Archive for September 2016

The Floating-Balloons Edition Friday, September 30, 2016

Apple Reveals Balloons Ad, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple released another advertisement in its 'practically magic' series, focusing on the new effects that can be used with Messages. 'Balloons' begins with a single red balloon floating out the window of a house.

Apple Upgrades

Let Apple Create Some Memories For You, by Matt Elliott, CNET

I simply can't keep up with the pace with which I snap photos. I rarely go through and delete bad or redundant photos. Rarer still, I take the time to create an album of a trip or event. I'm long past the point of ever bringing some semblance of organization to my photo library.

I'd wager that you, dear reader, are in a similar predicament. Because we can't be trusted to keep our photo libraries nice and tidy, Apple has taken it upon itself to bring some structure to our sprawling collections of photos.

macOS Sierra: Security And Privacy Features Overview, by Kirk McElhearn, Intego

macOS Sierra is here! Aside from the new naming convention — no more OS X — Sierra has lots of new features. It brings Siri to the desktop, provides a useful new Universal Clipboard feature, lets you store some of your personal documents on iCloud Drive, brings tabs to more apps, offers picture-in-picture video, and more.

With the release of macOS Sierra 10.12, Apple also introduced some new security features worth noting. Here's an overview of Sierra's new security and privacy features.

Align Windows In macOS 10.12 Sierra, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

You move windows in Sierra just as you have since 1984, by clicking and dragging a window’s title bar (or status bar). In Sierra, however, if you slow down briefly when the edge of the window you’re dragging meets the edge of another window, the first window stops moving and aligns perfectly with the second window unless you force it past the edge. It doesn’t matter which sides you’re aligning.


Nebo’s Handwriting Recognition Elevates Your Notes, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Nebo is a solid notetaking tool. It lacks a few features that would make it more competitive with notetaking apps that have been around longer, but the handwriting recognition is so good, that Nebo has become my default notetaking app.

Adobe Adds iPhone 7 Camera Support To Lightroom For iOS, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The latest version of Lightroom for iPhone, v2.5.2, brings specific lens and sensor profiles for both of Apple's new devices, featuring specific dual-lens optimizations for the 5.5-inch handset.

The CW's New Apple TV App Doesn't Require A Cable Subscription To Watch, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Users simply need to download the app and click play on a show to watch, with no other hoops to jump through.


Omni Group Is Moving To Subscription Pricing For macOS And iOS Products, by Bryan M. Wolfe, AppAdvice

In a message on its blog site, the Omni Group has announced that it’s going to start offering subscriptions. This move is significant in that Omni’s productivity apps are among the highest priced in the industry.


Taking The Fear And Desperation Out Of Online Dating, by Julie Beck, The Atlantic

More generally, Wolfe thinks dating apps can, contrary to the old stereotype, make people’s searches for love less desperate. When the opportunity to meet new people is always available, there’s less need to scan every bar and party for prospects, panning for gold in a river of bros.

Some Like It Bot, by Laura Hudson, FiveThirtyEight

Bots and algorithms that can generate content or augment the work of human writers aren’t new. They’ve been used to write about sports and finance for TV networks and financial analysis firms and automatically generate stories about earthquakes and homicides for the Los Angeles Times. This month, the people behind the film “Morgan” released atrailer that had been created by Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence product. On Kickstarter, screenwriter William Goldwin successfully raised over $30,000 for “Impossible Things,” a horror film whose core narrative elements were determined by an AI that curated data from over 3,000 films.

But now writers and artists are starting to use algorithms and AIs to do something that many people think should be impossible for a machine: entertain us.

Bottom of the Page

There I were, in a moving train, listening to a podcast.

Then, an ad came on in the podcast. And I instinctively took out my phone and browse my RSS feeds. When the ad finished, I turn off the phone's display, return the phone into my pocket, and continued listening to the podcast.

Two seconds later, I realize I could have just fast-forward the ad.


Thanks for reading.

The Meta-Data Edition Thursday, September 29, 2016

Apple Logs Your iMessage Contacts — And May Share Them With Police, by Sam Biddle, The Intercept

Every time you type a number into your iPhone for a text conversation, the Messages app contacts Apple servers to determine whether to route a given message over the ubiquitous SMS system, represented in the app by those déclassé green text bubbles, or over Apple’s proprietary and more secure messaging network, represented by pleasant blue bubbles, according to the document. Apple records each query in which your phone calls home to see who’s in the iMessage system and who’s not.

This log also includes the date and time when you entered a number, along with your IP address — which could, contrary to a 2013 Apple claim that “we do not store data related to customers’ location,” identify a customer’s location. Apple is compelled to turn over such information via court orders for systems known as “pen registers” or “trap and trace devices,” orders that are not particularly onerous to obtain, requiring only that government lawyers represent they are “likely” to obtain information whose “use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.” Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it only retains these logs for a period of 30 days, though court orders of this kind can typically be extended in additional 30-day periods, meaning a series of monthlong log snapshots from Apple could be strung together by police to create a longer list of whose numbers someone has been entering.

iMessage, Metadata, And Law Enforcement: What You Need To Know!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Doing dispatch properly is hard, and so engineers did what engineers do, and started collecting data to try and make it better. Because of privacy concerns, though, they only keep that data live for 30 days.

My guess is, fresh data is also the only useful data for this type of bug fixing.

iMessage Contact Lookups Are Stored By Apple For 30 Days, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Maybe I’m missing something but it seems like Apple would be better off flushing these logs at much shorter intervals.

Tap Tap

Danny Meyer Just Single-Handedly Made The Apple Watch Relevant To The Hospitality Industry, by Daniela Galarza, Eater

When Meyer’s 30-year-old Union Square Cafe reopens in Manhattan next month, every floor manager and sommelier will be wearing an Apple Watch. And when a VIP walks through the front door, someone orders a bottle of wine, a new table is seated, a guest waits too long to order her or his drink, or a menu item runs out, every manager will get an alert via the tiny computer attached to their wrist.

Closed Source

Facial Recognition, Differential Privacy, And Trade-Offs In Apple's Latest OS Releases, by Gennie Gebhart and Starchy Grant and Erica Portnoy, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Differential privacy is still a new, fairly experimental pursuit, and Apple is putting it to the test against millions of users' private data. And without any transparency into the methods employed, the public and the research community have no way to verify the implementation—which, just like any other initial release, is very likely to have flaws. Although differential privacy is meant to mathematically safeguard against such flaws in theory, the details of such a large roll-out can blow away those guarantees. Apple's developer materials indicate that it's well aware of these requirements—but with Apple both building and utilizing its datasets without any oversight, we have to rely on it to self-police.

Apple Cares

Stan (And Eclaire) : The Blind Apple Employee Who Upgraded My iPhone, by Jeff Reifman

After showing up at an Apple store to sign up for an upgrade, staff told me I’d have to order one online and return with it. So, that’s what I did. But somehow I knew it still wouldn’t be easy. Apple and T-Mobile’s systems don’t really talk to each other as well as they do with other carriers.

In fact, my upgrade was so complicated that at one point, five blue-shirted Apple Store employees encircled me.

One was blind.

Reflections On Hissgate, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

While it was wild to see that view counter climb so high, it came with a price. Seeing the replies from people who just wanted to jab at me and reading articles that took my honest accounting of what happened and twisting it defend Apple at my expense was hurtful.

The whole thing was just … exhausting. I’m happy its already out of the news cycle. I don’t regret reporting my experience, but had I known things were going to get so far out of hand, I’m not sure I would have done it.

Gold Rush

Bitmoji? Kimoji? Digital Stickers Trump Plain Old Emojis, by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

After surging in Asia over the past few years, digital-sticker mania is spreading across the rest of the world like an out-of control tween slumber party. Stand up and say it proudly with me: Hello, I’m a grown adult and I use stickers to communicate my feelings.

If you really don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry; you will soon. Apple’s new iMessage app store, introduced just a few weeks ago, is now home to more than 1,250 sticker packs, according to market researcher Sensor Tower Inc. Last month, Twitter released its own promoted sticker selection. Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Google’s new Allo, they’ve all got ’em.


Apple's W1 Chip Greatly Improves Battery Life In The New Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The Solo3 can go for up to 40 hours of music playback on a single charge. That’s compared to just 12 hours of playback in the Solo2 Wireless. Apple’s special technology seems to be behind the large majority of that increase as the battery is more than likely the same in both models.

Why 'Transfer Purchases' Doesn't Copy Apps To iTunes When Backing Up Your iPhone, by Jeffery Battersby, Macworld

App thinning is a great way to save space on your iOS device, but from Apple’s perspective a thinned app is not a complete app that can be installed on all devices, so they don’t get transferred with iTunes Transfer Purchases option.

Nuance Dragon Professional Individual For Mac 6.0 Review: Better Performance And Accuracy, by Kirk McElhearn, Macworld

I’ve been using Dragon 6 for several weeks, and I’ve been impressed by this accuracy. I would be hard pressed to find an improvement of a double-digit percentage, but I find that I’m correcting fewer small words: prepositions, adverbs, or articles. That may not sound like much, but if you dictate often, you understand that correcting those little words takes as much time as any other correction.

Review: Leaf, A Creative & Fresh Take On The Twitter Experience For iOS, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Leaf takes artistic liberties in instilling a new Twitter timeline experience. I’ve spent the past week testing Leaf daily to see if it could replace my daily Twitter clients, and I have to say I’m impressed.


App Store Search Ads Begin Rolling Out To Developers, Apple Offering $100 Promo Credit, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple also touts the ease of using Search Ads, saying that they can be set up in “just a few easy steps,” while also noting that they offer full developer control.


Time To Kill Security Questions—or Answer Them With Lies, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Yahoo’s data debacle highlights how those innocuous-seeming questions remain a weak link in our online authentication systems. Ask the security community about security questions, and they’ll tell you that they should be abolished—and that until they are, you should never answer them honestly.

Internal 'Clock' Makes Some People Age Faster And Die Younger – Regardless Of Lifestyle, by Hannah Devlin, The Guardian

A higher biological age, regardless of actual age, was consistently linked to an earlier death, the study found. For the 5% of the population who age fastest, this translated to a roughly 50% greater than average risk of death at any age.

Intriguingly, the biological changes linked to ageing are potentially reversible, raising the prospect of future treatments that could arrest the ageing process and extend the human lifespan.

The Whisper-In-Your-Ear Edition Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why AirPods Are The Best Place For Siri, According To Apple Legend Bill Atkinson, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Bill Atkinson points to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series from the 1980s, in which an artificial sentience called "Jane" lives in a crystal planted in the ear of the main character, Ender. Jane can do millions of computations per second and is aware and responsive on millions of levels. She's hesitant to make herself known to humans because she's painfully aware of the dangerous feelings of inferiority she may awaken in them. Pretty brilliant stuff.

Siri is headed for something like Jane, eventually, Atkinson says. "I think of this as Jane 0.1," Atkinson says. "Within a few years it’s going to be able to do lots of things: It will hear everything you hear, it’s going to be able to whisper in your ear."

Want An Apple Watch? For Some Aetna Customers, It’ll Soon Be Covered, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

In a statement to Ars, Aetna spokesperson Ethan Slavin said that Aetna will be working directly with Apple to develop a suite of healthcare apps for Aetna customers. “Apple will have employees devoted to providing support to Aetna on this initiative,” he wrote, and “Aetna will also have a dedicated employee unit focused on this collaboration.”

Instagram Has Apple (Including Mac) Appeal, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Instagram has become a permanent part of my life. It’s consistently rewarding now that I am using it the right way – not just as a place to put an occasional photo, but also as a way to interact with real-world friends and relations. Like Facebook when it’s working well, Instagram supports community building.

And for those who are into iPhone photography or photography in general, Instagram also is a place to find stunning images posted by talented shooters and befriend like-minded shutterbugs.


BusyCal 3 Review: The Better Mac Calendar Experience, Now On iOS, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

BusyCal 3 is a winning combination for anyone looking to make a break from Apple’s underwhelming built-in apps.

Honeywell Introduces ‘Lyric T5’ HomeKit-enabled Thermostat W/ Touchscreen & New Design, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

As you would expect from a smart thermostat, Lyric T5 features a touchscreen display that presents the current temperature, the target temperature, the current heating or cooling mode, and access to change the target temperature.

August Doorbell Cam Gains Motion Detection And Video Recording Features, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The latest update to the August Home app on iOS brings two new features to the August Doorbell Cam: motion detection and video recording.

ProTube Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

ProTube also has fine-grained control over the resolution of the videos you watch that goes beyond what is available in the YouTube app. In the settings you can specify different playback resolutions for WiFi and cellular data to avoid burning through data too quickly when you are away from WiFi.


Revealed: Apple To Create Stunning New London HQ At Battersea Power Station, by Jonathan Prynn, Evening Standard

Apple is to create a spectacular new London headquarters at Battersea Power Station in a massive coup for the developers behind the £9 billion project.

What Would You Pay For An Empty Room?, by Kyle Chayka, The Atlantic

A new app wants to “democratize” city spaces by offering private, well-designed rooms by the hour—but only elites can afford its rates.

The Apple's-Show Edition Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Inside Apple Music’s Second Act, by Reggie Ugwu, BuzzFeed

The clash over exclusives, which came to a head just weeks before Apple Music underwent a much-anticipated relaunch designed to make it more appealing to users, served as a reminder that the music service faces a war on two fronts: It’s vying to lure subscribers from a field of strong competitors on the one hand, while defending its aggressive plans to skittish content owners on the other.

“We put a lot into this, we’ve had some real successes, and we always hold up our end of the relationship,” Iovine said, insisting that he has no intention of encroaching on record labels’ territory. “We’re feeling our way around and seeing what works … Every time we do [an exclusive], we learn something new.” He added that Apple Music would move forward with its pursuit of exclusives from other partners, such as Sony Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group, noting, “It’s Apple’s show. As long as Apple’s asking me to do what I’m doing, I’m gonna keep doing it.”

First Impressions

Messages On iOS 10: Better Features, Worse Usability, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I like Apple’s instincts in transforming Messages like it has in iOS 10. But the interface is in need of a lot of refinement. Some features aren’t at all discoverable, and others are buried behind complex chains of icon taps and slide-up interfaces.

First Impressions Of Working With macOS Sierra, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

While I've only been using the new OS for several business days, the upgrade proved smooth and straightforward. The system is running reliably with no noticeable hiccups or errors. And new features are providing welcome enhancements. If the long-term operation matches these initial macOS Sierra experiences, Apple's new OS will prove to be a hit.


Todoist (For iPhone), by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

Todoist is a powerful to-do-list app that puts task-management prowess at your fingertips. Productivity enthusiasts are likely to count it among their favorite productivity app, and more casual users will also find plenty to love, too.

Nexar App Turns Your Phone Into A Smart Dash Cam, by Rich Demuro,

Nexar automatically records your drives and stores the video on your phone, but if it senses an incident it will automatically use your cellular connection to instantly upload the video for sakekeeping to the cloud, where you can securely access it later.

MLB’s App Now Delivers Video Highlights Straight To Your Lock Screen, by James Vincent, The Verge

An update for the app released yesterday allows users to watch baseball highlights straight from the lock screen. Just 3D Touch a notification and the video will be accessible, although you do have to unlock the phone first.


I Went To My Own Digital Funeral, by Doree Shafir, BuzzFeed

It was more than a little jarring, sitting there listening to this guy talk about me. Doree, he said, was “committed to her work, to social justice and to literature. She showed support to women she’d never even met, and gave platforms to voices of color.” He went on like this for another minute or so, talking about how I’d passed away and “left an empty place” in the hearts of my loved ones. Next, there was a video — all my tweets, scrolling on a huge screen in front of me — and it was only then that I truly started recoiling. My legacy was going to be my tweets about Justin Bieber’s fling with Bronte Blampied, my neighbors’ love of Project Runway, my excitement about wearing a dress with pockets to a wedding.

Bottom of the Page

When I die, I don't need anyone to hold a funeral, or to remember what I did.

Better get busy and start erasing stuff.


Thanks for reading.

The Design-Your-Life Edition Monday, September 26, 2016

Design The Life You Want: JJ Acuna’s Key To A Nomadic Creative Life Is An iPad Pro, by Elissa Loi, Stuff

When the iPad Pro first made its appearance last year, it didn't receive the best reviews given that it was packing iOS instead of macOS (or OS X as it was known at that point). However, what is perceived as its Archilles heel is actually what makes it so popular with the creative industry - a vast landscape of apps that make it easy to create backed up with enough horsepower to keep everything running seamlessly.

Which Wine Apps Actually Help You Choose And Buy The Best Wine?, by Elin McCoy, Bloomberg

I’m a skeptical non-techie, so I spent last week testing out Wine Ring, the just launched Omnipair (which aims to help you pick the right wine in a restaurant), and the latest versions of a dozen other wine apps to see what, exactly, they deliver. Several stood out as worth downloading; others seriously underperformed.


