One island of stability in the sea of conversation about the future of work is the conviction that our jobs will become increasingly creative. The World Economic Forum, McKinsey, and nearly every major think tank seem aligned around this hypothesis, offering heaps of data to support it. The trend is not just about the delegation of rote tasks to automation; it’s also about the accelerating pace of change and the increasing complexity of business, which demand original responses to novel challenges far more frequently than ever before.
Many companies now include creativity as a core competency for employees at all levels—especially those on the front lines—and across all functions, from sales and marketing to accounting and operations to customer service. Individuals and talent managers must therefore get smart about what it takes to foster and manage this skill. Although the science of creativity is young compared with other areas of psychology and cognitive neuroscience, our growing understanding of it points to new directions for creative development. In this article we offer a typology that breaks creative thinking into four types: integration, or showing that two things that appear different are the same; splitting, or seeing how things that look the same are actually different or more usefully divided into parts; figure-ground reversal, or realizing that what is crucial is not in the foreground but in the background; and distal thinking, which involves imagining things that are very different from the here and now.
Most of us tend to think in just one of these four ways, and we benefit from knowing which one comes naturally to us. We can also learn to hone our creativity in the other dimensions. Managers need to understand both their own strengths and how to balance the types of thinking across their teams to execute creative projects. And organizations can use this typology to increase innovation across the workforce.
Integration may be local—stitching together a few concepts—or sweeping: a grand unifying theory.
The 17th-century mathematician Isaac Newton was a genius at integration. After coinventing calculus, itself enormously integrative, he happened upon the idea that would make him even more famous. The story does involve an apple, but it didn’t fall on his head. Instead, looking out a window one night, he noticed that a two-inch piece of fruit on the ground 20 feet from him occupied the same amount of visual space as did the faraway moon. He wondered not about the trick of perspective but whether the force drawing the apple to the ground was the same as what held the moon in orbit—an idea that gave rise to his inverse square law: that the gravitational attraction between two bodies is inversely proportional to the square of the distance separating them. Integration is often at the heart of scientific discovery.
It’s also a key form of corporate innovation today. Consider the Apple iPhone. Its designers’ success lay in recognizing that when tools such as cameras, phones, and music players are digitized, they are all capturing, storing, retrieving, and transmitting data in the same way, through semiconductors and liquid crystal displays; therefore, they could be combined in a single device—perhaps the most powerful tool now at our disposal. Four decades ago the phone hanging on your wall had nothing to do with the boom box sitting on your console or the camera filled with film you’d soon drop off for developing.
How does integrative creativity show up in everyday work? Let’s consider a hypothetical office-supply retailer, Capella Paper, that wants to attract more Millennial customers. Jerome, an email marketer, is an employee working on the problem. He finds several studies showing that professionals in their twenties and thirties are vocal advocates of preserving hybrid or remote working arrangements postpandemic. He hypothesizes that two groups Capella treats as distinct—Millennials and remote workers—may in fact align as buyers of office supplies. Jerome retrieves an analysis by his team on a spike in home-office purchases in the spring of 2020 and looks to see which email promotions—all targeting newly remote workers—were most successful in that period. He selects an old promotion offering free printer-toner refills with bulk paper purchases and makes a few tweaks for the new target demographic, resulting in a 35% higher click-through rate compared with the company’s average for Millennial customers.
The opposite kind of creative thinking is splitting, and the history of science is full of examples. The periodic table of the elements splits earth, air, fire, and water into 118 parts. Medical breakthroughs regularly result from the separation of what was thought to be a single disease into several, each of which can be more precisely treated. One of the greatest manufacturing innovations of all time—the assembly line—involved splitting. Before the Industrial Revolution, one craftsperson might oversee the production of a good from start to finish. Guns, for example, were made by individuals skilled in both woodworking and metalwork; the same was true of steamer trunks and clocks. But then the Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem introduced the concept of interchangeable parts, which could be made separate from a whole and used for a wide variety of products. At first many people were skeptical: When, in 1785, the Frenchman Honoré Blanc publicly demonstrated that he could assemble a working gun by selecting components from a large pile of interchangeable parts, audience members were shocked. This idea led to further division—of human labor—allowing for faster, more consistent, and scalable manufacturing that is still in use today.
A more accurate application is quantum computing, an important application of particle physics, which breaks matter down into its smallest components. Whereas in classical computing a bit can occupy only a single position, quantum computing’s qubit can occupy multiple positions simultaneously, exponentially increasing computing power. In 2019 Google’s quantum processor Sycamore took 200 seconds to finish a task that would take a classical computer 10,000 years to complete.
This type of creativity can be useful in many professional scenarios. Back at Capella, for example, a product manager, Carmen, has been studying which of the company’s offerings are most popular with Millennials. She first separates consumer buyers from business buyers; the latter typically purchase for their small companies. Business buyers can be further divided into people who order a variety of supplies and whose purchases are waning, and those who buy just one or two products in large amounts and whose orders are holding steady or even increasing. Focusing on this second group, Carmen arrives at her “aha” by zeroing in on the product most frequently purchased by 30-something business buyers: Capella’s trademark 6″ x 8″ grass-cloth-bound notebook. Through interviews she learns that people buy this item for two reasons: for note-taking by employees and for client gifts. Because Capella sells the notebooks only in bulk to businesses, they have become coveted. With that insight Carmen pitches a new line of luxury notebooks in a wider range of sizes and colors, available to both individual and commercial buyers with an option to emboss initials or a corporate logo on the cover. Thus a single product is split into several lines for distinct purposes.
The term “figure-ground reversal” comes from the study of vision and refers to our ability to shift focus from the foreground to the background to produce a radically different picture. The well-known black-and-white silhouette of two faces in profile—or a vase in the middle—demonstrates how our minds can toggle back and forth between the two.
