Archive for June 2017

The Foundational-Tech Edition Friday, June 30, 2017

The macOS High Sierra Public Beta Is Now Available, by Paul Miller, The Verge

Some of the handful of user-facing improvements include tweaks to Safari, Photos, and Siri. But this OS is really a foundational tech release, and unless you have a serious need to test out these new technologies and APIs, you won't be missing out on much by waiting for the official launch.

macOS High Sierra’s Best Features Are The Ones You Don’t See, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The new operating system isn’t rife with shiny new features, but it brings enhancements under the hood designed to speed up devices. More importantly, they help future-proof Apple’s technology, from its first new file system since the early days of the Mac, to graphical and processing enhancements designed to usher in virtual reality content creation.

Like a number of the company’s recent hardware upgrades, it’s tough to do a full preview of the new OS that isn’t just a list of benchmarks — and performance upgrades are hard to qualify for most use cases. But there are some visible changes worth noting here, like new search in Safari and an overhaul for the Photos app. It’s also worth discussing what Apple’s trying to accomplish with tweaks to the Mac’s underlying technologies.

iPhone At 10

How The iPhone Won Over Japan And Gave The World Emoji, by Sam Byford, The Verge

What if Apple had entered a market with a complex, entrenched ecosystem based on advanced infrastructure and services, where devices offered an endless array of features that people actually made use of? And what if it actually succeeded in overturning this market and brought many of its advantages to the rest of the world?

That would have been even more impressive. But that’s exactly what happened in Japan.

Perfect Ten, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The Apple I, the Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod — yes, these were all industry-changing products. The iPhone never would have happened without each of them. But the iPhone wasn’t merely industry-changing. It wasn’t merely multi-industry-changing. It wasn’t merely many-industry-changing.

The iPhone changed the world.

The Least Important Part Of The iPhone… , by Christina Warren, Medium

In fact, when I think about the myriad of ways that the iPhone Changed Everything™, the thing it changed the least was the art of making phone calls.

Start At Zero

Apple Marketing Lead Greg Joswiak Talks ARKit In New Interview, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Enthusiasm about ARKit has been "unbelievable" says Joswiak, who went on to describe some of the things developers have built so far, including virtual tape measures that can accurately measure real-world objects. "It's absolutely incredible what people are doing in so little time," he said. Joswiak declined to speak about Apple's future AR plans, but said the company is going to "start at zero" with the iPhone and the iPad.


The New iPad Pro Before It Goes To 11, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

Without using them side-by-side, it may be hard to tell just how much larger the screen is on the 10.5" iPad versus the 9.7". This is a testament to the work Apple has done to fit a 20% larger screen in a footprint that is very similar to the one that housed the 9.7" screen. It’s a tad wider and a little longer. But again, it’s hard to tell without doing a side-by-side comparison.

And it’s definitely one of those things where when you start to use the 10.5" and then try to go back, you cannot. The 9.7" iPad feels short and stubby in a way similar to how the 3.5" iPhone felt after using the 4" variety. The smaller one now feels like a clown iPad.

Star Walk HD — Night Sky Map A Great AR Star Gazing Guide For The iPad, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

Vito Technology's Star Walk HD — Night Sky Map is an augmented reality stargazing guide for spotting over 200,000 stars, planets, constellations, satellites and galaxies. Designed for the iPad, it looks fantastic on the new pro editions.


Setapp At 5 Months: 10,000 Users And Better App Discovery, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

I polled a few developers who are participating in Setapp, and although all of them remain optimistic about Setapp’s potential, Setapp hasn’t contributed significantly to the bottom line for any of them. Joe Japes of Econ Technologies estimated that the inclusion of Chronosync Express in Setapp had increased revenues by less than 1 percent. Jesse Grosjean of Hog Bay Software told me that putting TaskPaper in Setapp had been a “nice but relatively minor boost” that generated about 5 percent of his monthly revenue.

On the plus side, Grosjean said the income from Setapp was increasing, and Japes noted that “the key for us is Setapp’s potential.” David Sinclair of Dejal Systems said he was quite pleased with Setapp and that Setapp “accounts for a significant chunk of new Dejal Simon customers.” He also pointed out that “Simon is a premium app, at $99, so offering an inexpensive subscription option for it alone makes a lot of sense for Simon users, and they get all those other apps as a bonus.”


Apple Shares Short Film ‘Détour’ Shot Entirely On An iPhone, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

On its French YouTube channel this evening, Apple has shared a short film from French director Michel Gondry. The film, entitled “Détour,” was shot completely on an iPhone and was funded by Apple.

The Beautiful, Impossible Dream Of A Simpler Smartphone, by David Pierce, Wired

People might say they want to ditch their smartphone, but hardly anyone actually does. Billions of users now have in their pocket a device that can do everything. Are some of those things bad? Of course! But that's the tradeoff for the peace of mind and spectacular value that comes with having every capability in your pockets at all times. It's nice to imagine leaving it all behind for a little while, but you wouldn't throw it away forever. The question, then, doesn't concern whether our phones are too powerful or feature-rich. It's about how to flip the relationship between user and phone, letting you control it rather than the other way around. That's a lot harder than building a phone without Facebook.

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I'm having a cold. Forgive me for not speaking much.



Thanks for reading.

The Keep-In-Touch Edition Thursday, June 29, 2017

The iPhone Changed The Way We Communicate With Our Parents, by Natt Garun, The Verge

Where my grandmother would wait for a handwritten letter from my mom, and my mom would wait for me to call her on the phone, we all now keep in touch in real time via group messages, complete with images and short videos.

Technology In Apple's First iPhone Made It The Best Communications Tool For A Family In Crisis, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Since then, we've used them for entertainment for ourselves while in any one of a number of interminable hospital stays, to store nearly an entire medical history, a research tool to figure out if any given therapy would help, and yes, as a dependable lifeline to get help in a time-critical crisis.

Untold Stories

Beyond The Mythology: Telling The Real Stories Behind The iPhone, by Jared Lindzon, Fast Company

Merchant spent the next year and a half seeking to track down the many untold stories behind the iPhone. His journey took him from the tin mines of Bolivia to assembly plants in China, from conversations with those Apple employees who were in the room during the product’s invention to the unsung designers and engineers who were equally as instrumental in bringing it to life.

The result is a book that publishes today, on the device’s 10th anniversary, titled The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone. Merchant recently sat down with Fast Company to discuss some of the history, mythology, and untold stories behind the only device most people would miss work to retrieve from the backseat of a taxi.

The One Device By Brian Merchant Review – The Secret History And Moral Cost Of The iPhone, by Jacob Mikanowski, The Guardian

In sections scattered throughout the book, Merchant tries to wrestle with the moral price of a single iPhone. To this end, he embarks on a worldwide quest in pursuit of the supply chain, from the Bolivian mines that provide the phone’s tin to the Chinese factory city in Shenzhen where the phones are assembled to the Kenyan dumps where dead ones fetch up. Little of what he finds is heartening. Treatment of workers at assembly company Foxconn since the much-publicised wave of suicides in 2010 has improved but conditions are still poor. The phones’ cobalt and tungsten come mostly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where profits from mining long have sustained the operations of violent rebel armies. The Bolivian mines where the phones’ tin and silver are extracted are the stuff of Dickens, 14,000ft above sea level. Apple’s code of conduct states that suppliers must provide safe working conditions and treat workers with dignity and respect.

What should we do with this information? The very complexity of a device such as the iPhone makes it difficult to conduct the sort of moral calculus which can be applied to simpler commodities such as diamonds or gold. A wide-ranging history like Merchant’s is the start of an answer. But to get a real reckoning of human cost versus price, we might need to turn to moral philosophers. Years ago, Peter Singer famously asked whether the life of a child was worth less than the price of a pair of shoes. So is an iPhone worth it?


The Life, Death, And Legacy Of iPhone Jailbreaking, by - Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Brian Merchant, Motherboard

To jailbreak an iPhone means exploiting one or more bug to disable a security mechanism called code-signing enforcement. This allows the hacker to run code that's not signed and approved by Apple. By doing that, the hacker opens up the possibility to install apps not approved by Apple and make changes and tweaks to the operating system.

Beginning shortly after the first iPhone was launched, and picking up steam in 2008, jailbreaking was a full-blown cultural and economic phenomenon. Hacking crews known by names such as the iPhone Dev Team, Chronic Dev, and evad3rs were some of the best iPhone hackers of their generation.They made both sport and crusade of breaking into Apple's ascendent phone and opening the system up to rogue developers. A brilliant, iconoclastic software engineer named Jay Freeman gave venue to the hackers and developers by building Cydia, a sort of alternative App Store. At its height, Cydia, which actually predated the actual App Store, was a business pulling in millions of dollars in revenue, and offered users a way to experience the iPhone as a truly free and open computer.


Apple Device Owners Unable To Restore From Backup As iCloud Outage Continues, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

An unspecified service outage that has been ongoing for nearly 36 hours is impacting a small percentage of Apple customers attempting to use iCloud Backup, prohibiting them from creating new backups or restore from previous saves.

Mac Drag-and-Drop App 'Yoink' Gains File Recall Feature And Better Sharing Tools, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The Yoink app aims to simplify the action of dragging and dropping files and app-content on the macOS desktop by providing a temporary place for files to be dragged to. Yoink fades in when users starts a drag - either with files from Finder or app-content, like an image from a website - offering them a temporary place for your dragged files.


Apple Reminds Developers About 64-Bit Requirement For iOS And Mac Apps, Releases WWDC 2017 Transcripts, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today updated its developer news site to remind developers about 64-bit requirements for both Mac and iOS apps.


Defining The 21st Century, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

For all these reasons I believe that future historians will point to the iPhone as the technological product that defined 21st century. Much will follow from it and it may become something altogether different but it set humanity on a new course.

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If the iPhone defined the first half of the 21st century, I think the switch to self-driving vehicles -- and the abandonment of any vehicles that are driven by humans will define the second half of the century.

(The U.S. better start figuring out a replacement of the driving license as a photo ID, becuase there will not be any need for licensing.)


Thanks for reading.

The Calming-Music Edition Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Apple Begins Rolling Out “My Chill Mix” On Apple Music, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

Apple began rolling out a new mix on Apple Music called My Chill Mix. Apple told me today that the new mix will not be available to everyone immediately, but it will show up over time.

Designed for calming music you might want to listen to during an early Sunday morning with a coffee, My Chill Mix will choose music from the genres and songs you listen to and love in Apple Music.

As Spotify And Pandora Struggle, Apple Music Lowers Its Subscription Prices, by Seung Lee, San Jose Mercury News

Earlier this month, Apple Music unveiled a single $99 yearly subscription, tucked deep in the Music settings inside the App Store. The subscription breaks down to $8.25 a month, nearly $1.75 cheaper than the standard $9.99 monthly subscription used by Apple Music and its two main competitors, Spotify and Pandora.

Digital media analysts said the unusual move by Apple — undercutting its own pricing models — is an effort to pounce on its financially struggling competitors and lure paying customers to its service.

iPhone At 10

Inside Apple's 6-Month Race To Make The First iPhone A Reality, by Fred Vogelstein, Wired

Borchers had been one of the managers responsible for everything Apple did at Macworld, and when he wasn't spending twelve-plus hours a day at the convention center through the weekend, he was in his car driving the forty miles from San Francisco to his home in Pleasanton. He'd driven all two dozen of the demo iPhones up to the convention center in the trunk of his Acura the previous Thursday—bagged in plastic and sitting in two subdivided boxes one might use for liquor. He'd driven them all back the following Friday night. A car with a member of Apple's security team followed him up and back while he worried what would happen to his Apple career if he got pulled over or got into an accident. There were no other phones, so had his car gone into a ditch or caught fire, there would have been no iPhone to unveil. "I drove them into the basement of the Moscone Center and hand-carried them up to a special locked room we'd built where we had engineers waiting to unpack them and retest them for what felt like the sixty-fifth time that day."

