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Kolide

Ensure that if a device isn’t secure it can’t access your apps.  It’s Device Trust for Okta.


A Comprehensive Guide to Gaming on the Apple Vision Pro

The lack of any kind of port significantly limits the type of gaming you can do in the Apple Vision Pro – or does it? Sure, even one USB-C port would make a big difference to gamers looking to play titles outside the App Store, but there is a surprisingly wide array of ways to play almost any game on the Vision Pro with the help of a combination of apps and hardware. The solutions run the gamut from simple to complex and span a range of price points. I’ve tried them all and have pointers on how to get started.

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Six Colors’ ‘Apple in 2023’ Report Card

For the past nine years, Six Colors’ Jason Snell has put together an ‘Apple report card’ – a survey to assess the current state of Apple “as seen through the eyes of writers, editors, developers, podcasters, and other people who spend an awful lot of time thinking about Apple”.

The 2023 edition of the Six Colors Apple Report Card has just been published, and you can find an excellent summary of all the submitted comments along with charts featuring average scores for different categories here.

I’m happy that Jason invited me again to share some thoughts and comments on what Apple did in 2023. As you’ll see from my comments, I was very disappointed with the iPad – there was literally no new hardware last year and only minor changes in software – and more intrigued by what’s happening in macOS land. This, I think, will be a recurring theme on MacStories in 2024: as I move my workflow to the Vision Pro with the Mac as an accessory to it, I expect I’ll be using macOS a lot more as a result. In 2023, I was also very impressed with iPhone hardware, somewhat annoyed with the lack of changes to the AirPods line, and surprised by the updates in tvOS 17.

I’ve prepared the full text of my answers to the Six Colors report card, which you can find below.

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Vision Accessibility on Apple Vision Pro

I have low vision. A kind you can’t really correct for with glasses or contacts. I also bought Apple Vision Pro at launch. Why would I do this? Well because I’m a nerd who wants to see the future, but also because I was fascinated to see how Apple would handle accessibility for this new product. Apple’s track record on accessibility in the past decade has been stellar, in my opinion, with their teams adding powerful options every year and ensuring every new platform has accessibility support built in from the start.

After watching Apple’s WWDC23 session on visionOS accessibility, I knew accessibility on visionOS was an important point for them. But even after consuming as much information on the platform as I could, I knew I had to try it for myself to know the answer to the important question: how well does it work for me?

Terrific overview of the Accessibility features of visionOS and Vision Pro by Zach Knox.

It’s no surprise to learn that Apple’s Accessibility team did some amazing work for this new platform too, but it’s impressive to see that on day one of the Vision Pro there are already dozens of Accessibility features and accommodations in place. And keep in mind that these are Accessibility options that work with Apple apps and third-party ones, right out of the box. This is the kind of ecosystem advantage and platform integration that newfound tech reviewer Zuckerberg probably forgot to mention in his video.

See also: Tom Moore’s story on trying the Vision Pro with one eye only, Peter Saathoff-Harshfield’s Mastodon thread, Shelly Brisbin’s story for Six Colors, and Ryan Hudson Peralta’s fantastic overview (via 9to5Mac) of using the Vision Pro without hands, which I’m embedding below.

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AppStories, Episode 371 – Exploring visionOS

This week on AppStories, we move on from hardware to explore visionOS, where it hits, where it misses, and what we’d like to see in the future from the OS.

Sponsored by:

  • Paste – Endless clipboard for Mac and iOS devices
  • Crouton – A home for your favorite recipes from wherever you find them

On AppStories+, we discuss the developer strap and how it could potentially gain new features in the future, as well as the idea of using a headless Mac as a Vision Pro accessory.

We deliver AppStories+ to subscribers with bonus content, ad-free, and at a high bitrate early every week.

To learn more about the benefits included with an AppStories+ subscription, visit our Plans page, or read the AppStories+ FAQ.