One of the most important neuroscientific discoveries of our lifetime was the default mode network, a set of brain regions involved in our mental downtime, and it happened owing to an accident of figure-ground reversal. Functional-imaging researchers were mapping the brain’s “task positive” networks—the regions that light up when we engage in focused activities such as solving anagrams and listening to lectures. In most of those experiments a control condition consisted of rest periods, during which the brain might be expected to go dark and quiet. Instead, scientists across numerous studies found that certain midline and medial-temporal-lobe brain structures consistently lit up during rest, suggesting not stasis but vibrant activity. We have since learned that the same thing happens when we daydream, and what we do during those periods is imagine and plan. Researchers weren’t trying to find the state in which we do some of our best thinking, but they did.
Here’s another example of figure-ground reversal: In 1957, when the Soviet space program launched Sputnik, the first satellite to orbit Earth, the U.S. military used two widely separated points on Earth to track Sputnik’s speed and position by means of the Doppler effect. But only in 1958 did it become clear that the far more profound application of the technology was for the exact opposite purpose: using points in space to track objects on Earth. In that year the Advanced Research Projects Agency developed Transit to calculate the position and speed of any moving object using two widely separated satellites in space. Today we know this technology as the Global Positioning System, or GPS.
We see figure-ground reversal all the time in industry, too. Amazon Web Services was developed in response to Amazon’s need to scale up its infrastructure. The software developers Chris Pinkham and Benjamin Black, who led the work, realized that others would want the solution they were envisioning—that it could be a compelling product to offer externally. Today AWS is a foreground business for the company, accounting for $45 billion in revenue in 2020. Similarly, Slack, the ubiquitous messaging platform, started as an internal product to help Stewart Butterfield’s company Tiny Speck develop a video game. That business fizzled out, but the team pivoted to the messaging app, and Slack went public in 2019. In 2021 Salesforce bought it for close to $28 billion.
Imagine that Robert, a manager at Capella’s Chicago store, has just returned from a leadership meeting where he learned about the company’s push to attract Millennial customers. Over the next several weeks he spends time observing patrons’ shopping habits in the store. He focuses on customers in professional attire who appear to be in their late twenties or early thirties, but he sees very few of them, and he can’t identify any particular patterns in what they’re buying. Though Robert normally works weekdays, he’s called in one Saturday to cover for a colleague and continues his observations. At first he doesn’t see anyone in his target demographic, but then he recognizes a repeat customer from earlier in the week, this time not in business casual but dressed down and shopping with what appears to be his school-age daughter. Robert realizes that he’s overlooked a half dozen other Millennials that day alone because they were shopping not as professionals but as parents and were consistently looking for art and school supplies. He decides to stock those items in the middle aisles, with office supplies flanking them, and within a few months his store leads the region in sales to the target demographic. Robert explains to Capella’s leaders that it came down to focusing on the broader, whole-person context of Millennials’ lives.
Finally, distal thinking involves imagining things as very different from the present. Many a creative genius has been characterized as someone who envisioned a radically new future that the rest of us initially couldn’t see. The inventor Nikola Tesla, for example, once described his process as building and refining an object entirely in his imagination—even operating it in his mind. His distal brainchildren included the radio, the neon lamp, AC power, and hydroelectric power.
Sometimes innovators think so far ahead that the market isn’t ready for their ideas. The computer scientist and cryptographer David Chaum invented anonymous digital cash in a 1983 paper, just as personal computers were coming into vogue, and well before access to the internet was ubiquitous. In 1994 his company, DigiCash, sent the first electronic payment. But the economic and technological ecosystem needed to support widespread adoption of digital currency did not yet exist, and DigiCash folded in 1998. Like many other first movers, Chaum paved the way for followers but benefited from only a small fraction of his invention’s success.
More-successful distal innovators bridge the gap between the present and the future in one of two ways. The first is by accelerating market maturity, through promotions, partnerships, and focused launches. An example of this is another digital-payments company, PayPal. When it launched, in 1999, adoption of its full slate of intended uses was low. So rather than try to advance an ambitious vision before consumers were ready, the company focused on developing its user base through eBay, a platform where such payments were becoming the norm. The symbiosis was so perfect that eBay acquired PayPal in 2002, but within a decade, as PayPal usage expanded well beyond its parent company, the entities split. Today PayPal is used in 200 countries, and its 2021 revenue topped $25 billion.
A second way distal innovators help their radical vision ultimately become reality is with “backward” innovation—developing intermediary technologies that are immediately marketable and will move stakeholders along the maturity curve toward readiness for the actual invention. Take self-driving cars, which exist but aren’t yet prevalent for many reasons, including technological, infrastructure, and regulatory barriers. Another obstacle is consumer mistrust: Drivers are not yet ready to hand over the wheel. Thus we see stepping-stone products such as cruise control and automatic parking. These are incremental offerings that people will use and that should make them more comfortable with a driverless future.
The electric car company Tesla logged a distal win by selling EVs as luxury purchases before the economics worked to make more-mainstream models. It is now trying to pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles by offering precursors: both traditional autopilot and something called “full self-driving capability,” which gives the car even more control. Led by its creative founder, Elon Musk, Tesla is training us to eventually embrace a previously unpalatable vision.
Even in organizations where innovation is more incremental, distal thinkers can often find big challenges that offer them a chance to shine. Piper, a Capella designer, has for years been asking her managers how the company will operate when offices are entirely paperless. Encouraged by the new mandate to attract Millennials, she describes her vision of this future: eco-conscious digital natives operating in a fast-paced, mostly virtual work environment who will eschew office supplies for fully online tools. And yet, Piper says, many will still want physical products that link to the digital world for promotional or commemorative purposes. She describes a new line of memorabilia to honor project progress: commercial-real-estate “deal toys” with screens that change as the building is constructed, or customer-appreciation plaques with displays that show up-to-date utilization metrics of marquee software products the customer has purchased. Piper’s pitches make Capella think bigger and more boldly about what this demographic needs and demonstrate her unique ability to help the company get ahead of industry trends.
