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."

Bottom of the Page

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.