In between these two incredibly tense drives, Borchers had been the conductor of how every iPhone looked and was displayed at Macworld. He'd been responsible for scheduling rehearsals, making sure the right people and equipment were always in place, and for making sure security was sufficient so that any pictures of the phone didn't leak out. He was so busy he didn't even get a chance to watch the keynote live. While Jobs was speaking, Borchers was installing iPhones in spinning Plexiglas display cases on the show floor, and making sure the demonstrators Apple had hired for the event had devices to demo.

Excerpted from Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution, by Fred Vogelstein.

The iPhone Has Objectified Our Faces, by Caroline Haskins, Motherboard

According to Southwestern University's Bendar, the iPhone has not only created virtual versions of ourselves, but completely changed the way we visually communicate. As time goes on, he believes that the iPhone will continue to change our visual culture in different ways.

"When [the iPhone was originally released], it was, 'Well, anyone can be a filmmaker. Anyone can be a photographer,'" Bendar told me. "Now, it's 'How do you participate in the culture that surrounds you?' To be in this culture means not only that you photograph and share, but that you've gotta perfect the photographs before you share them or you might as well not take them."


Review: Logitech Slim Combo Smart Connector Keyboard For Apple's 10.5" iPad Pro, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

With this year's Slim Combo keyboard, Logitech is targeting a different market: Users who want a keyboard most of the time, but would like to have the option to detach the keyboard occasionally, all while still retaining a protective case and gaining a reliable, adjustable kickstand.


APFS Native Normalization, by Michael Tsai

The iOS transition to APFS seems to have gone very smoothly except for some Unicode normalization issues. Apple never really explained to developers how they could make their code work properly, most were not aware that there were issues at all, and the necessary app modifications were difficult to develop and fully test. In my view, pushing this responsibility onto apps was a recipe for endless obscure bugs and poor performance.

At WWDC 2017, Apple essentially admitted that they had made a mistake and told us how they are going to fix it. There is a short-term fix and also a long-term fix that will require another file system conversion.


Siri Is Looking For Its Own Personal Assistant To Stay Current On Events And Culture, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple is looking to hire a “Siri Event Maven” that will serve as Siri’s own personal assistant on events and pop culture happenings trending among humans.

The role will be to make sure that Siri is up to date on all the non-traditional holidays, trending cultural happenings, and events that people might ask about.

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There are so many people out there that turns on AssistiveTouch on their iPhones just so they can avoid using the 'real' home button, I wonder why Apple didn't include a virtual home button in the spanking new customizable Control Center in iOS 11.

(My theory is that people still remember how early iPhones -- I'm talking about iPhone 3G and 3GS era -- had horrible home buttons that often failed after repeated use.)


Thanks for reading.

The Public-Beta Edition Tuesday, June 27, 2017

You Can Now Download iOS 11’s Public Beta, by Nick Statt, The Verge

For those looking to test out the upcoming iOS 11 update, you’ll now be able to download the public beta version of the software from Apple’s website. Announced earlier this month during WWDC, iOS 11 comes with your standard tweaks and refinements, but also a huge focus on making the iPad a more powerful computing tool worthy of its larger screen and keyboard attachment.

iOS 11 Will Change How You'll Use Your iPad Forever, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

When you combine this trifecta of better multitasking, drag and drop, and the Files app, you get much closer to using the iPad like a traditional computer than ever before. And although the iPhone doesn’t have every single one of those computer features, the consumer-friendly features it has added also make it feel much more grown-up.

Yes, it was certainly possible to do “computer things” in iOS before, but the walls that Apple put up to make things simpler weirdly meant that only those with deep iOS expertise could actually pull off truly complex work. With iOS 11, Apple has stopped talking down to its users. We’re not baffled by “computer things,” like a file system. And for those that might be, I have faith that they can get along fine with their iPad without using any of these advanced features.

iOS 11 Turns Your iPad Into A Completely Different Machine, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

iOS has been around for 10 years. It’s hard to keep innovating after so many iterations. And yet, in many ways, iOS 11 feels like a completely new beast on the iPad. For the first time in years, it feels like Apple is taking risks with its operating system update.

iPhone At 10

Back To The iPhone Future: Lessons From A Decade Of Apple Influence In Medicine, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

Ten years into that future, the revolution is still going strong, Omori tells Ars. In their decade of sinking into white coat pockets, iPhones have become embedded in medical education and practices. Pulling out an iPhone every now and then during a hospital shift is “basically the standard of care that’s out there,” he said. Yet, their role and capabilities continues to expand and evolve in doctors’ hands, as he and other experts told Ars. There have been hits and misses along the way, they note, but amid the coup of clinical norms, doctors await even more technological tremors. For instance, many foresee virtual reality-based tools for, say, training surgeons or guiding patients through physical therapy, and the coming of age of diagnostic tools powered by machine learning and other artificial intelligence. There’s also the transition of iPhones from doctor sidekicks to patient empowerment, via things like health tracking, HealthKit, and telemedicine.

iPhone At 10: How Apple Changed Gaming For The Better And The Worse, by Mark Walton, Ars Technica

The speed with which developers could create compelling games for the iPhone contrast with increasingly complex console games, which could take upwards of three years to produce and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. But it wasn't the speed of development, or the apparent quality of the games that had a lasting impact—it was Apple's business model. Instead of working with third-party publishers, Apple would instead publish every game and every application on the App Store itself.

Apple Park

Why Apple’s New HQ Is Nothing Like The Rest Of Silicon Valley, by Jennifer Magnolfi, Harvard Business Review

Apple Park may actually have more in common with that category of architectural project than with other corporate workspace ventures. Cathedrals carry symbolic value, aspirational visions that go far beyond their function. In fact, the very great ones in Europe required significant innovations in the architectural technology of their time in order to achieve their vision — think Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence, the flying buttresses in Chartres, the vaulted roof in the Duomo of Milan. As with those types of buildings, technology breakthroughs were necessary for Apple Park’s vision to exist; extraordinary details and craftsmanship were necessary for it to inspire.


This project is about a legacy, timeless design, and the belief that the design of a headquarters can shape a company’s trajectory and inspire generations of future workers and leaders for years to come.


Day One Journal Shifts To A Subscription Model For 'Premium' Features, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Day One — the popular journaling app for iOS and Mac has today announced that it will be transitioning to a subscription-based service going forward, in order to have a more stable business model for the company.


Apple Export Regulations On Cryptography, by Cossack Labs, Medium

We strongly advise adhering to any legal regulations around cryptography and recommend carefully studying the Apple’s most extensive document on the matters of encryption and exemptions before trying to submit your app that uses any kind of encryption. Unfortunately, even this extensive document still leaves many points unclarified, features broken links to BIS (as at the moment of publishing this article) and advises you to consult the US BIS directly when in doubt.


Laptop Replacement, by Matt Gemmell

No-one’s saying that it either can or can’t replace yours, or whether you’d want it to. Except the pundits and journalists who can’t seem to let go of the idea that it’s an either-or situation, where we need to have a winner and a loser. I’m not sure what they’re afraid of.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are just getting things done.

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To all who have written in, thank you. You've brightened my day.


Thanks for reading.

The Hashtag-Pride Edition Monday, June 26, 2017

And I'm back from the break. Anybody still around? :-)


When Apple first announced the iPhone, I knew I wanted one.

I also knew it was not cheap. Especially for someone like me that was used to paying close to $0 for a mobile phone contract after contract.

Of course, Apple made the decision for me by not selling the iPhone in Singapore.

(My first iPhone was the iPhone 3G. By that time, my family and I had already been playing around with an iPod Touch for months. Specifically: Super Monkey Ball.)

Tenth Anniversary

It Had Us At "Hello": The iPhone Turns 10, by David Pogue, CBS News

So on its tenth birthday it's time to ask, where does iPhone fall on the scale of humanity's greatest inventions? Is it right up there with the television? The car? Electricity? Fire? Hard to say, but millions of people would agree, the iPhone changed everything.

"We don't have Steve Jobs around to ask -- we would all be getting interviews with him right now because of the tenth anniversary -- but I don't think that he foresaw the hugeness of it," Mossberg said. "I don't think anybody did."

The 4 People Steve Jobs Handpicked To Review The iPhone Reflect 10 Years Later, by David Pogue, Yahoo

Only four people outside of Apple already had iPhones. They were the four tech writers Apple had chosen to review the phone: Steven Levy, then of Newsweek; Ed Baig, of USA Today; Walt Mossberg, then of The Wall Street Journal; and me, then of The New York Times.

For my “CBS Sunday Morning” story honoring the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, the four of us got together—for the first time ever on camera—at Yahoo’s New York office. To reminisce, to schmooze, and to reveal long-held secrets. Here’s an edited transcript of that conversation.

Hashtag Pride

Apple & Tim Cook Celebrate #Pride2017 In Cities Around The World, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

As it has done in past years, Apple this week celebrated Pride 2017 in a handful of cities around the world, participating in parades in San Francisco, New York City, and Toronto. [...]

Apple handed out t-shirts with a rainbow Apple logo to those who participated in the parade. In San Francisco, Apple showcased a sign reading #ApplePride where participants wrote messages such as “Orlando Strong,” “Out and Proud,” and more. In a tweet, Tim Cook wished happy Pride 0217 to “all our employees, their families, and customers around the world.”

How Tech Companies Are Recognizing Pride Month, by Taylor Hatmaker, TechCrunch

With San Francisco and New York’s annual Pride event hitting this weekend, it’s a good time to reflect on just how far LGBTQ visibility in the tech community has come in a few short years. While there’s still plenty of work to be done, we’re happy to celebrate some of the fun ways that companies are showing their solidarity with the queer community while also holding them to task on the stuff that really matters.

No Exceptions, No Loopholes

Westpac Shock As Apple Bans Its Payments App That Let Customers Send Cash In Messaging Apps, by Paul Smit, AFR

Tensions between Australia's big banks and the world's biggest technology company Apple have ratcheted up after the iPhone maker surprisingly ordered Westpac to remove a key feature of its recently revamped mobile banking application, which let customers make payments in popular chat applications.

In a letter to customers, seen by The Australian Financial Review, Westpac reveals that its Westpac Keyboard function will be removed in July, meaning its innovative plan to enable customers to make payments from within popular apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat has been cut off at the knees.


The iPad Pro: Now A True Photographer’s Tool, by Jeff Carlson, Macworld

The improved hardware in the just-released iPad Pro models, plus software improvements in iOS 10 and the upcoming iOS 11, make the iPad Pro (mostly) fullfill the potential of the iPad as a true photographer’s companion.

Hands-on: LumaFusion – This Is The iPad Video Editing App We’ve Been Waiting For, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

This, folks, is an app that not only has the power and the features, but is actually fairly easy to use, and isn’t fiendishly ugly to stare at for hours on end. LumaFusion shows what’s possible on the iPad, and like Affinity Photo for photo editors, LumaFusion isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely shaping up to be an absolute must-have for iPad video editors.

Apps Are Slowly Gaining Ground In Hospitals, by Henry Cooke, Stuff

Despite many of us carrying advanced computers around in our pockets many hospitals are reliant on paper based systems and computers running decades-old software.

Some of this makes sense - a clipboard can't run out of battery - but much is the result of simple inertia.

There are hundreds of companies trying to change that with mobile and tablet apps.


Apple's First 'Assembled In India' iPhone SE Models Go On Sale In Limited Run, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

The first iPhone SE models built in India —by Apple partner Wistron —are now on sale in various cities around the country such as Bengaluru, according to local reports.

