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Archive for August 2017

The Narrower-Uses Edition Sunday, August 20, 2017

Apple’s iPhone Gives Little-Known Suppliers A Long-Awaited Payday, by Alex Webb, Bloomberg

As Apple fights to maintain its technology leadership in smartphones, it’s turning to little-known suppliers that have spent years or even decades developing components in the hope they might one day enjoy widespread adoption. Like Universal Display, other companies including Lumentum Holdings Inc. and AMS AG are also poised to benefit from the next version of Apple’s bestselling device.

The iPhone 8, as analysts tentatively dub it, is the most significant upgrade to Apple’s handset lineup since at least 2014. Smartphones have evolved from communication devices into portable hubs for identity, payments, entertainment and new experiences like augmented reality. That requires major hardware upgrades, forcing Apple to scour the global electronics supply chain for tools and services that often had narrower uses until now.

Apple Looks For Exceptional Engineer With A Secret Job Posting, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

A hidden Apple website that hosts a job description and invitation to apply for an important position has recently been discovered. The posting describes a role that should be filled by a “talented engineer” who will develop a critical infrastructure component for the company’s ecosystem.

'Planet Of The Apps' Wasn't A Great Show, But It Was Still A Success For Apple, by Kerry Flynn, Mashable

Mashable spoke with six participants, who described their experiences working with Apple as positive for the most part. Some companies like e-commerce app Dote secured millions in venture capital funding. Others like Companion and Claim it! still communicate frequently with the show's celebrity mentors. They all got exposure.

What Happens To Creativity As We Age?, by Alison Gopnik and Tom Griffiths, New York Times

Why does creativity generally tend to decline as we age? One reason may be that as we grow older, we know more. That’s mostly an advantage, of course. But it also may lead us to ignore evidence that contradicts what we already think. We become too set in our ways to change.

[...]

Childhood and adolescence may, at least in part, be designed to resolve the tension between exploration and exploitation. Those periods of our life give us time to explore before we have to face the stern and earnest realities of grown-up life. Teenagers may no longer care all that much about how the physical world works. But they care a lot about exploring all the ways that the social world can be organized. And that may help each new generation change the world.

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Turns out, I value a good sync engine.

I'm still paying for my Evernote subscription, because all my notes sync up on all the platforms I am using: Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows, and Web.

I have a Todoist subscription, and I have all my todos sync up nicely on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows, and Web.

Looks like if any of the remaining apps on my Mac and/or iOS want my money when switching over to a subscription business model, it better be offering a good sync engine, with at least a good web app.

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Thanks for reading.

The Go-Haywire Edition Saturday, August 19, 2017

How To Use The iNaturalist App To Record Weird Animal Behavior During The Eclipse, by Rachel Becker, The Verge

Total solar eclipses are known for making some animals go haywire, and Ricard wants people to record what they’re seeing. She works at the California Academy of Sciences, and she’s spearheading a citizen science project called Life Responds. Powered by the app iNaturalist, Life Responds invites eclipse watchers to document how plants and animals react to the unusual midday darkness.

The idea is that if enough people record their observations before, during, and after the eclipse, patterns might start to emerge, says iNaturalist creator Ken-ichi Ueda. “Maybe millipedes behave differently during an eclipse, and no one bothered to look!” he says. “That’s what’s so appealing about citizen science. The more people you have making observations, the more likely you are to get these unusual kinds of observations.”

A ‘Bug’ That Let A $500 Password Cracking Box Open Up iPhones Is Patched As Of iOS 11, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

It basically continuously guesses a series of passcodes until it finds the right one. A time-consuming process that is typically not available because an iPhone automatically locks guessers out after a few attempts. On iOS 10, there is a “bug” for lack of a better term, that allows repeated, rapid guesses of the passcode if you’ve changed it within the last minute or so.

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Some Official Apple Accessory Colors Seemingly Being Quietly Discontinued, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

In total, they noticed that nine case colors had gone; 13 iPad Smart Covers; 18 iPad cases; 12 Apple Watch Sports Bands; and 7 nylon bands.