Picture Keeper Connect Review: Simple Photo Backup For The Entire Family, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Plug it in, launch the free app, and tap Start Backup to copy all of your photos, videos, and/or contacts onto the thumb drive.

Postbox 5.0.2, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Featuring a refined user interface and compatibility with macOS 10.12 Sierra, Postbox has updated its email client to version 5.0 with a number of new features. This major new release can now add dynamic data fields to Responses and Templates, enabling you to populate these custom placeholder fields with company names, people, products, events, and more.

Weather Underground Adds Personalized "Smart Forecasts" To iOS App, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

Have you ever wished that you could make a standard weather app reflect your interests and lifestyle? That's the idea behind the new "Smart Forecasts" feature added today to the free Wunderground app.


Long Before Internet Porn, There Was ‘MacPlaymate’, by Fernando Alfonso III, Mel

MacPlaymate started as a joke, one that Mike Saenz told 30 years ago at a friend’s birthday party in New York City. A joke that appeared as a pixelated woman named Maxine in the confines of an Apple Macintosh. It was funny and everyone loved it, but that joke would become the most complicated relationship in Saenz’s life.

The Trademarking Of "Taco Tuesday", by Alex Mayyasi, Priceonomics

In other words, Waara and Taco John’s executives would really like you to stop using the phrase Taco Tuesday, if you please. Because by some ungodly power of alliteration, nothing sells tacos like Taco Tuesday, and Taco John’s executives desperately want to hold on to their invention.

But did they invent it?

The Undeployed-Patent Edition Sunday, September 25, 2016

Phone Makers Could Cut Off Drivers. So Why Don’t They?, by Matt Richtel, New York Times

With driving fatalities rising at levels not seen in 50 years, the growing incidence of distracted driving is getting part of the blame. Now a lawsuit related to that 2013 Texas crash is raising a question: Does Apple — or any cellphone maker or wireless company — have a responsibility to prevent devices from being used by drivers in illegal and dangerous ways?

The product liability lawsuit, filed against Apple by families of the victims, contends that Apple knew its phones would be used for texting and did not prevent Ms. Kubiak from texting dangerously. The suit is unlikely to succeed, legal experts said, and a Texas magistrate in August preliminarily recommended the case’s dismissal on grounds that it was unlikely that lawyers could prove that the use of the iPhone caused the fatal accident. [...]

The product liability case has brought to light a piece of evidence that legal and safety experts say puts Apple in a quandary — one it shares with other wireless companies. In Apple’s case, the evidence shows, the company has a patent for technology designed to prevent texting while driving, but it has not deployed it.

Beware Desktop And Documents Folder Syncing On macOS Sierra, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So it’s not so much that the feature is dangerous but that the experience of enabling it on a second Mac is really poorly designed.

What We See When We Look At Travel Photography, by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, New York Times

By now, Percy’s contempt for this cliché — the traveler so busy with documentation that he misses out on some phantom called the “experience itself” — has itself become a cliché. But we are not much closer to resolving the fundamental paradox of travel, which is just one version of the fundamental paradox of late-­capitalist life. On the one hand, we have been encouraged to believe that we are no longer the sum of our products (as we were when we were still an industrial economy) but the sum of our experiences. On the other, we lack the ritual structures that once served to organize, integrate and preserve the stream of these experiences, so they inevitably feel both scattershot and evanescent. We worry that photographs or journal entries keep us at a remove from life, but we also worry that without an inventory of these documents — a collection of snow globes for the mantel — we’ll disintegrate. Furthermore, that inventory has to fulfill two slightly different functions: It must define us as at once part of a tribe (“people who go to Paris”) and independent of it (“people who go to Paris and don’t photograph the Eiffel Tower”).

Now that social media has given us a public forum, both theatrical stage and deposit institution, for this inventory, we have brought to this paradox increasingly elaborate methods of documentary performance. But the underlying strategies are nothing new. The most elementary strategy is the avoidance of the Grand Canyon/Eiffel Tower conundrum entirely, but this works only if you’re confident that you’ve identified a satisfying alternative. (As Paul Fussell put it in his 1979 book “Abroad,” “Avoiding Waikiki brings up the whole question of why one’s gone to Hawaii at all, but that’s exactly the problem.”) Another is to forefront our own inauthenticity as a disclaimer. In his 1987 book “The Songlines,” Bruce Chatwin described his lifelong attempt to write a book about nomads as a repudiation of his earlier involvement with art: “I quit my job in the ‘art world’ and went back to the dry places: alone, travelling light. The names of the tribes I travelled among are unimportant: Rguibat, Quashgai, Taimanni, Turkomen, Bororo, Tuareg — people whose journeys, unlike my own, had neither beginning nor end.” People, that is, who had a motive for travel that went well beyond the vanity of documentation.

Bottom of the Page

Three years after the demise of Google Readers, it seems that a lot of the third-party podcast clients on the App Store are relying only on a centralized server for feed information.

I hope Apple's podcast player doesn't change to that model too.


Thanks for reading.

The Lightning-EarPods Edition Saturday, September 24, 2016

Apple Releases iOS 10.0.2 With Fixes For Headphone, Photos, And App Extension Bugs, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

A bug that caused the new Lightning EarPods designed for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to stop working properly has been addressed. EarPods have been timing out after a short period of time when listening to music, rendering the remote unresponsive and unable to control volume, access Siri, and answer phone calls.

iOS 10 Has A 'Severe' Security Flaw, Says iPhone-Cracking Company, by Motherboard

Specifically, the company found that iOS 10 backups saved locally to a computer via iTunes allow password-cracking tools to try different password combinations at a rate of 6,000,000 attempts per second, more than 40 times faster than with backups created by iOS 9. Elcomsoft says this is due to Apple implementing a weaker password verification method than the one protecting backup data in previous versions. [...]

“We're aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update,“ the spokesperson said in a statement. “This does not affect iCloud backups. We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption.”

Watch From Different Perspectives

Apple Watch Series 2: A Swimmer's Perspective, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

So how well does the swim workout tracking work? The answer is very well if your goal is to simply swim back and forth to rack up yardage. The watch accurately senses individual strokes and both open turns and flip turns at the ends of the pool to calculate the distance you've traveled, elapsed time, and calories burned, and I found the active calories burned metric calculated by the watch to be close to figures estimated by other sources for various types of swimming activity. [...] Where the Apple Watch's swim tracking starts to fall short is for people looking to do more varied swim workouts based around swim sets and focused exercises like stroke drills and kicking.

Apple Watch Series 2 Review (As Written By A Marathoner), by Dana Wollman, Engadget

But considering that the Series 2 is being positioned as more of a sports watch, and that the GPS radio is one of the few things distinguishing it from the older Series 1, it's disappointing that the pace calculation is often off the mark. Apple's own Activity and Workout apps could benefit from more features too -- things like mile markers on running maps, elevation charts and interval settings. In any case, if all you want is distance tracking (meaning pace is irrelevant to you), the Series 2 will make a fine companion on walks, hikes and maybe even casual jogs. But it isn't precise enough for athletes in training.

The Apple Watch Series 2, by David Sparks, MacSparky

The reason I upgraded is because I really like my Apple Watch and I wanted the latest and the greatest. The increased performance and screen brightness make the watch more useful to me. Now that I can actually use apps, I'm very curious to see how I'm using the Apple Watch in a few months.

The Apple Watch Is The Most Anxiety-inducing Device I’ve Ever Owned, by Mike Murphy, Quartz

Apple designed the Apple Watch to remove us from the constant bombardment of notifications we get on our cellphones. The Watch was supposed to leave us with just the things we really needed. But that’s hardly how it works.

The watch is strapped to you: The internet never leaves you alone, is symbiotically tied to you, is physically closer to you than some of your appendages. It’s always there, always tapping you.

Upgrading Cameras

Camera Tests: Battle Of The 4.7-inch iPhones 6, 6s, And 7!, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

The iPhone 6 and 6s can still take excellent photos, and you don't need the latest and greatest to compose a great shot. That said, the iPhone 7 offers subtle but important increases in detail for those who want to use their photos for non-Instagram endeavors, better depth of field thanks to the f/1.8 aperture, and wonderful low-light support.

Talk To You Soon

Apple’s iTunes Soon To Serve Up “Spoken Editions” Of Publishers’ Content, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

If you prefer listening to the news over reading the news, you’ll soon have a new way to do so, via iTunes. In the near future, you’ll be able to browse through a variety of podcasts focused on turning media publishers’ articles and news into audio content, dubbed “Spoken Editions.”

A New Audio Startup Focuses On Tailoring A Playlist Of Short Form Stories That Fit Into A Listener’s Day, by Shan Wang, Nieman Lab

Now there’s one more new audio service on the horizon, co-founded by former NPR Planet Money reporter Steve Henn along with John Ciancutti and Steve McLendon, both with long histories at — wait for it — Netflix. 60dB, named for the volume at which a (calm) human speaks, is being teased as a “service for high-quality, short-form stories,” though the co-founders were more reticent about sharing too many details of its inner workings when I spoke to them prior to the announcement of the service Thursday morning.


ProCamera (For iPhone), by Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine

Most of the photo apps I've reviewed are concerned with improvements after you shoot the picture. iPhone app ProCamera is more concerned about giving you the maximum control before you take the shot. It lets you change settings that are more commonly associated with D-SLRs than with smartphones, such as ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. ProCamera is a worthy addition to any iPhoneographer's toolkit.

App Of The Week: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom For iPhone Review, by Craig Grannell, Stuff

You get out what you put in to Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom for iPhone – in every sense.


How To Make Your Own iMessage Sticker Pack, No Coding Required, by Dami Lee, The Verge

After about three days of confusion and minimal crying, I'm thrilled to announce that my first app ever is now available on the iMessage App Store! You can use the As Per Usual sticker pack to express that relatable feeling when you're listening to music on a train pretending to be in a music video, or to bully your friends by slapping multiple stickers on top of their messages.

I'm here to share the process of how a joker like me with no coding experience got an app on the App Store. It took a lot of gumption and Googling but I persevered, and you can, too!


Don’t Watch What Happens Live, by Alex Balk, The Awl

If you admit that everything is based on lies you’re either foolish or angry, which means there’s no need to take on your argument. Everyone knows everyone lies, so you might as well go along for the ride. The future is inevitable, so what do you have to gain by ranting about it? Nothing, I guess. I don’t even feel better having written this. Do you feel better having read it? Of course not. Let’s go watch some videos and keep our mouths shut. It’s just easier that way.

Bottom of the Page

There is a saying in the army: Hurry up and wait. It was used to describe the frequent demands for doing things quickly, where the reward is to then sit around and wait for other things to happen.

In 'real' life, I guess the same applies: Hurry up and... then... you die.


Thanks for reading.

The App-Making Edition Friday, September 23, 2016

Inside Apple And IBM's App Making Machine, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Then Apple won personal computing. In the new millennium business was increasingly done on mobile devices—increasingly, personal devices brought into the workplace by employees—running apps served from the cloud. People began expecting work applications to possess the ease of use and design sense that they saw in their personal apps.

The IBM people brought with them to Cupertino that day a mobile app they’d been working on—a fuel calculation app for airline pilots—that they thought might serve as a starting point for the partnership. It was built by IBM people, who had also built some powerful data analytics into the background. The IBM people hoped the Apple people would see it and be impressed, and then the two companies would continue building the app together.

But that’s not what happened. IBM's app—all 40 screens of it—was a bloated mess. One Apple UI expert in the meeting said simply "that’s not going to work," a person who was there told me. Pilots, the expert said, would not go through 40 screens in an app, even if they were currently doing the same tasks on paper.

Use Cases

Four Affordable Wireless Audio Solutions, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Wireless headphones are nothing new, and The Wirecutter offers quality, well-vetted suggestions for nearly every situation. In the car, you could upgrade to a stereo with Bluetooth or even CarPlay connectivity, but that’s an expensive hassle.

For now, I’d like to focus on three specific use cases that new iPhone 7 users may be wondering about: converting existing headphones to wireless, wireless solutions for the car, and an inexpensive solution for fitness buffs.

Stanford Researchers Launch iPhone App To Study Peripheral Artery Disease, by Tracie White, Health Canal

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have launched a free iPhone app designed to help them conduct a clinical study to discover better treatments for peripheral artery disease and as a convenient way for people with the disease to monitor their daily activity.

“We hope to gain insights into patterns of disease progression over time by collecting participants’ activity data from their iPhones,” said Oliver Aalami, MD, clinical associate professor of vascular surgery and lead investigator of the study. “We will be looking for any changes in activity patterns that may indicate disease advancement.

Apple Releases First iOS 10.1 Beta To Public Beta Testers With Portrait Mode For iPhone 7 Plus, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

iOS 10.1 introduces a "Portrait" mode for the iPhone 7 Plus, which was first shown off when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus debuted on September 7. Portrait mode is designed to mimic the kind of shallow depth of field images that can be taken with a high-end DSLR, with a front subject that stands out over a blurred background.

Apple Opens The iMessage Door, And The Ephemera Rushes In, by Amanda Hess, New York Times

Apple built an empire on hermetically sealed systems with sleek, minimalist designs. Nowhere was its strategy more evident than in iMessage, the company’s instant messaging system that offered a free, elegant chatting solution exclusive to Apple devices. Until last week, that is, when Apple updated its software, cracked open iMessage and allowed the ephemera of the outside internet to seep in.

The New Watches

Heading Into Its Second Year, The Apple Watch Finds Its Focus, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The Apple Watch will never be as versatile or as essential as the iPhone, but in this second go-around Apple has come a lot closer to hardware and software that realize the potential of smartwatches given current hardware limitations. Leaning into the fitness angle is smart, since the Apple Watch is generally more friendly and less threatening than Serious Fitness Gadgets even if it isn’t quite as helpful. If this is what Apple can do with a year and a half, I’m excited to see what comes next.

The Old Phones

The Death Of The Telephone Call, by Timothy Noah, Slate

The phone call died, according to Nielsen, in the autumn of 2007. During the final three months of that year the average monthly number of texts sent on mobile phones (218) exceeded, for the first time in recorded history, the average monthly number of phone calls (213). A frontier had been crossed. The primary purpose of most people’s primary telephones was no longer to engage in audible speech.

Rumors Today

Apple Stepping Up Plans For Amazon Echo-Style Smart-Home Device, by Mark Gurman, Ian King, Bloomberg

Started more than two years ago, the project has exited the research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced Apple projects. Like Amazon Inc.’s Echo, the device is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation, the people said. Apple hasn’t finalized plans for the device and could still scrap the project.

Apple Acquires Another Machine Learning Company: Tuplejump, by Greg Kumparak, TechCrunch

We’re hearing that Apple was particularly interested in “FiloDB”, an opensource project that Tuplejump was building to efficiently apply machine learning concepts and analytics to massive amounts of complex data right as it streamed in.


Hands-on: Apple’s Slightly-redesigned iPhone 7 Leather Case Is A Big Improvement, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The case is super-lightweight, but the outside is real genuine leather. To keep weight to a minimum Apple uses a very thin sheet of leather, which tends to wear fairly quickly. I don’t expect my tan leather case to look like it does for very long, but the wear lends it that unique character that’s typical of leather.

Spark — Simply Better Email, by Rajat Sharma, Beautiful Pixels

It has everything you'd expect of a modern email client, but one of its stand-out features for me is the Natural Language Searching.


Memory Graph Debugger Tips, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

I’ve fixed two bugs using the memory graph debugger, and I saved a bunch of time in both occasions. It’s probably worth telling about them as a reminder of the kinds of problems you can run into.


Yahoo Says Half A Billion Accounts Breached By Nation-sponsored Hackers, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

At least half a billion Yahoo accounts have been breached by what investigators believe is a nation-sponsored hacking operation. Attackers probably gained access to a wealth of holders' personal information, including names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, answers to security questions, and cryptographically protected passwords.

Now You Know: Which Came First, The Chicken Or The Egg?, by Merrill Fabry, Time

First of all, yes, a reader really did ask us this one.

At first we laughed a bit—who wouldn’t? But it turns out that this question is a classic for a reason. People have been asking it for thousands of years, and it contains more than a little history.

The Accessibility-Labels Edition Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sticker Accessibility, by Craig Hockenberry,

The popularity of Stickers was no surprise to us. What did surprise us was that these graphical elements are a hit with customers who have vision difficulties.

Apple’s New watchOS 3 Shows The Virtue Of Starting Over, by Walt Mossberg, Recode

The Apple Watch still isn’t a must-have device. It still needs to find a purpose beyond fitness. But with watchOS 3, it has a chance to become much more useful and a bit more fun and satisfying, even for people who aren’t hard-core exercise fans. In ripping up the whole software design of its latest product, Apple showed — yes — courage.

