Apple to Participate in Meeting Advocating for Better Patient Access to Health Info

Representatives for Apple and Microsoft will be participating in a meeting with the Carin Alliance that's focused on making it easier for patients to access and share their medical information, reports CNBC.

The meeting will focus on efforts to push a rule change proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services that would promote medical data interoperability.


Ricky Bloomfield, a member of Apple's health team who formerly served as Duke University's Director of Mobile Strategy, will participate in the meeting by phone, according to a list of attendees published today [PDF].

Those who are in support of the change want to modernize patient access to data, as it continues to be common for medical facilities to provide health records via CD or Fax, which makes it difficult for people to switch providers and healthcare systems. From a PDF describing talking points for the meeting:
It's imperative to note how important and time sensitive aggregated health information across multiple provider and health plan systems can be for patients going through catastrophic events. This information is essential for patients as they consider options such as treatment planning, consenting to surgical procedures, exploring and enrolling in clinical trials, and matters of continuity of care, examples including expediting an urgent second opinion, appealing insurance denials for standard of care treatments prescribed by patient's board-certified physicians, as well as having all pertinent information when it comes to advance care planning, palliative care, and matters of end of life. Data access is a matter of patient safety, better outcomes, improved costs, and often life or death.
Apple has been working to make health data more accessible for patients with its Health Records feature that is designed to allow iOS users to access their medical records from participating hospitals and medical providers. Apple has partnered with hundreds of providers in the United States, allowing iPhone users to sync their medical data to the iOS Health app.

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of Upcoming macOS Catalina 10.15.3 Update to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming macOS 10.15.3 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second beta and more than a month after releasing the macOS Catalina 10.15.2 update.

The new ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ beta can be downloaded using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the proper software from the Developer Center.


We don't yet know what improvements the third update to ‌macOS Catalina‌ will bring, but it will likely focus on performance improvements, security updates, and fixes for bugs that weren't able to be fixed in the ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.2 update.

‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.3 has code in it that suggests a new "Pro Mode" is coming to Apple's Macs. Pro Mode appears to be an optional setting that overrides fan speed limits and energy saving restrictions to improve performance. The code says that apps "may run faster" but battery life could decrease and fan noise could increase.

It's not entirely clear if Pro Mode is coming to Macs in the 10.15.3 release, but the code is there so it is a possibility.

We didn't find any other major new changes in the first two betas of ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.3, but we'll update this post if there's anything new in the third beta.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina
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'Butter Royale' Debuts on Apple Arcade as Family-Friendly Take on Fortnite

Butter Royale has landed on the App Store as this week's addition to Apple Arcade across the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac. The battle royale game is essentially a family-friendly version of Fortnite, replacing assault rifles and rocket launchers with sauce-shooting, baguette-blasting modified kitchen tools as weapons.

The game has both a 32-player online mode against live players and a single-player offline mode against bots, and the goal is to be the last person standing. The fast-paced food fights take less than five minutes.


Butter Royale is safe for kids aged 9+ to play without parental supervision, according to its Singapore-based developer Mighty Bear Games. As with all other Apple Arcade games, there are no ads, in-app purchases, or loot boxes, and unlike Fortnite for iOS, there is no option to enable voice chat.

From the App Store description:
- 32-Player Food Fight Shooter - Play as any of 50 characters from all walks of life. Knock out other contestants with delicious food. Be the last one standing in this third-person shooter
- Squad Up - Indulge in multiplayer Culinary Combat with your friends, in teams of four
- Solo Survival Game - Survive this battle royale game solo for ultimate bragging rights
- Fire Food Blasters - Pick up epic food blasters like the Breadzooka from all over Butter Island, and fire away
- Unlock Exclusive Content - Stay fresh with exclusive seasonal characters, melee food items, trails, and flags
- 1 Butter Island, 9 Zones - Explore a sprawling map, from the rolling Flour Fields to San Francheesco. Choose your starting point wisely!
- Be First to the Fridge - Collect the delivery and get special ultra rare loot
- Steer Clear of Butter - Watch out for hot Butter and get yourself to safe zones!
- No Wi-Fi, No Problem - Play your favourite battle royale game offline.
Butter Royale can be downloaded from the App Store with an Apple Arcade subscription. Apple's gaming service launched in September, providing iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac users with access to over 100 games with no in-app purchases or ads for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year in the United States.


In a recent press release, Apple promised that its Arcade service will receive new games and expansions every month.

