This Tweet is Pure Genius

In case you don’t understand the context, here is what happened earlier today.

Fuck DHH. And Spotify and Match Group and Tile. Because they are just nothing more than a bunch of evil, greedy people that the world does not need in this day and age.

Should you preorder or buy the 24 inch M1 iMac?

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It is only less than an hour before preorders for the new 24 inch M1 iMac start. Have you decided if you are going to buy one?

First things first. Uninformed outlets (including the idiots whom MacWorld UK pay to write their trashy articles) think that Apple shrunk the 27 inch iMac to 24 inches and gave it a low end processor, making it a “down grade” in their eyes.

That is not the case.

The new 24 inch iMac is a replacement for the 21.5 inch iMac, which was always a low end computer filled with low end parts to meet a price point. If you are a current 27 inch iMac user (like myself) you should wait for now.

If you were already thinking of buying a desktop Mac and price is more important than more performance and the absolutely biggest screen size, then the 24 inch iMac is a no brainer (unless of course, you prefer to use your current monitor to save some money or you hate all-in-ones).

The 24 inch is an absolute steal. You get power that’s better than the majority of intel Macs being sold until today, all at a starting price that is only 50 USD more than the 12.9 inch M1 iPad Pro (which comes with no accessories).

Of course you should really buy at least the mid range model to enjoy the benefits of the new system, like the TouchID keyboard and the power adapter with built in Ethernet. But if you prefer to save some money the entry model is definitely as powerful as the other two models. You just will not have the choice of purple, yellow or orange colours if one of those is what you wanted to go for.

If you are a first time Mac desktop user and wonder if the iMac will last you long enough to make your investment worth it, here is an example – my first iMac is the 2007 model, and it is still being used today. Macs are built to last, and the massive performance overhead of all the M1 Macs ensure that you will have them at a usable performance level for probably way longer than the latest Intel Macs (or any x86 machine, for that matter).

The final question is, of course, what colour will you pick? (I pick purple, because while I cannot decide between blue and purple, purple is limited to online sales and only reserved for the higher grade models).

Things to note when using Unlock with Apple Watch (with your FaceID iPhone)

By now you should have heard and seen the news about the lifesaving feature in iOS 14.5 – Unlock with Apple Watch. In this age where masks are compulsory, FaceID is a pain when you are outdoors. With iOS 14.5 and a compatible Apple Watch (Series 3 and above), you can now unlock your iPhone even when masked.

Steps to enable Unlock with Apple Watch

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch (only works with Series 3 and onwards, and SE) is on watchOS 7.4. If not, follow instructions to install watchOS 7.4 on your watch first.
  2. Next, go to your iPhone Settings > FaceID and Passcode, and make sure the Apple Watch setting you want to use “Unlock with Apple Watch” with is turned on. If you have “Update Needed” beside your inactive (currently not connected) Apple Watch shown, even though that particular watch is already updated, there is no need to worry. It seems to be a bug. Once the watch is connected it goes away.
  3. Tap on “Turn on” for the following prompt
  4. Enjoy!
  5. Every time you unlock your iPhone, your Apple Watch will provide haptic feedback as well as a prompt to lock the iPhone down if the unlock is unwanted.

Things to take note of

Does Not Work for Authenticating Apple Pay 

It will not work for authenticating Apple Pay to pay with your iPhone. You still have to enter your iPhone’s passcode. But since you are already wearing your Apple Watch you should just use that instead. If Apple Pay has yet to be set up on your Apple Watch, set it up now. Remember that you need add the same credit card to the iPhone and Apple Watch separate, the card you have in your iPhone doesn’t appear in the Watch automatically.

Unlock will Fail if the Connection to your Watch is Weak

This is the case especially for iPhones with multiple Apple Watches paired. Sometimes the auto switching can fail or even when the correct watch is shown as connected, the Bluetooth connection might be weak. The easiest way to test this is by going into the Watch app on your iPhone and setting a random “as your current watch face”. If the watch face on your Apple Watch does not change  immediately then the connection is not working normally. Usually it will resolve by itself in a few minutes. Sometimes it requires you to reboot both your iPhone and your Apple Watch.

Does not Work for iCloud Keychain or when FaceID is Set to Unlock/Login into Apps

If you have previously set FaceID as a quick way to login or unlock certain apps (bank apps, payment apps, etc), Unlock with Apple Watch will not unlock your app. It is strictly for unlocking the iPhone only. This means it will not work when you are trying to unlock your PayLah! app to pay at Daiso or if you are trying to login to Health Buddy by authenticating with the Singpass app. If you have not set FaceID to unlock those apps then you will need the relevant passwords you set for those apps. Or you can just enter your iPhone’s passcode. Either way it is still friction in the usage process, and prevents the some people from using those apps when they are outside for fear of CCTVs catching their passwords/codes.

