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.