Which type of creativity do you use the most? Each one offers a unique advantage—and potential blind spots. Integrators may try to see synergies where they don’t exist, while splitters may overcomplicate a simple solution.
Understanding your strengths as an individual is the first step. Look for places to apply them and watch out for overuse. At your next opportunity to innovate, push yourself to think in the styles that come less naturally to you. Before you settle on a path forward, challenge yourself to define at least one option for each of the four styles.
If you lead a team, how do you complement your skill set with other types of creative thinkers? When receiving proposals from your team, do you get options that explore all four forms of innovation? If not, ask for them.
At the organizational level, reflect on your business’s accurate innovations, both internal and external. Do any patterns emerge? Are your products typically the result of splitting, for example? Or integration? When was the last time you capitalized on a figure-ground reversal? Do you have enough distal thinkers in your midst who are pushing others to expand their thinking? How often are hiring managers considering the mix of innovation types on teams as they grow?
Creativity is an imperative for our new world of work. Cultivating all four types of divergent thinking at every level will afford greater odds of converting each new challenge into successful innovation.
Editor’s note: Gabriella Rosen Kellerman and Martin E.P. Seligman are the authors of Tomorrowmind (Simon & Schuster, 2023), from which this article is adapted.
Some Apple events are more memorable than others. For example, who could ever forget when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone? “An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator… these are not three separate devices,” said the Apple founder in 2007. Now, a website is gathering the most Apple Keynotes it can, alongside other popular shows, and bringing transcripted versions of the presentations.
The website is called Context, and not only can you find Apple event presentations there, but the best of Warren Buffett, Marques Brownlee video transcriptions, TED Talks, Mr. Beast, and more are being added every day.
The AI-based search platform can “find any moment you’re looking for within a large collection of audio and video content.” Still, according to the developer, they want to “revolutionize the way people discover, organize, and share long-form content.”
This search platform has Apple events that date 1983, although there are also memorable moments in the past few years. For example, in 2013, when Apple introduced the trash-can Mac Pro, Apple executive Phill Schiller said:
So I am really pleased to give you, our closest friends, the first glimpse of the next generation of Mac Pro. Can’t innovate anymore, my ass! This is a machine unlike anything we’ve ever made, both inside and out.
The best part is that when you click on the quote, it sends you to the exact time frame the executive said these words.
Another phrase I enjoy when I hear from Apple CEO Tim Cook is “something only Apple can do,” which he used at least five times in his ten years as the commander-in-chief of the Cupertino company.
He used this phrase to talk about the iPhone 12 mini, Intercom integration, the new iPhone SE 3, Apple products’ integration in the last Apple keynote, and the Apple Watch announcement.
You can keep checking Context’s website as they will continue adding new content and more Apple events.
More Apple Coverage: App Store to accept app submissions through the holiday season
It’s been a few months since Apple dropped the iPhone 14 Pro, and in that time, a number of apps have come out with features that take advantage of the Dynamic Island.
In this post, we’re going to be looking at a handful of these apps and features. After all, this is one of the most original and exciting hardware features to come from Apple in a while. So if you’re an iPhone 14 Pro user like me, this post is for you.
First things first, though, let’s look at what the Dynamic Island is. The name is a bit weird, and if you don’t have an iPhone 14 Pro, you might not even be aware that this feature exists.
In essence, the Dynamic Island is Apple’s name for the camera cutout on the iPhone 14 Pro. You know how on the front of your iPhone there is a black notch where the front-facing camera and Face ID technology is stored?
Well, on the iPhone 14 Pro this notch has been replaced with a pill-shaped cutout. It’s a bit lower on the screen, and Apple has dubbed it the “Dynamic Island”.
What makes this cutout unique is that Apple has actually integrated it into the software of the iPhone 14 Pro. Whenever you listen to music, take calls, get directions in Apple Maps, and more, the Dynamic Island’s appearance will change. You can also long-press the Dynamic Island to for unique interactions that haven’t been possible on iPhone before.
I was sold on the Dynamic Island from the moment I saw it, and admittedly, it’s one of the reasons I ended up grabbing the iPhone 14 Pro over the standard iPhone 14. But of course, this unique feature isn’t worth much if it doesn’t deliver new experiences to the iPhone experience.
That’s why I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of apps that are actively taking advantage of the Dynamic Island. If you already use these apps or are looking for apps that use the Dynamic Island, here they are. Each one has a unique approach to how it treats this new feature from Apple.
First on our list is an app that is truly one of my favorite apps of all time. Apollo is a Reddit client, meaning that it allows you to browse Reddit on your iPhone. Some of the reasons I like this app more than the default Reddit app is that it doesn’t have ads, it allows you to filter out Subreddits and certain words, and it’s packed with awesome features that default Reddit doesn’t have.
One of those awesome features is Pixel Pals, which takes advantage of the Dynamic Island. This is a purely aesthetic feature, so if you’re looking for something that is functional or radically changes your app usage, this isn’t it.
Instead, this is a fun and cute feature that makes browsing Reddit that much more fun and addictive. iPhone 14 Pro users will get a little pet that sits on top of the Dynamic Island. It walks around, you can pet and feed it, it sleeps, and you can even choose what kind of animal it is.
And that’s about it! Again, it doesn’t change the way you use the app or anything like that. It’s just a cute way to take advantage of this new feature from Apple.