Fine, I'll Get Wireless Headphones Because Dongles Are Terrible, by Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics

If the choice comes down to competing wired standards or competing wireless standards, eventually I'll choose wireless. I don't want to. I will miss plug and play, and loathe the idea of headphones that work better in one ecosystem when they used to just work. But this dongle, man. This is not the answer.

Mental Health

Apple Employees Say Their Mental Health Issues Came From Alleged Hostile Work Environment, by Melanie Ehrenkranz, Mic

In April, a man died by suicide on Apple's Cupertino, California, campus. For those outside the gates, it seemed to be the first time something of this severe nature happened at the iconic tech company. But according to current and former Apple employees, mental health issues developing in toxic work environments are more widespread than the incident that made headlines this year.

Mic spoke to a number of Apple employees, former and current, who attribute their mental health issues to the workplace environment at Apple, which they describe as toxic. In each instance, the Apple employee raised these concerns to human resources or their manager. In each instance, their complaints were met with silence — or retaliation.


Review: The Brydge Keyboard For 12.9-inch iPad Pro Is (Almost) The One Apple Should Have Made, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The Brydge keyboard is my daily-driver for my 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and if I’d decided to keep the 12.9-inch one, I’d be making the same choice again there. Stiffen the hinges a little, and this is the keyboard Apple should have made.

‘Yahoo View’ Comes To iPhone & iPad W/ Free Hulu Video Clips & Full-length Anime, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Yahoo today released a new iOS app for its recently launched Yahoo View experience, bringing trending video clips and full-length anime episodes from a number of popular shows to iPhone and iPad for free.

Tinder’s Newest App, Tinder Stacks, Lets You Swipe On Anything, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Tinder today is launching a new application for social polling. The company announced the debut of “Tinder Stacks,” an app for iMessage users that will let you use the “swipe to like” gesture the dating app popularized for anything you want – whether that’s polling your friends which photo should be your new profile picture, what outfit you should wear tonight, or anything else.

Make Your Own Travel Documentary, by Jen Leo, Chicago Tribune

Animoto Video Maker app lets you upload your photos and videos, pick a style to personalize your story, set it to music and add narration or title cards to complete it.


Rob Janoff On His Logo For Apple, by Touraj Saberivand, Love Design Love

While working in their garage in 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak asked Rob Janoff, who had studied design, to create a logo for their first Apple products. When Janoff went to Jobs with final sketches, everything went very smoothly, and the bitten apple has been the symbol of the brand ever since.

The Average Person Is Better Off Without A Fitness Wearable, Weight Loss Study Finds, by Nsikan Akpan, PBS

This year alone, 19 million people are scheduled to buy fitness wearables with a simple mission in mind: Get fit. But these purchases may have zero effect when it comes to weight loss, based on new research from the University of Pittsburgh.

This two-year study — the longest of its kind on electronic fitness trackers — shows the average person on a weight loss program can cut more pounds without a workout wearable.

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I've a digital journal sitting in my iPhone that I didn't touch for about a year. Today, I finally restarted adding new entries, just because sometimes, I need to talk to somebody that can really keep a secret.

Looking back, most of the entires are about sadness. I wonder if it is because I am always sad, or if I've associated journaling with jotting down sad thoughts.


Thanks for reading.

The Taking-The-Backseat Edition Wednesday, September 21, 2016

macOS 10.12 Sierra: The Ars Technica Review, by Andrew Cunningham and Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica

Sierra is fine software, but after a couple years of parity, it again feels as though it’s taking a backseat to iOS, primarily because of its half-hearted implementations of major new iOS features like Messages and Siri. The Mac is still a fundamentally stable, solid, usable platform, but its hardware is no longer running circles around the rest of the PC industry. Apple could be doing more—let's hope some of these long-rumored refreshes arrive sooner rather than later.

macOS Sierra Review: Hey Siri, Where Did My Files Go?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

At this point I downloaded all my files from iCloud, copied them to a file server just in case, and turned off both the Manage Storage feature and iCloud syncing of my Documents and Desktop folder. It’s a nice idea, but I’m not willing to have the place on my Mac where I keep key projects and documents to be a place I can’t count on. Think twice before enabling this feature.

macOS Sierra Review, by Stephen Hackett, 512Pixels

macOS is a platform getting annual updates 15 years into its life. I don’t expect big, sweeping changes, and honestly, I don’t want the disruption in my workflow. Slow and steady is fine with me, and that’s the line Apple is toeing these days with macOS. In a release filled with features I really don’t want or need, I’m left feeling a little … forgotten.

Highlights And Tips For macOS 10.12 Sierra, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

My advice is to hold off, at least for a couple of days or weeks. Not that I have found any show-stoppers in Sierra, but, honestly, Sierra isn’t going to go away and it’s much better if someone else finds the inevitable bugs than if you do. And, of course, only you know what your mission-critical apps are.

How To Make Your Own Bootable macOS 10.12 Sierra USB Install Drive, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Things have proceeded remarkably smoothly since version 10.7 switched to download-only installers, but there are still good reasons to want a reliable old USB stick. For instance, if you find yourself doing multiple installs, a USB drive may be faster than multiple downloads (especially if you use a USB 3.0 drive). Or, maybe you need a recovery disk for older Macs that don't support the Internet Recovery feature. Whatever the reason, you're in luck, because it's not hard to make one.

Zooming In

Camera Tests: Zoom On The iPhone 7 Vs iPhone 7 Plus, by Serenity Cladwell, iMore

If zoom is something you care about, the iPhone 7 can't compete with its bigger sibling: The vague pinch-to-zoom interface already feels hopelessly out of date after you spend a little time with the Plus's zoom capabilities, and blown up photos suffer somewhat on detail without the secondary lens providing supporting image data.

Apple's "optical zoom" feature also gives users the ability to either shoot directly with the 56mm lens equivalent or capture a crisp 2x digital zoom, and the crop provides a nice, new way to experiment with framing shots. It's a feature I was skeptical about in my first day or two with both phones, but as I've used both devices over the last week, I've grown more attached to shooting photos with the 7 Plus. If nothing else: More tools in the toolbox, right?

What Makes An iPhone iPhone?

Design As Branding, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Here’s the genius of the black and (especially) jet black iPhones 7. In a very seductive way, they look like something new and desirable. And at the same time, they are instantly recognizable as iPhones. That is what Manjoo and similar-minded I’m-bored-with-Apple’s-designs don’t get. With a highly successful product and brand, new versions need to strike a balance between familiarity, the foundations of the brand, and hot newness. The bored-with-Apple crowd just wants the hot newness.


The Best Habit Tracking App For iOS, by Alex Tran, The Sweet Setup

Trying to build good habits after years of bad habits is an uphill battle. Thankfully, you have a tool in your pocket that can give you an edge in building better habits. Our recommended habit-tracking app,Productive, makes tracking habits an absolutely joyful experience. It’s a gem of an app with a unique personality, a solid set of features, and a delightful design.

Google Backs Off On Previously Announced Allo Privacy Feature, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

The version of Allo rolling out today will store all non-incognito messages by default — a clear change from Google’s earlier statementsthat the app would only store messages transiently and in non-identifiable form. The records will now persist until the user actively deletes them, giving Google default access to a full history of conversations in the app.


Why Computer Scientists In Pittsburgh Spent Last Night Differentiating Nipples From Navels, by Cara Giaimo, Atlas Obscura

Computers can do a lot. They can beat people at Go. They can draw strange squirrels. They are running a good chunk of the planet pretty much all on their own.

But, perhaps due to their own general lack of bodies, they cannot yet distinguish nipples from navels. Last night, a group of volunteers set out to change that, armed with a collection of about 10,000 shirtless selfies.

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In the past week, I've installed three new and different operating systems on three different devices. (I don't have a watch.) Remember the time when Apple had trouble finding the resources just to update two operating systems?


Thanks for reading.

The Confusing-Collection Edition Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Explaining Sierra’s Optimized Storage, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

For those struggling to free up space, particularly on a notebook Mac with relatively little internal flash storage, Optimized Storage sounded great, at least if you don’t mind paying for online storage in iCloud Drive. And while it could be a great boon for such people, it turns out to be a somewhat confusing collection of seemingly unrelated features, burdened by one of the stranger interfaces that Apple has produced in recent years.

Plus, although we haven’t had time to test all the possibilities, I recommend care when it comes to Optimized Storage in general, and extreme caution with one of its settings. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t enable all its features, but that you should understand the possible implications before doing so.

Shot With iPhone 7

How Apple's iPhone 7 Plus Melds Two Cameras Into One, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

With screen sizes settling down and processor speeds leveling out, it's harder these days to convince customers that the latest phone is a big step up. But one area that continues to draw interest is a phone's camera because it captures your most personal moments and lets you share them with friends and family. By throwing away some traditional aspects of digital camera design, Apple's dual-camera approach shows there's still room for significant improvements when it comes to photography.

iPhone 7 Plus Camera Is Great For Portraits: Review, by Jefferson Graham, USA Today

That new second portrait lens is going to do wonders for your people pictures, and even considering how poor the the digital 10x zoom looks when extended all the way out, I'll still be thrilled to have the new iPhone 7 Plus accompanying me through daily life, for vastly improved smartphone portraits.

What It’s Like To Shoot With The iPhone 7 Plus, by Bloomberg

Apple lent Lowy the phone so he could put it through its paces. He had some criticisms, among them the device’s mischievous habit of turning things pink or brown through underexposure and, even more annoying, zooming in all by itself when you’re trying to use the exposure slider – the two controls are too close together.

Still, Lowy was smitten with the machine’s massive storage capacity (256 gigs if you max out your purchase) and the App Store’s robust lineup of editing programs. Edit your shoot on the subway home, right on your phone.

Audio Issues

Apple Says A Fix Is Coming For Lightning Headphones Bug That Causes Playback Controls To Stop Working, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The switch to Lightning headphones has obviously been met with mix reactions, and flaws like this haven’t made the change any less painful for users. Nevertheless, it’s reassuring that Apple is aware of the bugs and working to fix them.

iPhone 7 Hissing: Probably Nothing To Worry About, by Sebastian Anthony, Ars Technica

The hissing is likely some kind of coil noise, which you've probably heard hundreds of times before—but usually from a desktop or laptop or another piece of consumer electronics gadgetry, rather than a smartphone. Coil noise (coil whine) is produced when electrical components hit a specific resonant frequency that causes the circuit to physically vibrate.

So, Apple Patented A Paper Bag

In Defense Of Apple Owning The Concept Of A Paper Bag, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

The real meat of the patent comes in the 35th paragraph, specifying a specific reinforcement system to compensate for the structural weaknesses of Apple’s recycled paper.


Google Trips Is A Killer Travel App For The Modern Tourist, by Casey Newton, The Verge

The free app, which is available on Android and iOS, will organize your plane tickets and hotel reservations, offer editorial guides to more than 200 cities, and make personalized recommendations based on your Google history. Best of all, it works offline: you can download everything to your phone before you leave, including maps and walking directions — sparing you from having to use an expensive international data plan.

This Fun Photo App Treats Photography Like Quilting, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

You see your camera’s feed through a grid. Any square you tap is frozen—like you’re taking a picture in just a tiny part of the frame. Then you can move your camera, reframe your shot, and fill in other squares like pixels to slowly form a finished image.


Apple Pledges Commitment To 100% Renewable Energy With New Initiatives At Climate Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

As its efforts to switch to renewable continue, Apple today announced that it is joining the global renewable energy initiative RE100. In joining the program, Apple will continue to work on its commitment of powering its worldwide operations with 100 percent renewable. As part of the process, Apple will work with its manufacturing supply chain to push clean energy usage in that area, as well.

When Cellphones Became Cool, by Will Oremus, Slate

The designer wasn’t Jony Ive, and the phone wasn’t the iPhone. It was a man named Frank Nuovo, and the phone he created was one that few remember by name: the Nokia 3210. But if the device’s name doesn’t ring a bell, you might remember it by its iconic shape, its interchangeable covers, its classic ringtones, or even the mobile game it made famous. [...]

There was no launch event for the Nokia 3210, and few major publications bothered to review it. In retrospect, however, it may have done as much to spark the mobile revolution as any handset in history. The 3210 and its successors redefined the role of technology in our lives, not through feats of engineering so much as feats of marketing and design. By rethinking the configuration of key components in the phone and paying attention to how young people were using it, they took something awkward and ungainly and made it simple and chic. It’s a lesson worth heeding for those trying to build the next big breakthrough device.

The TV-Advertisements Edition Monday, September 19, 2016

Latest iPhone 7 & Apple Watch Series 2 Ads Focus On Water-resistant Designs, Fitness Features, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

For the iPhone 7, the two new TV advertisements focus on the water-resistant capabilities of the device, as well as the camera’s improved low-light functionality. The new Apple Wath Series 2 ad continues Apple’s fitness push.

James Corden Stars In Comical New Apple Music Ad With Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, And Bozoma Saint John, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Debuted during the Emmys and subsequently uploaded to YouTube, Apple’s latest Apple Music commercial takes a starkly different approach at showing off the streaming music service. The ad, which comes in at 2 minutes, stars James Corden of the Late Late Show and its popular Carpool Karaoke series, as well as Apple executives Jimmy Iovine, Eddy Cue, and Bozoma Saint John.

Apple Investigating iPhone 7 Bug Causing 'No Service' After Turning Off Airplane Mode, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple is aware of and investigating an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus issue that can result in the loss of cellular service after turning off Airplane Mode on the devices, according to internal documents obtained by MacRumors.

The Messages Problem: Can Apple Actually Open Up Its Walled Garden?, by Jake Swearingen, New York Magazine

Apple could find itself in the position of providing a solid phone and good hardware for other people to create stunning software on. It’s a nice business — especially with the margins Apple gets on its phones — but it doesn’t change the world.

iPhone Nonsensus: Apple's Debt To Bloggers., by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

But bloggers will always be bloggers; their business model feeds on controversy.


$149 Speaker Kit From Bose Teaches Kids The Basics Of Acoustics, by Hiawatha Bray, Boston Globe

The company’s new BOSEbuild Bluetooth speaker is designed to tap the up-and-coming market for toys that teach basic concepts in science, technology, electronics, art, and mathematics. The $149 BOSEbuild kit is designed for children 8 and older. With help from a free app for Apple’s iPhone or iPad, a child can assemble his or her own mini-audio system and learn some basic principles of acoustics along the way.

Airmail 1.3 Adds Siri Integration, iMessage App, Rich Notifications On iOS 10, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The app's latest update only confirms that Airmail is a great iOS citizen, and I'm looking forward to even deeper extensibility.

No More Ducking Duck: Microsoft's iPhone Keyboard Learns From You How To Swear, by Liam Tung, ZDNet

Rather than persistently attempting to sanitize a phrase, the keyboard will learn to go with the flow and predict a swear word once it's been typed a few times.

Tweetbot 4.5 Brings iOS 10 Updates, Profile Notes, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

In the latest version, notifications are slightly richer: you won't be able to preview entire conversation or DM threads in a notification, but at least the sender's username and notification title will have a bold font for better visual separation.


We Launched Our Company With A Parody Product., by Nicer Studio

Here’s a rundown of what worked, what didn’t, and how launching our studio with a parody product gave us an audience to launch our first real products.


How Tech Companies Disrupted Silicon Valley’s Restaurant Scene, by Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

It is a story playing out across Silicon Valley, where restaurateurs say that staying afloat is a daily battle with rising rents, high local fees and acute labor shortages. And tech behemoths like Apple, Facebook and Google are hiring away their best line cooks, dishwashers and servers with wages, benefits and perks that restaurant owners simply cannot match.

That may not be an issue for tech workers with access to free, farm-fresh cuisine in corporate cafeterias, but for everyone else here it is leaving a void between the takeout cuisine popping up around Palo Alto — picture bento boxes ordered on iPads at a counter — and $500 meals at high-end restaurants.

I Used To Be A Human Being, by Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine

If the internet killed you, I used to joke, then I would be the first to find out. Years later, the joke was running thin. In the last year of my blogging life, my health began to give out. Four bronchial infections in 12 months had become progressively harder to kick. Vacations, such as they were, had become mere opportunities for sleep. My dreams were filled with the snippets of code I used each day to update the site. My friendships had atrophied as my time away from the web dwindled. My doctor, dispensing one more course of antibiotics, finally laid it on the line: “Did you really survive HIV to die of the web?”

But the rewards were many: an audience of up to 100,000 people a day; a new-media business that was actually profitable; a constant stream of things to annoy, enlighten, or infuriate me; a niche in the nerve center of the exploding global conversation; and a way to measure success — in big and beautiful data — that was a constant dopamine bath for the writerly ego. If you had to reinvent yourself as a writer in the internet age, I reassured myself, then I was ahead of the curve. The problem was that I hadn’t been able to reinvent myself as a human being.

