In the News – iPhone J.D.This week, Apple announced an upcoming new service for folks who subscribe to Apple Music called Apple Music Sing.  I suspect that most people will call it Apple Karaoke.  You activate this feature in the Apple Music app by turning on lyrics and then tapping the icon with a microphone and stars.  What makes Apple Music Sing different from just viewing the lyrics is that you can adjust the volume level of the vocal track so that you can replace the original artist’s voice with your own or sing along with the artist. Also, the lyrics will dance to the rhythm of each syllable of the vocals.  Background vocals can animate independently, in a smaller font, from the main vocals.  And a Duet view mode will show different lyrics on each side of the screen.  Sami Fathi of MacRumors lists all of the devices that it will work with.  Although this seems like a natural feature for the Apple TV, he says that it will only work with the newest Apple TV 4K that was introduced in 2022, which is a shame because that excludes a lot of folks.  (Perhaps you can use AirPlay to stream to an older Apple TV model from a supported iPad or iPhone.)  The feature also works with the iPad Pro models introduced in 2021 or later, the iPad Air introduced in 2020 or later, the entry-level iPad introduced in 2021 or later, or the iPad mini introduced in 2021 or later.  On the iPhone, there is better support if you have a model without the button: any model without a button introduced in 2019 (iPhone 11) or later will work.  Or you can use the iPhone SE, but only the model introduced in 2022.  Why are only newer devices supported?  As Sarah Perez of TechCrunch reports, Apple isn’t removing vocals from music, and instead your device uses “an on-device machine learning algorithm that processes the music in real time” to remove the vocals from songs selected by Apple (80% of the most-played songs). Apple says that Apple Music Sing will be available this month, and I expect it to be a part of iOS 16.2, which could launch as soon as next week.  So get ready to listen to a lot of poor singing voices with great background music this holiday season—especially if you spend any time near me as I check out the feature.  And now, the rest of the news of note from the past week:

  • A quick programming note: this week’s episode of the In the News podcast will come out tomorrow instead of today due to Brett’s travel schedule.
  • ‘Tis the season to replace AirTag batteries for many folks.  California attorney David Sparks offers advice for doing so, and recommends an Apple TV remote case that holds an AirTag to help you find the remote.
  • Starting this week, App Store developers have a lot more choices on what they charge for apps and in-app purchases.  Prices can now start as low as $0.29, with price points every ten cents up to $10 and every 50 cents up to $50.  Prices can go all the way up to $10,000, although the highest prices need to first be approved by Apple.  Chance Miller of 9to5Mac has more details on the new price points.
  • If you want to get yourself or someone else an iPhone 14 Pro by this Christmas, your options are very limited, but Jason Cross of Macworld has some suggestions.
  • Frank Bajak of the Washington Post reports on Apple’s new Advanced Data Protection feature, which I discussed yesterday.  The article notes that the FBI says that it “continues to be deeply concerned with the threat end-to-end and user-only-access encryption pose, but also notes that “cybersecurity experts have long argued, however, that attempts by law enforcement to weaken encryption with backdoors are ill-advised because they would inherently make the internet less reliable and hurt vulnerable populations including ethnic minorities.”
  • For a while now, the GoodNotes app that you can use to take handwritten notes on an iPad has also worked on a Mac, and I sometimes find it useful to read through my notes when I am working on my iMac.  In a tweet this week, GoodNotes revealed it is working on a similar product for Windows, which will be very useful for folks like me who need to use a Windows computer at work.
  • This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the upcoming TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) factory in Arizona along with President Biden.  Cook confirmed that Apple will use chips made at the plant in its products, including the iPhone.  The plant should open in 2024.  I’m curious how much more it will cost Apple to purchase chips made in the USA, although obviously there are some advantages that come along with that.  Don Clark and Kellen Browning of the New York Times have more details on the announcement and its significance.
  • Apple’s VP of Fitness Technologies Jay Blahnik shares workout tips in an article written by Sean Keach of The Sun.
  • Tim Hardwick of MacRumors put together a good list of iPhone tips.  Check it out to see if there is one that you didn’t already know about.
  • If you have an iPhone 14 Pro and want to see live sports scores in the Dynamic Island, Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels recommends the Sports Alerts app.
  • You knew that this report was coming soon.  We now have the first report of a person being saved by using Apple’s iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite feature.  Juli Clover of MacRumors reports that a man stranded in a rural part of Alaska while traveling by snow machine was rescued. 
  • And finally, Apple released a trailer to preview a few shows currently streaming on Apple TV+ and many more that are coming in 2023 including Ted Lasso, CODA, Spirited, Causeway, Masters of the Air, Shrinking, Tetris, Sharper, Wool, Hello Tomorrow!, and more.  Wait, Tetris?  No, it is not a movie about fitting shapes into spaces, but instead is based on a true story about the high-stakes legal battle to secure the intellectual property rights to Tetris.

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