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.