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I miss the Mac versus PC advertisements.


Thanks for reading.

The Panda-Literacy Edition Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Look At Square Panda, The Early Childhood Literacy App Funded By Andre Agassi, by Tony Wan, EdSurge

The idea behind Square Panda came from Tom Boeckle, an entrepreneur who struggled with dyslexia as a child. Agassi, who dropped out of school after eighth grade, can empathize with the frustration. “Literacy is meaningful to me because I’ve seen the ramification of not having it,” he said.

This summer, Square Panda shipped its phonics playset, which retail for $119. The set comes with two free apps: Lagoon and Bowling. On a recent (and rare) slow day in the office, we took the kit for a spin.

Here’s How Google’s Blind Lawyer Does His Job, by Bloomberg Law

Chen reads by listening: he uses a screen reader at his desk, where he’s usually standing (when he’s not working on a nearby treadmill desk), and the VoiceOver function on his iPhone. Typically, Chen has the speed set at around 620 words a minute, a speed that is, to the untrained ear, incomprehensible.

Some iPhone 7 Devices Making ‘Hissing’ Sound While Under Heavy Load, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The general consensus is that the hiss is somehow related to the A10 Fusion processor due to the fact that it only emerges when the device is under heavy load and emanates from the general area where the processor lives.

iOS 10 Actionable Notifications, The Lock Screen, And 3D Touch, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Step 2 is what people who don't use 3D Touch need to go through now, and it feels like a regression.

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When I was using the iPod everyday to listen to podcasts and audiobooks and music, I believed that the click-wheel was the best user-interface ever built. I could use it to scroll through lists extremely quickly. I could use it to easily turn the volume up and down. I couldn't imagine an Apple hand-held device to ever not have the click-wheel. (Even when Apple gave us the iPod shuffle.)

Of course, the click-wheel has long disappeared from Apple's devices.

So, while everyone is speculating that the home button will be moved to be part of the screen when iPhone goes to full-screen without the bezel (next year?), perhaps, one other option is that the home button will be removed from the user interface.


Thanks for reading.

The requires-Skin-Contact Edition Saturday, September 17, 2016

iPhone 7 Home Button Requires Capacitive Touch To Work, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As discovered by Myke Hurley (via Daring Fireball), some iPhone 7 and 7 Plus users are going to have a tough time unlocking their devices during wintertime. As it turns out, the new "solid-state" Home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus requires skin contact or the right kind of capacitive gloves to function.

HomeKit Remote Access And Automation No Longer Works With Third-gen Apple TV After iOS 10, 2FA Now Required, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iOS 10 includes a pre-installed Home app from Apple that lets you easily set up and manage smart accessories and automation, which previously required using third-party apps from various developers. There is one important drawback for HomeKit users on iOS 10: you can no longer use the third-generation Apple TV as a hub for automation [...].

Apple Says It Has Investigated Recent Allegations Of Sexism On Campus And ‘Actions Have Been Taken’, by Ina Fried, Recode

“We take these things not just seriously, but personally,” said Young Smith in an interview in the atrium of 1 Infinite Loop. “I have been grieved over this ... that someone may have had this kind of an experience.” [...]

Young Smith, who has been at Apple since 1997, says the incidents aren’t broadly reflective of the Apple she knows, but acknowledged employees and the company do sometimes fall short. Apple, she said, investigated the issues raised in the articles.

Who’s Too Young For An App? Tests The Limits, by John Herrman, New York Times

What is striking about the app, though, is how many of its users appear to be even younger than that. hasn’t just found the coveted teenage audience — it may have overshot it. And it points to a growing tension between younger users, technology companies, and the norms and laws that regulate them both.


Best Way To Turn Your Wired Headphones Into Wireless, by Marc Lagace, iMore

[T]here are a number of options to convert your precious wired cans into Bluetooth beauties that'll work with your iPhone 7 and any other Bluetooth-enabled audio device! Just keep in mind that there is a distinct lowering of sound quality when switching from wired to a Bluetooth connection, an inevitable trade-off in the name of convenience.

Copied 2.0, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

I use Copied to store bits of text and images and keep them synced across devices. Just this past week, I stored several shortcode templates in Copied for the special formatting of my iOS 10 review. I love the app.

SuperDuper 2.9.1, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Shirt Pocket updated SuperDuper to version 2.9.1 with official macOS 10.12 Sierra compatibility and improved quit speed when shutting down or restarting.


The iPhone's New Chip Should Worry Intel, by Vald Savov, The Verge

Now, before you accuse me of being high on my own metaphorical supply, I’m not saying that Intel will be crippled or surpassed anytime soon. But I am arguing that the chip giant is under a substantial threat, the likes of which it hasn’t faced for a long time, maybe ever. A quick look at the Geekbench scores attained by the iPhone 7 quantifies a staggering achievement: the single-core performance of Apple’s latest generation of smartphone processors has basically caught up with Intel’s laptops CPUs.

Intel’s Chips Finally Find Their Way Into The iPhone, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Being in the iPhone, in other words, isn’t important simply for sales. It gives Intel components Apple’s imprimatur, a potential signal to other companies that it’s ready to play in the big leagues.

Inclusion in the iPhone 7 also, counterintuitively, highlights some of Intel’s drawbacks. Intel components won’t be in every model, in large part because they don’t support the CDMA networks deployed by Verizon and Sprint. Moorhead notes that they’re also not as future-proof as Qualcomm’s high-end equivalents: Intel’s guts don’t play nice with brand-new tech that will allow for faster download speeds, whenever carriers get around to leveling up. Since people are holding onto their devices longer than ever now, some iPhone 7 owners could potentially end up feeling left out.

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The one thing that I still haven't gotten used to: pulling down the Today View gives me Notifications. I miss my Today widgets.


Thanks for reading.

The Frantic-Removal Edition Friday, September 16, 2016

Apple Frantically Removing Potential NSFW Terms From iMessage GIF Search After Initial Oversight, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While Apple seemingly banned a variety of obviously NSFW terms from GIF search at the start, a handful of words with double meanings were still resulting in NSFW results. First noticed by Deadspin, Apple neglected to think of how words like “huge” could potentially return inappropriate results when pulling from third-party sources. Other words that still returned results, however, were far more obvious in their NSFW meaning, including “shlong” and “sideboob.”

Now that iOS 10 is available to the public, though, and these NSFW results have become noticed, Apple is frantically blocking any term from being searched that could potentially return an NSFW result. For instance, searching for “huge” no returns any results, while earlier it would return a plethora of images, some NSFW and some not. The more obvious terms such as “nipslip” and “futa” also now return no results.

Make Enemies For Life With This Grammar Snob Sticker Pack For iMessage, by James Vincent, The Verge

If you thought dropping endless Hello Kitty stickers into conversations was a good way to end a friendship, just wait until you can make handwritten corrections appear on your loved ones' phone screens.

Apple Makes Changes To News App, by Lukas I. Alpert, Wall Street Journal

A year after its introduction, Apple News will now allow publishers to sell subscriptions through the app.

Readers who have upgraded to iOS 10 will be able to subscribe to 14 publications through Apple News and pay using their iTunes accounts.

How Apple Will Use AirPods And Data Science To Create The World’s Most Powerful Bot, by Dave Goodsmith, VentureBeat

Apple’s dual hardware/software AirPod launch will, if the smartbuds become as ubiquitous as the iPhone, allow Siri to jump from novelty to the preeminent A.I. bot platform in the world. Since Apple clearly intends for users to leave their buds in throughout all of their daily activities, from work to commuting to travel to exercise, Siri will be able to make suggestions at any point based on geolocation, a particular iPhone activity, a Bluetooth pairing (i.e. with a car or entertainment system), and more.

Collecting the language inputs and responses from users as they interact with Siri across activities will potentially give Apple data that surpasses what Google and Amazon are already collecting. As one example, an unnoticeable Siri in your ear would allow for positive or negative responses to different prompts — like a nod or shake of the head — to be collected. The data resulting from a few head nods per user per day alone could boost the robustness of Apple’s supervised learning models on a massive scale by providing the company with a new wealth of training data sets.


Logitech Create Keyboard Case For iPad Pro 9.7 Review, by Steve Duncombe, Choice

Logitech's experience with making several generations of folio covers for iPad shows clearly in the Create version.

'Sit With Us' App Finds Lunch Buddies For Lonely Children, by Cox Media Group

Natalie Hampton developed the idea for the Sit With Us app, which launched Sept. 9, to help students find kindness and welcoming groups with whom to eat in school lunchrooms across the country.

Need A Babysitter? There's An App For That, by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press

BookJane founder and chief executive, Curtis Khan, describes the app as the Uber for babysitters and elderly caregivers.

"People are ready. Uber has paved the way. Airbnb has paved the way," said Khan, a former marketing executive. "They're looking more and more to technology."


The iPhone 7 And Third-party Battery Pack Cases, by Rob Griffiths

I was curious how the case makers were going to address this for the iPhone 7, because blocking the Lightning port means that users will have to use wireless headphones when using a battery pack.

Secret Life Of A Seven-Year-Old Instagram Star, by Britta Lokting, Narratively

Haileigh Vasquez has 129,000 followers and a runway show at New York Fashion Week—that is, if her second-grade teacher lets her out of class on time.

Bottom of the Page

Someone should make an anti-wireless iPhone battery case that have all sorts of ports -- headphones jack, VGA, HDMI, SD Card, and all sorts of USBs.

And we will call it, "Jack of All Trades.""


Thanks for reading.

The Chat-System Edition Thursday, September 15, 2016

Apple Just Reinvented Its Biggest App, by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

It is hard to describe how jarring this is. A piece of software from Apple—white-walled, pale-wood, bland-faced Apple—now lets you initiate a Tron-like laser show on other people’s smartphone screens at will. The old iMessage was a clear-flowing stream through which your friends could be gazed at. The new one is a goofy, pink poodle leaning out of a tree, asking “Do you like my hat?”

So no matter how you feel about the new iMessage, it is a departure for the company. Here are four different ways to think about the oddest iPhone feature in years.

How iMessage Could Be Apple’s Next Big App Platform, by Ina Fried, Recode

The debut of apps that can run inside the iMessage chat system could prove to be one of the most far-reaching changes in iOS 10, provided Apple can get more developers to play along. [...]

The long-term opportunity for both Apple and developers lies in adding apps with more complicated interactions, especially around commerce.

Embrace The Stickers, But The iMessage App Store Contains So Much More, by Jason Snell, Macworld

But the Messages App Store isn’t just about the ridiculous, of course. There are also real apps that work directly inside Messages now.

Apple's Messages App Suggests My Little Pony Porn Gif, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The gif search, which is a default part of the new Messages, is labeled as being powered by Microsoft’s Bing. Searches for other similar words, including breasts, cock, penis, vagina, arse, ass, sex and porn and are blocked from showing results, but searches for drugs does brings up results.

This Is 7's Photos

8 Tips For Taking Travel Pictures With An iPhone 7, by Austin Mann, National Geographic

I’m travel photographer Austin Mann, and every year I take the new iPhone on an adventure to answer two questions: What are the new features of the iPhone camera, and how do they make my pictures better?

This year I’ve been working with and testing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in Rwanda. I trekked to a volcano and photographed mountain gorillas, putting the iPhone to work. I used the new optical zoom, put the stabilizer to the test while flying over the rain forest, and wished it would rain so I could try out the new water-resistant feature!

It’s been a whirlwind, and the iPhone 7 has been a beast of a camera, keeping up every step of the way. Here are my top tips from my adventure.

How RAW Changes iPhone Photography For The Better, by Ben Rice McCarthy, iMore

iPhone photography has come a long way since its humble beginnings: Obscura wouldn't have been possible without iOS 8's manual camera APIs for developers. But in iOS 10, it truly grows up, offering a major new feature that brings mobile photography into the professional world. And that feature is RAW. [...]

When you shoot RAW, you can pull down highlights or boost shadows to bring out new detail in the image. It's a huge win for photographing high-contrast scenes, and it's why most professional photographers generally opt to shoot RAW. You may put more work in when doing post-production tasks, but the benefits are huge.

Buy With Your Fingerprint

First Online Vendors Begin Support For Apple Pay On The Web, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

A number of websites are beginning to launch support for Apple Pay on the Web, which allows iOS 10 users to pay for goods and services away from apps and point-of-sale terminals.

How To Use Apple Pay On The Web, by Lory Gil, iMore


The Age Of The iPad: 9 Tips To Manage Kids, by Fiona Connor, New Zealand Herald

For the digital natives, aka kids, navigating these devices comes without a second thought making it easy for Mum and Dad, still learning about the device, to go wrong.

Here are some tips and tricks to ensure safety and control around the use of iPads within the home.

Adobe Lightroom For iOS 10 Adds Raw Support, by Stephanie Mlot, PC Magazine

To capture in Raw, users will need a device running iOS 10 that has a 12-megapixel sensor, like the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPad Pro 9.7, or Apple's next-gen smartphones, which arrive Friday.


They Laughed At The Wright Brothers And Sacked Steve Jobs – Success On The Far Side Of Failure, by Sonal Mishra, Your Story

Rejection is rough, but coping with it is not impossible. If you often find yourself falling prey to disappointment and dejection, follow these five strategies to keep failure from derailing you from your goals.


Apple’s iPhone 7 Will Be Super Limited In Stores And All Jet Black And Plus Models Are Sold Out, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple has issued a statement tonight that is essentially setting expectations for those who hoped they’d be able to walk into an Apple store on Friday and pick themselves up an iPhone. The statement makes it clear that all iPhones will be in short supply for walk-in customers without a

Leaked Apple Emails Reveal Employees' Complaints About Sexist, Toxic Work Environment, by Melanie Ehrenkranz, Mic

According to Apple's most recent diversity report, women make up 32% of its global workforce. About a dozen of those women joined Danielle on a recent email thread, shared with Mic by an Apple employee, in which they commiserated on their experiences working in a company dominated by men. The thread included stories of discrimination and workplace harassment and was sparked after another Apple employee shared Danielle's experience in an attempt to galvanize the necessary support to mobilize and enact change.

This thread is just one part of over 50 pages of emails obtained by Mic from current and former Apple employees.

I Still Love My Working Original iPhone, by Chris Clarke, Popular Mechanics

I'll admit I was among the skeptics back in 2007 when Apple first announced it would be selling a phone. But somehow, swept up like so many others, I found myself a proud owner of that very first iPhone, which lives alongside my working models of nearly every mobile device Apple has ever made, an ever-growing collection.

That first one, though. I can't imagine my life without it.

The Get-Stuff-Quickly Edition Wednesday, September 14, 2016

iOS 10 Reviewed: There’s No Reason Not To Update, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Most of the features are about giving you more ways to get the stuff you want more quickly. Why open another app when you can just do everything in Messages or Maps or directly from a notification? Plus, now you can just yell at Siri to do it for you. [...]

All in all, though, iOS 10 is a good update with a lot to offer and there’s really no reason not to install it on any hardware that can run it. It doesn’t murder your battery, it doesn’t hurt performance too badly. It takes up more storage space, but that’s been a fact of life for every iOS update for years now. I’ve been running it on my actual production iPhone and iPad for the last month and a half, and the GM build seems stable. App updates are already rolling out. There really isn’t much of a downside.

iOS 10: The MacStories Review, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Looking at iOS 10's features in isolation, we can spot every shade of change that has steered Apple so far. The need to make iMessage a platform and rethink Control Center. The patient expansion of the extensibility framework, done gradually – some might say too slowly – to ensure good performance and security. The first steps towards AI as a feature of our devices, built in a unique Apple way around privacy and laying the groundwork for the future.

But these changes are more than discrete improvements. They're no islands. As the tenth anniversary of the iPhone and its software draws closer, it's time we take a holistic view of what iOS has become. iOS' changes are simply a reflection of our own changes – whether it's how much time we spend messaging with friends, how many pictures we take, the sensors we put in our homes, or the music we listen to. The memories we cherish, our conversations, the songs we listen to.

Getting iOS 10 Right From The Start, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The biggest change in iOS 10, the thing that required the most retraining for me, happens right at the beginning of every interaction.

What’s New In Photos For iOS 10, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

By far the biggest change to Photos is the addition of a comprehensive machine-learning algorithm that scans the contents of your photos to automatically identify people, objects, settings, and other items in your images without any help from you.

Can’t Access iMessage Effects In iOS 10? Here’s The Culprit., by Dan Moren, Six Colors

The guilty party is, weirdly enough, an Accessibility feature that many folks enabled when iOS 7 and later added motion effects like parallax: Reduce Motion. For some reason, at present it also takes away that particular feature of Messages.