Apple’s AR Is Closer To Reality Than Google’s, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

For the people who don't care about incremental changes in phone specs or design, the differentiator between devices has always been in the unique things that each one can do — or, failing that, the convenience and ease of use of common features. Apple's iPhone is more convenient than Google's Project Tango devices and with iOS 11 it'll have much better AR capabilities than its nearest premium Android rivals. So if we're looking for the AR innovator that will take the technology into the mainstream, Apple once again looks like the likeliest suspect.

Despite High-profile Hires, Apple's TV Plans Are Doomed, by The Register

Steve Jobs' successor Tim Cook has never been very good at executing Jobs' "wait then dominate" strategy of product launches. Since taking the helm, Cook's Apple has been more reactive than proactive, and that hasn't played out very well for the company's TV ambitions. Apple would have had a shot at dominating the streaming TV market if it had been able to launch the streaming TV package it had hoped to.

Instead, the company will enter the market in 2017 with its first foray into original premium programming at a time when there's more premium original content than consumers can even watch. And what's more, its competition has had a huge running start.

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I've had a nice break over the past two weeks, when I okay-ed a lot of dialog boxes which stated along the lines of mark-all-as-read-without-opening?


Thanks for reading.

The Going-Dark Edition Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I am taking a two-week break, and MyAppleMenu will be back on June 26, 2017. Thank you for visiting, and I'll see you soon.

Designing Podcasts

Podcasts, Analytics, And Centralization, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Indeed, contrary to what many folks seem to believe, advertisers, whether they leverage podcasts, Facebook, Google, or old school formats like radio or TV, are not idiots blindly throwing money over a wall in the vague hopes that it will drive revenue, ever susceptible to being shocked, shocked! that their ads are being ignored. Particularly in the case of digital formats advertisers are quite sophisticated, basing advertising decisions off of well-known ROI calculations. That is certainly the case with podcasts: knowing to a higher degree of precision how many ads are skipped doesn’t change the calculation for the current crop of podcast advertisers in the slightest.

What more data does do is open the door to more varied types of advertisers beyond the subscription services that dominate the space. Brand advertisers, in particular, are more worried about reaching a guaranteed number of potential customers than they are tracking directly to conversion, and Apple’s analytics will help podcasters tell a more convincing story in that regard.

Longer Reads

The Secret Origin Story Of The iPhone, by Brian Merchant, The Verge

The NeXT mafia saw an opportunity to create a true mobile computing device and wanted to squeeze the Mac’s operating system onto the phone, complete with versions of Mac apps. They knew the operating system inside and out — it was based on code they’d worked with for over a decade. “We knew for sure that there was enough horsepower to run a modern operating system,” Williamson says, and they believed they could use a compact ARM processor — Sophie Wilson’s low-power chip architecture — to create a stripped-down computer on a phone.

The iPod team thought that was too ambitious and that the phone should run a version of Linux, the open-source system popular with developers and open-source advocates, which already ran on low-power ARM chips. “Now we’ve built this phone,” says Andy Grignon, “but we have this big argument about what was the operating system it should be built on. ’Cause we were initially making it iPod-based, right? And nobody cares what the operating system in an iPod is. It’s an appliance, an accessory. We were viewing the phone in that same camp.”

Remember, even after the iPhone’s launch, Steve Jobs would describe it as “more like an iPod” than a computer. But those who’d been in the trenches experimenting with the touch interface were excited about the possibilities it presented for personal computing and for evolving the human-machine interface. “There was definitely discussion: This is just an iPod with a phone. And we said, no, it’s OS X with a phone,” Henri Lamiraux says. “That’s what created a lot of conflict with the iPod team, because they thought they were the team that knew about all the software on small devices. And we were like, no, okay, it’s just a computer.”

“At this point we didn’t care about the phone at all,” Williamson says. “The phone’s largely irrelevant. It’s basically a modem. But it was ‘What is the operating system going to be like, what is the interaction paradigm going to be like?’ ” In that comment, you can read the roots of the philosophical clash: The software engineers saw P2 not as a chance to build a phone, but as an opportunity to use a phone-shaped device as a Trojan horse for a much more complex kind of mobile computer.

(Excerpt from The One Device: The secret history of the iPhone, by Brian Merchant)

A Sociology Of The Smartphone, by Adam Greenfield,

This is our life now: strongly shaped by the detailed design of the smartphone handset; by its precise manifest of sensors, actuators, processors and antennae; by the protocols that govern its connection to the various networks around us; by the user interface conventions that guide our interaction with its applications and services; and by the strategies and business models adopted by the enterprises that produce them.

These decisions can never determine our actions outright, of course, but they do significantly condition our approach to the world, in all sorts of subtle but pervasive ways. (Try to imagine modern dating without the swipe left, or the presentation of self without the selfie.) Fleshing out our understanding of the contemporary human condition therefore requires that we undertake a forensic analysis of the smartphone and its origins, and a detailed consideration of its parts.

(Excerpt from Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, by Adam Greenfield)


The iPad, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

If iPad has always been held back by software which never quite grew into the iPad, then this fall with iOS 11, it’s going to be the first time we might see the hardware begin to constrain the software. iOS 11 is that good, and that big of a deal for the iPad.

The common refrain is the iPad is just a big iPhone. iOS 11 is shifting that message to: iPad is everything you like about the iPhone, meticulously rethought for a larger canvas.

2017 is the year of iPad as a replacement for Macs, in other words.

Review: Apple's New 12" MacBook Boasts Incremental Speed Improvements, by AppleInsider

With MacBook, Apple is targeting road warriors and users looking for the thinnest, lightest, and most portable system on the market. For most users, however, the performance benefits offered by the base MacBook Pro far outweigh sleek design.


Unless portability is extremely important to you, our advice is to skip the 12-inch MacBook and go for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro instead.

iWork Updates Bring Professionally Drawn Artwork, New View Options, And More, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The most significant update found across all three apps is that over 500 professionally drawn shapes have been added for use. These shapes span a variety of categories, including: Objects, Animals, Nature, Food, Symbols, Education, Places, Activities, Transportation, Arts, People, and Work.


Apple Mac Computers Targeted By Ransomware And Spyware, by Mark Ward, BBC

The two programs were uncovered by the security firms Fortinet and AlienVault, which found a portal on the Tor "dark web" network that acted as a shopfront for both.

In a blog, Fortinet said the site claimed that the creators behind it were professional software engineers with "extensive experience" of creating working code.

iOS 11 Vs. macOS: Apple Has Already Chosen The Winner, by Jason Snell, Laptop Magazine

As a Mac user for more than two decades with a lot of workflows and habits grown up over that time, it's strangely comforting to me to think that Apple isn't going to change the Mac and make it into something different. But it also makes me sad to think that it isn't likely to grow and change, because Apple's bet the future on iOS.

But here's the thing: I'm also an iPad Pro user, and I love my iPad Pro. I use my iPad Pro more than my MacBook these days — and will use it even more when iOS 11 ships. Apple investing in iOS as the future of productivity computing might make me wistful about the fate of the Mac, but it's almost certainly the right decision.

Bottom of the Page

I'm (finally) taking a break from everything. I think I'll shut down all my internet devices, and just stay and rest and think.

See you on the other side.


Thanks for reading.

The ... Edition Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cook Says Apple Is Focusing On Making An Autonomous Car System, by Alex Webb and Emily Chang, Bloomberg

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg Television on June 5. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.”

“We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects,” Cook said in his most detailed comments to date on Apple’s plans in the car space. “It’s probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects actually to work on.”

WWDC 2017 — Some Thoughts, by Steven Sinofsky, Learning By Shipping

iOS 11 is where there are significant advances in the kinds of apps that can be built for mobile devices. This comes from two areas. First, the changes to core user-interaction models for iOS bring what many believe are important features for “productivity” to the iPad (now iPad Pro). Second, new frameworks, but particularly for augmented reality, are moving well beyond incremental and addressing needs building today’s apps. Both ARKit and Core ML are likely more interesting than I think many believe — democratizing two key aspects of computer science that will clearly differentiate platforms going forward. Privacy remains an extremely core theme to how the product is evolving and how Apple thinks about the way apps are implemented.

macOS High Sierra. Apple probably surprised people with some of the “features” in High Sierra but what should impress people more are the architecture and infrastructure advances. Apple has cleverly engineered work for iOS to “trickle down” to macOS which picks up the APFS file system and video pipeline work. These are a big deal for iOS but frankly an even bigger deal for macOS where it is much more difficult to deliver these reliably given the openness of the platform. There are a good share of advances in High Sierra that benefit developers as users (developers also includes creative professionals more broadly).

iOS 11 Drag And Drop On The iPhone, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

And if I had to guess, I’d say that Apple would prefer iPhone drag and drop to work well with one-handed operations – which makes me wonder if the company is waiting for a future software solution (a Shelf, a spring-loaded virtual Home button, or a new Dock) to enable more powerful drag and drop on the iPhone.

The Sneaky Psychology Of Apple Pay–And How It Could Cost You, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

Turner and Miller both believe this emotional component is the core of Apple’s strategy with Apple Pay, which transforms the $20 a friend sends you for buying lunch into fun money to be spent at Apple Pay merchants, or even better, Apple itself.

Armed With 11

The 10.5” iPad Pro: Future-Proof, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Besides the sense of increased responsiveness and improved Pencil performance, the 10.5” iPad Pro’s display simply feels nicer and looks like the future.


If you compare a 9.7” and 10.5” iPad Pro side-by-side, the increase in screen size doesn’t look like a big difference, but everything feels more spacious when you’re holding the new iPad. And because a lot of small-iPad usage tends to happen in portrait as you’re focusing on content, there’s the illusion that your hands are holding a device with no bezels.

Apple Pays Off Its Future-of-computing Promise With iPad Pro, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Science fiction movies and books have for decades displayed tablets as the future of mid-range computing. And it makes sense. In a world of artificial intelligence, greater mobility and voice-first systems, a keyboard feels stupid and archaic.

With the iPad Pro, especially when it’s armed with iOS 11, it’s beginning to feel possible to see Apple in this world. The combination of custom silicon, a still robust and specifically attuned software ecosystem and a focus on security, Apple has everything it needs to make a strong showing here.

The 2017 iPad Pros, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

It’s not fair to review a product running a developer beta of the OS – let alone the first (and generally buggiest) beta. So let’s stop the “review” right here: the new iPad Pros running iOS 10.3.2 are the best iPads ever made. You shouldn’t hesitate to buy one today, and if you do, you should wait until iOS 11 ships in the fall to upgrade, or at the very least wait for a non-developer public beta of iOS 11 this summer before upgrading.

But if you are reckless enough to install the iOS 11 beta on the new iPad Pro? Holy smokes is this better. I used the iPad Pro for a full week with iOS 10.3.2 because that’s the product that’s shipping, but after upgrading to iOS 11 beta 1 this morning and using it to write this entire review, I’m just blown away by how much more useful this machine is, and how much easier it is to work with 5 or 6 apps at a time.


2017 iMac Configuration Quirks: Don’t Get Burned!, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Thinking about buying one of Apple’s just-updated iMacs? You’ll want to pay close attention while configuring them because you could end up with a worse configuration for the same price depending on how you start, or you might pay more for the same configuration.

FileMaker 16’s Invisible Brilliance, by William Porter, TidBITS

The just-released FileMaker 16 is the most significant update to the database platform in at least a decade, and yet most of the improvements have little to do with the company’s marquee products: FileMaker Go and FileMaker Pro. They are, respectively, the mobile and desktop clients used to run FileMaker databases. Yes, the company has enhanced each in a few welcome ways, but the big news in this release is in technologies that are invisible to end users: FileMaker Server, WebDirect, and beyond.

Taiwan Photo Editing App A Global Hit, by Chen Ping-hung and Jonathan Chin, Taipei Times

PicCollage’s main purpose is to provide users with the tools to create personalized and meaningful images for their friends and family and since everyone has friends and family, the demand for the app will always remain, he said.


