The Best-In-2016 Edition Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Apple's Best Of The App Store In 2016:' Prisma' And 'Clash Royale' Win Top Honors, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today published its annual Best of 2016 charts for the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store, naming photo editing app "Prisma" as the iPhone App of the Year and "Clash Royale" as the iPhone game of the year.

Single Sign-on Launches For tvOS And iOS, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Apple launched its new Single Sign-on feature to all devices running version 10 or later of tvOS and iOS. The feature requires no software update or any other user action to get it.

Apple’s New Single Sign On Feature Needs An Asterisk, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Depending on which content provider you’re trying to log in with, single sign-on may not work on both tvOS and iOS. For example, single sign-on works with A&E’s app on iOS, but not on its Apple TV app; the E! Now app, on the other hand, is just the opposite.

An Oral History Of 'Get A Mac,' Part 1, by Douglas Quenqua, Campaign US

In September 2005, Steve Jobs gave his advertising agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, an assignment: Come up with a campaign that clearly demonstrates the Mac's superiority to the PC. There was no deadline.

Seven months, dozens of tense meetings and countless discarded ideas later, the agency produced "Get a Mac." It would go on to become one of the most succesful and admired ad campaigns in Apple's history, no small feat when "1984," "Think Different" and "Silhouette" are the competition. Among those legendary ads, "Get a Mac" stands out as the most overtly comedic and one of the most expansive: The team shot 323 spots over three years just to get the 66 that made it on air.

Milking The iPhone, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Is it possible that Apple management is okay with the cracks that are forming at the edges? While the new MacBook Pro may infuriate loyal Mac users, a strong case can be made that management truly thinks such a product is the right one to ship in today's environment. To see why, notice how Apple is milking the iPhone: having the product appeal to a wider user base. Instead of chasing profits, Apple is following the same strategy with the new MacBook Pro. Apple has no interest in repeating mistakes from the early 1990s and selling product to the smallest of niches.

35 Percent Of US Merchants Accept Apple Pay, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Jennifer Bailey, who leads Apple Pay, spoke today at the Code Commerce conference in San Fransisco and said that in the span of just two years Apple has managed to move from four to 35 percent of retailers (or 4 million locations) supporting Apple Pay in the US. Apple is also targeting big retailers for the next year, including GAP, to increase that growth. [...]

What’s next for Apple Pay? “Everything in your wallet we’re thinking about,” Bailey said, but wouldn’t give more details (She works for Apple, after all).

Apple Music Hits 20 Million Subscribers; Execs Want 'More, Faster -- We're Hungry!', by Shirley Halperin, Billboard

Apple has released the latest numbers for the music subscription service Apple Music. In the 18 months since the service was launched, the tech giant reveals that it has just crossed the 20 million paid subscribers mark. It last reported 17 million subscribers in September, marking a 15 percent jump in three months. [...]

And despite a mandate from Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge, exclusives will continue in the near future "where appropriate," adds Cue. "They work really well for everybody concerned -- they're great for the label, they work for the artist and for us." But an across-the-board Apple policy concerning such promotions doesn't exist. "It's really about launching things," says Cue. "Sometimes it makes sense to do that."

California EPA Says Settled With Apple On Hazardous Waste Claims, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The California Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said Apple Inc agreed to pay $450,000 to settle state claims that it had mishandled hazardous electronic waste at facilities in Silicon Valley.

Apple also agreed to increase inspections to settle allegations about facilities in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, the Agency's Department of Toxic Substances Control said.


Artificial Intelligence Just Broke Steve Jobs’ Wall Of Secrecy, by Cade Metz, Wired

Sure, Apple won’t share all its work—no company does. They all still want to maintain an edge over the competition. But that edge comes mostly from data and having the talent that can find the next big thing before anyone else. That’s the irony of the AI revolution: If Apple wants to stay ahead of its competition, it has to finally start giving away its secrets.

Apple AI Researchers Will Be Able To Publish, Likely A Move To Attract The Best Minds, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple’s director of AI research Russ Salakhutd has announced at a conference that the company’s machine-learning researchers will be free to publish their findings. This is an apparent reversal of Apple’s previous position.

It was suggested in October that Apple’s extreme secrecy was harming its prospects in AI.


Apple Shares Tips For Taking 'Pro' Photos Using iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared some tips to "Shoot like a Pro" with depth-of-field "Portrait" effect in the iPhone 7 Plus, highlighting a range of suggestions collected from professional photographers on its news site.

Apple's Support Site Now Lets Customers Schedule Repairs At Apple Authorized Providers, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple recently made a quiet update to its Apple Support site, introducing a new feature that allows customers to find and schedule repairs for iPhones, Macs, and iPads from Apple Authorized Service Providers.

Apple's Single Sign-On Service Now Live, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Using Single Sign-on does not require one of the betas, and is instead immediately available to all iPhone and Apple TV users running iOS 10 or tvOS 10.

Tinybop’s Me App Wants To Teach Kids Empathy, by Alexandra Whyte, Kidscreen

Me first has kids create an avatar and input answers to specific questions surrounding their likes, dislikes and feelings. Then they enter information on their family members and their friends along the same lines. There are also daily questions and games to make kids ponder their lives and the things around them. They can answer the questions using drawings, photos, text or recordings to include all learning types.

Twitterrific Update Takes Center Stage, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

Center Stage is a sort of full-screen overlay that lets you see and browse through all tweets that have media attachments, including photos, videos, or animated GIFs.


Samsung Scores An 8-0 Supreme Court Ruling In Apple Patent Case, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

In today’s one-sided ruling, the court agreed that Samsung’s damages shouldn’t amount to the total sale of the products at issue, given the fact that the dispute only applied to pieces of the product, rather that the whole. [...] The case will be sent back down to a lower court to reassess the damages.

Stop Trying To Kill Smartphones. You Can’t Kill Smartphones, by David Pierce, Wired

Smartphones are, and will remain, the hub of a new wheel, the sun around which the universe orbits, the … well, pick your metaphor. The point is, everyone is asking the wrong question. The right question is, Now that everyone on the planet has a smartphone in their pocket, what crazy new stuff can we do?

What Makes A Good Alarm Clock Sound?, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

But lack of solid scientific research has never stopped Silicon Valley from attempting to make something old new again. Since the early days of personal computing, technologists have worked to develop sound effects and jingles to give human context to static digital experiences. Those early efforts were just as much about guiding users through their actions via skeuomorphic noises like crumpling paper as they were about branding a company with a signature reboot sound like the Mac’s.