News from Six ColorsThe latest in the world of Apple
Six Colors Apple, technology, and other stuff by Jason Snell & Dan Moren
- (Sponsor) Loopback: Powerful cable-free audio routingby Jason Snell on April 16, 2021 at 10:00 pm
My thanks to Rogue Amoeba, the very first Six Colors sponsor, for once again sponsoring Six Colors this week!
Rogue Amoeba’s Mac utility Loopback makes it trivial to pass audio from one application to another on your Mac. Whether that’s playing a recording into Zoom, adding sound effects into a podcast, or include music into a streamed event, Loopback gives you the power to do it with just a few clicks.
Loopback’s magic is that it creates virtual audio devices, which merge audio from multiple applications and input devices into a single source. Then you can just select them in any audio app on your Mac. It’s incredibly powerful. And Loopback’s intuitive wire-based interface makes it easy to understand what sound is flowing where.
I use Loopback for podcasts (letting me play a live soundboard for my guests), and for live streaming tabletop gaming on YouTube (mixing my microphone with the output of a Zoom call). Loopback can probably help you, too. Through April 30, Six Colors readers can save 21% with coupon code SIXLB.
- (Podcast) Upgrade 348: The 2021 April Event Draftby Jason Snell on April 16, 2021 at 8:19 pm
Emergency draft! In this bonus episode, Jason and Myke predict what will happen at Tuesday’s Apple media event. Will there be new iPad Pro models, and if so, will new accessories accompany them? Will we finally see a new iMac design? What other unexpected announcements might await us?
- 6C Podcast: April 16, 2021
- Kindles can at last display book covers on their lock screensby Dan Moren on April 16, 2021 at 2:24 pm
I was frankly flabbergasted to see a post on The Verge this morning, reporting that Amazon has—finally!—added the ability to show the cover of whatever you’re currently reading on your Kindle’s lock screen.
Let me tell you: there was much rejoicing. Users have clamored for this feature for a very long time—even those who didn’t have the Special Offers option that shows ads on the lock screen were stuck with the company’s wallpaper options.
There are, of course, a few caveats to this feature: first, you’ll need to have a supported Kindle device, which includes the Kindle (8th, 10th generation), Kindle Paperwhite (7th, 10th gen), Kindle Oasis (8th, 9th, 10th gen), and Kindle Voyage (7th gen). You’ll also probably need to be on the latest firmware version.
Second, if you do have Special Offers, you’ll need to pay the $20 to remove it from your device.1
Finally, I had to restart my Kindle for the option to show up in Settings > Device Options, and even then it took a couple of lock-unlock cycles for it to show up on the screen. But voila, there it is! It’s almost like a real virtual book now, huh?
- The Verge also says that some people have had luck calling Amazon customer support and asking nicely. I just forked over the $20. ↩
- Project CHIP devices will start rolling out in late 2021 ↦by Dan Moren on April 16, 2021 at 2:02 pm
Stacey Higginbotham of Stacey on IoT has some details on the upcoming launch of products based on the new Connected Home over IP standard that counts Apple, Amazon, and Google as members:
Today we learned a lot. Specifically, we know that the 180 member companies (there were 170 at the beginning of the year) are hosting certification testing events that will run through September and that the companies who participate in those events will likely be the first to get their products certified in “late 2021.” This means we’ll likely see CHIP-certified devices in time for the holidays. The panelists also confirmed that CHIP devices will use Wi-Fi for high bandwidth applications and Thread for low bandwidth applications. The standard will also use Bluetooth Low Energy for device provisioning, which is a nice win for BLE because those radios will still be inside most smart home devices. That makes sense given that provisioning is likely to happen in most homes using a mobile handset.
Of course, all three of those technologies are included in the HomePod mini already, which means that Apple’s well positioned to offer it as a smart home hub once the CHIP devices start appearing.
According to Higginbotham’s report, the first devices to roll out will be “lighting, blinds, HVAC, TVs, access controls, safety & security products, access points, smart home controllers, and bridges.”
As to how existing devices will cope with the new standard, that seems like it will vary based on the manufacturer and whether or not they decide to update those devices, as well as the technological capabilities, such as having the correct radio chips and sufficient memory.
There are some other outstanding questions, the biggest of which revolve around how devices from Apple, Amazon, and Google will work with the new system. For those hoping for a unified smart home future, there may still be some stumbling blocks on the way.