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.