Aussie Mac Zone ~ Episode 360

Show 360 – November 09, 2020

Run Sheet ~ Zarn & Michael                      


Our Aussie Apple Ramblings 

Story 1 ~ 

MS Japan Just Solved Travelers’ AirPod Problem

Forbes reports ~ The Japanese love their AirPods almost as much as they love their clean, punctual trains. But that combination has proven to be a really big problem for the country’s rail companies.

Just over the three months between July and September, train passengers dropped over 950 pairs of AirPods on the tracks of 78 rail stations in the Tokyo area. AirPods made up a quarter of all dropped items, according to East Japan Railway Co., better known as JR East.

Apple’s tiny wireless earphones often slip out as passengers get on and off trains. In the past, JR East workers had to use a pincer-like grabber tool to retrieve AirPods — a particularly tedious task, since the tiny gadgets often end up stuck among pieces of gravel.

Now the rail company has partnered with Panasonic to develop a special vacuum cleaner with a “magic hand” specifically to retrieve AirPods and other earbuds that fall on train tracks, reports The Japan Times. Early tests at Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station show that the Panasonic vacuum can collect tiny earphones much faster than the mechanical grabber tool, which work better on larger items like smartphones or handbags.


Story 2 ~

ZK FDA clears Apple Watch app that helps treat PTSD-related nightmares

engadget reports ~ Your watch might be the key to addressing nightmare-related sleep issues. The FDA has approved the sale of NightWare, an Apple Watch app (with a corresponding iPhone element) that helps treat nightmares stemming from disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The system uses smartwatch motion and heart rate data to detect when you’re having a nightmare and will vibrate the watch in response, arousing (but not waking) you to interrupt bad dreams and maintain sleep.

NightWare is prescription-only, and its eponymous company stressed that this wasn’t a standalone treatment. It’s part of a larger strategy that includes medication. It also warned against trying the watch therapy if you “act out” during sleep.

There’s no guarantee the app will work, although the FDA said that a study showed better sleep quality with NightWare involved than in a control group. It’s considered low risk, however, and might play a useful role if existing treatments aren’t enough. It also hints at a future where smartwatches not only track sleep, but regularly shape the quality of your rest.



Story 3 ~ 

MS The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Just Gained A Sensational New Feature

Forbes again ~ The latest iPhone software release, iOS 14.2 has just landed.

Some of the updates included in the release pertain to specific iPhones only and one of them is a brilliant new feature that applies to two handsets, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. It also works on the latest iPad Pro models, providing they are running iPadOS 14.2.

It’s called People Detection and the reason it’s so choosy about which devices it will work with is down to a piece of hardware which isn’t on every iPhone or iPad, just the latest Pro models: the LiDAR scanner.

This scanner is designed to improve photographic results because it speeds up autofocus, for instance, and which can be used in augmented reality apps and games.

The new feature is especially important for the visually impaired. It tells you when people are nearby and how far away they are. Obviously, the LiDAR scanner doesn’t know what’s a person and what’s not, but machine learning gets involved, so the Magnifier app reacts appropriately.

At a time when social distancing is so crucial, when someone less than 6 feet away from you could potentially be impactful, the feature is very helpful. It spots how far away people are and has several ways it can react when it senses someone is there.

It can speak the distance from you to the person in feet or meters. It can also emit a tone which changes in pitch if someone gets closer, like a sort of phone-based sonar.

Additionally, there’s the option for haptic feedback to alert the user, as well as a visual readout on the screen, with a thick dotted line running directly to the other person, with the distance listed below.

Note that it’s People Detection, not Cat Detection, Dog Detection or Lamppost Detection, for instance. Well, they’re all much less likely to give us Covid-19 anyway.



Gaming #1 ~ Pic

South of circle. 

This game is absolutely stunning I just want to make that very clear. 

But game play seems forced and at some point it felt like you weren’t playing at all. 

You were just watching. 

I was looking forward to this game so I was somewhat disappointed.

I will give it 2.5 apple for visual beauty. 