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Sharing a Vision Pro with Someone Else Is Too Hard

Adi Robertson writes for The Verge about the Vision Pro’s lackluster support for multiple users and how hard it is to share the device with someone else:

The Vision Pro is $3,499 and only one person in your household can ever use it fully, which makes no sense at all. The privacy issues are technically there on the Vision Pro — letting anyone else use it without setting restrictions in guest mode grants them access to everything you’ve got on the headset, including your messages. But as my experience demonstrates, they may not even be able to use it well enough to get that far. You can start a guest session by holding the Vision Pro’s left-side hardware button for four seconds, but you can’t store a second user’s information so they can log in quickly next time without calibration. Basically, imagine if every time you passed an iPad to somebody else in your family, they had to spend a minute poking colored dots.

The worst part of using the Vision Pro for the past two weeks has been trying to get someone else in my family to use it. As a novel type of computer that almost demands to be tried by different people in your life, the lack of multi-user support at launch is a major cause of friction for me right now. I’ve been able to get a separate set of light seal and cushion for Silvia and my mom, but the problem is visionOS. There is a guest mode, but every time someone other than me wants to try the Vision Pro, they have to do the eye setup process from scratch. It gets annoying quickly without the ability to save calibrated presets for other people.

In the demos I’ve conducted for people in my family over the past week, I’ve also realized how hard it is to guide someone else through visionOS for the first time. I wish Apple had built a dedicated “demo app” for new users who try the Vision Pro – sort of like a pre-installed (and interactive) version of Apple’s guided tour, which is also very similar to the demo I had at WWDC last year.

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Paste - Endless Clipboard for Mac and iOS Devices [Sponsor]

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Our thanks to Paste for sponsoring MacStories this week.


MacStories Unwind: Vision Pro Q&A with Club MacStories Members

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This week on MacStories Unwind, we answer questions from Jonathan Reed and Club MacStories members about the Apple Vision Pro live from the Club MacStories Discord audio channel.

  • Kolide – It ensures that if a device isn’t secure it can’t access your apps.  It’s Device Trust for Okta. Watch the demo now.

MacStories Unwind+

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Vision Pro App Spotlight: HomeUI Enables Spatial Control over HomeKit Lights, Switches, and Outlets

The Apple Vision Pro doesn’t have a native version of the company’s Home app. You can launch the iPad version in compatibility mode, which I’m glad is available, but that means it doesn’t offer any spatial computing features beyond a window floating in your environment. Fortunately, HomeUI by Rob Owen fills the gap with a native visionOS app focused on lights, electrical outlets, and switches.

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Welcome to Weird

Today, Chance Miller reported for 9to5Mac that the progressive web app (PWA) issues iPhone users in the EU have been seeing throughout the iOS 17.4 beta cycle are indeed intentional, breaking changes. The evidence is new developer documentation that added a Q&A section dealing with web apps. As Chance explains:

One change in iOS 17.4 is that the iPhone now supports alternative browser engines in the EU. This allows companies to build browsers that don’t use Apple’s WebKit engine for the first time. Apple says that this change, required by the Digital Markets Act, is why it has been forced to remove Home Screen web apps support in the European Union.

The upshot of Apple’s answer to why PWAs no longer work in the EU is that it would be hard to implement the same thing for other browsers, few people use PWAs, and the Digital Markets Act requires browser feature parity, so they took the feature out of Safari. Each step in that logic may be true, but it doesn’t make the results any more palatable for those who depend on web apps, which have only grown in importance to users in recent years.

For anyone who was there when Steve Jobs declared web apps a ‘Sweet Solution’ when developers clamored for Apple to open up the iPhone’s OS to native apps, taking them away in the face of regulations that force Apple to open up to alternative browser engines carries a heavy dose of irony. It also illustrates that when the motivations behind software design are driven by lawyers and regulators, not market forces, things get weird. And as iOS 17.4 shows, EU-iOS is solidly in weird territory.

PWAs may not be a top 10 feature of Safari, but that’s at least partly the result of the company’s own decisions because it wasn’t until recently that PWAs became viable alternatives to some native apps. Web apps aren’t going anywhere, and choosing to eliminate PWAs from Safari instead of doing the work to extend them to all browsers runs counter to the open web and the momentum of history. I hope Apple reconsiders its decision.

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