Conclusion

I am trying to think of more negative points for Unlock with Apple Watch all while typing this on a train ride, but I really can not find any. This is the feature we needed all along for the past 12 months, and while it is a year late I am glad we got this after all. With the rumors of the next iPhone getting under display TouchID going away somewhat, Unlock with Apple Watch is definitely needed to survive the pandemic days going forward.

For those with older Apple Watches (Series 0, 1 and 2), while it is possible to use your Apple Watch with iOS 14, the Unlock with Apple Watch feature is a watchOS 7.4 feature. Since Series 1 and 2 can only run watchOS 6, maybe it is time to consider buying a new Apple Watch. Amazon US has the latest Series 6 40mm Product RED Apple Watch at 100USD off its MSRP of 399USD.

A Blast from the Past – Apple Smart Case for iPad Air (Blue) [MF050ZM/A]

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One upon a time, Apple made accessories for its iPhone and iPad lines, as a small sideline to complement device sales. As such, most of the earlier offerings were limited to smaller ranges of color choices, unlike the big range of offerings every season of today’s Apple.

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The leather covers always feel much better than the silicon ones
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This leather back is something you won’t find on Apple’s iPad accessories anymore

Since the iPad 2, the iPad had always have the Smart Cover accessory, a magnetic display cover that triggers the sleep wake function every time you undo the flap. When the iPad Air (and iPad Mini) was released, Apple introduced an all-in-one solution for the iPad – the iPad Smart Case. It covers the display as well as protect the body of the iPad, and is made of leather. People either loved the iPad Smart Case, hated its high price and weakness against the elements (since it is leather).

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The microfibre lined inside
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The insides of both the cover and the body are color matched

With the introduction of the iPad Pro, Apple stopped making all-in-one iPad protection. It replaced the Smart Case with the “Silicon Case”, which was really just a silicon back cover intended to be used with a separate Smart Cover. This increased the cost of total protection from 119 SGD for the iPad Smart Case to 99 SGD for the Silicon Case, and an additional 75 SGD for the Smart Case. Furthermore, despite paying over 50 SGD more, the Smart Cover+Silicon Case combination is made from silicon instead of premium leather, and is a lot heavier than the Smart Case.

The Silicon Case did not find any lovers, as most iPad owners opt to buy third party back covers that are more rigid and cost way less. Apple eventually discontinued the Silicon Case as well.

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The antenna area
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iPad Smart Case”

The iPad Smart Case I have here is for the original iPad Air (the very one I bought on its launch day when iStudio tried to scam Apple fans who queued up through the night by forcing bundles on them if they want the iPads). It is officially in “Blue”, though the actual shade of blue is closer to today’s Northern Blue than Blue Gen 1 and Blue Gen 2 (from the Apple Watch bands). Unfortunately I had to discard the packaging as it was dirty (it lived in a warehouse for half a decade or more), and forgot to take photos of it. Nevertheless the Smart Case is spotlessly clean.

The iPad Air meant to go inside this case is still housed within a ESR case, and in the possession of my parents. I will retrieve it someday.

How to Fix A Glowing White Spot on the 10.5-inch or 12.9 inch iPad Pro

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Do you have a glowing white spot at the location about 3 or 4 inches above your home button on your 10.5 inch or 12.9 inch (1st and 2nd Gen) iPad Pro?

This is a problem caused by the display cable underneath pushing against the back of the display, creating a pressure point. It is only found on the first and second generation 12.9 inch iPad Pro, and the 10.5 inch iPad Pro (and iPad Air) as the 10.5 inch iPad has a similar design/layout as that of the original 12.9 inch iPad Pros. This issue has also spawned an entire thread on MacRumors forums, and caused agony for a lot of owners.

Unless you purchased your iPad from old stock and have Applecare, it is likely that they are no longer covered by Apple’s warranty. If you do not notice the spot or are not bothered by it, then that is the best scenario. Do not do anything about it. However, if you cannot stand the sight of the white spot when your the majority of your display is white or light coloured, then maybe try out this possible solution.

Warning, due to the possibility that some display glass might be weak from a previous drop, or that the strength of some suction cups might be too strong, MacRyu is definitely not responsible for any possible breakage to your iPad.

