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Connected, Episode 230: Here’s the Thing about Code Names

Stephen solves a problem that has been plaguing the podcast, Federico has concerns about Apple's rumored news service and Myke is fighting a losing battle with AirPlay 2.

On this week's episode of Connected, I reveal something from my youth and we consider the potential of future Apple services. You can listen here.

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AppStories, Episode 98 – Mixed iOS/Mac Automation

On this week's episode of AppStories, dive into Federico’s experiments in mixed iOS and Mac automation for controlling his Mac mini, iTunes, and podcasting setup.

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Apple’s Health Records on iPhone Coming to Veterans

Apple today announced that its Health Records feature is coming soon to all U.S. veterans thanks to a partnership with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The announcement includes key quotes from Apple executives that highlight the growing importance of health to Apple as a company.

“When patients have better access to their health information, they have more productive conversations with their physicians,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO. “By bringing Health Records on iPhone to VA patients, we hope veterans will experience improved healthcare that will enhance their lives.”

“Our goal is to empower people to better understand and improve their health, enabling them to view their medical information from multiple providers in one place easily and securely,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “We’re excited to bring this feature to veterans across the US.”

First introduced as part of iOS 11.3, Health Records is an iPhone feature whereby users' patient records from participating hospitals and clinics can be stored in the Health app for easy access. Today's news is significant largely for the expanded scope it brings to the feature. From the press release:

Health Records on iPhone will be the first record-sharing platform of its kind available to the VA, which is the largest medical system in the United States providing service to more than 9 million veterans across 1,243 facilities.

It's a smart partnership for Apple, and one that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of U.S. veterans.

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Connected, Episode 229: The Year of Stephen

Stephen was right, Angela is gone, Myke has a theory and Federico is automating his TV.

In this week's unjustly-titled episode of Connected, we share some thoughts on Apple retail stores and the changes coming to HomeKit in iOS 12.2. You can listen here.

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Apple Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts Leaving Company, Replaced by Deirdre O’Brien

Apple has announced a major change to its executive team: Angela Ahrendts, the company's Senior Vice President of Retail, is leaving the company this April. Stepping in to fill her big shoes is Deirdre O'Brien, whose title before today was Vice President of People; O'Brien is now taking on the role of Senior Vice President of Retail + People.

In her expanded role, Deirdre will bring her three decades of Apple experience to lead the company’s global retail reach, focused on the connection between the customer and the people and processes that serve them. She will continue to lead the People team, overseeing all People-related functions, including talent development and Apple University, recruiting, employee relations and experience, business partnership, benefits, compensation, and inclusion and diversity.

Ahrendts is one of Apple's most visible executives, with regular appearance at keynote events and frequent interactions with Apple retail staff through in-house messaging. Her five years at Apple have made a significant impact on the company, as she oversaw both the introduction of the Today at Apple program and a new design language for Apple's retail stores, which have grown more physically impressive and unique during her time.

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Connected, Episode 228: Oh No, Ovo!

Apple and Facebook try to outdo each other in who can have the more terrible week, and Stephen test drives the iPhone XR.

In this week's episode of Connected, we discuss at length the latest Facebook privacy scandal and share our thoughts in the aftermath of Apple's recently discovered FaceTime bug. You can listen here.

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Facebook Receives Retribution from Apple for Violation of Enterprise Program Guidelines

Facebook is in the news again, and unsurprisingly it's not the good kind of publicity.

Yesterday Josh Constine of TechCrunch exposed a "Facebook Research" VPN that Facebook has been using to harvest extensive phone data from users age 13 to 35 in exchange for payment from the company of up to $20/month. The practice was made possible by Facebook's enterprise developer certificate from Apple, but after the story came to light, Apple swiftly responded by revoking that certificate from Facebook and publicly condemning the company's misuse of Apple's Enterprise Developer Program. That action caused the immediate end of the Facebook Research initiative on Apple platforms, but it also has reportedly brought widespread consequences throughout the entirety of Facebook's company operations. Tom Warren and Jacob Kastrenakes, reporting for The Verge:

Apple has shut down Facebook’s ability to distribute internal iOS apps, from early releases of the Facebook app to basic tools like a lunch menu. A person familiar with the situation tells The Verge that early versions of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and other pre-release “dogfood” (beta) apps have stopped working, as have other employee apps, like one for transportation. Facebook is treating this as a critical problem internally, we’re told, as the affected apps simply don’t launch on employees’ phones anymore.
[...]
Revoking a certificate not only stops apps from being distributed on iOS, but it also stops apps from working. And because internal apps by the same organization or developer may be connected to a single certificate, it can lead to immense headaches like the one Facebook now finds itself in where a multitude of internal apps have been shut down.

This is more than a slap on the wrist, but it seems like a fitting response to Facebook's blatant abuse of the Apple enterprise agreement. My main hope is that it causes Facebook to think twice before implementing any similarly shady initiatives in the future.

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Apple and American Airlines Partner to Provide Apple Music Streaming on Flights

Apple's ever-growing focus on services was on display during yesterday's quarterly earnings call, and today the company is continuing that narrative by announcing a new partnership with American Airlines that enables Apple Music subscribers to stream music while flying, even without paying for in-flight Wi-Fi. From Apple's press release:

Starting Friday, Apple Music subscribers can enjoy their access to over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos on any domestic American Airlines flight equipped with Viasat satellite Wi-Fi with no Wi-Fi purchase required. American Airlines is the first commercial airline to provide exclusive access to Apple Music through complimentary inflight Wi-Fi.

“For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their suitcases,” said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music. “With the addition of Apple Music on American flights, we are excited that customers can now enjoy their music in even more places. Subscribers can stream all their favorite songs and artists in the air, and continue to listen to their personal library offline, giving them everything they need to truly sit back, relax and enjoy their flight.”

When it comes to hardware and software, Apple is famously known for maintaining a very closed ecosystem, but fortunately there's mounting evidence that the company's services approach will utilize a new playbook. Apple Music coming to Amazon Echo, AirPlay 2 and iTunes content being built into TV sets, and now this American Airlines deal demonstrate a desire to spread Apple services further than ever before.

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