Hands On: ScreenFlow 7 Update Turns The Screen Recording App Into A Video Suite, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

ScreenFlow 7 will record your screen as it always has, but it now goes dramatically further than that. It takes your Mac or iOS screen's recording and helps you produce broadcast-quality video with it.

Day One App - My Digital Midori, by Dakster Sullivan, GeekMom

The uses are endless, but for me, it’s how I keep myself organized with journals for each of my projects and one that is dedicated to personal reflection.

Google Docs Has Finally Made Working From My iPad Possible, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

With this update, I can now read, approve, reject, and even add edit suggestions to a Docs file, all from my iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard. I can now say that I can do the majority of my job with my iPad and I don’t necessarily need a laptop anymore.

Notes

Apple Says Drivers, Not Phones, Cause Texting Crashes, by Bonnie Eslinger, Law360

Apple urged a California state judge Thursday to toss a proposed class action alleging it puts profits over public safety by not installing lockout devices on iPhones that prevent texting while driving, saying courts have consistently held that distracted drivers are responsible for accidents, not phone manufacturers.

Taking Photos Won’t Take You Out Of The Moment, Study Suggests, by Steph Yin, New York Times

On Monday, I will be one of millions watching the moon punch a hole in the sun during the Great American Eclipse of 2017. In preparation, I’ve been thinking about how I want to spend my roughly two minutes of totality, when day surrenders, briefly, to coronal night. Should I try to capture my experience with photos? Or should I soak in the moment as deeply as I can?

These two goals may not actually be in opposition, according to a study in this month’s issue of Psychological Science. In several experiments, researchers found that taking photos during an experience helped people remember visuals more accurately, even when they didn’t revisit their photos. However, snapping pictures also appeared to decrease how much spoken information people retained.

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When I was younger, I was happier seeking out new food and new travels. Now that I am old, I am happier seeking out new stories.

I don't know what that means, but probably I should get my local library to stock up more e-books and audio-books.

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Why isn't Amazon selling Kindles in Singapore yet?

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Thanks for reading.

The Attack-of-the-Replacement-Parts Edition Friday, August 18, 2017

A Repair Shop Could Completely Hack Your Phone—and You Wouldn’t Know It, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

People with cracked touch screens or similar smartphone maladies have a new headache to consider: the possibility the replacement parts installed by repair shops contain secret hardware that completely hijacks the security of the device.

The concern arises out of research that shows how replacement screens—one put into a Huawei Nexus 6P and the other into an LG G Pad 7.0—can be used to surreptitiously log keyboard input and patterns, install malicious apps, and take pictures and e-mail them to the attacker. The booby-trapped screens also exploited operating system vulnerabilities that bypassed key security protections built into the phones.

Hollywood, Apple Are Said To Mull Rental Plan, Defying Theaters, by Anousha Sakoui, Bloomberg

Movie studios are considering whether to ignore the objections of cinema chains and forge ahead with a plan to offer digital rentals of films mere weeks after they appear in theaters, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some of the biggest proponents, including Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, are pressing on in talks with Apple Inc. and Comcast Corp. on ways to push ahead with the project even without theater chains, the people said. After months of negotiations, the two sides have been unable to arrive at a mutually beneficial way to create a $30 to $50 premium movie-download product.

No More Frisbee, by Matt Gemmell

Just please acknowledge what’s actually going on. They built the thing, and it’s their business, and they made their own decision. They selected a type of customer, and maybe — just maybe — you’re self-selecting out of that group. That’s a thought to ponder.

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Apple Just Released 6 Videos Showcasing New iPad Features In iOS 11, by Stan Schroeder, Mashable

A major new version of Apple's mobile operating system is coming and the company released six new videos showing how iOS 11 makes its iPad better.

Each video is about a minute long and focuses on one set of new features that will become available on iPads when iOS 11 is released in the fall.

Apple Releases iOS 11 And iPad How-To Videos, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple has published a series of three short videos to YouTube highlighting the marquee features of iOS 11 on the iPad. Each of the how-to videos is about one minute long and shows how to use a new feature.

