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Everyday Robots Releases A Two-Part WWDC 2021 Developer Special

Everyday Robots, a podcast by Jonathan Ruiz, released a two-part episode today featuring developer reactions to WWDC. Ruiz’s guests include Becky Hansmeyer, Frank Foster, Marc Aupont, James Thomson, Zack Becker, Kim aka kaydacode, Ish Shabazz, Christian Selig, and Jeff Rames.

In a year without an in-person WWDC, it was fun to hear which of the announcements this year excited developers and what they felt was missing. I always enjoy Apple’s keynote, and there are a lot of additional details in the WWDC sessions, but there’s nothing like getting a sense of both the big announcements and practical everyday updates that developers are excited about to get a sense of where apps will be headed in the fall.

Both episodes are available on the Everyday Robots website and on Apple Podcasts:

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2021 Apple Design Award Winners: The AppStories Interviews

Federico and I had the pleasure of interviewing four of the twelve 2021 Apple Design Award winners for AppStories. The awards, which were announced by Apple last Thursday, recognized an app and a game in each of the following categories for their outstanding designs: Inclusivity, Delight and Fun, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Innovation.

For today’s special episode, which is the official kick-off of our Summer OS Preview Series of stories and AppStories episodes, we spoke with the following ADA winners:

  • Winston Chen, the developer of Voice Dream Reader, which won an ADA in the Inclusivity category
  • Esther Huybreghts, Mathijs Demaeght, and Melissa Cash from Pok Pok, the developers of Pok Pok Playroom, which won an ADA in the Delight and Fun category, and we covered when it launched
  • Brian Mueller, the developer of CARROT Weather, which won an ADA in the Interaction category and has been covered often on MacStories
  • Maria Sayans and David Fernandez Huerta from ustwo games, the creators of Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, which won an ADA in the Social Impact category

All four interviews are fantastic conversations that reveal common threads of thoughtful design, innovative approaches that feature the latest Apple technology, and a deep understanding of their users.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time for the interviews, Apple for helping arrange them, and as always, thank you for listening to AppStories. We hope you enjoy the episode.


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Concepts: Sketch, Note, Draw

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AppStories, Episode 226 – Three Features That Set iOS 15 Apart

This week on AppStories, we cover the three features that will sell iOS 15 to most users: Focus Mode, SharePlay, and Live Text and share some of our recent audio gear purchases for lossless streaming and AirPlay. We also took questions from listeners who watched us record the episode on Instagram Live.

Sponsored by:

  • DEVONthink – The one place for storing and working with all your documents, snippets, and bookmarks.
  • 1Blocker – Remove ads, trackers, and browse faster.
  • Pillow – Sleeping better, made simple.

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Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Record Label Pages

Ethan Millman, writing for Rolling Stone, reports that Apple has added around 400 music label pages to Apple Music. Label pages began showing up in Music late in April with the release of iOS and iPadOS 14.5 as Federico covered in in his overview. However, with the introduction of Spatial Audio and lossless streaming, Millman had a chance to talk to Zane Lowe, Apple Music’s co-head of Artist Relations and radio host, about why the company is emphasizing record labels.

According to Lowe:

“We want to highlight labels that are really hyper-focused on building great quality. The labels we’re partnering with here are the ones where I want to search for their logo on the back of the record and would buy music unheard because I trust that,” Lowe says. “That to me is really the culture that we’re trying to represent from a label point of view here. In a way, this is an opportunity for us to reestablish the concept of a label as something more than just a bank. To look at the label system again as more than just a distribution model or an investment model, but actually as a place where music, art and culture is fostered in a really deliberate and very thoughtful way.”

Listener affinity for record labels is just one aspect of music that has largely fallen by the wayside in the streaming era. It will be interesting to see if Apple Music can rekindle interest in labels as an indicator of quality and curation. There’s more Apple could do to expand music credits, but it’s good to see the company take a step in this direction with labels.


You can follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2021 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2021 RSS feed.

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Eddy Cue On Why Spatial Audio Is a Game-Changer

Billboard’s Micah Singleton interviewed Apple executive Eddy Cue about this week’s update to Apple Music, which added Spatial Audio, a surround sound technology based on Dolby Atmos, and lossless streaming. In the interview, Cue explains why Apple is enthusiastic about Spatial Audio and emphasizing it more than lossless streaming:

…when you listen for the first time and you see what’s possible with Dolby Atmos with music, it’s a true game-changer. And so, when we listened to it for the first time, we realized this is a big, big deal. It makes you feel like you’re onstage, standing right next to the singer, it makes you feel like you might be to the left of the drummer, to the right of the guitarist. It creates this experience that, almost in some ways, you’ve never really had, unless you’re lucky enough to be really close to somebody playing music.

Although the number of Spatial Audio tracks numbers in the thousands compared to Apple Music’s catalog of 75 million songs, Cue expects it to gain momentum over time. To that end, Cue explains that Apple is evangelizing Spatial Audio:

So we went after the labels and are going to the artists and educating them on it. There’s a lot of work to be done because we have, obviously, tens of millions of songs. This is not a simple “take-the-file that you have in stereo, processes through this software application and out comes Dolby Atmos.” This requires somebody who’s a sound engineer, and the artist to sit back and listen, and really make the right calls and what the right things to do are. It’s a process that takes time, but it’s worth it.

I’ve had the chance to try both Spatial Audio on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max and lossless streaming over my home stereo system. Lossless sounds excellent on my dedicated surround-sound system, but I think Apple is taking the right approach by emphasizing Spatial Audio over lossless. As good as lossless streaming sounds, the difference is small by comparison to Spatial Audio. Also, lossless is anchored to my living room, whereas I can enjoy Spatial Audio anywhere.

I was an early adopter of DVD-Audio and SACD, which also offer a surround-sound music experience, but neither format really caught on. I think Spatial Audio could be different, though. First of all, the format isn’t an add-on cost to an Apple Music subscription. When you couple that with the popularity of Apple’s products and the competitiveness of the music streaming industry, I think the format has a fighting chance at gaining a foothold where others have stumbled.


You can follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2021 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2021 RSS feed.

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Craig Federighi Provides Deeper Insight Into iCloud Private Relay

Fast Company’s Michael Grothaus interviewed Craig Federighi this week regarding the suite of new privacy features which Apple unveiled at WWDC. The article includes some notable technical details on how iCloud Private Relay works under the hood. One of the most interesting — and somewhat unfortunate — revelations is that iCloud Private Relay will only work from Safari. Users of other browsers are out of luck here.

The reason for this restriction has to do with Apple’s commitment to unassailable privacy, which happens by ensuring that no party can ever access both your IP address and your destination URL. From what I can gauge, this is actually a three-step process which looks something like this:

  • From Safari, you navigate to a particular URL. Safari encrypts this destination URL locally and then forwards your request to Apple’s iCloud Private Relay servers.
  • Apple’s servers anonymize your IP address so that it can’t be traced back to you, then forward the request to a trusted third-party’s servers.
  • The third-party decrypts the destination URL, then forwards the final request (decrypted URL plus anonymized IP address) to the destination.

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