The Bad-Actors Edition Saturday, February 18, 2017

Apple Launches New ‘We Hear You’ iPad Pro Ad Campaign, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple released four 15-second commercials each promoting different features of the iPad Pro. All four open with an actor holding up a large image of a tweet. ‘Better Than a Computer’ opens with the snarky tweet: ‘An iPad Pro is not even close to being a computer.’ The narrator agrees explaining that it’s not a computer because it’s faster, has LTE, and a touchscreen you can write on, concluding that the tweeter is ‘kinda right.’

Apple Tells Lawmaker That Right To Repair iPhones Will Turn Nebraska Into A ‘Mecca’ For Hackers, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

"Apple said we would be the only state that would pass this, and that we would become the mecca for bad actors," Brasch, who is sponsoring the bill, told me in a phone call. "They said that doing this would make it very easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska."

A Gourmet Guide To Wifi, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

Actually, the future of wifi had been creeping up on me for years, like a distant “save this date” event that elicits a groan when it finally pops up on the calendar. In fact, earlier last year I had begun experimenting with an early example of The New Wifi gadgets — they come in packs, like wolves or mean girls — called Eero. It’s named after a designer, which is the official international signal that you’re going to overpay for something. (Eero Saarinen was the dude who designed those chairs that are the furniture equivalent of Modigliani models; he was also behind the recently bulldozed TWA Terminal at JFK. By the way, if a product is named after a designer with two double vowels in his name, it’s going to cost even more.)

Eero turned out to be one of a number of new wifi companies, with names like Luma and Orbi — not all dubbed after designers, but dreamy enough to command a premium. These are “mesh” networks, based on the idea that a swarm of routers that talk to each other and pass on data, bucket-brigade style, can eliminate the dead spots in your home. Unlike Good Old-Fashioned Wifi (GOFWF), where you plug your router into the cable or DSL modem where internet is piped into the home and then have no idea what happens thereafter, these are set up and monitored by apps.


The State Of iBooks In Early 2017, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

Just under a year ago, Apple released new Mac and iOS versions of iBooks that could store your iBooks library on iCloud Drive. At the time, I noticed numerous and distressing problems with the new iCloud-enabled iBooks apps. Now, after more than ten months and with several intervening updates to iOS (from 9.3.1 to 10.2.1), macOS (from 10.11.4 to 10.12.3), and the iBooks apps (from 1.5 to 1.8 on the Mac and from 4.7 to 4.10 in iOS), the time has come to take a look at the problems I reported to see which Apple has resolved and which remain.

Hands-on With D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD, The First HomeKit Video Security Camera, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Having used non-HomeKit security cameras before, the real benefit seems to be accessing the video stream from the same app that you control other HomeKit accessories. You can also automate actions like turning on lights when motion is detected, but for me sensor automations will need to be more granular before those automations are practical.


Swift Changes Considered Harmful, by Craig Hockenberry,

With the recent announcement for Swift 4, it feels like folks are still searching for perfect, when what many of us want is just a great and stable language.


Here's The 'Stealth' Case Apple Uses To Conceal iPhone Prototypes During Transport, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Foremost, Dickson said an iPhone prototype travels across the world in a "stealth" case designed to prevent onlookers from seeing how it looks. The case conceals most of the iPhone, while it has yellow "security" tape along the sides that would show any tampering by somebody trying to get it open.

The prototype is accompanied by a "passport" at all times for quality assurance/control testing, according to Dickson.