Gaming #2 ~ Pic

Google Stadia may soon officially support Safari on iOS 14

Since its launch nearly a year ago, Stadia has only officially been available on Android, Web, and Chromecast. It appears Stadia may soon pick up iPhone and iPad its first additional platforms, with new code pointing to official support for Safari on iOS 14.

Considering Stadia has an official Web app, it may seem surprising that iOS has not been supported that way. This was actually because when Stadia first launched, the version of Safari that was bundled with iOS 13 didn’t have the necessary Web features to run Stadia well. 

With iOS 14, that changed, as alternative browsers (still based on WebKit like Safari) like Stadium have proven. The main thing these apps still need to do, however, is change the User Agent — the way a browser identifies itself to websites — to disguise itself as the desktop version of Google Chrome. This step is necessary because Stadia’s Web app currently only officially supports Google Chrome on Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux.



Entertainment #1 ~ Pic

MS Apple TV+ orders “Platonic,” starring Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen

Apple TV+ will expand its award-winning offering of comedy series with “Platonic,” a new series starring Emmy and Golden Globe nominees Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen, and co-written by Nick Stoller and Francesca Delbanco (“Friends from College”). The series will be produced for Apple by Sony Pictures Television.

The series reunites Byrne and Rogen with director Nick Stoller following their collaboration on the “Neighbors” films.

“Platonic” is a 10-episode, half-hour comedy which explores the inner workings of platonic friendship. A pair of former best friends who met in their youth (played by Byrne and Rogen) reconnect as adults and try to mend the rift that led to their falling out. As their friendship becomes more consuming, it destabilises their lives and causes them to reevaluate their choices. 



Entertainment #2 – Pic

ZK Apple TV+ orders new series “High Desert,” starring and executive produced by Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette and directed and executive produced by Ben Stiller

Apple has announced a series order for “High Desert,” a new comedic half-hour series to be produced by Apple Studios that will star Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Patricia Arquette, who will also executive produce.

The project reunites Arquette with DGA Award winner Ben Stiller , who will direct the first episode and executive produce through Red Hour Films alongside Nicky Weinstock. Molly Madden and Tom Lassally executive produce on behalf of 3 Arts Entertainment.

“High Desert” follows Peggy (Arquette), a former addict who decides to make a new start after the death of her beloved mother, with whom she lived in the small desert town of Yucca Valley, California, and makes a life-changing decision to become a private investigator.

The series is created and written by Nancy Fichman (“Nurse Jackie,” “Damages”), Katie Ford (“Miss Congeniality”) and Jennifer Hoppe (“Grace and Frankie,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Damages”), who will also serve as executive producers.

“High Desert” marks Apple’s second partnership with Arquette and Stiller following the series order for “Severance,” an upcoming workplace thriller starring and executive produced by Arquette and Adam Scott, and directed and executive produced by Stiller.

Arquette and Stiller both received Emmy Award nominations for their most recent, multi-award winning collaboration: the critically acclaimed, hit limited series “Escape at Dannemora,” for which Stiller won the DGA Award and Arquette won Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice Awards.


Things here in the new OS’ ~ Pic

MS You no longer have to give apps your exact location

cnet tells us ~ Up until iOS 14, when you approved an app’s location request you were allowing it to see exactly where you were. But most apps will work just fine with your general location. 

Location requests from websites in Safari are a prime example. Usually, it’s some sort of retail business that makes the request so it can find stores near you. Instead of giving the site your address, providing it with your approximate whereabouts will still make it possible to find nearby stores, but you’re not giving up private info. 

The toggle in the new location request prompt is subtle, but it makes a big difference. In the top-left corner of the map overview is a button that has the label Precise: On. Tap it to switch it off, and you’ll immediately see the map zoom out, representing the general area of your current location. That area is what the particular app will have access to. 

If you change your mind about the setting at some point in the future, you can go into the Settings on your iPhone, then Privacy > Location Services and then select the app(s) you want to adjust whether or not they have access to your precise location.