The development team has been encouraged by meaningful uses of the app, such as an animal shelter that uses PicCollage to advertise animals that are open for adoption, he said.


A Decade Of Decadence- Apple iPhone And My Mobile Web Memoir, by Tomomi Imura, Medium

There have been so much happened in mobile web world, and still going on. I have no idea what the future mobile web is like- perhaps, with AI and deep learning, no human developer would be needed for coding? Who knows.

Anyway, this was my memoir of mobile web, and I’d like to conclude it by saying, happy birthday iPhone! You disrupted the mobile web. I love you, although I am a dedicated Android user for past years.

The Apple-Moat Edition Monday, June 12, 2017

Apple Silicon And Machine Learning, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Tentatively dubbed Apple Neural Engine (ANE), this hypothetical chip fits well with Apple’s tradition of designing hardware for its software, following Alan Kay’s edict: “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”

Couple Apple’s AR and ML announcements with the putative ANE chip and we have an integrated whole that sounds very much like the Apple culture and silicon muscle we’ve already witnessed, a package that would further strengthen the company’s moat, its structural competitive advantage.

Apple's New App Store Policies Target China's Online Tipping Economy, by Josh Horwitz, Quartz

Despite this, Apple might still tread lightly when it comes to enforcing these policies in China. The Chinese government regularly punishes foreign companies it considers a threat to domestic players, using a mixture of arbitrary law enforcement and bad press. And recent run-ins between Apple and the government suggest that Beijing may well consider Apple a threat—to Chinese smartphone companies, and perhaps even to Tencent.


Policy is one thing, enforcement is another. And with sales slowing and political pressure mounting, Apple will face a choice—give Tencent a free pass and appear toothless, or crack down on them and run further afoul in the eyes of the government. Neither option is a good one.

The Coming War: Browsers Against Advertising Pollution, by Frederic Filloux, Monday Note

My thesis is we are just at the beginning of a massive cleansing of the advertising ecosystem that will have far-reaching consequences.


We'll see scores of publishers finally settling for the most reliable part of the news publishing business model and proposing ad-free subscriptions.


Boom 3D V1.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Global Delight introduces Boom 3D, the new version of its volume booster and equalizer app (previously titled Boom 2) that now delivers immersive a 3D virtual surround audio experience that’s ideal for use with headphones.

Prynt Pocket Review: The Ultimate Party Photo Printer For Your iPhone, by Jackie Dove, Macworld

While each ink-free peel and stick print stands on its own, the app lets you view an augmented reality video with each picture printed on its paper. The Prynt app automatically records a quick video linked to the photo and stores it in the cloud, so that when you point a smartphone at the print through the app, it plays back the embedded video via augmented reality, animating the photo on-screen, Harry Potter style.


Apple Announces Its First Taiwan Retail Store, Located In Taipei 101 Skyscraper, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company made the announcement on its Taiwan website, while Tim Cook also teased the new location in a tweet this afternoon, calling the store Apple Taipei 101.

Bottom of the Page

I've too little sleep last night. As a result, for this entire day so far, I have been cranky and irritable. Just like a baby that didn't get her afternoon nap.


Thanks for reading.

The Apple-Merch Edition Sunday, June 11, 2017

Check Out The Exclusive Apple Merchandise You Can Only Buy Once A Year, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

For people who aren't employees, there's usually only one place to buy them or other official Apple swag: the company's headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop.

But once a year there's an exception to that rule. Every year at WWDC, the company's conference for software developers, Apple sets up a company store where attendees can buy Apple merchandise.

Apple Introduces Core ML, by Otto Schnurr, Deepdojo

With their .mlmodel format, the company is not venturing into the business of training models (at least not yet). Instead, they have rolled out a meticulously crafted red carpet for models that are already trained. It’s a carpet that deploys across their entire lineup of hardware.

As a business strategy, it’s shrewd. As a technical achievement, it’s stunning. It moves complex machine learning technology within reach of the average developer.

Apple Is Trying To Make Your iMessages Even More Private, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

"And so, even if they store information in the cloud, it's encrypted with keys that Apple doesn't have. And so [users] can put things in the cloud, they can pull stuff down from the cloud, so the cloud still serves as a conduit—and even ultimately kind of a backup for them—but only they can read it."

It's unclear exactly how Apple is able to pull this off, as there's no explanation of how this works other than from those words by Federighi. The company didn't respond to a request for comment asking for clarifications. It's possible that we won't know the exact technical details until iOS 11 officially comes out later this year.


Review: Apple's New Kaby Lake 13" MacBook Pro Without Touch Bar Unexpectedly Speedy Vs. 2016 Model, by AppleInsider

Tock to tock processor updates don't generally give this kind of performance boost, but the boost is delivered through an increase in RAM speed, the architecture upgrade, and a 300Mhz base clock speed increase.

The double digit CPU gains don't translate over to graphics processing, where we found a modest improvement of 5 percent from 2016 to 2017. Given the flash storage decrease to 128GB, the write speeds are slower there too —but this is to be expected as parallelism decreases with fewer chips.


Why Is It Called A “Closure” Anyway? A Swift Conceptual Look., by Andrew Bancroft

I want you to take a function in Swift, and I want you to imagine the function as an empty swimming pool. Got it in your mind’s eye? Swimming pool. Empty (for now).

How Googlers Avoid Burnout (And Secretly Boost Creativity), by Brad Stulberg, Wired

Adam, is an engineer on Google’s self-driving car project (now its own division, called Waymo). He says the daily pace of work borders on fanatical. When he’s in the lab, the outside world disappears—we know this because he tells us so, and also because our text messages and emails to him almost always go unanswered. Adam works full tilt, wholly immersing himself in the brains and guts of a car that, if Google gets it right, will be a total game-changer. Adam, however, would never say that. He knows that he and his team must first figure out, among many other things, how to teach an inanimate object moving at 70 miles per hour to differentiate between a stray plastic bag and a stray deer. Talk about a just-manageable challenge.

Google is built upon projects like the self-driving car: endeavors that push at the point of resistance for growth, where struggle and productive failure aren’t consequences of the work, but rather the driving forces behind it. The company attracts the cream of the crop, top-notch creative thinkers who are passionate about what they do. Add to the mix the tight deadlines and the colleagues who aren’t scared to push the envelope, and it’s easy to see why employees like Adam become so absorbed in their work. Google has nailed the recipe for stress. But the company understands that’s only half the battle. Without rest, Google wouldn’t end up with innovation. Instead, it’d end up with a workforce that is broken down and burnt out.

The Serve-Humanity Edition Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tim Cook Says Apple Is Not Behind On Artificial Intelligence, by Nanette Byrnes, MIT Technology Review

While he calls AI “profound” and increasingly capable of doing unbelievable things, on matters that require judgment he’s not comfortable with automating the human entirely out of the equation. “When technological advancement can go up so exponentially I do think there’s a risk of losing sight of the fact that tech should serve humanity, not the other way around.”

Part of that perspective, for Cook, continues to be keeping an eye on what iPhone data Apple should be able to access, and what is too personal, something that became an issue in its high profile refusal last year to unlock iPhones at the behest of law enforcement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook To MIT Grads: Don't Measure Your Life In Likes, by Emily Canal, Inc

"Measure your impact on humanity not in likes but in the lives you touch, not in popularity but the people you serve," Cook said during his commencement speech. "I found my life got bigger when I stopped caring about what people thought of me."


"If you choose to live your life at the intersection of technology and the people it serves," Cook says. "If you strive to create the best and do the best, not just for some, then today, all of humanity has good cause for hope."

Apple Grilled On Twitter Over 'I Rarely Get To See My Kids' Ad, by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET

Apple ran an ad on Friday featuring an app developer called Andrew Kemendo offering these words: "I rarely get to see my kids. That's a risk you have to take." The ad was posted to the Twitter page of "Planet of the Apps." [...]

The ad was swiftly removed, but not as swiftly as some saw it and experienced a gag reflex. Jason Fried, founder and CEO of project management tool, for example, tweeted: "Pathetic… even Apple is promoting workaholism now.

Policy Updates

Apple Legalizes And Taxes In-app Tipping For Content Creators, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

Apple’s newly published update to its App Store policies officially designates voluntary tipping via virtual currency as in-app purchases that Apple taxes 30%. By taking tipping out of the grey area, more app developers might institute digital tip jars as an alternative way to get creators paid without having to offer ad revenue sharing.

App Store Now Requires Developers To Use Official API To Request App Ratings, Disallows Custom Prompts, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

One change is the addition of section 1.1.7. This new paragraph requires developers to use the official in-app rating UI added in iOS 10.3 and states that they ‘will disallow custom review prompts’ going forward.

Coming Soon

Apple Makes Major Podcast Updates, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

New extensions to Apple’s podcast feed specification will allow podcasts to define individual seasons and explain whether an episode is a teaser, a full episode, or bonus content. These extensions will be read by the Podcast app and used to present a podcast in a richer way than the current, more linear, approach.


Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping.

Here’s How Apple Is Making iMessage Take On Facebook Messenger Bots, by Natt Garun, The Verge

During a WWDC session today, Apple elaborated more on just how it works. Business Chat essentially combines the app component of Messenger and the customer service portion from Twitter, letting you talk to businesses to get shopping / scheduling / general inquiry advice and reach out to file a dispute all from the same chat thread.

Store Issues

How To Make $80,000 Per Month On The Apple App Store, by Johnny Lin, Medium

Turns out, scammers are abusing Apple’s relatively new and immature App Store Search Ads product. They’re taking advantage of the fact that there’s no filtering or approval process for ads, and that ads look almost indistinguishable from real results, and some ads take up the entire search result’s first page.

Later, I dug deeper to find that unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents — they’re fairly common in the app store’s top grossing lists. And this isn’t just happening with security related keywords. It seems like scammers are bidding on many other keywords.

Pepe Is Banned From The Apple App Store, by Jason Koebler and Louise Matsakis, Motherboard

It's possible that Apple chose to reject Pepe Scream> and other apps featuring the frog on the grounds that it could be considered a hate symbol. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a nonprofit committed to combating bigotry, considers Pepe to be a symbol of hate, but only in specific contexts.


Because the App Store approval process is so opaque, developers often end up blindsided by rejections. "I think it is quite unhealthy for the developer ecosystem to not more specifically outline what is allowed and not allowed," the Spirit Realm Games developer said. "We certainly didn't know Pepe the Frog wasn't allowed."


The App That Does Nothing, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Binky is an app that does everything an app is expected to do. It’s got posts. It’s got likes. It’s got comments. It’s got the infinitely scrolling timeline found in all social apps, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Snapchat.


There’s just one catch: None of it is real. Binky is a ruse, a Potemkin-Village social network with no people, where the content is fake and feedback disappears into the void. And it might be exactly the thing that smartphone users want—and even need.


Apple's Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode Is Good. Researchers Are Cooking Up Something Better, by Aarian Marshall, Wired

But screens and things to read on them will be in cars as long as humans sit behind the wheel. That’s why they have to get more driver-friendly. After four years on the job, the MIT AgeLab crew has realized that it’s not the driver taking her eyes off the road that’s the big problem. A quick look away, followed by a longer gaze back at the road, followed by another quick glance—that’s less likely to cause a crash. But that’s not how some people use their phones in the car. A longer gaze down to read an email or scroll through contacts? That’s an issue.

Apple Customer Data In China Was Sold Illegally, Police Say, by Paul Mozur, New York Times

In a statement on Wednesday, the Cangnan police said they found that Apple employees had illegally acquired personal data, then later in the same statement said 20 of the 22 people worked for companies that sell Apple products or are Apple contractors. The police did not disclose information about the other two people. In China, Apple’s products are sold broadly, in electronics chain stores and small booths in shopping malls in addition to the company’s official Apple Stores.