Another fun app that takes advantage of the Dynamic Island is Hit The Island. Albeit, Hit The Island uses uses this feature in a far more direct way than Apollo.
Hit The Island is a Pong-like game for your iPhone 14 Pro. It turns your Dynamic Island into a bar that you bounce balls into by moving a paddle on the bottom of your screen. It starts off super simple but quickly gets more complicated. Your paddle shrinks, the ball speeds up, obstacles start to appear, and more balls start to show up.
You earn points by hitting the Island with your ball. It’s all about building up your streak as high as it will go. There isn’t much more to this app! It’s simple, fun, and a creative way to pass the time.
Next up on our list of apps that use the Dynamic Island is Slopes. And unlike some of these other suggestions in this list, Slopes uses the Dynamic Island in a way that doesn’t feel gimmicky or “fun”, per se, though it is useful.
Slopes is an app for tracking your skiing and snowboarding. It shows you trails, tracks your exercise and progress, and is a companion for those who enjoy these wintry sports.
If you have Slopes and an iPhone 14 Pro, then you’ll notice that Slopes takes advantage of the Dynamic Island. It shows you information like your vertical and horizontal distance, your progress on a particular trail, and so on. Whenever you start a ski run, the Dynamic Island will start showing you updates in real-time.
And just like the best Dynamic Island features, you can long-press on the Island while using Slopes to get more information and features at your fingertips.
I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a reason to start using Slopes, but more so a perk for those who are already using this app!
An app that I’ve loved for a long time is Forest. Unlike Slopes, I actually do recommend checking this app out if you haven’t already. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Forest is an app for focusing while you work. You set a timer, and when you do, the app plants a tree.
If you close the app before the timer runs out, then your tree dies. The goal is to plant as many trees as you can during the day without killing any of them. Great for someone that has ADHD or needs a little extra incentive and organization while they work, study, or relax.
This Pomodoro app also supports the Dynamic Island! Whenever you start a timer, you can check on the progress of that timer right in the Dynamic Island. And you can long-press the Island to bring up more information and features.
Another super popular app that now supports the Dynamic Island is Carrot. Again, this is an app that I highly recommend grabbing if you don’t already have it.
If you’re new to this app, it’s a weather app that brings with it a ton of personality and features that are, frankly, lacking in Apple’s default Weather app. And when I say “personality”, I mean it.
Carrot allows you to choose a personality for the app, from a “Professional” setting that is more or less boring and to the point, to an “Overkill”, which uses profanity and crass humor to keep you updated on the weather.
Of course, we’re not just here to talk about how great Carrot is, but also how it uses the Dynamic Island.
This app takes advantage of the Island by showing live weather activities in Island. You can see how long rain is going to last, track more intense weather storms, and so on, right from your Dynamic Island. Long-pressing brings up more detailed information, while leaving the Island minimized shows you just enough to know what’s going on in your area.
Similar to Slopes, Flighty is an app that you probably aren’t going to find yourself using all of the time. When you need it, though, it can be a huge help.
As the name implies, this app is for keeping track of flights. If you’re about to leave for a flight and want to know the status of your flight, departure time, where you need to be, and so on, this app basically compiles all of that information for you in one place.
It doesn’t just show you when your plane is leaving and where you need to be, though. Flighty also keeps you updated on the location of your plane, even before it lands at the gate where you’re going to get on. You can track your plane for up to 24 hours before your flight, perfect for airline enthusiasts.
Of course, Flighty wouldn’t be on this list if it didn’t provide a great Dynamic Island integration. You can use the Island to check on the status of your flight, check your departure time and gate information, and more. It’s a convenient, fast, and updated way to keep up with your flight, wherever it is.
For the next apps on our list, I’ve gone ahead and put them together because they’re both pretty similar. And it felt wrong only mentioning one since I think both of these are great apps.
Crouton and Pestle, while two separate apps, are both apps designed to help you in the kitchen. They help you organize your meal prep schedule, allow you to keep track of your shopping list for the week, and can even be used to set timers while you cook.
It’s this timer feature that comes in handy the most while you’re using these apps with Dynamic Island. You can set timers for specific sections of a recipe (sautéing the mushrooms, baking the bread, etc.), and check on the status of that timer through your Dynamic Island. You can long-press on the Island as well to get more information on what your timer is for and how much time is left.
Last but not least is Steps. Yet again, this is an app that lives up to its name. Steps is an app that helps you keep track of your steps, set goals for how many steps you want to get in on any given day, and track the effect this has on your overall health.
As you make progress on your step goals while using this app, the screen will slowly show a changing animation meant to resemble the sunrise, which makes it that much more encouraging and relaxing to use. Perfect for when you want to go on a walk.
Again, this is an app that makes great use of the Dynamic Island. It allows you to track your step count from the Island, providing insight into your step count even when you’re using other apps on your iPhone 14 Pro.
If you’ve been wanting to walk more or simply be more active, Steps is a great app to have on your iPhone!
And that’s it! Those are some of the great apps that are taking advantage of the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro. As you’ll notice, most of these use cases are really simple and straightforward. After all, the Dynamic Island is a pretty simple and straightforward feature.
However, these apps do a great job of integrating with the Island and adding an extra level of polish to your iPhone experience. Definitely check them out if you’re wanting to maximize the potential of Dynamic Island on your iPhone.
For more insights, news, and guides on all things Apple, check out the rest of the AppleToolBox blog.
See you next time!
AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.
On Wednesday, Apple issued the developer Release Candidate for iOS 16.2 and, with it, support for 5G networks on iPhone in India.
Interestingly, 5G support isn't mentioned in the release notes, though users in India have confirmed it, as noted by Aaron Zollo.
Carriers in India had been rolling out 5G since the start of October in eight major cities — but not for iPhone users.
