The Hard-To-Cope Edition Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Apple To Revamp Streaming Music Service After Mixed Reviews, Departures, by Alex Webb, Lucas Shaw, and Adam Satariano, Bloomberg

Some Beats employees found it hard to cope in the new culture. New product ideas – even in early stages – require a laborious approval process, which includes sign-off from a vice president like Kondrk. Apple sees the process as a way to maintain quality, but to Beats employees it was unnecessarily bureaucratic.

Some Beats executives left Apple, including former Beats Music Chief Executive Ian Rogers, who departed in August to become luxury giant LVMH SE’s group digital officer. Other departures include product head Ryan Walsh; chief designer Ryan Goodman; vice president for engineering Bobby Gaza and senior visual designer Jackie Ngo. Some engineers left after being shifted onto products such as iBooks and the App Store against their will. Even though the terms of the deal provided financial incentives for employees to stay for at least a year, Ngo, Goodman and others left inside just a few months, even before Apple Music was unveiled. The departed staffers either declined to comment or didn't respond to requests for comment. Several longer-term Apple employees also left during the reorganization.

Design With Absolute Confident

Decoding ‘Manus X Machina’, by Imran Amed and Lauren Sherman, Business Of Fashion

At the same time, technology companies are increasingly adopting the lessons — and language — of fashion. “Regardless of whether we declare an interest in fashion or not, we are making products that are more and more personal… products that you wear and you wear every day,” Ive said. “We’ve not done that before and we’ve got a lot to learn. Just talking to Andrew [Bolton] is hugely informative,” he continued. “I think we have always had a very clear and a very singular approach to how we design products that are more familiar to people, more established in terms of product categories. I think it’s very hard to have that same clarity and singularity when you’re not absolutely confident in your subject matter.”

Life's Too Short For Slow Computers, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

I think it's better to slowly stack new capabilities on top of more powerful hardware than to push out a million ideas that work too slowly in practice.

A Watch That Makes You Wait, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

I still believe that, a few years from now, a tiny computer on our wrist will be the primary device we use to quickly interact with the outside world, stay in touch, glance at information, and stay active. All of these aspects are negatively impacted by the Watch 1.0's hardware today. Looking ahead, though, what's more likely – that Apple shipped a product a bit too early and then iterated on it, or that the entire idea of the Apple Watch is flawed and Apple should have made a dumber fitness tracker instead?

Emails In Sheer Speed

A Smart New Email App For The iPhone, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

And now comes the simply named Mail by EasilyDo, a company previously known for selling a smart assistant app. EasilyDo’s new mail client handles Gmail very well, but isn’t just Gmail-centric. At launch, it can manage all kinds of email accounts except Exchange and POP, and Exchange is in the works for this summer.

The app’s major claims are sheer speed: built-in, one-tap unsubscribing; fast search; and smart assistants that extract, separate, and parse emails dealing with things like travel plans and bills. It also has a long list of other features, including a unified inbox, customizable message snoozing, and easy undo of sending emails and other actions.

Commoditize The Hardware

Everything As A Service, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

With regards to the iPhone, it’s hard to see its record revenues and profits ever being surpassed by another product, by Apple or anyone else: it is in many respects the perfect device from a business perspective, and given that whatever replaces it will likely be significantly less dependent on a physical interface and even more dependent on the cloud (which will help commoditize the hardware), it will likely be sold for much less and with much smaller profit margins.11

More broadly, I suspect it is going to be increasingly difficult to analyze the future with any lens based on the past. The two companies that dominated earnings in a largely gloomy quarter — Facebook and Amazon — are both uniquely enabled by the Internet; Amazon lets you rent compute power without buying a server, and Facebook serves 1.6 billion people customized content from an effectively infinite number of sources.

Apple’s Uncharted Territory, by Ben Bajarin, Re/code

The plus is that these will remain loyal Apple customers, and continue to spend money in Apple’s ecosystem. The negative is that they will be unusually slow to buy new iPhones, which, in turn, will have an impact on annual iPhone sales. In some ways, I’m not sure even Apple understands yet just how stubborn regular consumers are when it comes to replacing their stuff. And Apple has a lot of these regular consumers as its users, and they may likely behave in unpredictable ways Apple can’t anticipate.


Resetting The iTunes Authorization Counter, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

You can deauthorize the computers you no longer own in your iTunes Store settings, but in doing so, you must deauthorize all your computers associated with your account. Once you deauthorize all the Macs and PCs you have used to play your iTunes Store content, you can go back to each computer you currently own and authorize them again.

Ulysses 2.5, by William Gallagher, MacNN

I'm able to do this because Ulysses is great at handling lots of different pieces of writing within the one app: you don't open and close files, you just have everything in front of you.

Moog Brings Its $10,000 Synthesizer To The iPad, by Tyler Lee, Ubergizmo

The company has recently launched the Model 15 app designed for the iPad. Basically this brings the Model 15 synthesizer and all of its sounds onto the iPad for $30.


Apple Officially Makes One Of Steve Jobs’ Favorite Projects Obsolete, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

The end of an era (well, kind of!) was revealed by Java and WebObjects developer Hugi Thordarson. “In the past years I’ve regularly sent letters to Tim Cook, asking about the state of WO (being the naggy guy I am) and recently, I was contacted by Apple executive relations regarding my questions,” Thordarson wrote online. “The guy I spoke to called a couple of times, at first, he had absolutely no idea what WO was but the second time he called, he had obtained information and had a clear statement: ‘WebObjects is a discontinued product and will never be upgraded.'”


Apple Hires Google X Lab Cofounder, Former Nest Head Of Technology For Health Projects, by AppleInsider

Apple recently expanded its health technology team in a big way with the hire of Yoky Matsuoka, a robotics expert who co-founded Google's experimental X labs and most recently served as head of technology at the internet search giant's Nest subsidiary.

Why The Future Of Web Browsers Belongs To The Biggest Tech Firms, by Cory Doctorow, The Guardian

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Make it easy for today’s crop of web giants to sue any new entrants into oblivion and you can be pretty certain there won’t be any new entrants.

Singaporean English Is Almost Impossible To Pick Up, by Urvija Banerji, Atlas Obscura

"Two dollar onny, dis one," a street vendor might say to you in Singapore. A local might reply, "Wah! So espensive one, cannot leh."

While this might sound like broken English, it is an example of Singlish, the highly complicated English creole spoken in Singapore. Its staccato, off-grammar patois is the subject of much bemusement for visitors to the country, and it's almost impossible for outsiders to imitate.

Bottom of the Page

It's 2016, and I still have to look down at my keyboard to see if I have accidentally activated Caps Lock... On second thought: It's 2016, and we still haven't even gotten rid of the ScreenLock key, let alone the CapsLock and NumLock keys. (This statement may or may not be applicable to you, depending on the operating system you're using.)


So, another Apple Music segment in this year's WWDC keynote, eh? Or maybe there's going to be a Apple Music + TV subscription bundle? :-)


Thanks for reading.