2022 in review: AppleInsider’s favorite articles of the year
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A lot happened in 2022. With 2022 almost behind us, it’s time to look back on the year and share with you what were the favorite articles we wrote for you.
Each of us has our favorite articles from the past year. We want to highlight them as we prepare to say goodbye to 2022, and welcome 2023.
It’s easy to focus on bad news, especially when it seems to dominate anything that would qualify as good news. But this year, I’m happy to say that my favorite piece of news is one of hope and positivity.
In November, Apple introduced its new Emergency SOS via Satellite feature. The feature, which is currently exclusive to the iPhone 14, allows users to contact emergency services even when they don’t have cellular or Wi-Fi signals. It also didn’t take long for the feature to prove its usefulness.
In mid-December, a couple found themselves in a potentially deadly situation when their vehicle went off the road in Southern California. While their injuries were minor, the two slid 300 feet into a canyon, leaving them stranded with no cell signal.
However, because the pair had an iPhone 14 on hand, they were able to relay their information via text to one of Apple’s emergency call centers. Local authorities dispatched a helicopter that airlifted the two out of the canyon and to a local hospital.
It’s not infrequently that we hear how someone’s Apple Watch saved their life by detecting an underlying heart condition or alerting emergency services when someone takes a hard fall.
But now Apple is giving iPhone owners a new tool that could easily save their lives. I think we’re going to be surprised how many times the emergency satellite feature saves people – not just when they’re hiking or camping – but when the unexpected happens.
Class action lawsuit stories are usually difficult to write simply because they are a repetitive story. A company does something wrong, lawyers get involved, the company pays money, lawyers take some, and a pittance is paid to consumers.
Sometimes things get weird.
The example is a story about Tim Hortons and its app class action lawsuit settlement in July. To end a quartet of lawsuits over its mobile app, and accusations that it collected users’ geolocation data, the Canadian coffee chain has offered a compensation package of sorts.
Rather than cash, Tim Hortons offered customers “a free hot drink and a free pastry” in the form of a settlement. For consumers, the total retail value would be CAD $8.58 ($6.71), but for the company, the actual cost would obviously be significantly lower.
This is my choice because hindsight is 20-20, and I could have made some good jokes in the piece. For example, asking if the lawyers could take a sip from a cup as payment, or referring to the “sweet taste of revenge.”
Finally, when I wrote the story, I missed pun heaven. I simply bit off more than I could chew.
There are so many fun stories to choose from in 2022 that I had trouble landing on a single favorite. Google’s continued pressure on Apple to fix its RCS problem, iOS being more customizable than ever, the Studio Display and iPhone 14 Pro’s dramatic leap in camera technology all come to mind.
The most important story of 2022, for me, is one that spanned most of the year – iPadOS 16 Stage Manager and external display support. These controversial features went through the wringer from incredible initial excitement to irritation, then finally some relief.
As I wrote in our 2021 year roundup, Apple’s commitment to iPad software improvements was promising but lacked conviction. In 2022, the company doubled down by announcing a radical change in how iPadOS worked, giving the M-series iPads dedicated features.
Stage Manager looked good in demos, and external display support was a great step, but they didn’t function well in betas. Then, after many complaints from iPad owners, Apple removed the features for a recalibration.
iPadOS 16.1 will enable Stage Manager on iPads with the M1, M2, A12X, and A12Z processors. Then iPadOS 16.2 will bring external display support, but only for M-series iPads.
The ambitious updates stumbled out of the gate with numerous bugs and strange functionality. Each subsequent update has fixed some issues, but overall the experience needs some work.
Apple’s willingness to listen to users and quickly address bugs is why I chose this as my favorite story of 2022. The iPad isn’t finished yet, and I hope that Apple will push boundaries with iPadOS 17 in 2023.
We get a lot of requests to review gadgets. For most of it, what’s on the table is pretty bad.
If you have a small team and a lot of people are asking you to review their product, you’re turning down a lot of obvious junk.
We’ve recently expanded our writer pool, so we have more opportunities to open the valve a bit and let more products through. And yes, that sometimes means, junk gets through.
Andrew Orr did a piece on a set of earbuds that looked pretty nice and looked promising. Specifically, the iLive Truly Wireless Noise Canceling Earbuds.
They started well. Shortly after use, they failed in several different ways at once.
For some reason, maybe long hours, maybe fatigue, I simplified Andrew’s headline talking about good quality when they worked, to just “don’t”. And, two months later, it still tickles me.
We talked about it a little bit as a staff after that, and we’re going to review pretty much anything that’s presented to us now. It might be more of a service to the reader to tell you what’s terrible than to focus on what’s good because we don’t have the time or manpower to get more done.
And for what it’s worth, it’s now about 70 days after we reached out to their support. We are still waiting.
My interest in Apple, and the reason I’m so much in the company’s ecosystem, is that my interest is not in technology at all. I’m interested in how people use hardware and software, and what it enables them to create, and then I’m also deeply fascinated by unexpected outcomes of technology.
This year we were shown this most visibly with what my favorite article of 2022 was about – how mapping technology told the world that the Ukraine invasion was beginning.
The same technology that powers Apple Maps and Google Maps, the same data they use to give us regular route planning, actually revealed invasion. It took researchers and statisticians to see it, but the information was there as the first troop movements had an effect on surrounding traffic.
No one at Apple or Google planned to make their mapping service a military tool, and yet there it was. The horrific invasion of Ukraine was seen as an example of how technology works globally and ultimately brings us all together.
Researchers found that macOS had the least amount of malware infections in 2022, which is good news for Mac users.
Elastic Security Labs published a cybersecurity report in November that examines popular operating systems and the threats they have received. The company also includes forecasts and recommendations for enterprise customers.
Apple’s Mac operating system even beat Linux in malware infections at 6.2%, compared to Linux infections at 39.4%. But, as usual, Windows remains the most popular platform for malware, at 54%.
The numbers are so low that Mac users may not even need an antivirus program. However, sticking to common security practices like creating complex passwords, avoiding phishing emails, and updating to the latest software are great ways to stay protected.
This year I had several favorite stories that graced the front page of AppleInsider, many of them related to the official launch of Matter. This new smart home standard will be minor here at launch, but will soon have profound implications for Apple Home.
With Matter, devices that previously didn’t support HomeKit will now magically work with Apple Home. Not to mention the litany of new device categories that will eventually be supported. For example, robot vacuum cleaners are promised to be supported in a future iteration of the Matter specification and will represent a new device type for Apple users.
Apple has supported Matter in beta since iOS 15, but with iOS 16 – and the other ecosystem updates – Matter support became official. We already have several Matter devices available such as the Meross smart plug, three devices from Eve Systems, and surely many more announcements to come at CES 2023.