The Core-Privacy-Component Edition Friday, June 9, 2017

With New Browser Tech, Apple Preserves Privacy And Google Preserves Trackers, by Alan Toner, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Google and the CBA want to address the visibly annoying aspects of ads while ignoring the deeper privacy issues. Instead, they should take their lead from Apple on this one. Ad quality needs to improve and advertisers must abandon any attempt to hijack our attention with disruptive audio, flashing animation, or screen takeovers. But this alone will not win back the trust of users alienated by an ad system run amok. Users should be given more control over the ads they are shown, and their Do Not Track demands must be honored. The web should be about opening up new possibilities both individually and collectively, but the feeling of being monitored can create unease that information about us could be misused or revealed without our permission. Since the Web has become central to human thought and communication, surveilling it without an opt-out is a fundamental intrusion into human cognition and conversation. Any plan to make ads "better" that lacks a core privacy component is fundamentally broken.

What's Wrong With Apple's New Headquarters, by Adam Rogers, Wired

You can’t understand a building without looking at what’s around it—its site, as the architects say. From that angle, Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general. People rightly credit Apple for defining the look and feel of the future; its computers and phones seem like science fiction. But by building a mega-headquarters straight out of the middle of the last century, Apple has exacerbated the already serious problems endemic to 21st-century suburbs like Cupertino—transportation, housing, and economics. Apple Park is an anachronism wrapped in glass, tucked into a neighborhood.

A Trip To Infinite Loop … Two Decades Later, by James Thomson, 512 Pixels

I visited Infinite Loop for the first time around twenty years ago, and decided to properly document my visit. All these photos were all taken on my trusty film camera, and the negatives scanned some years later. They were promptly forgotten about until now.


My Favorite New App Is A Beautiful Coloring Book That Just Won Apple's Prestigious Design Award, by Avery Hartmans, Business Insider

Lake may be one of several apps that jumped on the adult-coloring-book trend, but it's also one of the best out there. It's well-designed, easy to use, and doesn't have any unnecessary features or annoying ads — instead, it's just you, a couple types of paint brushes, a huge color palette, and some beautiful illustrations.


4 New Apple API's You Didn't Hear About In The WWDC Keynote, by Steven McMurray, Y Media Labs

With so much hype around Apple’s keynote announcements, it’s easy to miss the real innovations that come from the APIs released during the WWDC’s developer sessions.

In this article, we’ll highlight the top 4 APIs that you didn’t hear about in the WWDC keynote which could have a huge impact on your overall business.


Tech CEOs Cook, Bezos, Catz Said To Attend Kushner-Led Summit, by Mark Bergen and Brian Womack, Bloomberg

Leaders from the largest technology companies are set to visit the White House later this month for an inaugural meeting of President Donald Trump’s group formed to modernize government services, according to three people familiar with the plans. They will arrive weeks after many tech chiefs publicly split with Trump on his decision to exit the Paris climate deal.

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While everyone at San Jose had just a week of conference with talks and labs and presentations and hands-on, I've just only finished watching the Keynote.


As an occasional Microsoft Office user, I found that I am more productivity with the previous menu-and-toolbar interface than the current ribbon interface. For one thing, in previous versions of Microsoft Office, I've had always created and customized a just-for-me toolbar that is exactly the 10% of all the features that I need. (And for other features, I've had the menu bar.)


Thanks for reading.

The Great-Experiences Edition Thursday, June 8, 2017

And The 2017 Apple Design Award Winners Are..., by Rene Ritchie, iMore

I had the opportunity to meet with the winners, talk to them about their apps, and hear many of their stories. What struck me about each and every one was how above and beyond they went to make great experiences for as many customers as possible.

They all thought deeply not just about the app or game's primary function, but about using Apple frameworks in new and novel ways. Localization was also high on every list, with translations for half a dozen or more geographies — even 32 in one case!

Likewise accessibility. Making great apps means making them great for everyone, and more and more developers are doing just that.

How Apple Reinvigorated Its AI Aspirations In Under A Year, by Andrew Tarantola, Engadget

In the span between two WWDCs, the company managed to release a neural network API, drastically expand its research efforts, poach one of the country's top minds in AI from one of the nation's foremost universities, reverse two years of backwards policy, join the industry's working group as a charter member and finally -- finally -- deliver a Siri assistant that's smarter than a box of rocks. Next year's WWDC is sure to be even more wild.

Home Sweet Home

Apple Debuts New Shot On iPhone Ad ‘Earth’ With Narration From Carl Sagan, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Sagan’s narration is overlaid onto a variety of different videos, all of which were shot with an iPhone. [...]

The new ad is simply entitled “Earth” and focuses on preserving and enjoying “our only home.”

Apple’s Latest iPhone Ad Is A Love Note To Earth, by Rich McCormick, The Verge

Apple’s newest ad features an array of short clips, shot on iPhone by regular users, underscored by the calming voice of astronomer Carl Sagan. The crisp and clear clips — of forests, beaches, and mountains, of insects and birds — serve to advertise the smartphone’s camera, certainly, but the choice of natural imagery and Carl Sagan’s voiceover feel like a pointed message in the wake Donald Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris environmental agreement.

New Macs

The New MacBook Keyboard Is Better, But Not Enough To Convince The Doubters, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

The keys have a slightly updated butterfly mechanism compared to last year’s model — they’re more similar to the keys on the MacBook Pro now. That doesn’t mean that they have a ton more key travel, though, because they feel about the same to me. I think I prefer the newer keyboard; it’s a little less clacky and the keys feel a little softer as you press down, but there’s still a satisfying click when you hit them. The finish is a little more matte, and Apple added the proper symbols above the Control and Option keys.

That’s a lot of words for a keyboard that, like the processors, isn’t likely to change the basic equation for most people. It’s slightly better than before. I like it, but then I am also a fan of the keyboard on last year’s MacBook (and many people are not).

The New MacBook Is Almost Perfect, by Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed

You’re paying for portability. And if you were already in the market for an Apple laptop, you’re probably prepared to do that.

First Look: Apple's New 27-inch iMac Is Finally A Formidable System, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

Am I a little sad that Apple didn’t change a single bit of the iMac chassis design? Yes, but when I try to think of what they should change, I’m stumped. It’s already one of the most elegant all-in-ones on the market. I could ask for a touchscreen, especially because I love Microsoft’s equally giant Surface Studio, but Apple has already made it crystal-clear to me that that is never happening.

I hesitate to make an overall assessment of Apple’s latest iMac in just 24 hours. To really know a desktop computer, you have to live a while with it. I would say, though, this machine is worthy of a trial cohabitation.

Telling Stories

TV Review: Apple’s ‘Planet Of The Apps’, by Maureen Ryan, Variety

The biggest problem with “Planet of the Apps” is that it doesn’t know what it’s selling — which should be the contestants. It should turn them into compelling TV characters and make their quests dramatic, but it does a mediocre-to-poor job on those fronts. The app developers go from one pressure-filled situation to the next, but the people and the situations don’t pop. A random five minutes of any installment of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has more drama than this entire 50-minute pilot.

Apple’s First Foray Into Making A TV Show Is An Unintentionally Comical Train Wreck, by Avery Hartmans, Business Insider

None of the hosts has ever developed an app. With the exception of Gwyneth Paltrow (whose company, Goop, built a travel app called G.Spotting), none of the hosts own companies, or are affiliated with, companies that build apps. None of the hosts even really work in tech at all, unless you count's Buttons headphones or Gary Vaynerchuk's early tech investments in Facebook and Twitter.

So, why are these four judging a show about making a hit app? That's the biggest mystery of "Planet of the Apps," and one that the judges themselves seem stumped by. At several points throughout the first episode, the judges bow out of mentoring a company because they have zero expertise in the field.


Percent Mate Wearable Is A Percentage Calculator For Apple Watch, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

If you’ve ever found yourself looking for a quick way to carry out percentage calculations on the go, Percent Mate is here to help you. Percent Mate is an app that’s designed exclusively to help you with percentage calculations. It comes in two variants — Percent Mate — an iPhone-only app and Percent Mate Wearable — an app for Apple Watch.

Swift Publisher 5.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Belight Software has issued Swift Publisher 5.0, a major new upgrade for the page layout and desktop publishing software that’s optimized for macOS 10.12 Sierra and features a stylishly revamped user interface. The release adds support for the 2016 MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, a new Spread Mode that enables you to see and edit two pages on the screen, support for Google Maps, integration with Art Text 3, a collection of artistic 2D and 3D heading presets, and new templates of magazines, newspapers, greeting cards, and forms.


Apple Opens HomeKit Protocol Specification To All Developers, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

This really opens up HomeKit to experimenters or those who are considering creating a HomeKit product but want to test it fully prior to going commercial.

Simulating A Second Finger During Drag, by Erica Sadun

Pause and press the control key. This pins an item mid-drag, enabling you to use the Mac cursor as another touch.


WebRTC Coming To WebKit And Safari, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

One interesting piece of news this week: WebRTC, a set of technologies that allow web developers to built media-driven web apps for functions like videoconferencing and audio chat without any plug-ins, is going to ship in Safari for iOS 11 and a few versions of macOS.

With HomePod, Apple Just Wants To Shake Things Up (For Now), by Sascha Segan, PC Magazine

The midrange speaker market is in fact ripe for disruption, and I think Apple's correct to assume that people who have expensive speakers probably have an iPhone. But by announcing the HomePod six months in advance, Apple's also trying to draw developer attention away from Alexa and Google Home, making sure that it's in second, not third place in the eventual war of the voice assistants.


Platforms need developers, and we've seen over and over that the tech world is capable of supporting two—not three—platforms in most areas.

Amazon Devices Chief: HomePod And Echo Ain't The Same Thing, by Ben Fox Rubin, CNET

For one thing, Amazon's intention is to make its Echo devices cheap enough that people can put them all over their house, Limp said. That's why Amazon created the $50 Echo Dot. At a much steeper price, putting a HomePod in every room would be prohibitively expensive for most customers.

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Now that Netflix has canceled the series 'The Get Down', and "Sense8'... has Apple tried picking them up for new seasons?


Remember when we alone were discovering the joys of using the Mac, while all our friends were recommending we go queue up and buy Windows 95 at midnight?

Remember when all our friends were recommending Channels to each other for their Active Desktops using their Internet Explorers, while we alone were groovin' with Cyberdog?

Remember when we were all deciding what color iMac to buy for our next computer, while all of our friends were reommending we hold on to our floppy drives?

And that's why we Apple users are wondering why Apple is bothering to add Friends Recommendation as yet another social network in iTunes / Apple Music, because, well, we have never cared about our friends' recommendations throughout the years.


Thanks for reading.

The Definition-Of-Computer Edition Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Apple Is Trying To Become Microsoft Faster Than Microsoft Can Become Apple, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

Both companies want the same thing: To be the platform of choice for people trying to be creative and get work done, even as the very definition of "computer" grows increasingly fluid. But the end result is that we're in a weird situation where Microsoft is trying to make Windows work more like Apple iOS, while Apple tries to make iOS work more like Windows.

The race is on to see which can complete its transition first.

The Fight Over Voice: Why Tech’s Top Companies Are Battling It Out To Listen In, by Nicole Nguyen, BuzzFeed

Make no mistake: The touchscreen isn’t going anywhere. But increasingly we’re going to live in a world that’s defined by cameras and screens, microphones and speakers — all powered by cloud services, that are with us everywhere we go, interpreting all our intents, be they spoken, gestured, or input via a touchscreen keypad.

Welcome to the age of ubiquitous computing, or the ability to access an omnipresent, highly knowledgeable, looking, listening, talking, joke-making computer at any time, from anywhere, in any format. In many ways, we’re already living with it, and it all starts with your voice.