Transmit 5 Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

It’s Transmit’s ease of use that has always appealed to me the most. My day-to-day needs for an app like Transmit have been fairly light, so I appreciate that it’s simple and fast to set up a server and transfer files.

Notes

Apple And Aetna Met Last Week To Talk About The Apple Watch—here's What They Discussed, by Christina Farr, CNBC

The primary topic of discussion was Apple's health-tracking smartwatch -- Apple Watch -- and whether it could be used to improve health outcomes. Currently, Aetna is gathering feedback from its own employees, who are currently testing whether the watch can help them eat better and exercise more regularly.

[...]

Bishop recalled that a huge portion of the event involved discussions about data privacy.

"Both companies wanted to make sure that we knew what data is shared and what isn't," she said.

When Government Hides Decisions Behind Software, by Tom Simonite, Wired

In July, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Sharon Reardon considered whether to hold Lamonte Mims, a 19-year-old accused of violating his parole, in jail. One piece of evidence before her: the output of a software program called PSA that calculated the risk that Mims, who had previously been convicted of burglary, would commit a violent crime or skip court. Based on that result, another algorithm recommended that Mims could safely be released, and Reardon let him go. Five days later, police say, he robbed and murdered a 71-year old man.

On Monday, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said staffers using the software had erroneously failed to enter Mims’ prior jail term. Had they done so, PSA would have recommended he be held, not released.

Mims’ case highlights how governments increasingly rely on mathematical formulas to inform decisions about criminal justice, child welfare, education and other arenas. Yet it’s often hard or impossible for citizens to see how these algorithms work and are being used.

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Given that so much of our private lives are captured -- knowingly and unkowingly -- by the mobile phones in our pockets, why would anyone trust third-parties to repair the phones? Security is the one important aspect that people who advocate for the right-to-repair never considers.

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It seems, to me, that it will be inevitable many movie theatres will be closing down in the years ahead. There will be a few theatres left in each city to cater to the few movies that are made for the big screen, but movie studios will be adapting to make movies tailored for smaller screens. And when I say movie stuidios, they include Netflix, Amazon, and, perhaps, Apple. In the fight between studios and theatres, the studios definitely have the upperhand.

(Actually, the screens in living rooms are not that small, even when compared to movie theatres.)

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In its heyday, we should now be hearing Microsoft pre-announcing the movies and TV shows that it is making for stream on Windows, Zunes, WebTVs, and other StreamForSure devices.

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Thanks for reading.

The Support-Equality Edition Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tim Cook Says ‘Hate Is A Cancer’ & Promises $2M Donation In Company Email Following Charlottesville Tragedy, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Following the company’s decision to block Apple Pay on websites promoting white supremacy and hate groups, Apple CEO Tim Cook this evening sent a mass email to all Apple employees to discuss the tragedy in Charlottesville that occurred over the weekend.

In the email, obtained by 9to5Mac, Cook expressed his dissonance with President Trump, while he also said that Apple will be making donations in support of equality.

Apple Pay Is Cutting Off White Supremacists, by Ryan Mac, Blake Montgomery, BuzzFeed

On Wednesday, Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed News that it had disabled Apple Pay support for a handful of websites that sold sweaters with Nazi logos, t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “White Pride” and a bumper sticker showing a car plowing into stick figure demonstrators. Following Saturday’s Charlottesville demonstrations, where one woman was killed by a car driven by a white nationalist, the iPhone maker blocked three white nationalist sites from using Apple Pay.

[...]

Apple’s move to distance itself from these sites comes as a number of technology companies have faced intense scrutiny for enabling the websites or social media accounts of white nationalist and white supremacist organizations.

Hacker Decrypts Apple's Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) Firmware, by iClarified

Decryption of the SEP Firmware will make it easier for hackers and security researchers to comb through the SEP for vulnerabilities.

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Unobstruct Clears A Path To A Better Web Reading Experience, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Troy Gaul, a developer at The Iconfactory, created Unobstruct, a Safari content blocker for iOS that eliminates floating bars, buttons, and other UI elements. The simple app [...] removes any HTML that is set to sit on top of a site’s content and not scroll.