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36 Years Ago Today, Steve Jobs Unveiled the First Macintosh

On January 24, 1984, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first Macintosh at Apple's annual shareholder's meeting in Cupertino, California, debuting the new computer equipped with a 9-inch black and white display, an 8MHz Motorola 68000 processor, 128KB of RAM, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and a price tag of $2,495.


The now iconic machine weighed in at a whopping 17 pounds and was advertised as offering a word processing program, a graphics package, and a mouse. At the time it was introduced, the Macintosh was seen as Apple's last chance to overcome IBM's domination of the personal computer market and remain a major player in the personal computer industry.

A Computerland newspaper ad from the day the Macintosh was introduced

Jobs pulled the Macintosh out of a bag at the event, powered it on, and the Mac had a little message for everyone in attendance.

Hello, I'm Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag.

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I'd like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met an IBM mainframe: NEVER TRUST A COMPUTER YOU CAN'T LIFT!

Obviously, I can talk, but right now I'd like to sit back and listen. So, it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who's been like a father to me... STEVE JOBS.
Despite the high price at the time, which was equivalent to around $6,000 today, the Macintosh sold well, with Apple hitting 70,000 units sold by May 1984. The now iconic "1984" Super Bowl ad that Apple invested in and debuted days before the Macintosh was unveiled may have helped bolster sales.


After the Macintosh, Apple introduced the Macintosh II, the Macintosh Classic, the PowerBook, the Power Macintosh, the iMac G3, the iBook, and so on, eventually leading to the current Mac lineup, which includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, ‌iMac‌, iMac Pro, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Today, Apple is one of the leading PC vendors in the world, shipping an estimated 18 million Macs worldwide in 2019. Then Apple competitor IBM is no longer in the personal computer business, having sold its technology to Lenovo back in the early 2000s.


Apple in the future is expected to continue expanding its popular Mac lineup, and current rumors suggest we can expect to see new 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ models, a refreshed 13-inch machine with scissor keyboard, and, eventually, an ARM-based Mac.

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WSJ Profiles 'The Blevinator,' Apple's VP of Procurement Who Handles Supplier Negotiations

The Wall Street Journal today published a profile of Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, providing an inside look at Apple's corporate culture and what Blevins does for the company.

As Apple's vice president of procurement, Blevins' job is to get suppliers to cut their prices, and he will apparently stop at little to score a favorable deal for Apple, which has earned him the nickname "the Blevinator."


Blevins was, for example, the key driver behind encouraging Apple suppliers to deprive Qualcomm of royalty payments during Apple's ongoing dispute with the chipmaker. He negotiates with suppliers, enforces manufacturing details, and manages semiconductor suppliers.

His negotiating skills are so important to Apple that Cook tapped him to manage negotiations for Apple's spaceship-shaped Apple Park campus. When getting bids for the curved glass used for the structure, he invited glass makers to Hong Kong, put them in separate conference rooms, and went from room to room to get the lowest price, ultimately saving Apple hundreds of millions of dollars.

Blevins does not hesitate to drop suppliers, and in one example, after STMicroelectronics refused to lower the price of gyroscope sensors in 2013 despite Blevins' threats to find a different supplier, STM lost Apple's business.

Blevins is also the go to for making sure that suppliers adhere to Apple's nondisclosure agreements, which can carry fines. In 2017, Japan Display disclosed that it had received orders for liquid crystal displays, and The Wall Street Journal subsequently confirmed that Apple was one of the smartphone makers that had expressed interest in LCDs, leading to trouble for Japan Display.
Mr. Blevins called a top Japan Display executive and accused him of violating Apple's nondisclosure agreement. "Are you stupid?" he said, according to a person familiar with the call.
Apple demanded Japan Display pay $5 million for breaching the non-disclosure agreement. Japan Display didn't pay, but promised to submit news conference materials to Apple before events so Apple can review it. A Japan Display executive told The Wall Street Journal that Apple's supplier agreements are "torturous."

When asked for comment, Blevins opted not to speak to The Wall Street Journal, saying "I'm a loyal company guy." The full profile on Blevins, which goes into much more detail, can be read over at The Wall Street Journal.

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Apple Revamps Jobs Site With New Design and Video Featuring Animated Apple Logos

Apple today overhauled its Apple jobs website, introducing a new look and a new video in an effort to better recruit employees. The updated video on the site features the different Apple logo designs that Apple first created for its Mac-centric event in October 2018.

