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The Friendliest To-Do List App for Families


Apple Card Now Available for All US Customers, Adds New 3% Daily Cash Partners

Following a limited preview earlier this month, Apple has today opened up applications for Apple Card to all US customers. Users can apply through the Wallet app on an iPhone running iOS 12.4 or later, and in most cases receive instant access to Apple Card if approved. Opening the Wallet app then tapping the plus button in the top-right leads to the option to add Apple Card.

Alongside Apple Card’s wide release, Apple is announcing that its Daily Cash program is getting better thanks to a new partner that supports the highest 3% Daily Cash rate which was previously exclusive to Apple purchases.

Apple Card is extending 3 percent Daily Cash to more merchants and apps. Starting today, customers will receive 3 percent Daily Cash when they use Apple Card with Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats. Customers can request a ride through Uber in more than 700 cities across the globe and order a meal through Uber Eats in more than 500 cities around the world. Apple Card will continue to add more popular merchants and apps in the coming months.

Apple has never before mentioned that it would be seeking additional partners to support the 3% Daily Cash rate. Initially that rate was limited to purchases from the Apple Store, Apple.com, the App Store, and other Apple services; 2% is the standard Daily Cash rate available for Apple Pay transactions, and 1% for everything else. Adding Uber and Uber Eats to the 3% pool, with “more popular merchants and apps” in the pipeline for future partnerships, makes Apple Card’s Daily Cash program more attractive than before – a welcome surprise for the card’s wide release.


Porsche to Include Apple Music App in Its Electric Taycan Electric Sports Car

Yesterday, Porsche announced that it’s partnering with Apple to integrate Apple Music directly with the in-car entertainment system of the Taycan, which is debuting in September.

The streaming service will be available in Porsche’s fully-electric Taycan first and later, in other models. According to TechCrunch’s Kirsten Korosec who spoke to Porsche’s North American CEO Claus Zellmer:

The integration means more than an Apple Music app icon popping up on the Taycan’s digital touchscreen. The company wanted the experience to be seamless, meaning no wonky sign-ins, phone pairing or separate accounts. Instead, Porsche is linking an owner’s Apple ID with their Porsche Taycan ID. Apple Music content in the Taycan will be identical to what’s on the user’s iPhone app.

System-level integration with Apple Music will allow Taycan owners to enjoy the service regardless of whether they have an iPhone with them because the Taycan comes with in-car Internet service. The car company announced that it will offer a six-month free trial of Apple Music with the Taycan and incorporate CarPlay support into its in-car entertainment system too.

Direct integration of Apple Music with Porsche’s in-car system, plus six months of free service sounds an awful lot like what satellite radio company SiriusXM offers with many new cars. The move has the advantage of ensuring that Apple’s service will always be available onscreen where it can compete directly with other services. Of course, the downside is that because Apple doesn’t control the hardware its app runs on, it will undoubtedly be subject to the whims of Porsche if it wants to update it, which is part of why CarPlay exists in the first place. Fortunately, regardless of how Porsche handles updates, CarPlay will be available to Taycan owners too. It will be interesting to see whether Apple Music and perhaps other Apple apps make their way into additional manufacturers’ automobiles in the future or if this is a one-off deal.



Swapping Dongles for a Dock: The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

By limiting its laptops to Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports, Apple has been able to continue its relentless pursuit of thinness. That’s great when you’re on the go. However, if an Apple laptop is your primary computer, the number and lacking diversity of ports is problematic. When you’re back at home or work, connecting legacy USB-A devices, SD and microSD cards, and Ethernet and HDMI cables requires an array of often expensive dongles and cables that quickly fill up the available ports on your Mac.

When I commuted to downtown Chicago for work, I carried a 2016 MacBook Pro with me. At the end of the day when I returned home, I sat the laptop on my desk and plugged in a bunch of cables and dongles, which was a pain. Because I work from home now, I don’t use my MacBook Pro that way very often anymore, except in the summertime when that laptop becomes a testbed for the latest macOS beta. I’ve been trying to work on the macOS beta from a MacBook Pro as much as possible over the summer, and the experience has caused me to revisit the frustration of unplugging cables and dongles every time I want to leave my desk and work elsewhere.

I had been thinking about ways to improve my summertime beta setup when Other World Computing offered to send me its OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock to test. I took them up on the offer, and having used it for a while now, I love the convenience of being able to connect everything to my MacBook Pro with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. It’s not an inexpensive solution, but compared to the cost of purchasing multiple over-priced dongles, it’s not as extravagant as it might seem at first.

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Disney+ Will Launch with iOS and tvOS Apps and Integration with TV App

Disney announced today which platforms its Disney+ streaming service would be available on at launch, and unsurprisingly iOS and tvOS are on the list. One tidbit that’s particularly noteworthy, however, comes from Chris Welch’s report for The Verge:

Disney also plans to integrate its content with the Apple TV app so that movies, originals, and shows will appear there among other suggested things to watch.

Integration with the TV app means Disney+ subscribers will be able to add the service’s content to their Up Next queue inside TV, in addition to seeing recommendations for movies and shows like Welch mentions. This is a significant piece of news for people like myself who rely on the TV app for much of their TV viewing. Also noteworthy is that Disney+ will support Apple’s In-App Purchase system for subscriptions, so you can subscribe directly through Apple rather than needing to set up a separate Disney account.