App Makes Alaska Coastal Data Available Offline, by Alaska Journal

ShoreZone provides public access online to a coastal map that includes several elements: high-resolution photos, videos, and data on the biology and geomorphology of the coast. CoastView takes that information and pairs it with some narration of the coastline and points of interest, and makes it all available without an internet connection.

Develop

What One Company Learned From Forcing Employees To Use Their Vacation Time, by Neil Pasricha, Harvard Business Review

“Right now we spend about the first 25 years of our lives learning, then there are another 40 years that are really reserved for working. And then tacked on at the end of it are about 15 years for retirement. And I thought it might be helpful to basically cut off five of those retirement years and intersperse them in between those working years.” As he says, that one year is the source of his creativity, inspiration, and ideas for the next seven years.

I recently collaborated with Shashank Nigam, the CEO of SimpliFlying, a global aviation strategy firm of about 10 people, to ask a simple question: “What if we force people to take a scheduled week off every seven weeks?”

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Social Media Has Hijacked Our Minds. Click Here To Fight It, by Nicholas Thompson, Wired

Sometimes our smart phones are our friends, sometimes they seem like our lovers, and sometimes they’re our dope dealers. And no one, in the past 12 months at least, has done more than Tristan Harris to explain the complexity of this relationship. Harris is a former product manager at Google who has gone viral repeatedly by critiquing the way that the big platforms—Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram—suck us into their products and take time that, in retrospect, we may wish we did not give. He’s also launched a nonprofit called Time Well Spent, which is devoted to stopping “tech companies from hijacking our minds.” Today, the TED talk he gave last April was released online. In it, he proposes a renaissance in online design that can free us from being controlled and manipulated by apps, websites, advertisers, and notifications. Harris expanded on those ideas in a conversation with WIRED editor in chief Nicholas Thompson. The conversation has been edited for clarity and concision.

EU Demand For Apple To Pay €13bn Taxes Unjustified, Says Ireland, by Reuters

The Irish government has said it will collect the money pending an appeal of the ruling by Apple, but Mr Donohoe said it was not Dublin's job and the request was not justified.

"We are not the global tax collector for everybody else," FAZ quoted him as saying.

The Docx Games: Three Days At The Microsoft Office World Championship, by Sam Dean, The Verge

It was as if the Olympics opening ceremony was replaced by a networking event: teens were decked out in national T-shirts, while others handed out business cards specially made for the event. At one table off by the bar, two chaperones nudged their folding chairs closer together and taught each other how to say hello (“Yassas,” “Ciao”) in their respective mother tongues. In the distance, through the palms, the tiki torches of Trader Sam's, the hotel's poolside lounge, were flickering into the black sky.

This marked the first night of the 16th Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) World Championship, in which teens and young 20-somethings compete for the title of World Champion in their chosen professional application. It's an event put on annually by Certiport, a Utah-based subsidiary of standardized testing giant Pearson VUE. It's also a marketing stunt, pure and simple, devised to promote Certiport’s line of Microsoft Office certifications. This allows the certified to confirm the line on their resume that claims “proficiency in MS Office” is backed up by some solid knowledge of deep formatting and presentation design.

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We probably can get a good sense of the tone of a book -- any book -- that is about Steve Jobs by counting the number of occurances of the word "fired" versus the number of occurances of the word "walk."

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Thanks for reading.

The Just-Move-On Edition Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Subscription Software, by Matt Gemmell

Am I super-comfortable with subscription software? Nope. I doubt I’ll ever love the idea. But I can deal with it, if it keeps the handful of apps I really, really need updated and available.

As for the rest, well, moving to subscriptions isn’t just a change in payment model: it’s a shift in implicit target customer. It’s saying “we’re going to focus on customers who really need/want this app, enough to commit to it on an ongoing basis”. If I don’t fall into that new category, then clearly I should just move on. People can sell to whomever they like, after all.