Why Apple Is Struggling To Become An Artificial-intelligence Powerhouse, by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post

Last year, as Apple began to embrace artificial intelligence on the iPhone, the company undertook a large privacy protection project. The project took an academic concept called differential privacy and applied it to AI applications on the iPhone. Differential privacy works by inserting noise - or bad information - into good data in order to confuse outsiders who might try to hone in on an individual's records.


Apple’s focus on privacy may have slowed the company down in terms of building some products, Gross said, but the trade-off would be consumer trust. “Apple is dousing itself with an extra piece of really hard science, and doing so to try and preserve your privacy,” he said. “I think Google and Facebook will have to answer to world where a similar product that is offered is more privacy-preserving.”

Track Record

Apple's New Anti-tracking System Will Make Google And Facebook Even More Powerful, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

Safari has had some version of cookie-blocking for years, but the previous default was to allow cookies “from websites I visit.” The new policy goes further, using machine learning to identify tracking behavior no matter how the cookies are served. In many cases, blocking those cookies outright would break basic functionalities. Instead, Safari puts a strict time limit on how long the cookie can stick around, keeping cookies available for 24 hours after a visit and outright deleting anything older than 30 days.

The crucial distinction is between the first-party sites you’re purposefully visiting and the third-party trackers that come along for the ride. As long as a cookie is associated with a website you’ve visited in the last 24 hours, Safari won’t change much — which gives popular sites like Facebook and the various Google services an easy way around the new restrictions. The systems hit hardest by Safari’s new policy will be third-party systems like Criteo or Adroll, which silently coordinate cookies in the background of thousands of sites. Not coincidentally, Criteo’s stock plummeted in the wake of the announcement.

Apple Can Afford To Mess With Annoying, Snoopy Ads–And At WWDC, It Did, by Dan Moren, Fast Company

In the same way that Apple has been an ardent advocate of strong encryption, has made a point of doing on-device processing of personal information, and touts advanced anonymizing techniques like differential privacy, positioning itself as the enemy of invasive advertising has little downside for the company. More important, it arguably has a whole lot of upside for its customers.

Reality Planet

You Can Watch The First Episode Of Apple’s Reality TV Show Planet Of The Apps Now, by Rich McCormick, The Verge

The first episode of Planet of the Apps — Apple’s Shark Tank-esque reality TV show about app developers — is now available on Apple Music and iTunes. Anyone will be able to watch the first episode via the company’s streaming service, but subsequent episodes will only be available to Apple Music subscribers, who’ll be able to keep up with the show every week.

The Planet Of The Apps Premiere Episode Has Arrived With A Winner, by Jeff Byrnes, AppAdvice

The producers of Planet of the Apps did an excellent job of selecting footage that would present both a failure and a success, while still keeping things realistic. They kept the show fun and engaging, helping me understand the intricacies of developing an app and getting it funded. I’ll definitely stay tuned to future episodes of Planet of the Apps, and that’s not something most series can say of me.


Logitech Has Released A Keyboard Case For The New 10.5-inch iPad Pro, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

The Logitech Slim Combo features a hard case with an adjustable stand, a detachable full-size, backlit keyboard and a row of shortcuts, and a holder for the Apple Pencil.


Finally! Apple Joins The NFC Party, Providing iOS Developers With The Ability To Read NFC Tags, by Lisa Seacat DeLuca, IBM

If you looked closely at one of the slides, there was a blurb about NFC support. But no other mention of NFC beyond Apple Pay was ever discussed. I freaked out. Could Apple finally be opening up at least some support for NFC to iOS?


Tim Cook & Lisa Jackson Join Michelle Obama To Talk Diversity, Climate Change, & More At WWDC, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Obama left the developers in the audience with some words of advice: “Develop your app with an air of integrity and passion. If we do that we’ll be good.”

Apple Overhauls iTunes Website With More Capable Apple Music-like Design, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new iTunes web design features larger images and more information about artists and their music. Apple touts the new design as an “Apple Music Preview,” with several links and buttons to jump directly into iTunes or the Music app on iOS. There’s also an option to start an Apple Music free trial on the new page.

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Are we still waiting for the 'new features for podcasts' as promised by Eddie Cue earlier this year? Now that there is a "TV & Films" section in Apple Music, are we expecting a "Premium Podcast" section to be added soon?


Thanks for reading.

The Intelligent-Machines Edition Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Apple Needs To Reinvent Itself. It Just Might Be Doing So., by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

If you read between the lines at its keynote address on Monday, you would have noticed something. Again and again, like shamans calling on some new and powerful magic, Apple executives invoked the buzzwords of modern computing: “machine learning,” “deep learning” and “computer vision.”

Subtly but unmistakably, they were suggesting a shift. Apple seems to be transforming itself into a new kind of company, one that prioritizes the nerdy technical stuff that will become the foundation of tomorrow’s intelligent machines — whereas in the past, the company tended to hide this stuff, even if it recognized its importance.

How Apple Sees The Near Future, by Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

Through the demonstrations and talks, Apple’s vision for Siri became clearer: It is an all-purpose stand-in for predictive, helpful intelligence across all Apple devices. “Siri isn’t just a voice assistant,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “With Siri intelligence, it understands context. It understands your interests. It understands how you use your device. It understands what you want next.”


Siri suffuses all the Apple products now. It’s less a voice-UI gimmick than an organizational structure for how Apple thinks about proactive and reactive user assistance. Or, to put it slightly less generously, “Siri is turning into Watson, a generic brand for anything using simple machine learning,” tweeted Ben Cunningham, a former Facebook engineer.

Piecing Together

Apple Is Becoming A Bank (Finally), by Oliver Smith, The Memo

If you think of a bank in traditional terms – as an institution which you give all your money to, which many challenger banks like Monzo and Starling are trying to emulate with ‘banking’ apps – then Apple definitely isn’t a bank.

Instead, Apple is piecing together services on your smartphone, like paying in shops, sending money to your friends and hanging on to spare cash, which will gradually undermine the need for ‘banks’.

Apple Says Only iMac Pro Buyers Will Get Space Gray Mouse And Keyboard, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Of course, Apple has been known to take hardline stances on certain design aspects, choosing to restrict certain color choices to distinct price tiers. But this is a whole other level of unnecessary, especially when you factor in just how many customers would shell out for mice and keyboards in a color beyond bland Apple white.

Amazon Prime Video Coming To Apple TV Later This Year, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Prime Video arriving on Apple TV ends the last prominent holdout from a major streaming service on Apple's platform. And its integration with the TV app leaves Netflix as the single largest holdout that does not yet support the TV app.


Apple Removes Facebook And Twitter Integration From iOS 11, by Ina Fried, Axios

Now Facebook and Twitter will be treated like other apps, with the social networks forced to rely on the same iOS sharing extensions used by all those with whom they compete.

Apple's First iOS 11 Beta Signals Beginning Of End For Tens Of Thousands Of 32-bit Apps, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Starting with iOS 11 beta 1, Apple now alerts users that outdated 32-bit apps must be updated if they are to work with the new operating system.


Apple Cuts 2TB iCloud Plan To $9.99, Family Sharing Access Expands In iOS 11 & High Sierra, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

As part of an array of updates and refreshes, Apple has also updated its iCloud data plan pricing, with a 2-terabyte plan now selling for $9.99 a month, and the old 1-terabyte plan no longer available.

Apple Pencil: Improved 20ms Latency, Mark Up Support In iOS 11, New Case With Storage Slot, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new case allows users to store the Apple Pencil along the top in a sort-of pocket.

[...] Apple Pencil has improved 20ms latency with the new iPad Pro models. This means that Apple Pencil is even better for drawing and other artistic uses as it faces increased completion from other offerings such as Surface Pen from Microsoft.

Apple Releases Rainbow ‘Pride Edition’ Apple Watch Band, New Nike Sport Colors Now Available To Order Through Apple․com, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Last year Apple gifted its employees with a limited edition rainbow Apple Watch band to honor the San Francisco Pride parade. Now Apple has made its special ‘Pride Edition’ Woven Nylon band available for all customers to order.

AppleCare+ For Mac Now Includes Coverage Of 2 Incidents Of Accidental Damage, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While the company hasn’t yet acknowledged the change, the listing for AppleCare+ now inlcudes accidental damage for Macs.

The Beloved ‘Monument Valley’ Returns With An Amazing Sequel, by Liz Stinson, Wired

Today, Ustwo Games releases Monument Valley 2, a 16-level follow up to the 2014 blockbuster. The game is like a funhouse mirror of the original: On the surface it looks and plays like the first Monument Valley, but a closer look reveals a deeper, smarter game than before.


Xcodes And Kittens: These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things, by Erica Sadun

You can now increase and decrease the source editor font using Command-plus and Command-minus. I have been waiting for this for years. Other highlights include an improved find and replace system, better scrolling, and integrated markdown support.

Apple Is Launching An iOS ‘ARKit’ For Augmented Reality Apps, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Apple has announced a tool it calls ARKit, which will provide advanced augmented reality capabilities on iOS. It’s supposed to allow for “fast and stable motion tracking” that makes objects look like they’re actually being placed in real space, instead of simply hovering over it. And yes, this will make Pokémon Go look better.

SteamVR Is Coming To Mac—and Apple Says It Will Actually Work, by Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica

While newer Mac systems will come with the kind of horsepower needed to render HTC Vive-ready content at a comfortable 90 frames-per-second refresh (a number that ILM said they'd reached with their demo), Federighi also announced a new GPU enclosure for older Mac systems. It will connect via Thunderbolt 3 and come equipped with an AMD Radeon RX 580 video card. Developers will have first dibs on this enclosure, as it will debut as a "dev kit."


Apple Providing Select Repair Shops With iPhone Calibration Machine For Quicker Turnaround, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

As part of this pilot program, ComputerCare and two other yet to be named repair shops have received a specialized and proprietary calibration machine from Apple to ensure that iPhone repairs are fully compliant with Apple's specifications and security requirements for features such as Touch ID and Multi-Touch.

This Guy Traveled More Than 5,000 Miles To Apple's WWDC To Find A Co-founder For His Company, by Christina Farr, CNBC

So the 26-year-old traveled all the way from London to San Jose, California for Apple's annual developers conference with a handmade sign. Because good talent is hard to find.

"CTO-co-founder wanted," the sign reads. "Ask me."

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I worry that the only reason the new customizable iOS Control Center does not include any arbitary app that one can launch directly is that having any arbitary app icon on that nice clean sheet of Control Center icons doesn't look nice.


Surely one can pair an Apple TV with the HomePod so that Apple TV outputs all sounds via the HomePod?


Thanks for reading.

The Developer-Conference Edition Monday, June 5, 2017

Apple’s New 10.5-inch iPad Pro Is A More Efficient Multitasking Tablet, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Earlier today Apple announced a new version of the iPad Pro, a 10.5-inch model that is technically just a little bit larger than the earlier 9.7-inch tablet but, with 40 percent smaller bezels, offers much more screen real estate. Like all of the high-end iPad Pros its an impressive piece of hardware, with a brighter display, a new 64-bit A10X Fusion chip, and something called Pro Motion that increases the refresh rate and, Apple claims, makes the accessory pencil even more natural-feeling.


iOS 11: All The Cool New Features Coming To Your iPhone And iPad, by Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo

iOS 11 will streamline Control Center, putting all of the options in a single screen including playback and AirPlay controls. It will also include an improved vertical slider design for the brightness and volume controls. The Notification Center and lock screen will also be merged into a single screen under iOS 11, basically requiring users to scroll up or down to jump to notifications, instead of sideways.


The iPad’s new App Switcher now looks a lot like the one found on OS X, allowing users to drag and drop clipboard contents, images, or other files between open applications in split-view. It would be nice to have on the iPhone, but the limited screen real estate would make things simply too tiny to see when all your apps were tiled across the display.