The site displays different Apple logo designs whenever it's reloaded, and the video also features animated logo designs with a recruiting message spoken over the designs.

To the constant beginners who sing off-key against the beat. To those unfamiliar with convention, unmoved by rules, and reborn with every new discovery. Those open to daydreams and night dreams and visions and mirages. Who can see the millions of shades of green in a field of grass. Whose days are filled with mysteries that cannot be solved with facts. You are more powerful than you think... and you are welcome here.
As with before, the jobs site features sections outlining the different Apple teams, opportunities for students, Apple's philosophy, and jobs at retail locations, with an overview of all of the locations where Apple operates stores, as well as a section for creating a profile for job hunting.

Apple's new site design is up and running now and anyone who is interested in checking it out.

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Apple Shares Trailer for 'Carpool Karaoke' Season 3

Apple is preparing to release a third season of its ongoing show "Carpool Karaoke: The Series," with the new trailer shared this morning on YouTube.


"Carpool Karaoke: The Series" predates Apple TV+, having first debuted in August 2017 on Apple Music. The show is based on the popular Carpool Karaoke segment made popular by "The Late Late Show With James Corden." Apple's version pairs celebrities, musicians, and athletes, putting them together in a car to sing popular songs.

Season 3 of "Carpool Karaoke" will feature Kesha, Fred Armisen, Weezer, Jay Leno, Seal, the cast of "Stranger Things," and more.

Episodes of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" will be available every Thursday, with the show able to be watched in the ‌Apple TV‌ app for free.

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'Apple Watch Connected' Program Will Offer Rewards for Working Out at Participating Gyms

Apple today announced the launch of a new Apple Watch Connected program that should benefit both gyms and gym-goers.

The program will reward gym-goers for using an Apple Watch to track their workouts, with incentives varying by gym. At participating Crunch Fitness locations, for example, members can earn up to $4 off the cost of their membership per week if they meet certain activity goals, according to CNBC.


In return, gyms could attract new customers who wear an Apple Watch and see increased loyalty from existing members.

It is free for gyms to join the Apple Watch Connected program, so long as they meet the requirements, including having iPhone and Apple Watch apps to track workouts, offering rewards and incentives, and accepting Apple Pay. Apple also encourages gyms to offer GymKit-enabled equipment for improved Apple Watch syncing.

Four gym chains are rolling out support for the program in the United States starting today, including Basecamp Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, and the YMCA, according to CNBC:
Basecamp will launch Apple Watch Connected to all of its clubs over the next year. YMCA will start with its greater Twin Cities locations this week followed by 22 additional YMCA branches in the coming weeks before expanding further. Crunch Fitness is launching Apple Watch Connected in two Manhattan gyms this week with more coming. Finally, Orange Theory will deploy it in all U.S. facilities in 2020, starting with two Manhattan locations on Thursday.
Last month, Orangetheory Fitness announced that it would begin rolling out Apple Watch support to its gyms in the first quarter of 2020. The gym chain created a small accessory called the OTbeat Link that attaches to an Apple Watch band, allowing the Apple Watch to sync with the chain's heart rate monitoring system.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Tag: GymKit
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Likely to Drop Adobe Flash Support in Next Version of Safari

As noted in our coverage yesterday of the latest Safari Technology Preview 99, Apple has removed all support for Adobe Flash. Safari Technology Preview is basically a beta of the next version of Safari proper, all but confirming that Apple is officially ditching support for Flash in the next version of its native Mac browser.


This means that when the next version of Safari is released, users will no longer be able to install or use Adobe Flash in the browser. The elimination of Flash support should not heavily impact users, given that most other popular browsers have already moved away from the format. Likewise, iPhone and iPad users won't be affected because Apple's mobile operating system has never supported Flash.

It was way back in July 2017 that Adobe announced plans to end-of-life its Flash browser plug-in. Adobe said it was ceasing development and distribution of the software at the end of 2020, and encouraged content creators to migrate flash content to HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly formats.

Adobe's Flash Player has always suffered from a seemingly never-ending stream of critical vulnerabilities that have exposed Mac and PC users to malware and other security risks. Vendors like Microsoft and Apple have had to work continually over the years to keep up with security fixes. Apple went so far as to stop selling Macs with Flash pre-installed, to ensure they weren't being shipped with outdated versions of the software and putting users at risk.