Apple Is Reportedly Investing $1 Billion Into Original Content, by Thuy Ong, The Verge

Apple will invest approximately $1 billion in acquiring and producing original TV shows over the next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The investment could result in as many as 10 new shows, a source told the publication, with the iPhone-maker looking to match the high-quality output of networks like HBO.

[...]

Apple’s budget looks substantial, but is just table-stakes. HBO spent about $2 billion on content last year, while Amazon spent around $1 billion in 2013, the year after it leapt into original programming. Netflix, meanwhile, is expected to spend more than $6 billion in 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Everything That’s Inside Your iPhone, by Brian Merchant, Motherboard

The iPhone is many, many things. With its immaculate design, gleaming screen, and reigning station as our daily work/life navigator, it's relatively easy to forget that the iPhone is still ultimately a composite of dredged-up earth. Before it is anything, it's rock, it's metal; it's raw elements. A lot of them. Over the course of a two-year effort to get to the soul (and guts) of what Steve Jobs called the "one device," I aimed to trace the device to its deepest roots. And that meant trying to glean what the iPhone was actually composed of at its most foundational levels. It meant trying to determine the precise elemental composition of the iPhone. So, I asked David Michaud, a mining consultant who runs 911 Metallurgist, to help me pulverize one to dust in a rock-crusher, while measuring the escaping gases in the process.

Adapted from The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, by Brian Merchant.

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Apple Shares 'Carpool Karaoke' Ads Featuring Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, 'Game Of Thrones' Stars, by AppleInsider

After last week's "Carpool Karaoke" debut, Apple on Tuesday posted two new teasers for upcoming episodes featuring Ariana Grande and Seth MacFarlane, and "Game of Thrones" stars Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner.

The Best Apps For Pregnancy And New Parents, by Oliver Franklin-Wallis, Wired UK

Take it from the father of a five-week old newborn: when you have a baby, you’ll be spending a lot more time on your phone. Frantic Googling of breathing symptoms. One-handed WhatsApp-ing your NCT group, during late night feeds. And inevitably, a whole lot of Instagram. As such, it helps to be prepared. And, thanks to the burgeoning market for parenting tech (call it Mumsnet 2.0), the app stores have never been more bounteous with pregnancy apps and baby-related paraphernalia. Here’s a WIRED-vetted pick of the best pregnancy, baby and parenting apps.

ESPN’s New Apple TV App Lets You Watch Four Screens Of Live Sports At The Same Time, by Peter Kafka, Recode

ESPN wants to help you — if you subscribe to a pay TV service that has ESPN and if you have the most recent version of Apple TV.

If you meet those conditions, you can go try out a new version of the ESPN app that will let you watch up to four different streams on one screen.

Develop

How To Design Websites For Blind And Partially Sighted People, by Christopher Ratcliff, WhatUsersDo

This article is intended to walk you through the various ways you can ensure your own website is as accessible as possible for people with visual impairments.

Notes

Apple, Facebook, And Other Companies Ask Supreme Court To Block Warrantless Cellphone Tracking, by Colin Lecher, The Verge

In a legal brief filed last night, a group of several high-profile technology companies asked the Supreme Court to consider the privacy implications of warrantless law enforcement access to cellphone location data.

The court recently agreed to hear the case Carpenter v. United States, which centers on whether law enforcement can obtain electronic location information without a warrant, if that information is held by a third party. The case will be closely watched, as the court’s decision may have profound implications for privacy in the digital age.

China’s Plan For World Domination In AI Isn’t So Crazy After All, by Mark Bergen and David Ramli, Bloomberg

The nation is betting heavily on AI. Money is pouring in from China’s investors, big internet companies and its government, driven by a belief that the technology can remake entire sectors of the economy, as well as national security. A similar effort is underway in the U.S., but in this new global arms race, China has three advantages: A vast pool of engineers to write the software, a massive base of 751 million internet users to test it on, and most importantly staunch government support that includes handing over gobs of citizens’ data –- something that makes Western officials squirm.