This method also does not work on iPads with screen protectors installed as only the screen protector will be lifted (or broken) when you try to pull off the suction cup.

Finally, this method will not work for every iPad with the problem. It is only good to try if you are very very bothered by the white spot.

  1. Find a suction cup, something from Daiso will do. Preferably it should be at least 3 to 4 cm wide.
  2. Stick it to the area of the display where the spot is.
  3. Pull the suction cup up straight away from the display, slowly.
  4. Please use your judgement, stop once you think there is any danger of breaking your iPad display.

The lifting of the iPad display with the suction cup sometimes pull the display away very slightly, enough to relieve the pressure point caused by the display cable underneath. It may come back in the future if you excert pressure on the iPad somehow (eg. by holding it with one hand in landscape, or not using a sturdy case and putting it in a bag where books can cause pressure). It is a design flaw, which is likely why Apple moved away from the design as soon as it could.

Beats Flex Now Back at 40USD!

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Just days after my Flame Blue Beats Flex post, the Beats Flex price on Amazon US has now dropped back to 40 USD (roughly 53.90 SGD), which is about 20 SGD cheaper than what you will pay for it if you buy it locally in Singapore. The price is available for all colours except Cloud Grey.

Click here to purchase it from Amazon US.

Want a review of the Beats Flex? It’s here.

Beats Flex in Flame Blue

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Early this year Beats finally released the last two colours of the Beats Flex line – Flame Blue and Smoke Grey. Flame Blue was always my first choice of colour for the Beats Flex, but as it was not available at launch I bought the Beats Black color instead. Today I am finally able to take a look at the Flame Blue colorway.

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The compact Beats Flex packaging

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The blue is stunning!

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Minimal instructions

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The usual accessories

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All the available tips

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In action

There is absolutely no difference in functionality and sound quality to the Beats Black version I bought last year during the launch, so check out the review if you need a refresher. Basically it is pretty decent for the price, and should be your first choice if you want to use bluetooth earphones/IEMs on iOS on a budget.

If you don’t mind forwarding from the United States, they are available on Amazon US for 49.88USD right now, which is very slightly cheaper than the local price. Sometimes they can go as low as 20% off as well.

Haneda Airport During COVID-19 (Youtube)

A short video I made with clips I took in Haneda Airport in late April 2020, during the first State of Emergency declared in Tokyo due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Haneda was (and still is) in sorry state, with shops and restaurants mostly closed, and very few people in the terminals. All the money put into making Haneda Airport nice for tourists coming from all around the world during the Olympic games have gone to waste as Tokyo has announced that Japan 2021 will be a Japanese-only affair.

The Only Solution to Missing Album Artwork in iPhone Due to Catalina and Big Sur’s Music.app

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Important: Please note, this post is mainly for people with curated offline music libraries, whose album artwork has largely gone missing due to Apple’s change in the work album artwork is stored and retrieve in the new Music.app in macOS Catalina and Big Sur.

The Unreliable macOS Music.app

With the removal of iTunes in macOS Catalina, it is no longer possible to reliably maintain a music library with correct album artwork showing, especially if your library has a large percentage of music ripped from CDs (and did not purchase from Apple). Every time you upgrade the operating system (say, from Catalina to Big Sur), or if you decide to wipe and reinstall macOS, when you load your music library for the first time, the new Music.app starts a process of populating your music library with album artwork by detecting embedded artwork from your music files.

This process is about as reliable as trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 without masks or vaccines.

The iPhone’s Failure to Load Album Artwork

Very often the process will fail to load all the album artwork. Sometimes it fails to load ANY artwork at all. But the most irritating problem is that even if the album artwork successfully loads in the macOS Music.app, it can sometimes go missing when your music library is synced to your iPhone’s Music.app. This is because, for some weird reason, during the process of loading album artwork, the macOS Music.app sometimes deletes the embedded artwork in the first, or first few songs in each album. And for some other weird reason, album artwork will fail to load in the iOS Music.app if the first song in the album does not have any embedded artwork.

This all stemmed from the fact that the macOS Music.app is a half-baked modified iTunes, while the iOS Music.app is really a reskinned Beats Music app. The prior iOS Music codebase which was extremely stable and usable, has been thrown out for the buggy mess that was Beats Music.

Now, maybe the above paragraph has given you a hint of the one and only solution to the problem you are having right now. You are right.

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The answer is iTunes.