Apple Announces New 'Files' App Coming With iOS 11, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The new Files app for iOS brings together files and documents stored in the cloud across various apps and services, including third-party cloud storage like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

The 9 Best iOS 11 Features Apple Didn’t Talk About Onstage, by Sean O'Kane, The Verge

Digital assistants are just as frustrating as they are helpful, so making it easier to interact with them is always welcome. It looks like Apple is finally going to add one of the most requested features for any digital assistant — you’ll be able to type to Siri in iOS 11. Socially awkward tech nerds, rejoice!


Apple Announces The HomePod, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Apple’s SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller said Sonos aren’t smart speakers and Amazon Echos aren’t good speakers. So Apple wants to combine the best of both worlds. It’s a smart marketing strategy. HomePod is shipping later this year — it’s not quite ready for prime time.

The device is a pill-shaped circular speaker. It has a seven beam-forming tweeter array. It has a custom-made woofer and an Apple A8 chip. It has multi-channel echo cancellation, real-time acoustic modeling and more.

The HomePod can scan the space around it to optimize audio accordingly. Schiller spent a lot of time talking about how good it sounds. It’s hard to know for sure when you’re listening to a song coming out of giant speakers in a conference hall.

Apple Music Will Let You Share What You’re Listening To With Your Friends, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

The update will allow users to create profiles and share music with their friends. There will also be a “friends are listening to” section, which will show you what the people you follow have been listening to and liking.


Apple Introduces A Completely Redesigned App Store, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The upgraded storefront will little resemble [sic] its earlier counterpart thanks to a new user interface and redesign whose aim is to help users better discover new applications and learn about how they’re used, while offering developers a better way to feature their content and tell their stories.


The App Store’s new homepage, so to speak, is a tab called “Today,” which is meant to help users find out what’s happening right now. The hope is that the continually updated content will give the store a more real-time feel that deserves repeated daily launches — more like visiting your favorite news site for recent updates, for example.

Ahead Of iOS 11, 32-bit Applications Stop Appearing In App Store Search Results, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Now that 32-bit applications seemingly no longer appear in App Store search results, they are essentially nonexistent for most users as they are only accessible via direct links.


Apple Just Announced Its Own Venmo Competitor Built Into iMessage, by Jason Del Rey, Recode

Apple announced on Monday that it is launching a money-transfer service that could challenge Venmo and other competitors, letting iPhone and iPad users send money digitally to each other via a text.


Apple also announced its own digital debit card — called Apple Pay Cash — that lets people take the money they receive via the new money-transfer service and use it to make Apple Pay purchases online or in physical stores that accept tap-and-pay transactions.


iMac Pro: Apple Launches Powerful New Desktop – Starting At $4,999, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The new iMac Pro starts with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, but can be configured with an 18-core processor variant, as well as up to 128GB of EEC RAM, 4TB of SSD storage and Radeon Vega discrete graphics cards with up to 16GB of memory.


Apple also updated its MacBook and MacBook Pro line with 7th generation Intel processors, and gave the MacBook Air a specification bump in response to its sustained popularity.

Apple Announces macOS High Sierra, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

Version 10.13 will carry the name “macOS High Sierra” and include new features like an improved file system and updates to core macOS apps like Photos and Mail.


New in High Sierra is an updated version of Safari that Apple says will be the fastest web browser, especially with regard to JavaScript performance. Maybe more importantly, though, Safari also now blocks auto-playing videos and will use machine learning to identify trackers and segregate the cross-site trackers so advertisers won’t be able to easily track you across sites.


Apple's watchOS Improvements Focus On Fitness And Siri, by Jon Fingas, Engadget

To start, there's a new Siri-powered watch face that automatically displays updates based on context. You'll get traffic alerts if you're about to head out to work, for example. There are also kaleidoscope and Toy Story faces if you're feeling particularly trippy or youthful.

[...] The Activity app introduces monthly challenges while the Workout app has a simpler Quick Start feature and automatic sets for pool swims.


WWDC 2017 Swag: Denim Jackets, Country Pins, And More!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

You also get a pin for the flag of your home and native land. The most popular countries right at registration, but no country is left behind. Guest services has all of them.


Ten Year Old Coder Impresses Apple CEO With His Apps, by Rod Chester,

But the app that instantly impressed Cook today was the one he quickly made on the flight over from Australia to help his parents work out the price for goods by adding the local sales tax and doing the currency conversion when they go shopping for souvenirs on the trip.

“Very cool, that’s great,” Cook told Yuma after seeing a demo of his app.

“You did this when you were on the plane from Australia to the US? Wow.”


Apple ‘Error 53’ Sting Operation Caught Staff Misleading Customers, Court Documents Allege, by Christopher Knaus, The Guardian

Australia’s consumer watchdog carried out a sting operation against Apple which it says caught staff repeatedly misleading iPhone customers about their legal rights to a free repair or replacement after a so-called “error 53” malfunction, court documents reveal.


Apple, in response, said the undercover calls made by the ACCC cannot be considered as breaches because consumer law does not exist in “hypothetical circumstances”.

The company said that real customers who had called the store would have received other information from Apple that informed them of their rights under consumer law.

The Plenty-Of-Surprises Edition Sunday, June 4, 2017

This 82-Year-Old Woman Is WWDC’s Oldest Attendee, by Leena Rao, Fortune

Retired banker Masako Wakamiya was frustrated by the lack of mobile games that catered to the elderly, who have a tougher time keeping up with the action-packed games that are popular with teens. So the 82-year-old from Japan started taking online tutorials to learn how to write software code.


Wakamiya, who first started using computers when she was 60-years-old, ultimately created a game in March that is based on the Japanese doll festival, Hinamatsuri, a holiday that celebrates the health and well-being of girls. And to appeal to older players, its pace is slow and its narrator speaks slowly.

Apple’s WWDC 2017: A Siri Speaker, iOS 11, And What Else To Expect, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

There haven’t been a ton of leaks this year, so while we have some ideas of what Apple’s planning, there should still be plenty of surprises in store.

Why Don’t More Tech Companies Offer On-site Child Care?, by Rollin Bishop, The Outline

In fact, child care benefits in general are not the norm. Only 10 percent of American workers in private industry have access to some form of child care benefit according to a 2016 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which defined a “child care” benefit as any “workplace program that provides for either the full or partial cost of caring for an employee’s children in a nursery, day care center, or a baby sitter in facilities either on or off the employer’s premises.” That number doubles for those jobs in the top 25 percent in terms of average wages, and it almost triples to 29 percent for those companies with 500 or more employees.

Why do people keep bringing up on-site child care when it is in fact so rare? Child care benefits, and more specifically the use of on-site centers, has a huge impact on retention of new parents and especially women. Patagonia, for example, reportedly had a retention rate of 100 percent for mothers coming back to work after giving birth over a five-year period as of 2016. The top 10 companies from the 2016 Working Mother 100 Best Companies all offer some kind of child care assistance, with several having on-site care.

Dissecting Marissa Mayer’s $900,000-a-Week Yahoo Paycheck, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

So why did Ms. Mayer receive more than $900,000 a week? The answer, like so many things about Yahoo, is surprisingly complicated. It is rooted partly in the never-lose structure of modern executive compensation packages, but also in two farsighted investments made long ago by one of Yahoo’s founders, Jerry Yang.

By Wall Street’s most basic yardstick — Yahoo’s stock price — Ms. Mayer earned every penny she got. Yahoo’s share price more than tripled during her tenure. After the $4.5 billion sale to Verizon, shareholders will still own an investment company with $57 billion of stock in two Asian internet companies, Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan.

Ms. Mayer’s pay was mostly in stock and stock options, and she reaped the rewards alongside the other stockholders.

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Predictions and Wish List (You figure out which is which): Time Machine on iOS, automation support from more Apple's iOS apps (including Springboard), a customizable iOS Control Center, macOS 10.13, Handoff for iTunes, AirDrop to apps, Beats TV.

Can't wait for Apple's announcement... can't wait for the box-lunch reviews.


Tomorrow's edition will be delayed. Because, stuff.


Thanks for reading.

The Few-Use-Cases Edition Saturday, June 3, 2017

Apple Set To Expand Siri, Taking Different Route From Amazon's Alexa, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

But the Cupertino, California company is likely to stick to its tested method of focusing on a small amount of features and trying to perfect them, rather than casting as wide a net as possible, according to engineers and artificial intelligence industry insiders.


"In typical Apple fashion, they've allowed for only a few use cases, but they do them very well," said Charles Jolley, chief executive of Ozlo, maker of an intelligent assistant app.

Apple Piles On The Apps, And Users Say, ‘Enough!’, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

“You get your new iPhone and you don’t know that 3-D Touch and apps in Messages even exist,” Mr. Nelson said. Although stickers account for 97 of the top 100 Messages apps, he said, some users are so confused that they post app reviews like, “I downloaded these Disney stickers. How do I use them?”

That is not exactly in line with the simple “it just works” philosophy that Apple built its business on.

Your Period-Tracker App Might Be Messing With Your Head, by Katie Heaney, The Cut

Being told to expect certain side effects to a medication, for instance, makes it more likely that we will experience them. It’s easy to see how Clue’s depiction of users’ predicted PMS windows as a series of stormy gray clouds could create an expectation of gloom and turmoil. But it doesn’t have to, necessarily. The important thing to remember is that you control your period app; your period app does not control you.


Rheo, A Personalized Video App From ex-Apple Product Vets, Launches On iOS And The Web, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Instead of browsing by genre, publisher or chart position, viewers can browse by mood. That is, you can seek out videos to make you laugh, those that inform you, those that instruct or teach, those for times you want to chill, and more.

Review: Satechi Type-C Pro Hub, The Hub Apple Should Have Made, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

The Satechi Pro Hub really has become as much of a staple in my bag as my power adapter. I take it with me everywhere my Mac goes; not because I’ll need to use all the ports it has, but because it has all the ports I could need.


Apple CEO Tim Cook Never Joined Trump Administration's Presidential Advisory Council, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook never joined President Trump's "Office of American Innovation," despite an invitation to do so in March, according to an email response recieved by an AppleInsider reader.

What Really Happened With Vista, by Terry Crowley, Hackernoon

Microsoft badly misjudged the underlying trends in computer hardware, in particular the right turn that occurred in 2003 to the trend of rapid improvements in single-threaded processor speed and matching improvements in other core elements of the PC. Vista was planned for and built for hardware that did not exist. This was bad for desktops, worse for laptops and disastrous for mobile.

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Just finished reading: Idaho, by Emily Ruskovich.

I hestiated quite a bit before purchasing this book. I generally avoided stories where children are victims of murder or other crimes. Probably because I'm a parent. Or maybe I just can't stomach those kind of stories.

I'm glad I did read this book. Beautiful writing, and wonderful storytelling.


Just finished watching: The Martian, by Ridley Scott.

Okay, I do prefer the book's version than the film's version of the story, but both versions are good.


Thanks for reading.

The Swift-Robots Edition Friday, June 2, 2017

Swift Playgrounds Expands Coding Education To New Devices, by Apple

Apple today announced that Swift Playgrounds, its educational coding app for iPad, will offer an exciting new way to learn to code using robots, drones and musical instruments. [...] Apple is working with leading device makers to make it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled robots within the Swift Playgrounds app, allowing kids to program and control popular devices, including LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, the Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more. The Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update will be available as a free download on the App Store beginning Monday, June 5.

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds Coding App Now Supports Robots, Drones, And Toys, by Nick Statt, The Verge

In a demo at the iPhone maker’s Cupertino office, a LEGO representative broke down exactly how a Mindstorms EV3 kit can work with Playgrounds, connecting any number of robot-controlling modules to an iPad via Bluetooth. From there, you can see real-time data provided by the robots’ actuators, motors, and sensors, as well as program commands for fleshed out LEGO bots to receive and carry out. In preparation for the partnership, LEGO says it’s also designed 10 hours of lessons specifically for the Playgrounds app for kids to run through with a Mindstorms kit.