In mid-October, Apple confirmed that iPhone users in India would see 5G support before the end of the year.
Additionally, iOS 16.2 is expected to bring Freeform to the iPhone and iPad. It's a cross-platform productivity app that allows for group brainstorming, using a large single space that can incorporate other files and multiple users editing it at the same time.
AWS Checked Access brings the next generation of device-based security to the modern workplace
MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Jamf (NASDAQ: JAMF), the standard in managing and securing Apple at work, announced a new integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to empower organizations using AWS and Jamf to elevate their security posture. AWS Checked Access allows customers to define a set of policies or criteria in Jamf that must be met before allowing end users and their respective devices to gain access to internal services on AWS.
New integration improves organizational security by improving threat prevention measures and reducing risk of data breaches, while simplifying security controls
Now with AWS Checked Access, organizations using AWS and Jamf can verify that devices are managed and meet an acceptable risk threshold before providing access to sensitive or critical internal services. The policies that customers can define can be flexible according to their organizational requirements and overall level of security risk tolerance. For example, a customer may want to only allow devices that are managed and originate from a specific Internet Protocol (IP) address range, have a certain device risk score present, or have minimum operating system (OS) version. This new integration allows customers to go deeper with management and security, bringing together Jamf Pro, AWS and the Jamf Trust app.
For companies that run private applications on AWS, Jamf’s support is an important first step in securing business data with a trusted user and device. This integration is one component of the wider vision of Trusted Access Jamf first presented at this year’s Jamf Nation User Conference.
“We are excited to continue working with AWS, one of the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offerings, to help our joint customers increase organizational security while simplifying security controls,” said Dean Hager, CEO, Jamf. “With this integration, organizations can use the AWS infrastructure they have invested in, empower users with the devices they love, and depend on security workflows that IT and security teams trust.”
Jamf continues to innovate with AWS
Earlier this fall, Jamf announced that it was working with AWS to create a streamlined and powerful workflow to manage and provide an added layer of security to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Mac instances at scale. An organization needs to ensure that its virtual machines are as secure as their physical machines. Leveraging the power of Apple and AWS, Jamf has taken the concept of zero-touch deployment further than before. Now through Jamf’s leading management and security solutions, organizations can provide trusted access to virtual Mac computers in the same manner they do physical Macs, which provides flexible resource allocation to organizations that rely on Mac for critical components of their business.
“AWS is proud to continue to work with Jamf so organizations can provide Trusted Access to their users,” said Dave Brown, vice president of Amazon EC2 at AWS. “Today’s announcement of AWS Checked Access Integration is the next step in a powerful partnership aimed at helping the enterprise succeed with Apple.”
The workflow is available on Mac for AWS and Jamf customers today.
Jamf’s purpose is to simplify work by helping organizations manage and secure an Apple experience that end users love and organizations trust. Jamf is the only company in the world that provides a complete management and security solution for an Apple-first environment that is enterprise secure, consumer simple and protects personal privacy. To learn more, visit www.jamf.com.
Rachel Nauen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Gaumond | email@example.com
Alongside a dramatic expansion of end-to-end encryption for iCloud data, Apple has two other major security announcements today. The company says that it will add support for using Security Keys to further enhance your Apple ID and iCloud account security. There’s also a new feature for iMessage in particular, which the company is called iMessage Contact Key Verification.
First and foremost, Apple has announced that starting in 2023, users will be able to enhance their Apple ID and iCloud account protection using hardware Security Keys. This means you will have a physical hardware device that you can setup to serve as the second layer of two-factor authentication for your account.
Apple tells 9to5Mac that this Security Key system integrates with its device-to-device transfer process. So once authenticate your iPhone with the Security Key, you won’t have to do it again if you get a new iPhone so long as you use the device-to-device setup transfer process when setting up a new iPhone.
Additionally, the company says that trusted devices already signed in to your Apple ID won’t be signed out when you authenticate using the Security Key feature. Instead, the addition of a Security Key is meant to stop advanced attacks where the person may attempt to log-in to your Apple ID on an unknown, untrusted device. “This takes our two-factor authentication even further, preventing even an advanced attacker from obtaining a user’s second factor in a phishing scam,” Apple says.
Apple itself won’t be making a hardware Security Key. Instead, it will tap into third-party offerings. The company is working with the FIDO Alliance to ensure cross-platform compatibility with open standards.
Second, Apple is announcing a new security safeguard for iMessage. Dubbed iMessage Contact Key Verification, this feature allows iMessage users to “further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend.”
The feature works by alerting users with the safeguard enabled “if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop on these encrypted communications.”
Both users communicating via iMessage must have the Contact Key Verification feature enabled. For yet another added layer of security, iMessage Contact Key Verification users can compare a Contact Verification Code in person, on FaceTime, or through another secure call. This verification code is accessible via the Messages app.
You can get a look at what this notification looks like in the top image of this article. When an unrecognized device is added to the other person’s account, you’ll see an in-line alert in your Messages thread saying that “an unrecognized device may have been added” to that person’s account.
One thing Apple repeatedly stresses is that these features are really designed for users who face “concerted threats to their online accounts.” This includes people like celebrities, journalists, and members of the government. In particular, Apple says that the “vast majority of users will never be targeted by highly sophisticated cyberattacks.”
With that in mind, however, Apple acknowledges that these features are needed for users who might be specifically sought out. Apple tells 9to5Mac that it is not aware of any instances of iCloud servers being breached, but that it is constantly fighting off attacks.
For most people, the use of two-factor authentication is sufficient protection for Apple ID and iCloud accounts. Apple says that 95% of active iCloud accounts use two-factor authentication, making it the “most widely used two-factor account security system in the world.”