Apple’s iOS 10 Download Was Bricking iPhones. It’s Fixed Now, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Another iOS release, another slew of devices experiencing temporary death. But after a rash of Twitter users reported that the iOS 10 updatebricked their iPhones and iPads, Apple says it’s fixed the problem.

Take Two

Apple Watch Series 2 And WatchOS 3, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I think WatchOS 3 and Apple Watch Series 2 are a very simple story. Apple Watch had clear strengths but equally clear weaknesses. Apple identified what was flawed and went back to the drawing board. They identified what people liked best — health and fitness tracking — and made them even better. [...]

I’m not saying it was “easy” in any way for Apple to go from, say, the iPhone 6S to the 7. But they didn’t need to swallow any pride. They did with WatchOS 3, and that’s a good sign. The way to be right all the time is not to be right all the time, because that never happens. If you’re pushing the boundaries of any endeavor, mistakes are inevitable. If you convince yourself that you’re right all the time, you’ll slip into denial regarding your mistakes. Then the problems compound. The way to be right all the time is to be smart enough to be right most of the time, and humble enough to recognize your mistakes and address them.

The First Real Apple Watch, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The Apple Watch Series 2 is the first real Apple Watch. It delivers on the promise of a mostly passive device that can accomplish simple tasks in 1-3 seconds.

Review: Apple Watch Series 2, by Jim Dalrymple

For me, Apple Watch is about improving our lives and making us more efficient. It has done that for me many times over and Apple Watch Series 2 will continue that journey.

More From Apple

Apple Releases tvOS 10 With New Siri Features, Improved Search, Dark Mode And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In tvOS 10, Apple has brought improved search, expanded Siricapabilities, a new dark mode, a Continuity option for using the iPhone for text input, automatic download of universal apps, and more.

Apple Releases iTunes 12.5.1 With Revamped Apple Music Design, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

iTunes 12.5.1 introduces a new Apple Music design, bringing Apple Music on the desktop in line with Apple Music on mobile devices just ahead of the release of iOS 10.

The update also brings macOS Sierra-specific features including support for Siri, allowing users to ask Siri to play songs on machines running macOS Sierra, and it includes support for Picture-in-Picture, another new Sierra feature.

Apple Releases Swift Playgrounds Coding App For iPad, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today officially released Swift Playgrounds, a new app aimed at teaching both children and adults how to code through simple interactive coding exercises. It's meant to make learning to code "easy and fun" for everyone.

Good Morning Tim

Why Apple CEO Tim Cook Prefers Augmented Reality Over Virtual Reality, by Paul Blake and Ronnie Polidoro, ABC

Cook told Roberts that AR "gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things -- visually -- for both of us to see. Maybe it's something we're talking about, maybe it's someone else here who's not here present but who can be made to appear to be present." [...]

Because of the more "present" nature of AR, Cook suggested that it may be more commercially viable than VR.

'I Dance With Them In': Apple CEO Tim Cook On Why He Knows For Sure That AirPods Won't Fall Out, by Stacy Liberatore, Daily Mail

In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, the tech tycoon suggests it is the weight of the wires that pull the headphones out of people's ears, and by cutting the wires, the earbuds should now stay in place.

New iPhone 7 Ad Is Basically The Cursed Videotape From Ring, by Sam Byford, The Verge

Look, I'm not saying that this Apple ad was created by a terrifying psychic Japanese girl [...]


Confide Brings Self-destructing Messaging To iMessage, by Jordan Crook, TechCrunch

As part of iOS 10’s new iMessage features, which incorporates apps right within the iMessage application, Confide users will be able to send self-destructing messages direct from their texts.

Confide for iMessage will support text and pictures, using Confide’s familiar wand functionality, where users can only see the text over which they drag their finger.

Newton Is A Great New Email App That Costs Way Too Much, by Nathan Ingraham, Engadget

CloudMagic has been an option worth checking out for a few years now. It's laser-focused on simplicity, but there are some powerful features lurking underneath the surface. Today, the app formerly known as CloudMagic is being reborn as Newton -- it's still a deceptively simple affair, but there are some noteworthy new features on board like snoozing messages, read receipts and a send later function.

Mophie Launches 'Power Capsule' Charging Case For Wireless Headphones, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The Power Capsule includes a 1,400 mAh battery, which Mophie said can provide up to eight full charges for wireless headphones. Inside the case is an integrated USB output, so earbuds aren't the sole beneficiary of the accessory. The company mentioned "small, compatible wireless devices, wearables and other accessories," like fitness trackers and other wearables, could also be used with the case.

Twitter Launches New Apple TV App For Streaming Live Video Including NFL Thursday Night Football, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The new app will let viewers watch premium video content like the 10 NFL games that Twitter bought the rights to broadcast, and Twitter content like Top Tweets and Vines will also be accessible.


Apple’s Reaction To The Galaxy Note 7 Recall Was Brilliant, And We All Missed It, by Chris Smith, BGR

There was none. Apple didn’t make fun of Samsung in any form or fashion for the terrible design flaw that forced it to recall 2.5 million smartphones. Think about that for a second. Apple didn’t take a single free hit at Samsung. It didn’t make any jokes when presenting the battery improvements of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. And if there was a place to laugh at Samsung, that would have been it.

An Island No More: Inside The Business Of The Podcasting Boom, by Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab

When Jenna Weiss-Berman left her job as head of Buzzfeed Audio earlier this year, she hoped that she could attract a little startup capital for her new podcast startup. Indeed, she could: Within four weeks, no fewer than four venture capital firms began offering her and Pineapple Street Media cofounder Max Linsky funding.

How hot is podcasting? Stupid V.C. money hot.

Why Supermarket Bacon Hides Its Glorious Fat, by Paul Lukas, Bloomberg

Bacon is fatty. It’s the nature of the beast—literally—because bacon is made from pork belly, which is a naturally fatty section of a hog’s carcass. That’s part of why bacon tastes so good: Fat is flavor. But we’ve also been taught that fat is unhealthy and unappealing. And this tension may explain why bacon has one of the most unusual and underappreciated packaging formats of any supermarket product.

Bottom of the Page

Will Apple remove the headphone jack in the next MacBook too, replacing it with a lighting port?


Thanks for reading.

The End-of-Embargo Edition Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The iPhones 7, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Now that I’ve spent time with them, however, I think I want a jet black iPhone 7. I will be jealous of the Portrait mode on the Plus when Apple ships the update, but it doesn’t feel like enough to justify the way it feels in my hand and pants pocket. (After just three days, my left pinkie is killing me.) That the telephoto lens is “only” f/2.8 — I put quotes around “only” because that’s arguably a remarkable aperture for a lens system and sensor this small — and lacks OIS makes the Plus a little less compelling to me as well. The battery life of the Plus is impressive, but I made it through the day 99 percent of the time with my 6S last year, so the improved battery life of the regular iPhone 7 should be fine for me. It all comes down to the camera. And the camera decision all comes down to Portrait mode. And Portrait mode isn’t available yet.

Choosing The iPhone 7 Is Tougher Than In The Past, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

You won’t go wrong buying the iPhone 7 if you can tolerate the earbud issue, especially if you’re on an installment plan like Apple’s that just gets you a new iPhone every year. You could get the iPhone 7 and then the big redesign next year, as long as you keep paying the monthly fee.

But, despite the undisputed improvements, this new iPhone just isn’t as compelling an upgrade as many of its predecessors. Some might want to wait a year for the next really big thing — and maybe a better audio solution to boot.

iPhone 7 Review, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

The most interesting feature of the iPhone 7 Plus’ new dual camera isn’t shipping at launch. Apple’s making a big bet on iMessage and Siri apps in iOS 10 but it hasn’t paid off yet. Apps haven’t been updated to use the Taptic Engine or the new wide color gamut display. The entire ecosystem of new headphones and adapters required to make use of Lightning and wireless audio is just getting off the ground. Only Apple or Beats headphones offer the best wireless audio experience, and you might not like how they sound or fit. By the time developers even come close to hitting the performance limits of the A10 Fusion chip, Apple will be shipping the A11 Fusion Pro with six blades.

The entire time I was using the iPhone 7, I felt like I had a prototype of next year’s rumored drastic iPhone redesign disguised as an iPhone 6. All those bold bets on the future are legitimately exciting, but here in the present using the iPhone 7 in a case feels a lot like using a iPhone 6S with a weirder home button and more adapters.

iPhone 7 And 7 Plus Review: Great Annual Upgrades With One Major Catch, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

If you understand things best when they’re phrased as tired idioms: the missing headphone jack is a fly in the iPhone 7’s ointment. Plenty of people will be happy to scoop out the fly and use the rest of the probably-fine ointment. It’s good ointment! There’s just a fly in it. And the transition from wired to wireless is going to be more painful now than it will be a year or two down the line when more accessories and devices have adapted to follow Apple’s lead. Waterproofing and better battery life have been common iPhone feature requests for years and the camera and speed improvements are nothing to sneeze at, but you’ll need to buy into Apple’s vision of the future if you want to get them.

Review: Apple iPhone 7 And 7 Plus, by David Pierce, Wired

After a week, I’ve stopped trying to plug things into my phone’s phantom headphone jack. But I cannot, for the life of me, get used to the iPhone 7’s new home button. It’s not a button anymore, just a capacitive surface that uses haptic buzzes and taps to provide feedback. That’s great for the longevity of your phone, since the home button tends to break before anything else. It’s even really cool in some places on the iPhone, lending a certain physicality to on-screen stuff by buzzing when you get to the end of a list or rattling like an actual machine gun when you fire upon the unsuspecting enemy. But when I press to unlock my phone, my thumb vibrates like it’s about to dent the glass. It’s not like it ruins the phone, but I miss the click.

Review: iPhone 7 And AirPods, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

What I want from Apple is to build devices that solve complex problems with simple solutions. I want them to make things more efficient for me as a user without going through any pain from using their products. That’s exactly what they provided with the iPhone 7 and AirPods.

Review: Apple’s New AirPods, by Steve Kovach, Business Insider

There’s a lot to like about the AirPods. The intelligent pairing and processing power of the W1 chip solve a lot of problems I didn’t even realize wireless headphones had until now. And using Siri without feeling tethered to my iPhone is a delight.

However, the lack of audio controls and the awkward design are two major drawbacks for me. Hopefully Apple can develop some new controls before or shortly after the AirPods go on sale. Otherwise, I think it’s going to turn off a lot of people. And while it’s too late to do anything about the design, the AirPods are at least comfortable and you don’t have to worry about them falling out.

Review: Apple AirPods, by David Pierce, Wired

The oddest thing about the AirPods isn’t how they look; it’s that Apple’s evidently not all that concerned with how they sound. Your $159 doesn’t buy you any better audio than you’ll get from the EarPods that come free in the box with your iPhone. I mean, look: they sound fine. Statistically, most people are fine with the EarPods, and they’ll be fine with the AirPods too. But if you’ve ever purchased a pair of headphones that cost more than $50, I’d bet they sound better than the AirPods. If you’ve spent more than $100, they definitely do.

What It’s Like To Use Apple’s New Totally Wireless Earbuds, by Lisa Eadicicco, Time

The main drawback I’ve encountered with Apple’s AirPods so far is superficial yet important: their appearance. A white stem hangs down from your ears while wearing them, making them anything but discrete. This elongated portion is where the headphone’s battery, antenna, and microphone are located.

iOS 10 Review: It's All About Messages, by Raymond Wong, Mashable

There are a handful of genuinely great things in iOS 10 that I have embraced, but a lot of the padding is really kind of meh.

Messages, however, is the primary reason everyone should update. It's the best new thing about iOS 10 and you don't want to be left out when everyone else has updated.

watchOS 3: The BirchTree Review, by Matt Birchler

I’ve been living with all these features for 3 months, and they all feel natural to me at this point. Apps that take forever to load are a thing of the past! Sharing my activity data with friends is just a part of my day-to-day at this point. All of these additions and improvements to watchOS feel like they’ve always been here, even though they are still so new.

If you didn’t “get” smart watches before today and don’t see the appeal, watchOS 3 isn’t going to change your mind. It’s mostly the same features you know from the Apple Watch, but refined. However, if you like the idea of a smart watch but think that Apple didn’t nail the execution the first couple times around, then this might be the update that wins you over.

Designing Apple Products

How Apple Made Its Jet Black iPhone None More Black, by Margaret Rhodes, Wired

Most manufacturers do this with a chemical wash or electrochemical polishing, but Apple’s process is different. “This is a first time ever new method of polishing,” says Robert Probert, author of Aluminum How To: The Chromatizing, Anodizing, Hard Coating Handbook. Where a typical manufacturing process might see polishing compounds applied to the phone casing by a rotating buffer wheel, Apple appears to have combined those compounds with the powdery media seen here. “Instead of tumbling or wheel-rubbing,” Probert says, “Apple is wiping the parts through this powdery media.”

A Closer Look At Apple's CPU Improvements For iPhone 7 And Apple Watch, by Chris Jenkins, MacRumors

At last Wednesday's media event, Apple introduced two new processors - the A10 Fusion for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and the S2 for Apple WatchSeries 2. Although Apple only briefly covered the S2 during the presentation, it did spend a good deal of time talking about A10 Fusion. The 'Fusion' suffix refers to the heterogeneous architecture that the A10 features, which has two high-power, high-throughput cores and two much smaller cores that are more power efficient.

Apple also introduced another very important piece of standalone silicon in its new AirPods, dubbed the W1 chip. In total, this represents a great deal of engineering work done by Apple over the last year, and the A10 is the most significant to Apple's system-on-a-chip (SoC) line since the company's transition to 64-bit.

What Happened To Apple’s Industrial Design Team?, by Dustin Curtis

Maybe Apple has lost the ability to experiment due to rapid growth and unprecedented scale. Maybe the team itself has become too complacent, or too scared, to make radical changes. No matter the reason, it appears from the outside that Apple’s industrial design team has slowly lost its genius–or at the very least its cadence–over the past few years. But there is one other potential explanation: maybe Apple has taken the enormous–one might even say courageous–risk of spending all of its resources on far-future product designs to the severe detriment of current products. I sincerely hope so.

Designing Non-Apple Products

Competing With The iPhone's Specs Is Harder Than It Seems, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

As an Android manufacturer, then, you have to overcome a series of impediments just to get on an even footing with the iPhone. Most of these actually require you to build something better than the iPhone (and probably price it cheaper) so as to entice both users and developers to your product rather than Apple’s. It’s the sign of a competitive market that so many companies are taking on the challenge, and we’re getting some damn fine engineering out of it, but let’s not forget where the iPhone’s strengths lie.

Yes, the iPhone is defined by its superior user experience andunmatched ecosystem of apps and accessories, but the nexus of it all lies within the phone itself. The iPhone’s specs might not seem imposing, but they are. And when a new iPhone comes out and Apple casually adds a 14 percent larger battery, a wider camera aperture, and the latest generation of its mobile processor, its competitors are forced to go even further and reach even deeper to keep up.

Working With Apple Products

Apple News Tweak Dings Publishers’ Websites, by Jack Marshall, Wall Street Journal

[L]ast month Apple made a change to Spotlight so that articles are now displayed from the Apple News app, instead of from publishers’ websites, according to some of Apple’s publishing partners.

Shailesh Prakash, chief technology officer for the Washington Post, said the Spotlight screen has been a “massive traffic driver,” but noted that traffic to its website from Spotlight declined beginning about a month ago. Meanwhile, traffic to its Apple News content increased at a similar rate, according to usage metrics Apple shared with the Post.


9.7-inch Logitech Create Keyboard For iPad Pro: An Ideal Typing Companion, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Most importantly, the Create provides a stable base so that you can write with the device in your lap. When closed, it looks like a thick iPad case, but when you open it and dock the iPad atop the keyboard’s Smart Connector dock—which supplies power to the keyboard—it becomes a mini laptop. It’s a huge improvement in the stability offered by something like the Smart Keyboard.

Fractionally Improved, by And Now It's All This

There’s a new version of PCalc in the App Store, and it has a great new feature for those of us who have to work with lengths measured in inches and fractions of an inch. It’s a display mode that allows all your calculations to be kept in fractional notation rather than converted to decimal form.

Lookup 3.0 Improves Upon Its Elegance & Brings Along An iMessage App, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

LookUp is a beautiful and elegant dictionary app for iPhone and Apple Watch [...] Today, the app has been updated to Version 3.0 that introduces a lovely dashboard, a refined definition screen and a brand new iMessage app.

Google Releases iPhone Version Of Cardboard Camera App For Taking VR Photos, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The app allows users to capture and share three-dimensional panoramas that Google calls VR Photos and share them for viewing in smartphone-based VR viewers like its own Google Cardboard and others.