Data is key because that’s how AI engineers train and test algorithms to adapt and learn new skills without human programmers intervening. SenseTime built its video analysis software using footage from the police force in Guangzhou, a southern city of 14 million. Most Chinese mega-cities have set up institutes for AI that include some data-sharing arrangements, according to Xu. "In China, the population is huge, so it’s much easier to collect the data for whatever use-scenarios you need," he said. "When we talk about data resources, really the largest data source is the government."

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Can software that do-one-thing-and-do-it-well survive in the shift to subscription-based business model?

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Thanks for reading.

The Adjustable-Amplifier Edition Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Can A Pair Of AirPods And An App Hope To Replace A Hearing Aid?, by Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review

A Swiss startup is trying to make this reality with an app called Fennex, recently released for the iPhone, that works with Apple’s $159 AirPods wireless earbuds. Alex Mari, CEO of the startup of the same name, says that he chose Apple’s devices and mobile platform for the app in part because of their popularity, but also because he thinks an Android phone would result in more latency when processing sound.

The Fennex app, currently free though it may eventually charge for certain features, is still in its earliest days. Mari says today’s version functions like a “cheap hearing aid”: it simply tests your hearing in each ear and uses those results to act as a personalized, adjustable amplifier. If you’re having trouble hearing in a class, for instance, you could place your phone near the lectern while you’re sitting a few rows back and listening in on a pair of AirPods.

Teen's App Not Being Lost In Translation, by nugget.ca

David Moore knows first-hand how easily a text message can get lost in translation.

[...]

His solution is called Sensibility, an iMessage app which allows users to tag messages to help express connotation and tone. Not only that, the app – through machine learning – can pick up on the writing style of the user so messages are automatically tagged over time.

It's just one of the projects the Moore has been working on since returning from the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June.

Ikea's Smart Home Dares To Make Sense, by Brian Barrett, Wired

They're cheap. They're easy. And most importantly, they'll soon speak HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Assistant with equal fluency.

No surprise, maybe, that a Swedish company embraces neutrality. But as Ikea goes, the rest of the industry may have to follow. Let's hope so, anyway.

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Review: Photolemur, The Mac App That Uses AI To Automatically Edit Your Snapshots, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Photolemur is a Mac app that uses AI to automatically edit photos – either individually or in batches. Instead of applying the same edits to every photo, or asking you to choose a filter, it analyses the content of each photo and attempts to perform the appropriate edits for each one.

Canary Security System Gains Two-way Audio Feature, Faster Streaming, & Web App, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Canary already lets you hear audio captured by the home security camera delivered through the iOS app, and starting today Canary Talk will allow you to communicate back from the app to the camera system.

Notes

Apple Changed The Maps Icon To Show Its New Spaceship Campus, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

The icon has, since the iPhone’s inception, shown 1 Infinite Loop — the location of Apple’s longtime headquarters. But with the company’s enormous spaceship campus, known as the Apple Park, now opening up, iOS designers seem to have felt it was time to make a change. So instead, the Maps icon now shows a sliver of the spaceship.

Or maybe it’s just this nearby offramp. It’s kind of hard to tell.

Apple Credited With Significantly Boosting Taiwan's Exports To The U.S., by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

Taken in their entirety, the strong financial performance of Apple’s suppliers was enough to increase Taiwan’s overall exports to the United States in July by a massive 12.5 percent year-on-year in U.S. dollars. For those keeping track at home, that’s pretty darn impressive!

China's Guizhou Province To Oversee Apple's Data Project, by Lee Chyen Yee and Cate Cadell, Reuters

The Guizhou government said on its website that the Apple iCloud working committee would be made up of around 10 members, such as Guizhou's Executive Vice Governor Qin Rupei, Deputy Secretary-general Ma Ningyu and other officials.

"The provincial government has decided to form a development and coordination working committee to quicken the setting up of Apple's iCloud project," it said in a Chinese language statement.