Security Keys for Apple ID will launch globally in early 2023, while iMessage Contact Key Verification will launch sometime in 2023.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:
Apple is loosening its requirements around how developers have to price their apps as legal and regulatory pressure over its tight control of the App Store intensifies. The company announced today it’s expanding its App Store pricing system to offer developers access to 700 additional price points, bringing the new total number of price points available to 900. It will also allow U.S. developers to set prices for apps, in-app purchases or subscriptions as low as $0.29 or as high as $10,000, and in rounded endings (like $1.00) instead of just $0.99. Similar new policies to reduce restrictions around price points will roll out in global markets, alongside new tools aimed at helping developers better manage pricing outside their local market.
The changes will initially become available starting today, Dec. 6, 2022, for auto-renewable subscriptions. They’ll become available to paid apps and in-app purchases in Spring 2023.
Apple has historically been heavy-handed when it comes to App Store pricing — a decision it believed allowed for a consistent consumer experience. But as the app ecosystem shifted away from paid app downloads to instead monetize via subscriptions, developers began demanding more pricing flexibility. Staunch Apple critics, like Spotify for example, have argued for years that the lack of pricing flexibility hinders their business. After Apple back in 2016 dropped the pricing for subscription apps from 30% to 15% in year two, Spotify complained the move didn’t go far enough, as Apple’s price rules didn’t allow the company a way to provide special offers or discounts to its customers at the various price points it wanted to set.
The new rules — while not a complete free-for-all — are meant to help address that concern, while also giving developers across Apple’s 175 markets a wider range of options in general.
For comparison, non-subscription in-app purchases previously offered a smaller range of price points. In most developed markets, there were 87 price points to choose from, while emerging markets had 94. For auto-renewing subscriptions, there have been 200 price points available. With this change, developers will have access to 900 total price points — including 600 new price points that are broadly available and 100 higher price points that are available “upon request.”
Developers who want access to the higher price points — those between $1,000-$10,000 — will have to justify their request in an online form that will be reviewed by Apple. But the company notes any App Store developer can request access to the highest price points, as it won’t be limited only to certain categories of apps.
In another big change, Apple says developers will now be allowed to set prices that end in $.00 instead of those that only end in $.99 or €X.99. In other markets, they’ll be able to set prices that begin with two repeating digits, like ₩110,000. These new pricing options can be useful for managing things like bundles or annual plans, the company said.
U.S. consumers may have noticed some App Store prices already ended in other digits besides $0.99. But that’s because auto-renewing subscriptions had access to a slightly wider range of price points than other consumables — including the ability to set their prices as low as $0.49. But these same rules did not apply to non-subscription app pricing, which added to consumer and developer confusion. The new system is looking to simplify the pricing so it’s more consistent across the board.
For U.S. apps in the lowest tiers, price points can increase in $0.10 increments up to $10.00 going forward. These price steps become less granular when you move into higher price points. For example, between $10 and $50, they then can increase by $0.50 increments. Between $50 and $200, the price steps would be $1.00, and so on.
The new pricing policies come as lawmakers and regulators around the world are examining Apple’s App Store for anti-competitive practices. In the U.S., for example, the Department of Justice is working to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company and even testified in the Epic Games vs. Apple appeal to advise the panel of judges as to how the lower court had misunderstood antitrust law when making its ruling.
Notably, Apple also last year settled a class action lawsuit with U.S. app developers, which included a number of concessions, including those around in-app communications, an appeals process for app rejections and an agreement to expand the number of price points available from fewer than 100 to more than 500. When asked if today’s changes were related to this settlement, an Apple spokesperson deflected, saying that this was simply another step in the company’s long line of commerce investments made over the years.
In addition to the updated pricing policies, Apple is also now rolling out tools to help developers better manage currency and taxes across storefronts. Starting today, developers will be able to set their subscription prices in their local currency as the basis for automatically generating pricing across the other 174 storefronts and 44 currencies, or they can choose to manually set prices in each market. When pricing is set automatically, pricing outside a developer’s home market will update as foreign exchange and tax rates change.
This functionality will expand to all other apps beyond subscription apps in Spring 2023.
Also coming in 2023, developers with paid apps and in-app purchases will be able to choose to set local territory pricing, which isn’t impacted by automatic price adjustments based on the changes in taxes and foreign exchange rates. All developers will also be able to define the availability of in-app purchases by storefront.
These changes are among the biggest made to Apple’s App Store pricing policies since the launch of subscriptions, but some may argue Apple hasn’t fully ceded control here as it’s still setting price minimums and maximums and the increments between price points instead of simply letting developers set the prices they choose.
(NewsNation) — Apple is being sued by two women alleging that its AirTag products are making it easier for stalkers to track their victims, including their own former partners.
In a lawsuit filed in the San Francisco federal court on Monday, Dec. 5, two women claimed Apple has been unable to protect people from unwanted tracking by the AirTag technology. The coin-sized device released in early 2021 was designed to be attached or slipped into backpacks, purses, luggage and keys, so users could track their belongings and retrieve lost items.
However, the technology also comes with dangerous ramifications. One of the women in the proposed class action lawsuit, Lauren Hughes, said her ex-boyfriend allegedly placed an AirTag into the wheel well of a tire on her car. The device was allegedly colored with a Sharpie marker and tied up in a plastic baggie to disguise it.
The other woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” said her ex-husband had been harassing her and challenging her about her whereabouts. According to the lawsuit, the woman found an AirTag in her child’s backpack. Though she attempted to disable it, another one soon showed up in its place, according to the complaint.
The two women, on whose behalf the suit was filed, are seeking to represent others “who have been and who are at risk of stalking via this dangerous product.” The suit is asking the court for an unspecified monetary compensation.