Reconciling Past-You With Future-You, by Erica Sadun

Never underestimate future you’s stupidity. Comment, comment, comment and while you’re at it, write tests. Tests can save you the whole “What I was doing here?” because you can just look at what is broken and what you expected to work.

What Could I Possibly Learn From A Mentor Half My Age? Plenty, by Phyllis Korkki, New York Times

So, the reverse mentorship was extremely beneficial, but there was one way in which it could have been better: I could have tried to mentor Talya at the same time. The best cross-generational mentorships work in both directions, Ms. Arbit of BridgeWorks said.

“What do I have to offer?” I asked her, suddenly discounting three decades of career experience, which was ridiculous.

But I think older workers at times do minimize their value, or their value is minimized by others, as society glamorizes the latest glittery technology. Sometimes the old way of doing things can inform and improve the new, and older workers may be the ones with the wisdom to realize this.


Please Turn On Your Phone In The Museum, by Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

Museum directors are grappling with how technology has changed the ways people engage with exhibits. But instead of fighting it, some institutions are using technology to convince the public that, far from becoming obsolete, museums are more vital than ever before. Here’s what those efforts look like.

Apple Is Attemping To Sort Out iPhone Upgrade Program Preorder Issues, by Oscar Raymundo, Macworld

Apple seems to be addressing the issue, however. Over the weekend, Apple updated the iPhone Upgrade Program reservation page to include the following fine print: “Due to high demand, the model you’d like may not be available. Please call 1-800-MY-APPLE and mention the iPhone Upgrade Program. A Specialist will help you find the model you want.”

Customers who have called the number have reported that Apple is taking their information and what iPhone they want while the company figures out a viable solution. These customers were told that they would be receiving a call back in two business days.

Melanie Ehrenkranz And Apple’s Response To Her Criticism Over The Paucity Of Women Onstage At Last Week’s Event, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

But here’s the thing: I think the email from Apple is quite reasonable. It’s not great, and should have been much better, but publishing the full email makes Ehrenkranz look like a sensationalist jerk far more than it makes Apple look indifferent to the company’s diversity issues.

A Life In Google Maps, by Leo Prieto, Catapult

There are two competing theories about why and how we forget. One holds that old memories degrade, actually becoming less distinct over time; the other, that they remain essentially pristine but inaccessible, smothered by new memories that have been paved over top of them. Inside Google Maps, in a way, both of these are true. Old images are grainier, yellower, like Polaroids—not from degradation, but from a kind of reverse degradation, camera technology getting better over time. And they’re overwritten constantly, sometimes frequently—every four years or so even in our old suburb, more often in a major city. They’re accessible, but only if you know where to look: a small clock icon, just a few pixels across. And for many years, and most days, and nearly every minute, there is no record at all.

Bottom of the Page

I remembered I was excited with iOS 10 when Apple first demonstrated the operating system back in WWDC. But now that the update is out, I've sort-of forgotten why I was so excited.


Thanks for reading.

The Brighter-And-More-Vibrant Edition Monday, September 12, 2016

iPhone 7 Plus Photos From The Titans-Vikings Game, by DeMarco Murray, Sports Illustrated

On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both of which feature an entirely new camera system. Now some of the first photos taken by the new iPhone 7 Plus camera are being unveiled exclusively on On Sunday, Sports Illustrated photographer David E. Klutho took photos with the new iPhone 7 Plus camera at the Titans-Vikings game. The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12–megapixel telephoto camera that offers new zooming capabilities. Each new model also features a wider aperture and a lens that allows the camera to capture brighter and more vibrant colors in photos and videos.

Apple Is Moving Beyond Smartphones By Creating A World Where You Never Take Off Your Headphones, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

Siri lets you use your apps without taking your phone out of your pocket or checking your Apple Watch. So, ideally, you’ll keep your EarPods in even when you’re not listening to music.

Since they don’t have wires, AirPods are way less obtrusive than your usual headphones. And because they sync with all your Apple gadgets, it means that same one-touch access to Siri can follow you from phone to tablet to laptop. Siri’s on the Apple TV, too, so it seems reasonable that it’ll get AirPod syncing one day.

Apple’s New Smart Home Platform Has One Big Flaw, by John Patrick Pullen, Time

But with the beta version of Apple’s upcoming Home app, launching with iOS 10, the company has disabled alerts for many smart home devices. The result is a smart home solution that’s less smart, and potentially less safe.

Movie X

Today Only: Get 10 Movies For $10 On iTunes As Apple Celebrates 10th Anniversary, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple is celebrating ten years of iTunes Movies by making bundles of ten available for just $10. The bundles encompass titles from five major studios across Comedy, Drama and Action Adventure genres.


Inpaint For OS X Works Well With Simple, If Not Complex, Objects, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

You can use it to repair old photos, remove watermarks, remove unwanted objects do some digital facial retouching and removing date stamps. It works just fine for smaller, simpler objects such as watermarks and date stamps.

Video-making App Animoto Helps Make Your Memories Stand Out, by Jen Leo, Los Angeles Times

The online video-maker app lets you upload your photos and videos, pick a style to personalize your story, set it to music and add narration or title cards to complete it.


Ireland Doesn’t Want Apple’s Back Taxes, But The Irish Aren’t So Sure, by Mark Scott, New York Times

Local lawmakers, in part, worry that taking the tech giant’s billions could scare off other multinationals from investing in Ireland just as other countries vie to entice them. Many people across the country are also upset that European officials are meddling with the country’s tax policies. Apple, which is also appealing, is taking the same stand, calling the case “politically motivated.”

But it is a big payday to forgo, prompting criticism from left-wing lawmakers, government workers and even some local fans of Apple. European officials calculate that Apple’s tax bill may rise to $21.3 billion when interest is included.

An Ode To Tom Hanks' Upper Lip, by Lili Loofbourow, The Week

I'd never realized how much work Hanks does with his excellent upper lip before this film deprived him of the use of it. He's had moustaches before, of course, but never like this. In Saving Mr. Banks it was a trimmed-down version that still allowed the contours to peek through. Sully shows no such restraint. The film buries one of American cinema's greatest assets behind a scrubby, too-long set of whiskers. I wouldn't have thought hiding the philtrum would matter; it took losing it to realize what we had. What's a lip, after all?

Bottom of the Page

I believe I'll be living in a world with an ear-computer in my ears soon. Except that my ear-computer is going to be called hearing-aid.


Thanks for reading.

The ... Edition Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thoughts And Observations On This Week’s iPhone 7 / Apple Watch Series 2 Special Event, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

There is a large contingent of pundits who apparently would be more excited about a new iPhone that looked entirely different but had the exact same components as the iPhone 6S than they are by the actual iPhones 7, which are shaped like the 6S but have amazing new components. I don’t get that mindset at all. It’s like being a car pundit and judging the new Porsche 911 with a “meh” because it looks like the previous 911, and never even considering what it’s like to actually drive the new car.

S Club 7?, by And Now It's All This

But the 7 is the third version of this enclosure design, and it seems extremely unlikely we’ll see an S version of it. More important, next year is the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone, and Apple will certainly mark the occasion with a major change in case design. Sadly, there will be no S Club 7.

Apple AirPods Design Prompts Hilarious But Necessary Accessory Idea, by Adario Strange, Mashable

Whether it's a total hoax, Photoshop joke or an earnest attempt at addressing a need, the AirPod Safety Strap is simply awesome for a number of reasons.

Classic Days

An OS 9 Odyssey: Why These Mac Users Won’t Abandon 16-year-old Software, by Richard Moss, Ars Technica

OS 9 diehards may hold on due to one important task they just can't replicate on a newer computer, or perhaps they simply prefer it as a daily driver. It only takes a quick trip to the world of subreddits and Facebook groups to verify these users exist.

Certain that they can't all be maniacs, I went searching for these people. I trawled forums and asked around, and I even spent more time with my own classic Macs. And to my surprise, I found that most of the people who cling staunchly to Mac OS 9 (or earlier) as a key component of their daily—or at least regular—workflow actually have good reason for doing so.

How Apple Killed The Cyberpunk Dream, by Jacob Brogan, Slate

There is a lesson in such stories: Power cables and headphone cords may be irritating, but they also serve as tethers, helping bind us to a world that we can manage. Following their tangled paths, we intuit something about the currents—of information, of energy, of power in every sense—that course through them, even if we don’t fully understand what those pulsations mean. Though the prefix “cyber-” has roots in notions of control, it still suggests an incomprehensible electronic ether. In that sense, cords were cyber’s punk counterpoint: The knowledge that we still had to plug in assured us that we could always unplug if things got weird. A cord was punk because it was crummy—because it inevitably fell out, frayed, or failed—and because it was punk it held out a distant possibility of resistance.


How Google And Others Are Plotting The Revenge Of The Web App, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

For about a decade now, a faction of technologists have argued that the web can provide sufficiently app-like experiences. Steve Jobs originally felt this way about iPhone software, and Google bought into the concept with Chrome OS, a computing platform that was little more than a web browser at its inception. Web apps represent an optimistic view of the world, in which users are free from walled garden app stores, and developers don't have to rebuild their software for a half-dozen platforms.

In recent years, that optimism has faded, as native apps have handily outperformed web-based ones—both in the marketplace and in terms of the speed they deliver to users. Still, Russell and others believe the web app is ready for resurgence. Developers are getting frustrated with the app store model, and might benefit from the low friction that the open web affords when it comes to getting their wares in front of consumers without middlemen. At the same time, new web technologies allow for apps that are fast and full-featured.


EU Countries Set Sights On Apple Tax Bonanza, by Alex Pigman, AFP

"We are making a huge effort to reduce our public deficit, it is essential that this revenue not get lost," Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on the sidelines of two days of talks with his EU counterparts.

"If it's legally accurate, you can be sure that as minister of finance I will take it," Austria's Hans Joerg Schelling said at the meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia.

A Robot May Be Training To Do Your Job. Don’t Panic., by Alexandra Levit, New York Times

I think the only way forward is to look at artificial intelligence developments as an opportunity rather than a threat. We need the mind-set that success is no longer about our level of knowledge but about our level of creative intelligence. If we accept the process of lifelong learning, in which we adapt to new ways of working as technology improves, we’ll always find roles that take advantage of our best qualities.

Bottom of the Page

I used to be able to forget things. I used to be able to selectively un-remember things, wipe my memory clean, and pretend nothing happened. Did not exist.

I used to be able to only remember things that I want to remember. I used to be able to look forward to tomorrow because I can ignore yesterday.


Thanks for reading.

The Likely-Benign Edition Saturday, September 10, 2016

Analog: The Last Defense Against DRM, by Elliot Harmon, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Apple’s motivations for abandoning the analog jack are opaque, but likely benign. Apple is obsessed with simple, clean design, and this move lets the company remove one more piece of clutter from the phone’s body. The decision may also have been a part of the move to a water-resistant iPhone. And certainly, many people choose a wireless listening experience.

But removing the port will change how a substantial portion of iPhone owners listen to audio content—namely, by simply plugging in a set of headphones. By switching from an analog signal to a digital one, Apple has potentially given itself more control than ever over what people can do with music or other audio content on an iPhone. We hope that Apple isn’t unwittingly opening the door to new pressures to take advantage of that power.

Apple, The King Of Tech Taste And Daring, Takes A Breather, by Walt Mossberg, The Verge

Still, at first glance, having just started testing the new iPhone 7s, they do indeed seem like impressive products with worthwhile new capabilities under that familiar design. Maybe, if Apple can pound that message home, people with, say, the iPhone 6 or 5S, will upgrade this year.

But they’d have to do it despite the knowledge that Apple itself expects a really special 10th anniversary model in 2017. That’s a tall order for customers whose phones, while 2–3 years old, still work fine.

There was much scoffing among us media types when Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller — a man I have known for many years and respect highly — called the decision to kill the standard audio jack an act of "courage." Maybe the real act of corporate courage, of faith in your marketing and in the engineering people can’t see, was the decision to move into 2017 with an iPhone design first introduced in 2014. Because, as I see it, it’s a hell of a risk.

The Magic Of AirPods, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I was encouraged at how the AirPods fit my ears. Their actual shape seems to be identical to those of the old EarPods, but there’s one key difference: the AirPods don’t have cords stretching downward, constantly pulling your eardbuds out of your ears. I don’t know how much of a difference it makes, but it does seem to make a difference. As a result, AirPods could be more comfortable and fit better than EarPods.

Apple’s New iPhone 7 Leather Case Now Comes With Machined Aluminum Buttons, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Apple has updated its iPhone case lineup to match the physical changes needed to fit the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus like a glove. It’s also updated its leather cases with a brand new subtle detail — machined aluminum Sleep and volume buttons.

Coming Soon

Tim Cook Says Apple Is 'Very Committed' To The Mac And To 'Stay Tuned', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

[Tim Cook] told the customer, who wishes to remain anonymous, to "stay tuned," suggesting that updates to the Mac lineup are on the horizon.

Rumor Today

Apple Is Said To Be Rethinking Strategy On Self-Driving Cars, by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Brian X. Chen, New York Times

In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly. [...]

Under Mr. Mansfield, Apple changed the focus of the project, shifting from an emphasis on designing and producing an automobile to building out the underlying technology for an autonomous vehicle.


Massive Digital Archiving Project Means These Unique Musical Recordings Will Live Forever, by Andy Boxall, Yahoo

What’s really interesting is the EPFL’s digital archiving work on the Jazz Festival archives is only the start, and more is to come when technology allows. By using a light filter on the recordings, the team is preparing for future technological advancements in artifact removal, where sharpness won’t be compromised.

Next iPhone Could Double As A Glucose Monitor, by David Curry, ReadWrite

DarioHealth unveiled a new glucose meter on Thursday, one day after Apple’s announcement, which works with the iPhone’s Lightning connector.


‘We’re The Only Plane In The Sky’, by Garrett M. Graff, Politico

For the next eight hours, with American airspace completely cleared of jets, a single blue-and-white Boeing-747, tail number 29000—filled with about 65 passengers, crew and press, and the 43rd President, George W. Bush, as well as 70 box lunches and 25 pounds of bananas—traversed the eastern United States. On board, President Bush and his aides argued about two competing interests—the need to return to Washington and reassure a nation and competing need to protect the commander-in-chief. All the while, he and his staff grappled with the aftermath of the worst attack on American soil in their lifetimes, making crucial decisions with only flickering information about the attacks unfolding below. Bush struggled even to contact his family and to reach Vice President Dick Cheney in the White House bunker.

The story of those remarkable hours—and the thoughts and emotions of those aboard—isolated eight miles above America, escorted by three F-16 fighters, flying just below the speed of sound, has never been comprehensively told.

This oral history, based on more than 40 hours of original interviews with more than two dozen of the passengers, crew, and press aboard—including many who have never spoken publicly about what they witnessed that day—traces the story of how an untested president, a sidearm-carrying general, top aides, the Secret Service and the Cipro-wielding White House physician, as well as five reporters, four radio operators, three pilots, two congressmen and a stenographer responded to 9/11.

The Sunny-Optimism Edition Friday, September 9, 2016

Headphone Companies: No Headphone Jack, No Problem, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

This week Apple launched a new iPhone without a headphone jack and stirred up an understandable furor of discontent. But you won’t hear any headphone companies complaining about the move, even though it takes away their familiar entry point into the Apple ecosystem. Most of them have already been preparing for this change for months, and those who haven’t don’t particularly care about plugging into an iPhone in the first place. I spoke with a few of the major headphone manufacturers in the wake of Apple’s announcement to gauge their reaction to the news.

The Biggest Winner From Removing The Headphone Jack Is Apple, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Any company that wants to make a pair of Lightning headphones has to go through Apple’s licensing program. Though its fees are kept a secret, past reports have indicated that Apple charges a flat fee for every device sold using one of its connectors. So a bump in the likely low popularity of Lightning headphones is a win for Apple, since it’s getting a cut no matter who sells them. Apple did not respond to a request for comment on its licensing fees.

And that’s just Lightning. More likely is that the lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone — and increasingly, on Android phones as well — will lead to an uptick in sales of Bluetooth headphones. And it just so happens that Apple owns the number one Bluetooth headphone company, Beats.

Here’s What Happens If Your Apple Airpods Get Lost Or Stolen, by Dave Smith, Business Insider

Apple says that if AirPods are lost or stolen, you'll have to buy new ones, just like any other Apple product. There's no anti-theft measures in place to protect your shiny wireless earbuds.

That said, if one of your two AirPods is lost or stolen, Apple says you'll be able to buy just one. (Apple didn't say how much it would cost to buy just one.)

Fitness & Watch

Two Years Later, Apple Has Figured Out What Its Watch Is Good For, by Nathan Ingraham, Engadget

But now, with the introduction of the Watch Series 2, Apple has made it clear: If you're not interested in health tracking, don't buy an Apple Watch. [...]

