The Performance-Improvements Edition Friday, June 10, 2016

Apple Updates Logic Pro X With 3 New Chinese Instrument Patches And Over 300 Chinese Loops, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The update also has a focus on Chinese instruments much likerecent GarageBand updates. Retina display users will appreciate hi-res support for seven more plug-ins, and the update delivers the usual performance improvements as well.

Apple Has Just Become An Energy Company, Looks To Sell Excess Electricity Into The Grid And Maybe More, by Seth Weintraub, 9to5Mac

The company was seemingly formed to allow it to sell excess electricity generated by its solar farms in Cupertino and Nevada, with plans to sell electricity across the whole of the US.

Catawba County Approves Lease For Apple’s Renewable Energy Center, by Kevin Griffin, Hickory Daily Record

A new lease agreement between Catawba County and Apple will allow for the construction of a renewable energy facility that harnesses landfill gas.

Apple Releases Special ‘Shot On iPhone’ Commercial For European Football Championship, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has released a special ‘Shot on iPhone’ TV commercial for European markets called ‘The beautiful game’. It features iPhone photography of football stadiums, goalposts and players.

The New Business Model

Glenn Fleishman: ‘App Store Subscriptions Don’t Solve Problems For Most Developers’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What I was told from people at Apple today is that “Content” and “Service” are merely examples of the type of apps that qualify for subscription pricing, and they are willing to accept “all categories and apps that make sense as subscriptions”.

Also from John Gruber: I confirmed with Apple today that free trials are definitely an option for any app that is approved for subscription pricing.

App Subscriptions Were Always Inevitable, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

For a long time, iOS developers could rely on the booming growth of iPhone sales to secure their future revenues. Sure, you might be giving older customers free upgrades, but you were still very much enticed to improve your software in order to capture the flood of potential new users streaming in. Such a pyramid scheme of constantly recruiting new users in order to support the old ones could only work so long as Apple kept bringing in masses of iOS neophytes. But that growth has slowed markedly this year, as both the iPhone and smartphones in general approach their global saturation point, and the problem of reconciling one-off purchases with an ongoing support service is growing into a starker issue.

On Subscription Fatigue, by David Sparks, MacSparky

I think, in general, it's easier to pay $12 once then the thought of paying one dollar every month going forward. Now multiply that times the 20 or 30 apps that you really love and things just get crazy.

Spotify On Apple App Store Changes: That's Nice, But It's Not Enough, by Laruen Goode, The Verge

"Unless Apple changes its rules, price flexibility is prohibited, which is why we can never provide special offers or discounts, and means we won't have the ability to share any savings with our customers," Prince continued. "Apple still insists on inserting itself between developers and their customers, which means developers will continue to lack visibility into why customers churn — or who even qualifies as a long-term subscriber."

Going Places

Winnie Helps Parents Find Family-friendly Places, Share Their Experiences, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

A new mobile app called Winnie is launching today to make parents’ lives a little easier, by offering information about nearby kid-friendly places, as well as detailing what sort of facilities for families a location may have – like stroller access, quiet areas to nurse, changing tables, restrooms, and more. The idea is to make going out with your little ones less stressful, whether you’re just running errands around town or traveling to a new city.

Golf Legend Annika Sorenstam Launches App In Seattle That Helps You Find Fun Events And Activities, by Taylor Soper, Geekwire

Arguably the greatest women’s golfer in history, Sorenstam was already an active entrepreneur off the course during the latter stage of her illustrious 16-year career. After she retired in 2008, the Sweden-native spent even more time with her business endeavors — a clothing line, a cookbook, a wine collection, multiple golf course design projects, the ANNIKA Foundation, and more.

Now, Sorenstam is dipping her toes in the technology world. She’s the founder of a new iPhone app called Fundu, which recommends nearby events and activities catered to your individual tastes.


Workflow Adds IFTTT Integration, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Their latest integration is aimed at extending Workflow to any web service – even if it doesn't offer an iOS app or a native web action in Workflow. Today, Workflow is launching a new IFTTT integration to trigger web recipes.

BitCam, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The Iconfactory has launched BitCam, a new iPhone app inspired by old Macintosh apps. BitCam lets you take pictures and apply retro filters such as dithering.


My Two Years As An Anthropologist On The Photoshop Team, by Charles Pearson, Medium

Almost two years ago, the Photoshop team pivoted to focus its energies and resources on design features and workflows. To be successful, the team needed to understand trends in design and tools, as well as develop connections and empathy to design and designers. Worth noting, the pivot happened not long after Adobe moved to a subscription service and away from big box releases every 1–2 years. The subscription model provided an opportunity for development to be more iterative, but so much had to be re-thought, including research and customer feedback loops. This was the task then: build deeper knowledge and empathy around UI design, as well as develop feedback loops suited to new development cycles. As an anthropologist and ethnographer (the first ever at Adobe!), I was hired as a consultant to help address those gaps.


The All-American iPhone, by Konstantin Kakaes, MIT Technology Review

As Steve Jobs once told President Obama when he asked why Apple didn’t make phones in its home country, the company didn’t hire manufacturers in China only because labor is cheaper there. China also offered a skilled workforce and flexible factories and parts suppliers that can, Apple believes, retool more quickly than their American counterparts.

But set that aside for now, and imagine that Apple persuaded one of its Chinese manufacturers to open factories in the United States or did that itself. Could it work? Apple could profitably produce iPhones in America, as some high-end Mac computers are produced, without making them much more expensive. There’s a catch, though, that undermines Trump’s and Sanders’s arguments. This becomes clear if you carry our thought experiment to its most extreme conclusion.

What It Was Like To Write Speeches For Apple Executives, by Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

Jayne Benjulian became Apple’s first chief speechwriter in the 1980s. Benjulian spent six years at Apple, and she’s since become involved in various forms of writing. She’s now a poet, and her new book, Five Sextillon Atoms, contains poems that tie together American history and her own family’s. I talked with Benjulian about her job at Apple, what makes a great speech, and her transition to poetry.

The Evolution Of Cloud Computing, by Bob O'Donnell, Recode

Some of the more interesting developments in server design are coming from the addition of new chips that serve as accelerators for specific kinds of workloads. Much as a GPU inside a PC works alongside the CPU and powers certain types of software, new chips are being added to traditional servers in order to enhance their capabilities.

Bottom of the Page

If your app is not using iCloud or Dropbox or OneDrive but rather your own servers to sync data, and you are charging me a subscription price, you better have a damn good reason or two.

(Just for the record, the two apps that I do subscribe today are Evernote and Todoist.)


Thanks for reading.