A Year Of Teaching Swift, by Fraser Speirs

We are nearly at the end of the school year here in Scotland and I wanted to take some time to reflect on the experience of teaching the Computer Science curriculum this year using Swift Playgrounds and Apple's Learn to Code curriculum.

We'll Always Have Paris

Read Apple CEO Tim Cook's Email To Employees About Trump Pulling Out Of The Paris Accord, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

"I know many of you share my disappointment with the White House’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the U.S. in the agreement. But it wasn’t enough."

"Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it. I want to reassure you that today’s developments will have no impact on Apple’s efforts to protect the environment. We power nearly all of our operations with renewable energy, which we believe is an example of something that’s good for our planet and makes good business sense as well."

Twitter Users Call On Tim Cook To Follow Elon Musk’s Example And Leave President’s Council, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Twitter users are calling on Tim Cook to leave the President’s Council in protest at Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Apple Orchard

Apple Park’s Tree Whisperer, by Steven Levy, Backchannel

But at this first meeting in 2010, Muffly learned that he and Steve Jobs shared a love of trees, and in particular a passion for the foliage native to the pre-Silicon Valley landscape, before big tech companies showed up and changed it. The encounter would lead to Muffly becoming the senior arborist at Apple, Inc., in charge of choosing, locating and planting the 9,000 trees that justify Apple’s choice to call its 175-acre campus a park — and in making Apple Park a leaf-and-blossom tribute to the CEO who designed it but would not live to see it built. Or planted.


Within 20 minutes of meeting, it was clear that the arborist and the technologist were on the same wavelength about trees. Jobs told Muffly that he wanted to create a microcosm of old Silicon Valley, a landscape reenactment of the days when the cradle of digital disruption had more fruit trees than engineers. In one sense, the building would be an ecological preservation project; in another sense, it’d be a roman a clef written in soil, bark, and blossom. Muffly, who had been sensitive to the native growth of the region for years, got it immediately. “That’s what I’ve been doing — planting fruit trees, oak trees,” he said.


Hands On With Halide, A New Gesture-based iPhone Camera App, by Jackie Dove, DPReview

Halide aims to be the ideal, elegant middle ground between 'too simple' and 'airplane cockpit,' peacefully co-existing with the iPhone's default Camera app and perhaps occupying at least some of the same muscle memory space.


Avoiding Third-Party UI Libraries, by Arek Holko

As it’s often the case in programming, it’s hard to provide general rules. We have to consider every chunk of code we add to our codebase on a piece-by-piece basis. From my personal experience, most uses of third-party UI code boil down to exchanging smaller flexibility for some time gain.

We leverage ready-made code to ship our current release faster. Sooner or later, though, we hit the limits of the library and stand before a hard decision: what to do next?


Apple Begins Decorating McEnery Convention Center In San Jose Ahead Of WWDC, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The signage hung on the outside resembles the initial WWDC announcement, depicting an overhead shot if people in colorful outfits.

Can You Spell The Winning Words From A Century Of Scripps National Spelling Bees?, by Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz

According to the rules, if a competitor is unfamiliar with a word, he or she may ask for more information, including the definition, the language of origin, and other pronunciations. Close memorized 30,000 words to prepare for her moment in the spotlight, and she says she was still only familiar with about three-quarters of the words that she faced in competition.

Below are ten of the winning words from previous Scripps bees, and the reason why spelling them is such a feat.

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Sometimes I do wonder... do I really want smart speakers sitting everywhere in my home? Well, sure, it is good to have something that can play music or podcasts or audiobooks that will sound much better than what the iPhone can do. And, sure, it will be good that these speakers can answer my queries, whenever I want to know what is the weather like in Ang Mo Kio.

Oh, since the speakers are already taking up space on the tables and cupboards and counter-tops, maybe we can also put a screen besides the speaker. When I query the speaker about the weather in Ang Mo Kio, the speaker can also show me the rain radar map of Ang Mo Kio, so that I know that if my lunch plan is flexible, I can choose to go to neighboring Serangoon for my meal instead if I don't want to bring an umbrella.

Oh, since the speakers are going to paired with screens, it should also run some form of tvOS so that I can catch up on the latest episode of House of Cards. And make sure the screen is multi-touch-able, so that I can scroll through the recipes that I ask for (instead of shouting "next page", "next page", "next page", "previous page"), and pinch-to-zoom when I can't see the pictures of the ingredients clearly.

Oh, and since the speakers are going into my bedroom too, it should also run apps like Sleep Tracker (listening to my snoring) or Alarm Clock that detects when is a good time to wake me up in the morning based on my REM cycles. And thus it should have some processing and storage smarts internally, so that the alarm clock doesn't fail just because the internet went away in the middle of the night.

Oh, and since we should consider accessibilities issues, for people who don't have a voice to command the speaker, maybe customers can, optionally, bring their own keyboard to the speaker?

And we shall call this.... iPad nano? iPod Speak & Touch? Siri Hi-Fi?


Or maybe just a little smart speaker will be good enough? Do we care about good enough?


Thanks for reading.

The Planning-Mode Edition Thursday, June 1, 2017

What To Do If The Laptop Ban Goes Global, by Dan Gillmor, Backchannel

But when people like Homeland Security head John Kelly sound ready to drastically restrict travelers’ use of electronics in plane cabins — expanding a limited ban that’s already in place — we need to move into planning mode, not just worrying mode. If you’re among those who travel with a laptop, tablet, or digital camera, get ready for a huge mess.


So what should you do in the event of wider ban on cabin electronics? I asked some security experts for advice. “There is no good advice,” says one of them, Bruce Schneier. “It’s just crazy. Truly crazy.”

But some options for travelers may a bit less bad than others.

A Laptop Ban Could Actually Kill People, by Joe Nocera, Bloomberg

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been 160 "incidents" involving lithium-ion batteries in cargo holds since 1991. In 2010 and again in 2011, cargo planes carrying pallets of the batteries caught fire and crashed, killing the crew members aboard. And in January, 2016, the F.A.A. issued a warning about transporting batteries in the cargo hold, noting that "a lithium battery fire could lead to a catastrophic explosion."

When a laptop in the passenger cabin spews smoke or bursts into flame — it’s happened some 19 times over the last five years, according to Christine Negroni, Forbes’s aviation blogger — it is quickly noticed and extinguished. But a fire in the cargo hold won’t be noticed, and experts say that the heat from such a fire quickly grows too high to be extinguished by the fire containment equipment in the hold.

Doubling Down On Secrecy

Apple Is Manufacturing A Siri Speaker To Outdo Google And Amazon, by Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.

The device will differ from Inc.’s Echo and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Home speakers by offering virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with Apple’s product lineup, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss products that aren’t yet public.

When The Scoops Run Dry, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

“Apple’s long-rumored Siri-driven HomeKit speaker hub has entered manufacturing in Taipei” — there’s a 13-word summary with all the actual news in this story. I like Mark Gurman, but it’s painful to see these meager stale morsels stretched into feature articles.


The closer we get to the WWDC keynote, the more likely things are to get spoiled. But here we are 5 days out and no one has leaked just about anything about iOS 11 or MacOS 10.13, or what’s going on with this 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or if there’s anything new coming for WatchOS or tvOS. Again, there’s a lot of time between now and Monday morning, but it might be time to give Tim Cook credit for “doubling down on secrecy”.


So Your Phone Ran Out Of Juice. Here Are The Top Chargers For It., by Damon Darlin, New York Times

We can’t live without our cellphones and they can’t live without battery power. So how best to keep them charged?

Adobe Unveils Free 'Adobe Scan' Optical Character Recognition App, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Adobe today announced the launch of Adobe Scan, a new Optical Character Recognition (OCR) app that's able to scan documents and convert printed text into digital text in a matter of seconds.

Amazon Alexa Now Supports iCloud Calendar And Reminders, by Steven Sande, Apple World Today

Amazon announced today that its Alexa intelligent assistant -- used in the Amazon Echo ecosystem and a growing number of third party devices -- now supports iCloud Calendar and Reminders.

Hands-on: Logitech’s New MX Master 2S Mouse With Flow Is Remarkable, by Trevor Daugherty, 9to5Mac

In comparison to the Apple Magic Mouse, both of these models are far more comfortable to use for extended periods of time and have far greater battery life.

The HomeKit-enabled Eve Degree Will Tell You How Humid Your Garden Is, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Elgato’s new Eve Degree device will monitor both indoor and outdoor temperatures between zero degrees to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as humidity levels throughout your home. And the best part is that it runs off a replaceable coin cell battery that’ll last up to a year.


Developer Earnings From The App Store Top $70 Billion, by Apple

Apple today announced that its global developer community has earned over $70 billion since the App Store launched in 2008. The App Store is home to the most innovative apps in the world and in the past 12 months alone, downloads have grown over 70 percent.


With the subscription business model now available to developers across all 25 app categories, the App Store’s active paid subscriptions are up 58 percent year over year.

Trickle-down Workaholism In Startups, by Signal v Noise

There’s an ingrained mythology around startups that not only celebrates burn-out efforts, but damn well requires it. It’s the logical outcome of trying to compress a lifetime’s worth of work into the abbreviated timeline of a venture fund.

It’s not hard to understand why such a mythology serves the interest of money men who spread their bets wide and only succeed when unicorns emerge. Of course they’re going to desire fairytale sacrifices. There’s little to no consequence to them if the many fall by the wayside, spent to completion trying to hit that home run. Make me rich or die tryin’.


What If The iPad Smart Keyboard Had A Trackpad?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

A hardware keyboard with a trackpad could have just as good an interface for moving the insertion point and selecting text as the software keyboard. Even better, really, since you wouldn’t have to use two fingers or start it with a 3D Touch force press. And, a trackpad would make this feature discoverable. An awful lot of iPad owners — most of them, probably — don’t know about the two-finger drag feature on the on-screen keyboard.

How The Trendiest Grilled Cheese Venture Got Burnt, by Bianca Bosker, Backchannel

And internally, The Melt’s mission statement has changed. “The Melt was founded on the idea of ‘better food for our kids, and jobs creation,’” a publicist for The Melt wrote in an email. “While this remains core to what the company does today, the team recently updated and refocused The Melt’s mission statement.” The Melt’s new mission statement? “We consistently provide craveable grilled cheese and cheeseburgers handcrafted by friendly crew members using the best all natural ingredients enabled by helpful technology and served in a warm, welcoming environment.”

The Melt’s revamped mission is telling. Before, it envisioned itself tackling ambitious and systemic world problems, much as a tech company would. Now, its goals are individualistic and basic: delivering delicious sandwiches to customers. In short, it sounds like a restaurant. And technology has been reduced to a supporting role; The Melt’s tech should be “helpful,” just as its décor should be “welcoming” and its staff “friendly.”

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Is there a point in life when one can say, well, I've had a life that I am satisfied, and if I am dead tomorrow, I'll be fine with what I've experienced and what I've done?

I am not on my deathbed right now, as far as I know. (Who knows what fate has prepared for me, just lurking around the corner?) But if I am on my deathbed right now, I don't think I'll plead to stay around too long just because I have things that I have not done and things that I have not experienced. I think I'll be able to say my good-byes.

It's not that I am giving up, or ready to die. I still have to work to bring home the bacon. I still wish I can make new friends. I probably will lust after whatever new stuff Apple to reveal next week at WWDC. And I definitely want to be around my family in the months and years to come. Maybe one day I'll be ready. Not today though.

Just that I am already satisfied.


Am I even making sense?


Thanks for reading.