Apple's website and branding reflect this shift in focus: The Series 2 page has four sections detailing the new features, and three of them are entirely focused on health and fitness. The watch's many other features like notifications, apps and watch faces are all grouped together. And Apple barely mentions the fairly ridiculous specialized communication options it touted so heavily when the device was announced.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Ceramic, The Fancy Material In Apple’s Fanciest Watch, by Liz Stinson, Wired

“Ceramics are much more durable than metals,” says Julia Greer, a materials scientist at Caltech. To understand what she means, consider your MacBook. That anodized aluminum casing provides a handsome sheen, but drop it and you run a good chance of denting a corner. Stick it in your bag unprotected, and your keys almost certainly will scratch it.

This is why watch nerds love ceramics, and why companies like Swiss watchmaker Rado have used them since the 1960s. Rolex does it, too. So does Chanel. In fact, so does Apple—the back of each Watch uses zirconia ceramic where the magnetic charger attaches. Ceramics are non-conductive, and don’t interfere with wireless charging.

More Follow-Up

No, iPhone 6s And 6s Plus Cases Won't Fit The iPhone 7 And 7 Plus, by Susie Ochs, Macworld

iPhone 6s cases probably won’t fit the iPhone 7 because of the camera bulge on the back of the phone. The camera lens on the iPhone 7 is significantly bigger, and also located a little closer to the edge of the phone. The TrueTone flash on the iPhone 7 is bigger too.

Why The iPhone 7 Has To Simulate A Shallow Depth Of Field, by Allen Murabayshi, Petapixel

Why do the new iPhone 7 phones have to simulate a shallow depth of field? The short answer: physics.

Courage in Cupertino

Profiles In Courage: The Product Managers Who Removed Apple’s Headphone Jack, by Jason O. Gilbert,

The boys were down in the conference room, huddled around the design spec for the iPhone 7.

“I feel like we’re about to take Hamburger Hill,” the Manager said, tears welling up in his eyes. He made $450,000 a year and drove a Prius and everyone respected him. “It will take guts. But we’ve got guts. Don’t we?”

He was the bravest among us, having served several disastrous tours — on the Lisa, on the Newton, on 6 different redesigns of iTunes.


Google Photos 2.0 Bakes In Live Photo Editing Features From Motion Stills App, by Abner Li, 9to5Mac

Motion Stills allows you to do a number of things with a Live Photo, like creating still images that freeze the background and making short videos that feature sweeping cinematic pans. While a Live Photo can only be shared among Apple devices, Google Photos allows creations to be exported as either a movie or GIF.

Truecaller Launches New Features For Apple iOS 10, by Kshitiz Goliya, Livemint

The new integration allows Truecaller to automatically identify and display whether a call has been reported as spam or is from a reputable business.

This reduces the need to manually search for numbers of unknown calls after a call is left unanswered.


It’s Tough Being Over 40 In Silicon Valley, by Carol Hymowitz Robert Burnson, Bloomberg

The median U.S. worker is 42, which makes sense given the boundaries of typical working age. At Silicon Valley companies, the median employee is more likely to be 31 (Apple), 30 (Google, Tesla), 29 (Facebook, LinkedIn), or younger, according to researcher PayScale. Plenty of other industries try to phase out older workers for younger, cheaper ones, but the Bay Area’s tech companies are singularly uninterested in and even distrustful of long résumés, says Michael Welch, a San Francisco employment lawyer. Mark Zuckerberg famously summed up the Valley ethos at age 22, when he told a Stanford audience, “Younger people are just smarter.”

Bottom of the Page

I sure hope the pairing of Beats headphones and earphones with iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks is just as easy as the pairing process of AirPods. If I were to buy a pair of wireless earphones, I'm leaning towards the Beats' versions over the lose-it-and-it-will-be-heartbreaking-for-me AirPods.


Thanks for reading.

The Wireless-Future Edition Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hands On With The iPhone 7: A Brief Peek At The Wireless Future, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

If you buy the silver, gold, or rose gold finishes, the iPhone 7 looks a lot like the 6S—it’s no accident that Apple focused mainly on the much different-looking glossy Jet Black finish in its presentation. The giveaways are the missing headphone jack, the larger camera lens and bump, and the streamlined antenna cutouts—the latter is still more noticeable on the lighter finishes because Apple doesn’t try to match the color of the aluminum as it does with the black and jet black finishes.

Coming from the 6S, I noticed the reduction in weight as I held and played with both phones. It’s not a night-and-day difference, but you’ll feel it in your hand and in your pocket. Otherwise, the screen bezels are the same size and touching the screen and using the camera is going to feel pretty familiar to 6 and 6S users.

Inside iPhone 7: Why Apple Killed The Headphone Jack, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

For Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, the iPhone’s 3.5-millimeter audio jack has felt something like the last months of an ill-fated if amicable relationship: familiar and comfortable, but ultimately an impediment to a better life ahead. “We’ve got this 50-year-old connector — just a hole filled with air — and it’s just sitting there taking up space, really valuable space,” he says. [...]

“It was holding us back from a number of things we wanted to put into the iPhone,” Riccio says. “It was fighting for space with camera technologies and processors and battery life. And frankly, when there’s a better, modern solution available, it’s crazy to keep it around.”

Apple AirPods Hands (And Ears) On, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

They fit in my ears a little better than EarPods, but not by much — I jumped up and down and shook my head a bit and they felt snug, but I wouldn't count on them staying in during any particularly dynamic activities. If you pull one out, the music automatically stops, which is cool — there are sensors that detect when they're in your ears. Another sensor lets you activate Siri just by touching them, and built-in mics with noise cancellation enhance your voice for calls and voice control. It was super loud at the demo area, so this was hard to test — we'll have to try again when it's quieter.

Apple’s AirPods Do Use Bluetooth And They Don’t Require An iPhone 7, by Ina Fried, Recode

Apple To Sell Replacement Lightning To 3.5mm Headphone Adapter For $9, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple Announces New Wireless Beats Headphones: Solo3, Powerbeats3, BeatsX, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

iPhone 7 And 7 Plus Are IP67 Water Resistant, But Water Damage Isn't Covered Under Warranty, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple Warns New Glossy Jet Black iPhone 7 Finish Will Scratch Easily, Recommends Using Case, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple’s A10 Fusion Optimizes Power Consumption To Give You More Battery Life, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Series Two

Apple Officially Unveils Swimproof ‘Apple Watch Series 2’ With White Ceramic Option, NIke+ Version, GPS, More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple Watch Series 2 is packed with incredible fitness and health capabilities including a water resistance 50 meter rating for swimming, and built-in GPS so users can now run without an iPhone. Apple Watch Series 2 also features a dramatically brighter display and a powerful dual-core processor.

Apple Announces New Apple Watch App For Hikers, Viewranger, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple Watch Series 2 Abandons Gold Edition Models In Favor Of Ceramic, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Mario and Pikachu

The Man Behind Mario Explains Nintendo’s New iPhone Game, by Matt Peckham, Time

Yes, this is one of the titles Mr. Kimishima had referenced. We don’t know if there will end up being all five of them, but this is one of the ones that we’ve been working on.*

The team that’s developing Super Mario Run is actually mostly comprised of the original Super Mario development team. So [Takashi] Tezuka-sanis the developer and I’m the producer. We’ve brought together the developers at Nintendo who know the side-scrolling Mario games best, to work with them to develop the best side-scrolling Mario game for a mobile device.

Apple, Niantic Announce Pokémon Go For Apple Watch, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Pokémon Go on the watch puts the game's best features on your wrist: you can hatch eggs, see nearby Pokémon, and interact with Pokéstops to collect items. There's even a complication for the watch face, letting you see how far you have to travel to hatch an egg.

More Announcements

iOS 10 And watchOS 3 Coming September 13, macOS Sierra Coming September 20, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has not yet provided a release date for the tvOS 10 operating system that has also been in beta testing since June.

Apple Updates iPad Lineup With Increased Storage Across The Board, iPad Pro Gets A Price Cut, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

iWork Apps Get Real-time Collaboration, Demo’d Live In The Keynote, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple Debuts 'Everyone Can Code' Program To Teach Kids Swift, by Husain Sumra, MacRumors

Reacting And Reflecting

What’s Really Missing From The New iPhone: Cutting-Edge Design, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

It’s not just that a few new Apple products have been plagued with design flaws. The bigger problem is an absence of delight. I recently checked in with several tech-pundit friends for their assessment of Apple’s aesthetic choices. “What was the last Apple design that really dazzled you?” I asked.

There was a small chorus of support for the MacBook, the beautifully tiny (if functionally flawed) laptop that Apple released last year. But most respondents were split between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 — two daring smartphone designs that were instantly recognized as surpassing anything else on the market.

Beyond The iPhone, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

The truly wireless future that Ive hinted at doesn’t just entail cutting the cord between your phone and your headphones, but eventually a future where phones may not even be necessary. Given that Apple’s user experience advantages are still the greatest when it comes to physically interacting with your device, and the weakest when it comes to service dependent interactions like Siri, that is a frightening prospect.

And that is why I ultimately forgive Schiller for his “courage” hubris. To Apple’s credit they are, with the creation of AirPods, laying the foundation for a world beyond the iPhone. It is a world where, thanks to their being a product — not services — company, Apple is at a disadvantage; however, it is also a world that Apple, thanks to said product expertise, especially when it comes to chips, is uniquely equipped to create. That the company is running towards it is both wise — the sooner they get there, the longer they have to iterate and improve and hold off competitors — and also, yes, courageous. The easy thing would be to fight to keep us in a world where phones are all that matters, even if, in the long run, that would only prolong the end of Apple’s dominance.

Apple’s Annual Iteration: Thoughts On The Sept. 7 Media Event, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The AirPods themselves? I wish they fit my ears better, because they’re an amazing piece of technology. If I was at Apple and knew that the AirPods were about to arrive, I’d be emboldened to kill the headphone jack, too. They’re smart, small, and priced about the same as other premium wireless earbuds. I got to try a pair at the event today, but I’ll save those details for a follow-up. Suffice it to say, I was impressed.


Apple's Twitter Account Spoils iPhone Announcement, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple's brand new Twitter account got surprisingly active today when it went ahead and announced the iPhone 7 before Tim Cook could get to it on stage. A series of tweets were send out as advertisements, showing photos and video of the new iPhone and highlighting some of its top features.

The More-Customization Edition Wednesday, September 7, 2016

App Helps Hallmark Generate Personalized Products, by Lauri Giesen, National Retail Federation

The limitations of working with documents and digital files spread across numerous systems and servers previously made it difficult for Hallmark to make changes in the types of paper, designs and other features of its cards. And traditional data systems made it nearly impossible to let customers customize cards and gifts while shopping.

But since using an app created by Hallmark’s research and design team, developed through the use of Apple subsidiary FileMaker, the Kansas City, Mo., company can allow a lot more customization in the products sold in its stores. The custom app allows both designers and nonprofessionals to add elements using simple graphical programming tools.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

The Physics Of How Your Earphone Jack Works (Just In Time To Say Goodbye), by Rhett Allain, Wired

It doesn’t matter if you call it an earphone or headphone jack—it’s still on just about every smartphone. With rumors that Apple will kill the the earphone jack on the iPhone 7 to make it thinner, I think this is a good time to look at this surprisingly simple piece of technology.

Moving Money

Ireland Will Have To Accept Apple Tax Payment, Leaders Admit, by Catherine Boyle, CNBC

The country's Department of Finance said in a briefing paper sent to members of the Dail, Ireland's parliament, that its Revenue Commission would have to collect the sum and put it into an escrow account, ahead of a key debate on Wednesday on whether or not to appeal the decision.

As Appeal Of Apple Ruling Looms, Ireland Moves To Rebut Tax-Haven Criticism, by Stu Woo, Wall Street Journal

The Irish government has spent decades courting U.S. and other foreign corporations with tax-friendly—and often secretive—initiatives. But since 2013, when the U.S. Senate investigated Apple’s billions of dollars in untaxed overseas income, Ireland has made a concerted effort to rebut allegations that it is a tax shelter.


AUTOsist Is A Free App To Track Your Car's Maintenance Records, Fuel, And More, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

With AUTOsist, you simply set up a profile for your cars, then you can add service records and receipts as you get them with a built-in scanner.

Learn New Words Efficiently With Wokabulary, by Appolicious

Wokabulary has a clear and simple design, which makes it suitable for classroom use as well. Moreover, the app allow screen splitting, enabling you to multitask your iPad (which is, in fact, sometimes good to your memory).


How Writing To-Do Lists Helps Your Brain (Whether Or Not You Finish Them), by Art Markman, Fast Company

Writing a to-do list is a similar mental experience. Even if you first spend some time thinking about the tasks you have to do, the act of drawing up a list and prioritizing the items on it forces you to do a little extra work.

This matters. Your brain decides which pieces of information to hang onto for later, partly as a result of how much work you do to them up front—so the more you mentally manipulate a piece of information, the better you'll remember it. That's why it's sometimes surprisingly easy to remember what's on your to-do list even when you aren't looking at it.


Life At The Nowhere Office, by Miya Tokumitsu and Joeri Merijn Mol, New Republic

How freeing this increased mobility is remains open to debate. Flexibility is a sharp double-edged sword within contemporary work culture. On the one hand, workers often do prefer the ability to drop in and out of the physical office: Recall the outcry when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer clamped down on telecommuting at the company. On the other hand, as Nikil Saval and others have noted, it’s no coincidence that the “dynamic” workplace has arisen at a time when professional work has become increasingly insecure. Dynamism and mobility are meant to be liberating, but the darker connotations of cleared desks and ephemeral presence lurk in the shadows of the creative workplace’s imported espresso machines and Aeron chairs.

How Architects Are Fighting For Gender-Neutral Bathrooms, by Meg Miller, Fast Company

The public restroom has become a symbol of change—or resistance, depending on which side of the debate you ask—at both a societal level and a legislative level. For transgender rights to progress, social norms need to shift and laws need to hold people who discriminate by gender accountable. But because this civil rights debate is centered around a public space, it's also a design issue. Thoughtful design can transform a public restroom into a space that is equitable and comfortable for all, and subtly change social attitudes in the process.

Yet designing these more equitable restrooms is often a challenge for a reason that has nothing to do with the debates of today: building code.

A Visit From Saint Timothy, by Dan Morens, Six Colors

‘Twas Apple event’s eve, and all through the net.
Not a pundit was silent—on that, you can bet.
Wishlists were posted on blogs with a care,
In hopes that Tim Cook might see them there.

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It's bedtime for those of us living on the positive side of the time zones. You all enjoy the keynote, won't you, while I go and catch up on my sleep.


Thanks for reading.

The Local-Business Edition Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Art Of Designing With Heart, by Jonas Downey, Signal V Noise

Good software is friendly, casual, approachable — but also serious, gracious, and respectful. Just like a pleasant real-life experience you’d have at a local business.

Evolving App Store Business Models, by David Smith

As I have looked back on these last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that the change is mostly been in the App Store market, rather than in my own attitudes. In many cases adding advertising to my apps has been something I’ve fought and resisted as long as possible. But in the end the pragmatic answer has been to not swim upstream and instead follow where my customers have moved to.

The market has been pulling me along towards advertising based apps, and I’ve found that the less I fight back with anachronistic ideas about how software “should” be sold, the more sustainable a business I have.


Airmail Adds More Power User Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

One of my favorite features of Airmail is its integration with other apps and services. Airmail makes it simple to get information out of my email and into the apps where I need it whether that's sending an attachment to Dropbox or the text of an email to 2Do. Version 1.2 adds additional integrations including the ability to send attachments to iCloud Drive and emails to Day One or Ulysses. Bloop's expansion of integrations into even more apps and services is smart and should make the app appeal to an even wider audience.


How Uber Drivers Decide How Long To Work, by Noam Scheiber, New York Times

Over all, there was little evidence that drivers were driving less when they could make more per hour than usual. But that was not true for a large portion of new drivers. Many of these drivers appeared to have an income goal in mind and stopped when they were near it, causing them to knock off sooner when their hourly wage was high and to work longer when their wage was low. [...]

In effect, Mr. Sheldon was saying, the generally rational beings that most economists presume to exist are made, not born — at least as far as their Uber driving is concerned.

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Dual-camera lens on a phone, touch-screen-bar on a laptop, and, of course, the Apple Pencil. What do they have in common? They are Apple's challenges to other hardware competitors that they have to also know software, and to operating system competitors that they have to also do hardware.

Apple has always been a computer company. Not a hardware computer, nor a software company. And that is never more true than with its current (and rumored upcoming) slate of products.


Thanks for reading.

