The personal blog of Stuart Breckenridge

Upcoming Requirements for watchOS 2 Apps  

From Apple’s Developer Website:

Starting June 1, 2016, all new watchOS apps submitted to the App Store must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later.

In use, I honestly can’t tell the difference between an app built with watchOS 1 (WatchKit) vs watchOS 2: the performance is sluggish across all third-party apps on my Apple Watch.

Amazon Now Requires Prime Membership for Top Video Games  

Tom Phillips at Eurogamer:

You now need a Prime subscription to buy games such as Grand Theft Auto 5, Rainbow Six: Siege or FIFA 16 direct from retail giant Amazon.

The bizarre change, spotted by Videogamer, appears to have quietly taken affect overnight.

But there’s a big caveat to the above. All of these games are still available to buy via Amazon through third-party sellers, whether you have Prime or not.

Despite being able to buy from third-party sellers, this is a disgraceful sales tactic to get people to subscribe to Prime, which is a shame because it’s generally fantastic value.

Tim Cook's Desk  

Tim Cook has one of the most organised desks I’ve seen.1

I wonder why he still uses notepads when he has an iPad Pro?

  1. Alternatively, he’s stashed all the paperwork in a drawer for the purpose of the photo shoot. ↩︎

WWDC 2016 Announced  

Apple have updated their developer portal with details of this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which will be held between June 13th and June 17th:

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off at the historic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for an unforgettable Monday as Apple’s renowned developer community comes together to learn about the future of OS X, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The Keynote and State of the Union promise exciting reveals, providing inspiration and new opportunities to continue creating the most innovative apps in the world. End the day by honoring the most remarkable developers of the year at the Apple Design Awards.

Tickets cost $1,599 (USD), or 2,318 downloads of a $0.99 app1. (I’ll be watching the sessions from home.)

  1. Subtracting 30% for Apple. ↩︎

Apple Pay with Amex Launching Soon in Singapore?

Update: Apple Pay is now available in Singapore. I was four days ahead of the curve.

My iPhone is setup with the region set to the United Kingdom, a result of which is that the Wallet app allows you to attempt to add Payment Cards. Today, I tested adding my Singapore Amex to Wallet and was greeted with the Terms & Conditions 1 for Amex usage with Apple Pay in Singapore.


Hopefully, Apple Pay will be launching soon in Singapore.

  1. The Terms & Conditions seem to confirm that only Amex cards issued directly from American Express, rather than via a third-party, will work with Apple Pay in Singapore. ↩︎

iMessage Deactivation Timeframe

I am travelling with two iPhones: an older travel iPhone, and an in use iPhone. The travel iPhone has my home (Singapore) sim card with mobile data turned off, and the in use iPhone has a local sim card (UK). The travel iPhone only connects to the network via hotspots or wi-fi.

I’ve configured iMessage to receive messages at my Apple ID, the Singapore phone number, and the UK phone number; and to send messages from the Singapore phone number only.

My issue is that after an indeterminate amount of time—sometimes as little as a few hours—the Singapore phone number disappears from iMessage and each time my travel iPhone connects to the network, it has to go through the iMessage activation process.

Is there anyway to prevent iMessage from deactivating in this manner?

Update (via @AppleSupport): iMessage will remain active as long as your device has a reliable connection to the network. If it remains in a state where it is not connected to Wi-Fi, a hotspot, or the cell network, iMessage will deactivate.

How to Write Release Notes

From Medium’s latest release on the App Store:

So I’m hanging out at THE UPDATE, where the release notes go to drink after work. All the regulars are here, and I’m just quietly minding my own business at the bar.

Slack’s sitting in the corner, making everyone laugh, AS USUAL.

Facebook runs in, screams BUG FIXES and runs out.

LinkedIn has Instagram cornered by the Jukebox, going on and on about how professional their latest feature is.

Tumblr is out front, chain smoking with Spotify and ranting about some new experimental noise album from Denmark.

It was just a typical Tuesday night, when all of the sudden four black SUVs come out of nowhere.

1Password screams “It’s the FBI!” and hits a hidden button behind the bar to automatically lock the front door.

A gruff voice shouts “Open this door immediately!”

“We don’t have to listen to you!” bellows iTunes.

They go on shouting and arguing through the locked door for awhile. After several hours of this, the FBI abruptly gets back into their SUVs and drives off, saying something about a “back door.”

Calm once again returns to the room. “A round on the house,” calls out 1Password. As the glasses are lined up along the bar, I hear a soft muttering. “I doubt that’s the last we’ve seen of them.”

tagsal, funny, and controversial. I love it.

The Freest Country in the World  

In an otherwise excellent post from Jonathan Zdziarski, this stuck out as a glaring error:

How can the freest country in the world, a beacon for those in oppressive countries, lay down their speech, their privacy, their identities over a dead terrorist’s iPhone?

There is no evidence to suggest that the U.S.A. is the freest country in the world. Based on this report1 the U.S.A. is seventh.

On strong encryption in particular, the Netherlands has got it spot on.

  1. Published by Canada’s Fraser Institute, Germany’s Liberales Institut, and the U.S. Cato Institute in late 2012. ↩︎

FlexBright: App Review Strikes Again  

Julie Clover (via MacRumors):

FlexBright developer Sam Al-Jamal told MacRumors he had worked with Apple through several app rejections to get FlexBright into the App Store and that no private APIs were in use, something that was seemingly confirmed by the app’s approval, but further review from Apple led to FlexBright’s removal. Al-Jamal has shared Apple’s explanation with MacRumors following an “exhausting discussion” with the Cupertino company. “The bottomline is Apple won’t allow apps to change screen colors,” he said.

It’s impossible to comprehend the inconsistent behaviour from the App Review team. Making a developer—any developer—waste time on developing solutions for something that they will ultimately reject is unforgivable.

Blur with Backdrop Filter

I’ve added an iOS 7+ translucency effect—blur, in other words—to the masthead of the site. It’s been implemented using the Safari 9+ only backdrop-filter CSS style.

I’m using the @supports CSS at-rule to ensure it’s only applied when using a supported version of Safari:

@supports (-webkit-backdrop-filter:none) {
	background-color: rgba(255,255,255,0.5);
	-webkit-backdrop-filter: blur(10px);    

On non-Safari browsers, the translucency effect is not applied and a solid white background is used.