The Prone-To-Art-Appreciation Edition Monday, August 14, 2017

How Art-Based Apps Are Bringing People Back To Museums, by Simon Davies, Tech.co

In some ways apps are already turning millions of us into artists without us really thinking about it. The rise of visual social networks such as Instagram and Snapchat has made many millions of users more aware of aesthetics than they ever have been before. Consciously or subconsciously, we think about framing, lighting, colour and composition every time we take a selfie or a photo of our food. If anything, this means despite the drop in gallery attendance figures, the public is more prone to art appreciation than it ever has been before. Perhaps these art-specific apps can help bridge the gap.

Apple Has To Face Question Of Its 'Red Line' In China- Nikkei Asian Review, by David Schlesinger, Nikkei Asian Review

Where is your red line, the point beyond which you are not prepared to go? If you are doing business in China and you have not had that discussion with your chief executive and your board, your company is playing with fire -- and with its reputation, bottom line and future.

[...]

We have no idea what Apple's board room discussions have been. I sincerely hope they have had them; this is far too important and consequential a decision to be made on the fly and under time pressure.

How The Dumpling Democratized Emoji, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

The meal that launched Lu and Lee’s dumpling-emoji dream happened to involve Chinese potstickers. But as they began to take the project seriously, they realized that one argument in its favor was that dumplings are beloved on a global scale in a way that few foods are.

“We did some discovery and research,” says Lu. “The dumpling is actually universal. Georgia has khinkali. Japan has gyoza. Korea has mandoo. Italy has ravioli. Polish people have pierogi. Russian people have pelmeni. Argentians have empanadas. Jewish people have kreplachs. Chinese people have potstickers and various other dumplings. Tibet and Nepal have momos. Turkish people have manti.” Given how integral dumplings are to so many cultures, “the fact there was no dumpling emoji told me whatever system was in place had failed,” adds Lee.

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Hands On: Due 2.5 For iPhone Bolsters Apple Watch Reminders And Fixes More Sync Issues, by Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Due does many things —but what it's known for is not letting you go. If you've told it you want to be reminded to do something, it is a terrier at your ankles until you do it.

This latest version, Due 2.5 for iOS doesn't let up and it now gives you new options for adding these reminders.

Nike, Strava And Instagram: 10 Of The Best Apps For Runners, by Ian Tucker, The Guardian

If you go for a run and there’s no trace of it online, did it really happen? While veteran runners will groan at such data dependency, for many modern runners a jog isn’t over until it’s been uploaded, the results scrutinised for signs of progress and they’ve received a few “likes” and comments for their efforts.

Most running apps will track your run using your smartphone’s GPS, creating a map of your route, plus data about your pace and distance. If you use a smartphone you’ll probably have to strap it to your arm – the advantage of this is you’ll be able to use your device to listen to music and podcasts as you go; the disadvantage is that reaching the screen (particularly through a plastic rain protector) is a faff.

As you pile on the miles you may prefer to invest in a sportwatch such as those made by Garmin, Samsung or Fitbit – if funds allow, try to buy one with a built-in heart rate monitor and music storage, such as the Apple Watch 2, LG Watch Sport or the Samsung Gear S3.

Wacom Bamboo Sketch Stylus Is Good For The Basics, by Isaac Rockett, Tech.co

For Wacom being a company who prides themselves on serving the art industry, they have made an interesting choice here. I don’t believe they could have made it much more accurate than they did, but knowing their branding I am surprised that they released it at all. All of this isn’t to say that the Sketch is garbage; it isn’t. It’s just not for art. It’s for back of the napkin sketches, quick notes, or drawing changes onto a photo while talking to a customer.

Notes

The Messy, Confusing Future Of TV? It’s Here, by Kevin Roose, New York Times

What happened to the glorious, consumer-friendly future of TV? We were told that the internet would usher in a golden era of streaming video, and that incredible shows and movies would be a click away through low-cost, easy-to-use services. The $100-a-month Time Warner cable packages that required navigating a byzantine menu of third-rate channels would be a distant nightmare.

Instead, we’ve rushed headlong into a hyper-fragmented mess, with a jumble of on-demand services that, added up, cost more and often offer less than the old cable bundle. There are lots of great shows and movies being made, but finding them has become harder than ever.