From the time of its launch, experts have warned about possible malicious uses for the technology. The controversial product is associated with a number of other stalking incidents as well as car thefts. In one case, an Indianapolis woman used an AirTag to track and ultimately kill her boyfriend after she suspected he was having an affair. AirTags have also reportedly been used to track and steal cars.
After rising privacy complaints, Apple announced an update earlier this year that addressed some of these concerns. The update included new privacy warnings at the time of setup, quicker alert times on unknown accessories and refined precision finding. Despite these changes, privacy advocates still worry about public safety as the product continues to be linked to crimes.
“Definitely good and bad to having an Apple AirTag, as always I caution people to keep your head on a swivel and be alert of everything going on,” said former law enforcement officer Robert Young on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.” “There could be a host of reasons this thing could be useful, but based on my background in law enforcement I can’t help but think most people buy these thinking they need to track someone.”
Sleep is elusive.
Unless you’re participating in a sleep study, there’s no real way to know how you’ve slept other than conducting some personal inquiry. Do I feel tired today? When did I actually go to bed? It’s not exactly a foolproof system.
Consumer-grade sleep tracking devices promise an alternative. A slightly more definitive, “data-driven” way of knowing how long you slept, how well you slept, and even how long you spent in each sleep stage. Sleep tracking has become a bread-and-butter feature for wearable devices. Your new smartwatch can probably tell you how long you slept last night if you wear it to bed. That fitness band you use to track your runs? There’s a good chance it can deliver you some insight into your resting heart rate during last night’s slumber.
Sensors observing your movement, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and even body temperature all come together to offer a consistent view (though not necessarily a medically accurate one) of what last night's sleep looked like. The quantified self applied to when you’re moving the least.
Now how useful that is to the average person will vary. Research suggests that tracking your sleep might actually be bad for some people in the long run. But the real question should be: What can you do (and what do these trackers and services do) with the information you collect? To put the benefits of sleep tracking to the test, I spent two weeks wearing smartwatches from Google and Apple, and a smart ring from Oura, in the hopes of gaining some insight into my sleep, and just what nighttime self-surveillance actually gets you.
Sleep tracking devices are numerous, and there are several that don't even require you to wear anything at all, but the average person is most likely going to track their sleep for the first time through a device that offers tracking as just one of many features. With that in mind, here’s what I wore:
All three of these trackers feel different and have distinct on-device and in-app experiences, but they can be best organized in terms of how hands-on or off they are with your sleep-tracking data.
If you’ve accidentally worn a normal wristwatch to bed, wearing an Apple Watch isn’t much different. I’m a fairly deep sleeper and had no issues falling asleep with my Apple Watch Series 7 on, and thanks to its reliable battery life, I almost always make it through a night’s sleep on a charge. I imagine the only real issues you’ll run into is if your band is uncomfortable or if you wear your smartwatch too loose or too tight on your wrist. Easy enough fixes on their own.
All of Apple’s sleep features are concentrated in the Health app on iOS, where you can set a sleep schedule, and view any information your Apple Watch tracked while you were asleep. The app itself doesn’t offer guidance around when you should go to bed or when your alarm should be set in the morning other than the usual recommendation of 7–9 hours of sleep for adults, but setting a schedule is helpful for establishing a routine. Apple automatically creates a “Sleep Focus” based on your set bedtime, which will automatically silence notifications on your iPhone and Apple Watch, dim their screens, and can be used to limit which apps you have access to once you’re supposed to be Studying for bed.
The Sleep app on watchOS has broadly the same functionality as the sleep section in the iOS Health app. Your current bedtime and alarm are listed at the top (you can adjust your next night’s sleep inside the app); there’s a readout of how many hours you slept last night (with estimates as to when you went to bed and when you woke up); and on watchOS 9, a chart displaying your sleep stages, with breakdowns of how much total time you spent in each (Awake, REM, Core, and Deep).
The Health app on iOS has more or less the same information, with some more variations. Outside of the sleep highlights you can find on the main Health screen, the sleep section has an ongoing chart you can sort by day, week, month, or six-month intervals, the time you spent in bed and the time you spent asleep, a chart showing your sleep stages and highlights on specific data points, like your respiratory rate or heart rate while you slept.
Everything is presented clearly, frequently, and in plain language. If you don’t know how to read an accompanying chart or graph, there’s usually a simple sentence that spells things out. For example, it could read something like, “Your average breathing rate while asleep has been consistent during the last 14 days.” Apple’s sleep tracking shows how good the company is at design and how feature-packed the Apple Watch is in terms of sensors, but it really doesn’t deliver you any guidance on how to use the data you collected. It’s cautious and hands-off to a fault. Apple has been careful to call the Apple Watch's various health tracking features more of a guardian and not a replacement for a healthcare provider.
For all its good looks, the Pixel Watch is in many ways just a Fitbit. So if you’ve used one of the company’s fitness trackers before, you might have a good idea of what to expect from Google’s smartwatch. Thanks to its small size and round shape, I found it very easy to wear to bed, and I imagine that would be even easier with the comfy Stretch Band. Depending on how much you used it throughout the day (tracking workouts for example) you might have to charge it before bed to make it through the night, however.
You can see elements of your sleep data in the Fitbit app for Android, the Sleep Tile in Wear OS 3, and the Fitbit app for Wear OS itself, but the most in-depth is your phone. Like on iOS, sleep data (your sleep score and hours slept) appears on the main screen in the Fitbit app, and you have to tap in to view more. Fitbit builds everything around a glanceable sleep score that’s determined based on contributors like how long you spent asleep, how long you spent in Deep and REM sleep, and how “restorative” your sleep was.
