that we did record this immediately after the keynote, so there will be a lot more information coming out in the coming day or so. We will be talking about it on Mosen At Large over the weeks to come.
Thank so much for joining us. We’ll see you again soon.
To contribute to Mosen At Large, you can email Jonathan, that’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N, at Mushroomfm.com by writing something down or attaching an audio file, or you can call our listener line at the US number +1864-60 Mosen, that’s +18646066736.
Mosen At Large podcast.
[02:00:46] [END OF AUDIO]