The Music-Gift Edition Monday, September 5, 2016

Apple Music Gains Discounted $99/year Membership Through New Gift Cards, Effectively $8.25/month, by Dan DeSilva, 9to5Mac

Apple Music just became more affordable for everyone. Apple stores and select retailers have rolled out a new 12-month Apple Music gift card, priced at $99. That comes out to $8.25 per month, which is about an 18% savings compared to the standard rate of $9.99. Or you could look at it like you’re getting about 2 months of service for free when you pre-pay for your upcoming year.

How We Move

How A Fitness App For Cyclists Is Reshaping City Planning, by Barbara Eldredge,Curbed

Strava, an app first designed to help runners and bike riders track their routes, is fast becoming a valuable data source for city planners eager to demonstrate the impact of new and improved paths and bike lanes. The company even created a spin-off—Strava Metro—dedicated to mining users’ movement data for the benefit of planners and alt transit advocates.

Moving Money

Political? Mais Oui, Of Course, EU Insiders Say Of Apple Case, by Alastair Macdonald and Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

But, say senior EU officials involved, the decision certainly has a strong political element, even if Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says she is confident her case will stand up to Cook's appeal on its legal merits alone.

Brussels' political target is less corporate America than eurosceptics at home who threaten to pull the EU apart if it fails to show alienated voters it can act in their interests.

Europe, Apple, And The Money Burning A Hole In Silicon Valley’s Wallet, by Simon Bowers, The Guardian

Behind the scenes, dissatisfaction over corporate America and its untaxed offshore cash is growing. Politicians may not yet have figured out what they intend to do about this issue, but the last 18 months have provided a few stark reminders that there is a lot at stake.

Remember Hobbies? (Binge-watching Netflix Doesn't Count)

Our Parents Discovered Leisure. We Killed It., by Stephanie Buck, Timeline

For many of us, the hobby is dead. Our work lives have merged with our free time, and hobbies are now often indistinguishable from second jobs. In a culture obsessed with productivity, the hobby has become the next venture.

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An iPhone app that I have specifically set to not use cellular data (via Settings) was caught downloading data when connected to cellular network today.

Then, I read in a discussion forum that there are people who are having alarms that are not going off on their iPhones.

I wonder if I'll ever live in a world without bugs.


Thanks for reading.

The Real-Enough Edition Sunday, September 4, 2016

Life In Apple’s Ireland, by Jennifer Duggan, Foreign Policy

Apple’s European headquarters sit in an industrial park just outside the southern city of Cork. The sprawling campus of brick and glass seems real enough. So do the people who work there: Apple is a major employer in the area, with 6,000 employees. From here, Apple almost seems like a normal, if very large, company — not the sprawling, tax-evading corporation of subsidiaries, holding companies, and affiliates we’ve heard about this week.

Apple is just one of many multinationals based in Ireland — a result of the country’s deliberately low corporate tax rate, a propensity for making special tax arrangements with the right businesses, and an English-speaking, well-educated workforce. These companies have brought with them very real benefits: Apple, in addition to the people it employs directly, has helped attract other multinational tech giants since it first set itself up there in the 1980s; Facebook and Google both have large offices in Ireland. In total, foreign multinationals now employ one out of every five Irish workers.

Apple Tax Ruling Not An Attack On US, Says European Commission Chief, by Tom Phillips, The Guardian

“This is not a decision against the United States of America,” Juncker told reporters. “It would be absurd to choose this territory of state taxation to attack the USA,” he added, according to AFP. “We are applying the rules … We are basing our decisions on facts and on the legislation.”

Marketing The Tock

Apple’s Self-inflicted Naming Dilemma, by Ken Segall's Observatory

It’s a head-scratcher. One would think that every new iPhone would be presented as “the next breakthrough in iPhones,” period. There’s simply no need to dilute that message with a disclaimer—which is exactly what the S has become. It’s a strange form of self-flagellation. [...]

It’s interesting that Apple so boldly does away with popular ports on a laptop or iPhone, but seems unwilling to make a simple change in iPhone naming.


Game Day: Gemini, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Some games are as much about art and the experience they create as they are about gameplay. Monument Valley comes to mind for instance. Gemini – A Journey of Two Stars is a beautiful new game from Echostone Games that falls into the same category and succeeds by being simultaneously stunning and engrossing.


These Are All Of Apple's Official Twitter Accounts, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

We're keeping a running list of them here, so you can follow any and all that you find interesting.

Before The Computer, There Was Something Almost As Complex: The Chinese Typewriter, by Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

The tinkerers and inventors who struggled for decades to develop a Chinese typewriter were taking on a fascinating engineering puzzle, Mullaney said. The various solutions they came up with — even those that never won commercial popularity — may hold valuable lessons for today’s IT engineers.

“With the Chinese typewriter, there was a constant process of optimization, and some of the most brilliant and penetrating analysis of human-machine interaction, data structuring,” he said. “This is a machine whose history is a repository of design inspiration.”

The Secret-Recording Edition Saturday, September 3, 2016

How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything On A Smartphone, by Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

People, Please Don’t Store Private Data In Your Address Book, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

People should not be using contact lists to store sensitive data. Ever. It is a seriously bad idea. Don’t do it! Information in address books is stored in plaintext, meaning it doesn’t have any protections. It could be obtained by a hacker in countless ways.

Tweet Different

The Invisible @Apple Tweet, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The only way Apple can have a tweet floating out in the ether on Twitter without somehow attaching it to its main timeline is a specifically scoped ad buy. They can buy a tweet that exists as an island, basically.

Mapping Business

Do Those Travel Search Results Look Fishy? Here’s Why, by Seth Kugel, New York Times

As travelers, we’re ever more dependent on apps and online services that show us what to eat or where to sleep. Yet we (or at least I) often forget those sites are not public utilities that exist to make us happy but for-profit businesses trying to make a buck.


OpenOffice, After Years Of Neglect, Could Shut Down, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

OpenOffice, once the premier open source alternative to Microsoft Office, could be shut down because there aren't enough developers to update the office suite. Project leaders are particularly worried about their ability to fix security problems.

Bluk Is A Beautiful Physics-Based Platformer Where Skill Matters, by Christine Chan, AppAdvice

I’m still early on in the game, but Bluk is proving to be a fun and challenging game that is not like anything I’ve played on mobile before. The graphics are gorgeous due to the clean aesthetics and colors, the music is tranquil, and the one-touch controls are intuitive. The gameplay itself is distinctive and the difficulty amps up at a nice, gradual pace.


Why Smartphones Still Blow Up, by Brian Barrett, Wired

The vast majority of the time, that process goes off without complications. But when complications do happen, it can get very bad, very quickly.

Microsoft Gets Support In Gag Order Lawsuit From U.S. Companies, by Dustin Volz, Reuters

Technology, media, pharmaceutical and other companies, along with major corporate lobbying groups, filed legal briefs on Friday in support of a Microsoft Corp lawsuit that aims to strike down a law preventing companies from telling customers the government is seeking their data.

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I am thinking of doing little little projects -- something i can focus only on weekends and maybe half-an-hour during the weekdays. Maybe coding... maybe something else.

The most important part is to get me to stop thinking about work.


Thanks for reading.

The Zero-Day Edition Friday, September 2, 2016

Apple Patches Zero-day Vulnerabilities In Safari And OS X, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

The apparently government-sponsored hackery aimed at activist Ahmed Mansoor last week prompted a quick response from Apple, with a patch for iOS arriving the day of the news. Turns out the three (!) zero-day exploits deployed against Mansoor kind of worked against Safari and OS X, as well.

Apple issued a patch today to fix that, but you’ll need Yosemite or El Capitan to receive protection from these exploits. Improved input sanitization (sic) and improved memory handling fix the holes in OS X — and presumably these changes will be baked into Sierra (where, incidentally, the “macOS” naming convention starts as well). Safari gets an update to 9.1.3 and some improved memory handling of its own.

Quality, Not Quantity

Review Guidelines Added For Subscriptions, Stickers, And SiriKit, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The availability of subscriptions for apps that are ‘continually updated’ provides additional clarity to an issue that was hotly debated and discussed among developers since subscriptions were announced shortly before WWDC.

Apple’s New Rule Will Force Google, Amazon, And Others To Shorten Their App Names, by Joon Ian Wong, Keith Collins, Quartz

The company today (Sept. 1) updated its App Store guidelines to limit the length of an app’s name to 50 characters. Apps that break the rule will be booted from the store if developers don’t make changes within 30 days of being contacted by Apple.

Apple Is Going To Remove Abandoned Apps From The App Store, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

It’s cleaning time in the App Store. Apple sent an email to its developer community indicating that there will be some upcoming changes in the App Store. If an app no longer works or is outdated, it’s going to get removed from the App Store. And it’s about time.

Coming Soon

Apple Shows Off The First Siri-powered Apps Arriving In iOS 10, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Today, Apple is kicking off a series of blog posts that will introduce the forthcoming Siri-powered applications, and explain how they work.

This is something unusual for the company, which normally makes developer-related announcements at WWDC, then pushes its new mobile OS out the door as timed with its iPhone event in the fall.

But perhaps a little end user education is in order this time around? Or maybe, the popular voice computing platform, Amazon Alexa, is looking like a bit of a threat these days.

Get Ready For New Beats (Wireless?) Headphones At The iPhone Event, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

That’s what we call a teeny tiny fuckup. Beats sent a press release and other French media outlets saying that they should expect new Beats products on September 7 during Apple’s press conference. There was also a screenshot of the official Apple media invite so that it was 100% clear for everyone that Beats was talking about Apple’s event.

Apple Activates Official Twitter Account Ahead Of Sept. 7 Event, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple's profile photo has been updated to display a simple black Apple logo, while the larger header photo contains teaser art created for the upcoming Sept. 7 media event. Judging by the cover graphic, @Apple's first post might be a live-tweet from next week's keynote.

Moving Money

Tim Cook Says Apple Could Send Cash Back To U.S. Next Year, by Paul Hannon and Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal

“We provisioned several billion dollars for the U.S. for payment as soon as we repatriate it, and right now I would forecast that repatriation to occur next year,” Mr. Cook said in the interview.

An Apple spokeswoman said that Mr. Cook was referring to his optimism that the U.S. will change its tax code next year, and that his comments didn’t represent any change to Apple’s position on the question.

Five Things To Know About The EU's Apple Tax Ruling, by Cillian Fleming, Adam Smith Institute

This week, the European Commission ruled that Ireland provided State Aid to Apple through preferential tax rules. Unsurprisingly this has brought corporation tax rules into the spotlight, but there are a number of points about this particular case that many commentators have missed so far. Here are the key points.

How Apple Helped Create Ireland’s Economies, Real And Fantastical, by Adam Davidson, New Yorker

Today, the major players—the U.S., Germany, China, and the U.K.—don’t feel so generous and hopeful. And they get to write the rules. A secure Ireland, one that will be economically healthy for years to come, needs to be built on a “real” economy, one based on strong investment in innovation, manufacturing, and valuable services that other people want to pay for. It needs to be based on things done in Ireland, by people who live in Ireland—who pay Irish taxes.

Outside Cupertino

Apple Dives Deeper Into Austin's Talent Pool, by Lori Hawkins, Austin American-Statesman

Apple Inc., which recently completed its expansive campus in Northwest Austin, has been discreetly building a core engineering team across town, fueling a new wave of growth in Central Texas.

The California-based technology giant is pulling back the curtain on its new engineering center, which sits on a bluff in Southwest Austin, near Loop 360 and Bee Cave Road.

Hunker Down

When I’m Mistakenly Put On An Email Chain, Should I Hit ‘Reply All’ Asking To Be Removed?, by Daniel Victor, New York Times


The Internet Thinks I’m Still Pregnant, by Amy Pittman, New York Times

I hadn’t realized, however, that when I had entered my information into the pregnancy app, the company would then share it with marketing groups targeting new mothers. Although I logged my miscarriage into the app and stopped using it, that change in status apparently wasn’t passed along.

Seven months after my miscarriage, mere weeks before my due date, I came home from work to find a package on my welcome mat. It was a box of baby formula bearing the note: “We may all do it differently, but the joy of parenthood is something we all share.”


One Of The Most Important Crosswords In New York Times History, by Oliver Roeder, Slate

Crossword puzzles are fleeting things. Sure, some get anthologized in books, but most are solved or abandoned in frustration, then piled up with the rest of the morning’s paper, tossed into the recycling bin, and forgotten.

Thursday’s New York Times puzzle will be different.

(Note: There are major crossword spoilers below. If you’d like, go and solve the puzzle before reading the story behind its creation. We’ll be here when you get back.)

On The Falkland Islands, A Traveler’s Quest To See More Types Of Penguins Than Ever, by Andrea Sachs, Washington Post

Most birders aspire to see hundreds — if not thousands — of species in their lifetime. My number is set at 17, and they all belong to the same family: Spheniscidae or, in non-ornithologist parlance, penguins.

Why the fixation on penguins, you might ask. Obviously, they’re cute and silly, waddling around like little Charlie Chaplins. But I also admire their fortitude in the face of such odds as Arctic blizzards and menacing sharks. And I applaud their lifelong commitment to their mates, though I later learned that the females will flirt (and possibly more) for nest-building material. They move me in every which way, from giggles to tears. I am hopelessly hooked.

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I do not envy that one person at Apple whose job is to make sure the Bluetooth signals work flawlessly on stage during next week’s demo.


Thanks for reading.

The Political-Crap Edition Thursday, September 1, 2016

‘No One Did Anything Wrong Here And Ireland Is Being Picked On... It Is Total Political Crap’ - Apple Chief Tim Cook, by Adrian Weckler and Michael Cogley, Irish Independent

"It's total political crap," [Tim Cook] said.

"They just picked a number from I don't know where. In the year that the Commission says we paid that tax figure, we actually paid $400m. We believe that makes us the highest taxpayer in Ireland that year."

Everything's Going Wireless

The Best iPhone Camera Add-On Just Learned A Ton Of New Tricks, by David Pierce, Wired

The DxO One is a $500 palm-sized camera with a one-inch, 20-megapixel sensor as good as any point-and-shoot. It’s also an accessory that plugs into an iPhone’s Lightning port, uses your phone as a viewfinder, and dumps its gorgeous shots right into your Photos app for you to filter at will. Now, the company’s announcing a huge software update to the One that gives it wireless capabilities, and a line of accessories thats let you take the One places you’d never dare to bring your phone.


Machine Not Learning, by And Now It's All This

Siri knew perfectly well I was going south on Isenberg. Not half a minute earlier, she’d been telling me how to turn off Isenberg to get to the interstate. And she’d been tracking my location continuously since I left the hotel. The context was there, but it wasn’t used.

How Tech Giants Are Devising Real Ethics For Artificial Intelligence, by John Markoff, New York Times

For years, science-fiction moviemakers have been making us fear the bad things that artificially intelligent machines might do to their human creators. But for the next decade or two, our biggest concern is more likely to be that robots will take away our jobs or bump into us on the highway.

Now five of the world’s largest tech companies are trying to create a standard of ethics around the creation of artificial intelligence. While science fiction has focused on the existential threat of A.I. to humans, researchers at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and those from Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have been meeting to discuss more tangible issues, such as the impact of A.I. on jobs, transportation and even warfare.


Looking For A New Job? These Free Apps Can Help, by Kit Eaton, New York Times

In a volatile economy, many Americans are on the job hunt. But with the days of scanning the classifieds in a newspaper long behind us, one of the best ways to find a new gig is with the help of an app.

The Best Apps To Schedule Tweets On iOS, by Brian Sutich, The App Factor

Scheduling tweets is one of the most popular ways to make your social media presence shine. While Twitter’s official app still doesn’t offer the option to schedule tweets, there are a few apps on iOS that can make the process simple.

Now You Can Order Papa John's From Your Apple TV, by Angela Moscaritolo, PC Magazine

The app lets you build your desired pizza, topping by topping, and order it right from your TV.


The post-Jobs Apple Has Soared Financially, But Lacks A Breakthrough Product, by Walt Mossberg, Recode

When Jobs was CEO, he dazzled the tech world by running the table with a string of new products that other companies scrambled to match: the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the MacBook Air, and the iPad. That’s a hard act to follow, and Apple has struggled to do so in the last five years.

Cook’s biggest hardware bet, the Apple Watch, which began shipping last year, dominates the tiny global market for smartwatches, but has yet to become either the tech must-have or the popular fashion accessory it was meant to be. A new model may appear as soon as next week, with a completely revised user interface, which is in effect an admission that the initial interface wasn’t good enough.

Mike Birbiglia’s 6 Tips For Making It Small In Hollywood. Or Anywhere., by Mike Birbiglia, New York Times

Write. Make a short film. Go to an open mike. Take an improv class. There’s no substitute for actually doing something. Don’t talk about it anymore. Maybe don’t even finish reading this essay.

Bottom of the Page

Every time I purchase an Apple product and I cannot find any Apple stickers in the package, I feel cheated.


Thanks for reading.