The Solution, For Now

I have absolutely no idea why people claimed to hate iTunes. Maybe they don’t like to have a bunch of functions inside one single app, or maybe the complaining people are all Windows users, but iTunes was, and still is very mature and stable. If you just use it for your offline Music library, it is leagues more stable than the macOS Music.app is today. And given that Apple don’t give a fuck about fixing the macOS Music.app since Catalina, I think the plan is that they will rather inconvenient users with offline music libraries in the hope of driving them to pay for Apple Music subscriptions.

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You cannot download iTunes for Catalina or Big Sur. For that you need Retroactive. You can read about Retroactive here and here, but basically by now it is quite stable and has a relatively big pool of users.

How to Restore Your Album Artwork to iOS Devices

The steps to getting your album artwork back on your iPhone are to;

  1. Install Retroactive
  2. Use Retroactive to install iTunes 12.9.5
  3. Hopefully, you still have your iTunes library file lying somewhere in your disk. If not, just open Music.app, and drag everything into iTunes, creating a new iTunes library file.
  4. If your music files still have album artwork embedded in them, all the artwork will load. If there are missing album artwork (due to the Music.app deleting a bunch), fix them.
  5. Sync your iPhone (using Finder/iTunes). Uncheck all music in the music sync settings so that your current music library in your iPhone is deleted once. Then click sync.
  6. Sync your iPhone again, this time using only iTunes. Recheck all the music you want to sync back in. If you have a large library, try syncing a few artists first.
  7. Check that everything is working now, then continue to sync all the remaining artists you want.
  8. Enjoy!

Step 5 is important because if you just sync with iTunes on the same settings for music you had on Finder, nothing will change as only music files that had been modified will sync over.

Syncing with iTunes will not create a new backup, both iTunes and the Finder are just an interface to access the system’s syncing feature. If you ask me syncing on iTunes is more clearcut and obvious than syncing on the Finder.

At least for now, iTunes syncing will be the only solution for this massive artwork problem, until Apple decides to fix the problem. To make that happen, file a bug with Apple. If enough people make noise Apple will likely nudge and fix the missing album artwork issue.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Present Ideas (Apple Edition)

Valentines Day is the day you show your significant other that he or she is special. While expensive presents will definitely do, limited edition items can make better presents simply due to the item being only available at a particular period in time.

If you have yet to prepare your present for this Sunday, these three Apple items are worth serious consideration. With Chinese New Year coming up logistically speaking you only have to tonight or tomorrow to buy your present, so there is no time to waste.

The Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity

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Apple’s second ever limited edition Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity.

It is only available for this month (February 2021).

If you have the budget, this is the one item to buy your loved one. They are available at the same prices as the normal Series 6, starting at 599SGD, in both sizes and in GPS and GPS+Cellular variants

Stock Status:

Not all models are in stock.

All 40mm models are in stock at all Apple Stores.

However, 44mm GPS models, arguably the most popular model, are only in stock at Apple Marina Bay Sands. 44mm GPS+Cellular models are in stock in all Apple Stores.

The Black Unity Sport Band

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The Sport Band is available without the watch as well, if your loved one already has an Apple Watch and are unlikely to appreciate another one. Everyone can appreciate more watch bands, however. Unlike the watch the Black Unity Sport Band, while limited, will be available for the rest of 2021 while stock last. Available for the usual 69SGD.

Stock Status:

It is in stock at all three Apple Stores.

The Limited Edition AirPods Pro – Ox

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These are the regular AirPods Pro with a Ox laser engraving on the wireless case. As it is a Chinese New Year model, it is likely to be available only while stocks last.

Stock Status:

It is in stock at all three Apple Stores.

Valentines Day Presents on the Cheap

If your valentine can wait to receive his or her present from overseas, then these deals are definitely worth it as you will be able to save a bunch of money.

The AirPods Pro

Now available at 189USD

Beats Flex

Now available at 40USD

For more gift ideas, check out my previous Christmas Gift Guide.




About MacRyu.com

MacRyu is the Mac Blog by Singaporeans and for Singaporeans. It was started in April 2007 as a side project of the then President of the Official Mac User Group of NUS, Ryu, and grew to become possibly one of the most popular Apple-related sites based in Singapore. MacRyu hopes to provide you with more Mac-related info, thoughts and stuff, from the Singaporean perspective.

About Sponsored Posts

MacRyu is welcoming sponsored posts to offset the cost of hosting this site. Do email Ryu to make a fair offer, we will be most willing to consider your offer. COVID-19 has not been kind, and MacRyu appreciates all help to keep the site running.

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