The Eternal-Form-Factor Edition Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Apple’s Philip Schiller Talks Computers, Touchscreens And Voice On The New MacBook Pro, by David Phelan, Independent

The new MacBook Pro is a product that celebrates that it is a notebook, this shape that has been with us for the last 25 years is probably going to be with us for another 25 years because there’s something eternal about the basic notebook form factor.

MacBook Pro Review: The Air Apparent, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

The new MacBook Pro is as beautiful and desirable as ever, but using it is alienating to anyone living in the present. I agree with Apple’s vision of the future. I’m just not buying it today.

Same As It Ever Was by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

When Apple pushes into the future, it usually does so without much regard for the present. A bunch of people are conflicted about this computer, but Mac users should be used to that by now.

iFixit: New MacBook Pros Are Unsurprisingly Difficult To Repair And Upgrade, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Surprising no one, the laptop is not very easy to open up and work on, and few components will be easy for end users to replace. The battery is still glued in, and the one system component that users can actually remove and replace—the SSD—is a proprietary module that's much different from the proprietary modules in MacBook Airs and Pros from years past.

Benjamin Button Reviews The New MacBook Pro, by Pinboard Blog

Gone is the gimmicky TouchBar, gone are the four USB-C ports that forced power users to carry a suitcase full of dongles. In their place we get a cornucopia of developer-friendly ports: two USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 ports, a redesigned power connector, and a long-awaited HDMI port.

Photographers will rejoice at the surprising and welcome addition of an SDXC card reader, a sign that Apple might be thinking seriously about photography.

Rediscovering The iPad, by Matt Gemmell

There are a lot of reasons to complain about Apple’s controlled ecosystem, and the walled garden of the App Store — if you’re a developer, or a tinkerer, or a power user, or any of several other categories besides. But it’s hard not to see the wisdom of the user-focused dictatorship of enforced simplicity and focus. I think the iPad is probably the ultimate expression of it. At least potentially.

Stop Using iCloud, by Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker

Apple’s iCloud has a long and troubled past, but the company keeps pushing it for iPhone and Mac users with every new operating system update. Don’t be fooled. The service is an inconsistent mess and more trouble than it’s worth.

iCloud is the backbone of a number of Apple services, some more problematic than others. At a surface level, iCloud just handles all of your iPhone backups and syncs files between apps. My main problems have come from three different parts of the iCloud service: iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Drive, and iCloud backups.

Instant Crime Alert App Vigilante Removed From App Store After Concerns Expressed, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The app is designed to allow people to report crimes, and for anyone close by to receive an instant alert. Less than a week after it went live in New York, Apple has pulled it from the App Store …


Apple Drops Prices On 512GB And 1TB SSD Upgrades For Older Mac Lineup, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Following its "Hello Again" Mac event last week, Apple quietly dropped the prices on higher-capacity storage upgrades across its Mac lineup. 512GB and 1TB SSD build-to-order upgrade options for the MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, and 2015 MacBook Pro are now priced up to $200 less, bring the costs in line with upgrade options on the new MacBook Pro models.

How To Get MagSafe On Your 12-inch MacBook, by Luke Filipowicz, iMore

The folks over at Griffin have designed a USB-C cable that works almost exactly like MagSafe. The Griffin BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable is a regular USB-C connector on one end and a detachable magnetic connector on the other.

New Epicurious App Puts More Than 1,000 Food Videos At Would-be Chefs’ Fingertips, by Lulu Chang, Yahoo!

Do you have a mind for all things culinary and are you curious to learn more? There’s an app for you. On Tuesday, Epicurious launched a new app for iPhone and iPad that brings recipes into the 21st century by way of video. Meet “Epicurious Recipes & Food Videos,” the app that promises to put “more than a thousand food videos directly at your fingertips.”

Talkshow Will Shut Down On December 1, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Talkshow, which launched about six months ago, will be shutting down effective December 1st. The service allowed groups to have text-based conversations in public. It quickly became a place to assemble panels to comment on live events or just discuss a particular topic.


Here’s How NASA Got Every Last Piece Of Pluto Data Down From New Horizons, by Nick Stockton, Wired

Bowman and her team had to start planning each of these downlinks 8 weeks in advance. And the process wasn’t just figuring out which jigsawed piece of data to retrieve. “Then we run the command through software simulators, hardware simulators, and have the science and mission operations teams review the results of those simulations to make sure the commands do what we want,” she says.

Chinese Characters Are Futuristic And The Alphabet Is Old News, by Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic

Mullaney is the author of two forthcoming books on the Chinese typewriter and computer, and we discussed what he’s learned while researching them. His argument is pretty fascinating to unpack because, at its heart, it is about more than China. It is about our relationship to computers, not just as physical objects but as conduits to intangible software. Typing English on a QWERTY computer keyboard, he says, “is about the most basic rudimentary way you can use a keyboard.” You press the “a” key and “a” appears on your screen. “It doesn't make use of a computer’s processing power and memory and the cheapening thereof.” Type “a” on a QWERTY keyboard hooked up to a Chinese computer, on the other hand, and the computer is off anticipating the next characters. Typing in Chinese requires mediation from a layer of software that is obvious to the user.

Bottom of the Page

A laptop nowadays should last longer than a mobile phone or even a tablet. It should be forward-looking. If Apple truly beelives in the transitions it is making, then it really doesn't make sense to include legacy ports that makes customers happy for the first year, and becomes useless in the second year onwards.


Thanks for reading.