Considering a More Mindful Apple Watch 

Yesterday, Khaos Tian reported that a text string saying com.apple.Mind had popped up in conjunction with the App Store ahead of WWDC.

Mark Gurman chimed in later saying that Mind is an updated version of Apple’s rather basic Breathe app.

Assuming Mind is being announced tomorrow as part of watchOS 8, I have some wishes for the app, as someone who uses Breathe more than most probably do.

I’d love to Mind be more expansive than Breathe in terms of the types of mindfulness exercises it offers. For the last couple of years, I’ve used the uber-popular Headspace app on my phone and like the variety of guided sessions it offers, especially the ones designed to be used while trying to go to sleep.

Naturally, this type of application would be more useful if it was also on the iPhone, where Breathe hasn’t shown up yet.

Currently, Apple Health can track “mindful minutes,” including those sent to Health via third-party apps like Headspace. However, this data is buried in the Health application. I’d like to see the Apple Watch gain the ability to have customized sets of rings. The Stand/Move/Activity set we’ve had since the beginning is great, but I’d love to have additional rings for things like mindful minutes or even water intake.

I don’t love my Apple Watch like I once did, but what keeps it on my wrist is its ability to track my fitness. This is particularly important to me right now as I continue to recover from surgery on my right foot that took place in the fall. It’s been a helpful partner during this time, but if Apple could make the Apple Watch more useful in terms of my mental health as well, it’d become all that much more valuable.

HomeControl »

My thanks to HomeControl for sponsoring 512 Pixels this week. With it, you can control HomeKit devices and scenes, view sensor measurements and automate actions with HomeControl — right from your Mac’s menu bar.

Bloomberg: New iPad Pro, iPad mini Design Under Development »

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu at Bloomberg:

The Cupertino, California-based company is planning to release the new iPad Pro in 2022 and the iPad mini later this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The main design change in testing for the iPad Pro is a switch to a glass back from the current aluminum enclosure. The updated iPad mini is planned to have narrower screen borders while the removal of its home button has also been tested

Sign me up for a new iPad mini design, please.

Flashback #20: Windows Vista »

This time on Flashback, Quinn Nelson and I jump into the world of Aero and UAC:

The story of Windows Vista is a complicated one. Born from a long and troubled development cycle, it wasn’t free of problems at launch, but hardware OEMs and others didn’t do much to help its reputation.

Sigh.

Apple Tweaking AirTag Privacy Measures, Building Android Detector App »

Ian Sherr at CNET:

The tech giant said Thursday it’s begun sending out updates to its AirTags, changing the window of time they’ll make noises when potentially being used to track another person. Initially, the Apple device would play in three days. Now it’ll begin to play at a random time inside a window that lasts between 8 and 24 hours.

To further reassure people about its AirTags, Apple said it’s developing an app for Android devices that will help people “detect” an AirTag or Find My network-enabled device that may also be unsuspectedly “traveling” with them. Apple iPhones already have a similar alert system built into their devices. The Android app will be released later this year.

“The recent introduction of AirTag included industry-first proactive features that discourage unwanted tracking,” Apple said in a statement. The company added that its moves, which come a week before its online Worldwide Developers Conference event, represent a continued commitment to improve AirTags privacy and security.

I think these are great changes that will make people more willing to trust these things.

On the Apple IIe Microloop System 1100 Spirometer, by Medical Graphics Corporation 

I was recently idly scrolling through the vintage Apple listings on eBay and came across something I’d never seen before: the Microloop 1100 Spirometer.

Microloop 1100 Spirometer

According to the listing, this beast hails from 1987 and is built around an Apple IIe and a 9-inch CRT, with some extra goodies:

  • A 5.25-inch floppy drive
  • 80 column / RAM expansion
  • An Apple CAT II modem
  • An Apple CAT expansion card for 1200 Baud
  • A Microbuffer II
  • A Disk II card
  • An 16 channel Interactive Structures A113-A A/D card
  • A Titan accelerator
  • A Titan 128K RAM expansion

This machine was crammed into a custom case and was hooked up to a spirometer, which is used to measure the volume and movement of air into and out of the lungs. This medical instrument interfaced with the Apple IIe via that 16-channel Interactive Structures A113-A card, which operated as an analog-to-digital converter for incoming data.

(These days, spirometers way, way more portable.)

Finding more information about this machine online proved futile. I ran across this thread about it, but that was about it. At an asking price of $4,999.95, this blog post is as close as I’ll get to the Microloop System 1100 Spirometer.

Kbase Article of the Week: Magnetic Accessories Might Interfere With iPhone Cameras »

Apple Support:

Lens-position sensors respond to magnetic fields. If you place a magnet near these sensors, the magnetic field will interfere with or temporarily disable the sensors. This can degrade the sensors’ accuracy and limit the range of movement available to the lenses. The camera will continue to take photos with other means of stabilization but without the benefit of OIS and closed-loop AF.

Third-party manufacturers make some accessories with strong magnets or magnetizable metal plates that are near the iPhone rear camera (or cameras). These magnets and plates can latch folio covers, join separable cases, or attach to rigid mounts—for example, car mounts. For best camera performance, avoid accessories that use magnets or magnetic metal near the iPhone rear camera (or cameras).

Connected #348: The Rickies (WWDC 2021) »

This week on a chaotic episode of Connected:

WWDC is next week, so the boys have gathered their picks for The Rickies, which are now tracked on some amazing websites. As for the picks themselves … well, buckle up, because things get passionate.

My thanks to our members and sponsors for making it possible:

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I can’t wait for next week.