The strange trend of apps leaving the Apple Watch

Uber has quietly shut down its Apple Watch app, with the software now showing a message that instructs people to “please switch to the Uber mobile app.” The company is “no longer supporting the Apple Watch app,” according to the text, which ends with Uber apologizing for any inconvenience caused by the app’s discontinuation. There’s also a sad face emoji to drive that sentiment home… More here.

This is strange on the face of it, but understandable when you have used an Apple Watch for any length of time. I don’t think I used more than 1 or 2 third party Apple Watch apps when I used mine for extended periods. There was just no need and the advantages were often minimal.

It’s evidence of how complete the Apple Watch experience is and the limitations that can be expected from such a small device.

iOS Music Player Showcase

There’s new and exciting developments every year in the realm of iOS third-party music players, and 2021 was no exception. While 2019 enjoyed an explosion of new players like Power Player and Albums that through time came to lead the space, 2020 in contrast received only a modest handful of new players and is instead remembered for the impressive growth the established player base received that year. This past year, 2021, managed to do both with a dizzying array of five new players and impressive growth across nearly all existing players… More here.

If you don’t like how Apple Music works, take a look at the above showcase.

Wordle – The App (please give it 1 star)

Wordle – The App is now on the App Store and you can pay a yearly charge to play it. The thing is that the entire idea, design etc has been mimicked to make the game for iOS and so I will not link to it.

Also, the developer’s comments on Twitter are somewhat asshole-ish so if you do see the game listed feel free to give it a one star review. I would also suggest to just add the website for Wordle to your Home Screen instead of giving this guy any money.

Update: Apple has now removed the Wordle clone apps from the App Store.

Taking notes

Writing is an essential part of learning. Through writing, we demonstrate what we have learned. We display the ability to think critically. And we develop ideas. But writing is not just the result of learning; it is also the medium. Yes, you write a blog post on a topic you have just learned, but you also write notes to understand that topic better. Those notes that you write when you learn can be valuable. You need to figure out how to take and organize those notes… More here.

Some useful options and use cases included in the above which you may find useful.

When your fake iPhone app reviews go wrong (Widgetarium)

Widgetarium is an app, like many others, that slightly simplifies creating themes for your iPhone.

Tiffiny seems to like it and gave it a 5 star review, and the developer responded to thank her.

Branham seems to like it and gave it a 5 star review, and the developer responded to thank them.

It is a REMARKABLE coincidence that the words on both reviews and responses are identical… I wonder what the odds on that randomly happening are?

Marvis Pro (Apple Music how you like it)

Marvis offers a beautiful presentation of your Music Library with loads of powerful features in a minimalistic yet highly customizable UI.

• For iTunes, iCloud Music Library & Apple Music.
‣ Supports Apple Music Search, Browse, For You & Radio.
‣ Non-subscribers can search & browse the Apple Music catalog and play 30s preview for all available songs… More here.

By most accounts this appears to be a decent alternative to enjoy Apple Music and in a way you may prefer.

The Plain Text Project

This is an ever-expanding list of tools that can help you work and live more efficiently in plain text. In case you’re wondering, I’ve worked with or tried all of these tools.

This page isn’t meant to be a comprehensive resource. If your favourite or favoured tool isn’t here, there’s a reason for that — don’t be disappointed or read anything into an omission… More here.

Plain text is something I use often and I now find myself using it in GoodTasks, Drafts and many more apps, but the selection at the link above shows what is possible. There is something so obvious and natural about plain text.

Is online or local photo storage the way forward?

Arguably, encryption is Stingle Photos’ most important feature. Although the app uploads your photos to Stingle’s cloud service, the service’s operators can’t look at your photos. That’s because the app, which runs on your phone or tablet, encrypts them securely using Sodium cryptography.

Since the photos are encrypted before ever leaving your phone—using a key that isn’t ever available to Stingle’s operators—you’re safe from attackers getting a photo dump from Stingle’s cloud. You’re also safe from Stingle’s own operators pulling a LOVEINT on you or getting socially engineered by someone with a believable voice begging to get your photos back… More here.

I suspect that photo storing apps are a hard sell at this time thanks to previous service closures and the fact that too many of us have so many photos stored that they can tend to lose their importance.

Personally, I would be much more likely to stick my photos on a local drive as a backup than another online service aside from iCloud. That feels like a more financially sensible and safer long term solution.

We tried reaching out to Apple a total of 9 times last week, with no success

But Apple rejected it. They incorrectly argue again that our keyboard extension doesn’t work without “full access”, something they rejected us for THREE years ago. Back then we successfully appealed and overturned their decision, and this hadn’t been a problem since. Until now…

The full thread is here and it is worth checking out. Apple’s control in this area is becoming a bigger issue every week and at some point the company may be forced to loosen up a little.

Apple, however, does not like loosening up and feels more restrictive with each new release and strategy change. I am genuinely starting to ponder whether I want all of my technological eggs sat in Apple’s ever more suffocating basket of sleek control.