The sleep tile on the Pixel Watch offers a simple circular visual of how much you slept last night, along with the total number of hours. If you tap it, you’re taken to the Fitbit app on the Pixel Watch that offers a stripped-down version of the data you’ll find in the main Android app. Hours slept, your sleep score, a chart, breakdowns of your various sleep stages, and a weekly average. Basic but good for a quick look.
There are graphs and charts for all the information the Pixel Watch collects. Still, the best thing Fitbit (and, by extension, Google) does is offer explanations for why each statistic might matter to you and suggestions for programs available in your Fitbit Premium membership that could help you make a change if you want to. It immediately makes tracking your sleep actionable in a way Apple doesn’t. It’s not nearly as proactive as it could be — though monthly “Sleep Profile” updates are another step in the right direction — but it makes useful connections between the vast array of features and services Fitbit and Google offer. It's something possibly worth paying for.
The Oura Ring has a pretty immediate advantage over the Apple Watch and the Pixel Watch. It’s both smaller and looks like a normal piece of jewelry. Oura hides the sensors on the inside of the band to make it look as normal as possible; the recently released Oura Ring Horizon in October is finally a perfectly circular ring. Of the wearables I tried, the Oura Ring also had the longest battery life of the bunch — up to seven days on a single charge.
Because the Oura Ring doesn’t have a display (this is a good thing, it's worth saying), the entire sleep-tracking experience is concentrated in its companion app. The Oura app has a dedicated tab for sleep and the same reliance on a sleep score as the Pixel Watch to deliver you a glanceable look at how you’re doing on the main page.
The sleep tab has a chart detailing the mix of time you spent in various sleep stages over the last week, breakdowns of your total sleep, time in bed, sleep efficiency, and resting heart rate, along with a list of all the factors Oura takes into account to determine your sleep score. Further down, there’s detailed information on last night’s sleep, your breathing regularity, and average heart rate variability (HRV).
The best part is that much like the Fitbit app, Oura has a detailed explanation for why these stats might be important that’s just a tap away. Similarly, Oura doesn’t try to take control of how you sleep too aggressively, but it does nudge a fair bit more by default: suggesting an ideal bedtime after you wear it for a few days, recommending a guided meditation or audio story to listen to before you go to bed, and generally encouraging you to check in with yourself if your sleep score is dramatically different between days.
While there’s always more the Oura Ring could do, Oura seems to strike the right balance between being informative, but not necessarily overwhelming. The right amount of proactiveness if you’re interested in changing how you sleep.
As fun as all these features are, they are only useful if they actually do the job they claim to do. Of all the three trackers I wore, practicing through Fitbit’s explanations of sleep data and following Oura’s bedtime recommendation made me feel more refreshed and a bit more in touch with how I sleep. The problem is I could have reached a similar conclusion by following a consistent bedtime and going to bed a bit earlier — two things the Apple Watch nailed when Apple introduced sleep tracking with watchOS 7 in 2020.
My sleep problems are minor compared to many people, but I think this experience has generally revealed one thing to me: The accuracy of these devices aside, they seem to collect more information than they, or really any normal person, know what to do with. The more proactive suggestions are helpful, and I admittedly enjoy geeking out over the various stats a smartwatch or smart ring can help present, but I can’t say any of it is essential yet.
They seem to collect more information than they, or really any normal person, know what to do with.
After wearing two smartwatches and a smart ring for two weeks, I also began to wonder if there are some things we just shouldn’t know about ourselves at all. Is knowing more a net good? For the obsessive or easily fixated, probably not. Sleep tracking, like step tracking and calorie counting, forces you to mechanize yourself. You're a machine with points that can be tracked and outputs that can be tweaked. Some trackers and services approach this more humanely than others, but the page always shows the same thing. Lines that go up and down, scores that increase and decrease, short friendly paragraphs with suggestions of what you can do differently.
In the right hands, used with restraint, a sleep-tracking device could help you change a habit. They’ll certainly make you aware of yourself in a different way. But for now, you can rest easy with the knowledge that some good old determination might get you just as far in the pursuit of a good night’s sleep. Just don’t use your phone in bed!
THE FUTURE OF SLEEP reveals what science currently knows about what sleep is, why we need it, and if we can hack our own slumber. Read the rest of the stories here.
In October, through a press release, Apple announced its new iPad 10. While rumors turned out to be accurate, and this tablet finally got a redesign with a USB-C port and the A14 Bionic chip, there was an important concern regarding it: the lack of support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. In iFixit’s teardown video, we know why Apple stuck with the first-gen Apple Pencil.
iFixit is known for ranking devices’ repairability while helping customers understand how to repair a product such as their iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Although Apple makes it very hard for regular users to repair a broken product, at least having an expert showing how it looks is already great.
This time, iFixit solved everyone’s question: why didn’t Apple add support to Apple Pencil 2 on the iPad 10 as the only way to connect the pencil to it is with an adapter? Well, here’s the answer.
For the first time, Apple put the front-facing camera in a landscape position. While this is very helpful for video calls while working, iFixit discovered that the camera hardware is exactly where the magnets, which the Apple Pencil 2 would attach, should be. iFixit even gave a possible solution, such as slightly lowering the magnets, but the company discovered that doing that would interfere with some other internal components.
As usual, iFixit complained about the repairability of the iPad 10 as the logic board, and the batteries are glued – although at least the two-cell 7,606 mAh battery has stretch-release pull tabs. Not only that, but the company was disappointed with the USB-C port being soldered to the logic board.
That said, be careful not to break your shiny new iPad 10 as Apple still doesn’t offer users iPad tools to repair it, unlike it does with some iPhone and Mac models. You can watch iFixit’s full teardown video below.
More Apple Coverage: iPad 10 (2022) tidbits: More expensive, can’t charge Apple Pencil, new camera placement, more