SoundByte 339 – May 2023

ChristopherNews, SoundByte

AirPods Pro 2

Welcome to SoundByte! In this issue:

May Meeting

Join us at 7pm, Tuesday, May 9, for our May Meeting. We will start the evening with our regular look at Apple news in NewsByte and then we will focus on spring cleaning your Mac, Watch and iPhone, so its fit for a King 👑, without paying a King’s ransom.

Check the email this newsletter came in for the Zoom link and follow the London Mac User Group on…Mastodon🐘! If you are not familiar with Mastodon, have a look at TidBit’s explainer here.

Optimise your AirPods!

AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro 2

AirPods have great sound quality with the AirPods Pro 2 and Max particularly excelling. Did you know you can customise their sound profile to your ears as well, especially if you have hearing issues? Have a read of this article from on how to use accessibility and other methods to tune the sound to your personal needs.

Despite the quality of sound that most of us can hear (and feel), some may still feel vexed that Apple’s music devices remain unable to play the highest quality 24-bit lossless music. Or can’t they? At least, the Home Pod may have a trick up its sleeve when playing direct from Apple Music. Read more on Digital Trends.

A Tesla for your iPhone

Yes, that Tesla. We already know that Tesla make more than cars. Their home batteries are quite popular too. But one of their latest offerings has triggered the ghost of AirPower. They have developed a Qi charging mat that can charge multiple phones or other wireless accessories at once. Rather than apeing Apple design, Tesla has drawn inspiration from their (pedestrian unfriendly looking) Cyber Truck. Engadget had a look below:

The perfect watch band?

For me at least. I was on a sixth-form geography field trip when a close friend let me feel his …watch band. I was awed at how beautiful it looked on his wrist but more how it worked. Elastic yet metal. So easy to put on and take off. I assumed it was a special feature of his Omega watch. I am not sure how I remembered it recently, but on looking it up I feel it’s Back to the Future! This amazing band is actually quite old, its called the Twist-O-Flex by Speidel:

The original Speidel company has long gone, but as with many good, old ideas, investors have brought it back to life and one of their best sellers is, of course, their Apple Watch band. I bought one immediately and I love it. It is perhaps just me, but I could not get along with Apple’s bands, sadly. I was constantly having to adjust the Nike Band and the beautiful Leather Link. The problem is my wrist grows when I’m exercising but the bands didn’t. I sleep hot and I would often wake during the night with slight pain from the bands constricting the blood to my hand. Adjusting the band in the middle of my cycle commute was not the safest experience either and when loosening it, the watch would often lose connection to my wrist, losing any health/fitness monitoring and frequently necessitating use of the passcode to reactivate it. I am also sweaty and don’t want Apple’s fabric loop.

There is always a risk with metal bands that they will be too loose or tight. The small links in the Twist-o-flex reduce (but don’t remove) this risk. I have yet to loose connection to the watch 🤞🏾 but it is slightly loose when I have cooled down. It is possible to add or remove links, but I would strongly advise getting a watch shop to lengthen or shorten it for you. I found it very difficult to do and nearly made a complete mess of it – luckily the dents I left are very small.

If you are active and want an adaptable band like the Twist-o-flex, you might also be thinking of the increasingly popular with all types of people (according to what I see), Apple Watch Ultra. Have a look at iMore’s review here.

Web browsers future past

Time was, a good way to speed up your Mac would be to uninstall the Chrome browser, completely. Times may have changed though, as Chrome has had a major update on the Mac. Read more about its performance upgrade on iMore.

In another upgrade from Google, they have enabled the future authentication standard that will replace passwords: Passkeys. If you are used to FaceTime rather than entering your passwords, you will get the idea of how Passkeys work. There are some fundamental issues however that may or may not stymie fast adoption. Similar to Keychain, which works perfectly on Apple devices but isn’t great if working cross-platform, Ars Technica reports on similar concerns about interoperability across Mac, Windows and other devices here.

In other news, there is a new kid on the block. I haven’t tried it because there is a waiting list, but there is a new web browser for the Mac getting some buzz that might be worth a look. It’s called Arc.

If the future exhausts you, pat your CyberDog on the head and have a look back at simpler times before Safari was a twinkle in an open source developer’s eye. Do you remember Netscape and the browser wars?

More Mac malware

The Mac seems to be becoming an increasingly juicy target for Malware developers. Yet another password stealing tool appears to be on sale on the internet. Take special care to install software only from known sources, and at best from the Mac App Store, and never from any unintended activities, like if a website downloads something you didn’t ask for. Read more on Apple Insider.

H’AI and low – does ChatGPT4 have music skills?

Don’t panic, although ChatGPT4 appears to have jumped out of a sci-fi movie into real life, I’m not particularly impressed. Although it has apparently got much better at writing music, perhaps this skill remains something unique to humans…for now.

ARM PC workstations, ready in three, two…

Maybe it is inevitable, maybe not. The question remains how PCs will adopt low power, high performance ARM chips for the PC when their chips are either server or smartphone based? Well, Jeff Geerling really tried to make it work. See his results below:

The Infinite Mac

In some simply mind-boggling news, a full implementation of the old Mac Operating Systems (before Mac OS X) has been developed for…web browsers. And it fully works! 🤯. You can go all the way back to System 1.0 (ED – why would you want that?). Enough talking, here it is! Have a look at this video below. Again: 🤯

Calm down by enjoying some beautiful wall papers from the Basic Apple Guy.

Weird stuff from Japan

And finally, Japan is famous for its Akihabara markets selling all kinds of tech and trinkets. How strange can it get? Have look below:

But a serious problem with stuff like this is impulse buying resulting in e-Waste when you lose interest in it. Reduce is the first step of re-use and recycling. Be discerning with the tech you buy and keep it for a long time. How long? Well, er, have a look at this rather extreme example on iMore. Speaking of extreme, have a look at the unique approach to re-use of electronic waste in Cornwall here on the BBC.

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