The Company-Executives Edition Thursday, January 28, 2016

Apple's Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business, by Fast Company

"We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony [Ive] and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way."

Apple's Updates

Apple Says It Has Fixed The Bug That Was Crashing Safari, by Joseph Bernstein, Buzzfeed

Sources say the issue impacted only people whose Safari “Suggestions” data storage cache updated during early-morning hours, Pacific Time. The immediate cause of the crash was typing into the address bar. Emptying the cache should resolve the issue for those still experiencing it (click on the “clear history and website data” in Safari’s preferences).

Apple Updates Snow Leopard So You Can Continue To Upgrade From Snow Leopard, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

This doesn't mean that Snow Leopard is suddenly supported again. Rather, it allows Apple to continue offering modern OS X versions to the Snow Leopard users whose Macs can run newer versions. You can upgrade directly from Snow Leopard to any newer version of OS X, including the current El Capitan, and the Mac App Store is the main delivery method for those upgrades.

More On Financial Results

Three More Observations About Apple’s Conference Call, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Then there’s the Mac, which ended a two year period of positive year-over-year sales growth. During the first fiscal quarter of 2016, Mac sales were down (slightly). Again, this is a situation where the overall market the product is in might say a lot: As Apple pointed out, analyst firm IDC estimates that the global PC market was down 11 percent, meaning that the Mac’s four percent sales drop means that the Mac continued to gain PC market share.

A bigger slice of a shrinking pie?

No Need To Fret, Apple Is Doing Fine, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

Let’s get this out of the way first: Despite what you may have heard, the iPhone is not dying. Neither, by extension, is Apple.

Money Money Money

Opening The iTunes Affiliate Kimono, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

I’m not complaining. I don’t do this for money (obviously), I do it for fun. And the small income from affiliate links pay for my hosting at Digital Ocean (yes, that’s an affiliate link for them), my FastMail account (ditto), and a few apps here and there. But I won’t be quitting my day job.

Apple CFO Says 'Fair' Outcome In Irish Tax Investigation Would Be No Money Owed, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

On Wednesday Apple CFO Luca Maestri attacked an ongoing European Commission investigation into the company's tax deals with Ireland, claiming that a "fair" decision would find the iPhone maker owing nothing.

Apple Isn't As Rich As You Think It Is, by Matt Krantz, USA Today

Apple's cash isn't free and clear for investors to cash in on. Apple has been piling on debt over the years - even faster than cash is growing. Apple ended last year with $53.2 billion in long-term debt, which is up 64% from the same period a year ago. That debt amounts to $9.60 a share.


Office For iOS Gets More Cloud-Friendly, by David Sparks, MacSparky

So Office for iOS now lets us work directly on files in Dropbox or Box without any multiple-copy shenanigans. All of this happens right from the Open menu. I've been working with my Dropbox documents in this manner since it first rolled out and it works great. Microsoft intends to add additional services in the coming months.

Unfortunately, missing from the list is iCloud and that is too bad.

Box Gets Deeper Integration With Office Apps For iPhone And iPad, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Cloud storage provider Box has announced a new set of integrations with Microsoft Office. This includes some new capabilities for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPhone and iPad that make editing documents from Box much easier.

New Boundary Warp Feature For Lightroom Helps You Create More Detailed Panoramas, by Grant Friedman, Layers Magazine

Today, Adobe released Lightroom CC 2015.4. While the goal of this release was to provide additional camera raw support, lens profile support, and address a few bugs that were introduced in the previous version of the app, version 6.4 also includes a new feature called Boundary Warp, which gives photographers a new option when stitching together panoramas.

BBEdit Gets Performance Boost, Interface Refinements, More, by MacTech

BBEdit 11.5 offers a variety of performance improvements, refinements to fit and finish, and changes to streamline workflow in specific areas, such as Find Differences.

Is A Luxury Wireless Speaker Worth The Splurge?, by Michael Hsu, Wall Street Journal

The fact is, a single speaker can only do so much; it’ll never rival a traditional two-speaker system. But if you simply must have the most compact setup available, these three pricey offerings from esteemed audio companies deliver considerable punch per cubic square inch. Here’s a rundown of how they work, and the technical know-how they borrow from their much, much more expensive full-size counterparts.

The Real Way To Use Focus On A Mac To Avoid Distractions, by Bohemian Boomer

What we need is a distraction free app that frees us from the distractions. That’s Focus, a simple Mac Menubar utility which creates an optimal work environment on your Mac by prohibiting you from opening or using specific apps during specific times.

What Focus does is block websites and apps from starting so you can stay focused on whatever you’re doing.

Microsoft Hits A Home Run With This Brilliant iPhone App, by John Brandon, Computerworld

The app does an amazing job of finding stories related to your job, skills, and interests. It cuts out the fluff and makes news reading easier.


Seven Swift Snares & How To Avoid Them, by David Ungar, IBM

The Swift language is intended to help developers avoid bugs by adopting safe programming patterns. Inevitably though, such an ambitious undertaking will produce an artifact that (for now, at least) has a few rough edges, snares that can introduce bugs into programs without any warnings from the compiler. Some of these are mentioned in the Swift book, and some (as far as I can tell) are not. Here are seven snares most of which have caught me in the past year. They involve Swift’s protocol extensions, optional chaining, and functional programming.

Apple Enables Lower Price Tiers For The App Store In Canada And New Zealand, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

In an announcement posted on its official developer portal, Apple says that the lower price tiers, Alternate Tier A and Alternate Tier B, are now available to allow developers to offer their paid apps and in-app purchases at $0.99 (CAD and NZD). “Existing apps that already use these price tiers have been automatically updated,” the company notes.

Why I Work Remotely (Hint: It Has Nothing To Do With Productivity)., by Jason Zimdars, Signal v Noise


America's Sudden U-Turn On Highway Fonts, by Kriston Capps, The Atlantic

Clearview is out, Highway Gothic is (back) in. Critics want to know why.

McDonald's Introduces Chocolate-covered French Fries To Japan, by Justin McCurryin, The Guardian

McDonald’s is attempting to reverse its sagging fortunes in Japan with the launch this week of a new menu item: french fries smothered in chocolate sauce.


These McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks Have A Problem: No Cheese, by Hayley Peterson, Slate

McDonald's is under fire for serving mozzarella sticks that are missing a key ingredient: cheese.

Not so yummy.

Rumor Of The Day

Apple Likely To Debut iPad Air 3 At March Event; New Apple Watch Models Revealed, by Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac

Bottom of the Page

watchOS, tvOS, phoneOS, padOS, computerOS?


Thanks for reading.