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.

Bottom of the Page

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.