This is a big win for Apple’s TV ambitions, as Disney+ is expected to quickly grow into one of the most popular streaming services on the market. Netflix, the current streaming king, doesn’t integrate at all with Apple’s TV app, and recently it even abandoned Apple’s In-App Purchase system for subscriptions. If Disney had followed in Netflix’s footsteps, Apple’s hopes of the TV app gaining widespread adoption would have been slim to none.

The only outstanding question concerns whether Disney+ will become a full-on channel inside the TV app, or if it will rely on the legacy integration that apps like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video currently utilize. Welch writes:

A Disney spokesperson told The Verge that Disney has nothing to announce regarding “channel” marketplaces like Apple TV Channels or Amazon Prime Channels. I wouldn’t bet on Disney giving Apple (or anyone) extra control over its hugely important service; allowing Disney+ to be streamed entirely within the Apple TV app would be a nice convenience for the customers who want it, but I don’t see it happening.

My take is that Disney+ becoming a channel actually makes a lot of sense for the company. Since it’s already going to integrate with TV, and use In-App Purchases, there’s little to no “extra control” Disney would be handing Apple if Disney+ became a channel. All the control is already conceded. The only advantage of forcing people to jump from the TV app into the Disney+ app would be that, when a movie or show finishes playing, users would find themselves in Disney’s app rather than Apple’s. But that’s a small bit of ground to give up considering all the control Disney’s already forfeited.

If Disney+ becomes a channel, it will make for a better user experience for everyone, including parents who can download content offline for their kids via the TV app. Plus, if Disney only supports TV’s legacy integration, that will mean it’s only available in Apple’s TV app on Apple devices; third-party streaming sticks and TV sets that include the TV app wouldn’t offer Disney+ content at all, which again would make for a worse experience.

I expect that Disney’s hesitation to announce channels support is only temporary. Either the company is still negotiating its exact deal with Apple, or an announcement is being held back for Apple’s iPhone event in September. The latter scenario seems likely: Disney+ garnering stage time at the biggest marketing event of the year for one of the world’s biggest companies is a win for both Apple and Disney.

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Pocket Lists: The Friendliest To-Do List App for Families [Sponsor]

Earlier this month, Pocket Lists got a massive update, which made it the first to-do list app designed specifically for family collaboration. That’s a big deal because far too many to-do apps are designed for your work life, but completely ignore the needs of you and your family.

Pocket Lists includes a brand new ‘Family’ tab that integrates real-time collaboration and to-do list sharing, so up to 6 family members can work together efficiently and productively. The new Family tab makes it super easy to share to-do lists with everyone in your family, view your family’s activity log, and assign tasks to one another.

By focusing on families instead of businesses, Pocket Lists makes the collaboration process truly friendly and easy to understand. The app is designed from the ground up to seamlessly combine all of the new family collaboration features with the ability to keep some lists and tasks private too.

Pocket Lists also looks great. There are over 400 icons to make your lists stand out, over 70 built-in and custom cover images, and color-coding. The app has all the other features you’d expect from a top-notch task manager too like natural language support for setting due dates and times in all ten languages that the app supports. Reminders can be set based on dates, times, and locations and can repeat. There is even support for hashtags, subtasks, an Apple Watch app, an iMessage app, and dark mode. On top of that, Pocket Lists integrates with Apple’s Reminders and Calendar apps.

If you’re looking to get your household tasks in order for your whole family, check out Pocket Lists today on their website and download it the App Store. It’s the friendliest to-do list app for families.

Our thanks to Pocket Lists for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Connected, Episode 256: Switch On

On this week’s episode of Connected:

After Myke breaks the news about his back, he and Stephen undertake their annual tradition of #RelayQA.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here).

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01:21:34

Connected, Episode 256

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Activity Trends in iOS 13

We touched on most of this year’s changes to iOS in our iOS 13 overview earlier this summer, but one feature that has mostly flown under the radar is the debut of Activity Trends.

True to its name, Activity Trends is a new way to monitor the progression of your daily activity over time. The feature is exposed via a new tab in Apple’s Activity app in iOS 13, and it breaks down your activity over the last 90 days compared to the previous 365.

In the main view, Trends are broken down by a variety of metrics, with each metric displaying your 90 day average as well as a simple up or down arrow to indicate whether it has improved or diminished over that time period in comparison to the average of your last year. The goal is to give you actionable information and goals to bring these metrics up. Goals are applied on a weekly basis, and hitting them consistently will result in an increase of your 90 day averages over time.

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Apple Brings App Store Editorials to the Web

Benjamin Mayo, reporting for 9to5Mac:

Apple has recently updated its App Store Preview pages for stories to allow users to view the full content of stories from inside their desktop web browser. App Store stories have always been shareable as links, but the web version was just a title and a navigation link to ‘open this story in the App Store’.

Between August 9th and August 11th, Apple has upgraded the experience and now includes full imagery, app lists and paragraphs copy in the web version. This means you can access the same content online as you would be ale to find in the native App Store experience.

Historically, App Store editorials could only be viewed inside the App Store itself, whether on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Anyone not using an Apple device would thus be unable to view such stories, even if they had the appropriate link for them. Now, however, every App Store editorial can be read in full on the web. iOS devices still default to opening stories in the App Store, but you can now open a story’s link in Safari on the Mac, or in browsers on non-Apple devices.

Apple still doesn’t let you initiate app downloads from the web, so while you will be able to see preview pages for apps from a browser, to start a download you’ll need to visit the App Store or Mac App Store.

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