Some readers may fondly recall Steve Jobs' famous 2010 open letter offering his "Thoughts on Flash," in which the former Apple CEO railed against Adobe's software for its poor reliability, lack of openness, incompatibility with mobile sites and battery drain on mobile devices. Jobs also criticized Adobe for being "painfully slow" to adopt enhancements to Apple's platforms, and said that Apple refused to be at the mercy of a cross-platform development tool when it came innovation.

We don't know when the next version of Safari browser for Mac will be released to the public. In any case, it's safe to say that Flash will not be missed.

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Flaws in Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention Safari Feature Let People Be Tracked

Google researchers discovered multiple security flaws in Apple's Safari web browser that let users' browsing habits be tracked despite Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature.

Google plans to publish details on the security flaws in the near future, and a preview of Google's discovery was seen by Financial Times, with the publication sharing information on the vulnerabilities this morning.

The security flaws were first found by Google in the summer of 2019, and were disclosed to Apple in August. There were five types of potential attacks that could allow third parties to learn "sensitive private information about the user's browsing habits."

Google researchers say that Safari left personal data exposed because the Intelligent Tracking Prevention List "implicitly stores information about the websites visited by the user." Malicious entities could use these flaws to create a "persistent fingerprint" that would follow a user around the web or see what individual users were searching for on search engine pages.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which Apple began implementing in 2017, is a privacy-focused feature meant to make it harder for sites to track users across the web, preventing browsing profiles and histories from being created.

Lukasz Olejnik, a security researcher who saw Google's paper, said that if exploited, the vulnerabilities "would allow unsanctioned and uncontrollable user tracking." Olejnik said that such privacy vulnerabilities are rare, and "issues in mechanisms designed to improve privacy are unexpected and highly counter-intuitive."

Apple appears to have addressed these Safari security flaws in a December update, based on a release update that thanked Google for its "responsible disclosure practice," though full security credit has not yet been provided by Apple so there's a chance that there's still some behind-the-scenes fixing to be done.

Tags: Google, Safari
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Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 updates to developers, one week after seeding the second betas and more than a month after the release of iOS 13.3 with Communication Limits for Screen Time.

iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.3.1 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been installed.


iOS 13.3.1 includes a "Networking & Wireless" toggle that turns off the U1 Ultra Wideband chip in the latest iPhones. The feature, located in the Privacy > Location Services section of the Settings app, turns off location for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ultra Wideband.

Apple added this location toggle after it was discovered that the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max continue to track user location even when location services options are disabled. This is because there are international regulatory requirements that mandate the U1 chip be disabled in certain locations.

The new toggle makes sure location tracking is off for the U1 chip at all times. Apple has also added a new "Play Again" button when replaying content that you've already watched in the TV app.

Along with these features, the iOS 13.3.1 update also likely includes bug fixes for issues unable to be addressed in the iOS 13.3 update. Specifically, it could address some issues with Communication Limits, fixing a workaround with the Contacts app that allowed children text someone who contacted them from an unknown number.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS
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iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Feature All-New Navy Blue Color Option

At least one iPhone 12 model will come in a new Navy Blue finish, according to XDA Developers writer and leaker Max Weinbach, who shared his information with YouTube channel EverythingApplePro.

Weinbach believes that Navy Blue could replace the Midnight Green finish available for iPhone 11 Pro models. In line with this, EverythingApplePro created a mockup of what the iPhone 12 Pro in Navy Blue could look like.

iPhone 12 Pro in Navy Blue concept via EverythingApplePro/Max Weinbach

Weinbach has accurately revealed a new iPhone color in the past. In May 2019, through his Twitter account PineLeaks, he said the successor to the iPhone XR would come in a new light green color. However, he said the green option would replace yellow, and the iPhone 11 is available in both green and yellow.

Weinbach also accurately predicted that the volume HUD would become less obtrusive in iOS 13, but he has also shared several Apple-related rumors that did not pan out, including the iPad getting a native Calculator app in iOS 13 and the HomePod launching in Austria and Italy within 2019.


Weinbach has a more established track record with Android-related rumors, most recently including alleged Samsung Galaxy S20 leaks.

Watch this EverythingApplePro video for a closer look at the Navy Blue concept:


Apple plans to release five new iPhone models in 2020, including the so-called "iPhone 9" or "iPhone SE 2" with a 4.7-inch display in the spring and a higher-end, OLED-and-5G lineup with one 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch model in the fall, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
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