Good Things for when were Stuck Indoors



Story 4 ~ Pic

MS HomeKit Weekly: How HomeKit kept my car from getting stolen, and why I am now even more excited for AirTags

9TO5Mac reports ~ I’ve got quite the HomeKit set up at this point as I have over 50 devices on my Wi-Fi network at any given time. A few weeks ago, I woke up on a Tuesday morning with motion alerts on my eufy cameras. This alert is not uncommon as there is a neighbourhood cat that frequently walks around our porch at night. Little did I know that once I checked the alerts, my day would get a lot more complicated.

Once I checked the eufy app, I saw three, what appears to be, high school-aged kids opening my car door, being startled, and then running away. At 5 a.m., I was pretty startled, so I immediately went to look for my keys. I have a Chipolo One tracker on my keys, and it couldn’t find them. The last time it connected was at 7:45 p.m. the previous night, and that was precisely the last time I was near my car, so I quickly realised I had left my keys in my car by accident.

Because my eufy cameras are tied into HomeKit, they can activate other devices when they detect motion. From watching the videos, I gathered that as they were rifling around in my car, they found my keys, and then my hue floodlights were activated by the motion detected from the cameras, and they ran between my house and my neighbours’. Once they realise no one was coming out, they darted off the street towards the main road. I do not doubt that without these HomeKit automations, my car would have been stolen.

Obviously, I immediately had my house locks rekeyed, and I took my truck down to Mountain View Nissan here in Chattanooga to purchase a new keyfob as well as have my keyless entry system reprogrammed so my old keys would no longer work.

You’d think the story would end there, but it didn’t. The next morning, I walked out my backdoor to take my dog out first thing in the morning, and the Chipolo app alerted me that it had found my keys. I immediately launched the app and told it to ring my keys. I could hear them in the woods behind my house. They weren’t there the previous night, so it’s clear the same people came back.

My house is the first house in the neighbourhood, so I suspect they tried to lock/unlock my truck from the main road to see if the keys would still work, and when they didn’t, they tossed the keys (minus the US$300 keyfob) into the woods as they were likely worried about being tracked somehow. I dug the keys out of the woods and attached them to my new keyfob.

I am now even more excited about Apple’s upcoming AirTags. One of the headline features is being able to put them into “lost mode.” They will also use all iOS devices as passive trackers for lost items to help locate them. While Tile and Chipolo have similar features, the large install base of iOS devices will make it even more likely that my keys could have been traced back to the people who broke into my car.

While this situation wasn’t fun and was costly, it is a great reminder of the benefits of being able to combine HomeKit devices together to create automations. Most of the time, these automations are fun, but in this situation, I have no doubt that it saved my car from being stolen.



Story 5 ~

ZK Apple’s HomePod Mini Sells Out on Day One

iPad Insight reports ~ The HomePod Mini really didn’t grab me until I saw Apple’s segment on it during the iPhone announcement. Before that, the name alone just made it sound like a smaller version of the overpriced (at least when it first went on sale) original.

While the tech looks solid for a smaller device, it was the $99 price tag that really got my attention. I didn’t think it would be that reasonably priced going in. Let’s face it- Apple isn’t really known for value pricing, are they? Well, that US$99 price really changed my perception of the product.

It seems I’m not the only one, either. While the various models of the iPhone 12 have evidently sold well this year, the HomePod Mini sold out during pre-orders Friday, with delivery now pushed out as late as December 13. 

While it’s possible that production was a bit limited as the COVID pandemic has delayed and restricted the availability of all kinds of electronics, this still sounds impressive to me.

It also seems that pre-orders outpaced what Apple expected for the Mini out of the gate. Hopefully that will motivate them to continue pushing improvements to Siri and the home automation capabilities of this hardware.



Story 6 ~

MS Don’t Forget Apple Wednesday Morning 5:00am AEDT for Apple next presentation 

Or on Apple News – Aussie Mac Zone Page just after the end.


MS Show Promotion

Show notes link each week on show upload, the link being


there you will see the last 6 weeks shows notes

MS Email us at Michael or Zarn @

ZK Just search Aussie Mac Zone on Google Podcast, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Overcast or whatever player you use


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Thanks to our supporters you our listeners!

Over to Zarn for the sign off

ZK The now infamous “Sign Off”

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