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I am learning to solve Sudoku puzzles. I've bought a book with an introduction by Will Shortz, who advised that the puzzles have unique solutions, and no guessing is required.

As opposed to real life, I guess.

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Thanks for reading.

The Element-Of-Curiosity Edition Sunday, August 13, 2017

Meet The Code Detective Uncovering Apple Secrets, by Independent.ie

"There's an element of curiosity about it, especially for something as important to our lives as the smartphone," explains Troughton-Smith, who attended DCU but didn't graduate from his Digital Media Engineering course. "It's fun to get excited about possible new things, or get an idea for where the industry is heading. Apple has tremendous reach and any new feature they build will get distributed to somewhere near a billion users simultaneously, which has a ripple effect across so many industries.

What The Apple Pencil Does Well, by MacDrifter

I have a preference for apps that work well with the Apple Pencil, which means they at least need to have pressure response. Most do not have support for side-shading with the Pencil, which isn't that important to me.

I really care about the feel of the ink and pencil sketching. It can't lag and it needs to look fairly realistic. I don't mind tweaking the ink system but I don't want to switch pen modes often.

15 Apps To Power Up Your Productivity, by Darien Graham-Smith, The Guardian

Forget the paper trail… give your productivity a digital boost.

AirDropping Penis Pics Is The Latest Horrifying Subway Trend, by Melkorka Licea, New York Post

In order for pervs to send lewd photos, iPhone owners must have their AirDrop setting on “Everyone,” instead of “Contacts Only” or “Receiving Off.”

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Just finished watching: Chasing Coral, by Jeff Orlowski. Recommended as an introduction to the subjects of global warming and the coral ecosystem.

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I want bigger screens, but my pockets are still of the same size.

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Thanks for reading.

The Stealthy-And-Anonymous Edition Saturday, August 12, 2017

In China, Facebook Tests The Waters With A Stealth App, by Paul Mozur, New York Times

Facebook approved the May debut of a photo-sharing app, called Colorful Balloons, in China, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s plans, who declined to be named because the information is politically sensitive. The app, which has not previously been reported, shares the look, function and feel of Facebook’s Moments app. It was released through a separate local company and without any hint that the social network is affiliated with it.

The stealthy and anonymous release of an app by a major foreign technology company in China is unprecedented. It shows the desperation — and frustration — of global tech companies as they try to break into the world’s largest online market. It also underscores the lengths they are willing to go, and their increasing acceptance of the idea that standards for operating in China are different from elsewhere.

Stuff

Hands On: Find Anything Fast On Your Mac With The Atlas Recall App And Service, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Atlas Recall is a Mac app with an iPhone companion that you leave running all the time. While Spotlight indexes your hard disk, Atlas Recall instead watches all you do and takes notes.

Yes, There's Now An App With The Sole Purpose Of Showing You Dank Memes, by Molly Sequin, Mashable

The app apparently uses machine learning to crawl your Facebook activity to determine what memes it thinks you want to see. It also surfaces different trends based on your activity within the app.

Twitch Desktop App Is Finally Out, Powerful And Cluttered, by JC Torres, Slashgear

So why bother with a desktop app when you can do everything from a more universal browser anyway? Well, for one, there’s the simple fact that, being a native desktop application, the Twitch desktop has better performance and more OS integration, like minimizing to the system tray or even launching when you startup your computer.

Notes

The Internet Archive Brings Back Hypercard, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Today is the 30th anniversary of the introduction of Hypercard, a system for building interactive media. Hypercard featured database features, form-based layouts, and a programming language called HyperTalk, which made it a powerful and flexible tool that had a loyal following. To mark the occasion, the Internet Archive has built on its previous Macintosh emulation project to bring Hypercard back through emulation.

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By the time I started using a Mac, Hypercard was not there anymore. Instead, my first programming tools on the Mac was Codewarrior. (I never did touch MPW.)

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Thanks for reading.

The Distraction-Free Edition Friday, August 11, 2017

Can Apps Really Eliminate Distractions And Help You Focus?, by Bill Loguidice, TechRadar

I set out to see for myself whether I could cut down on distractions and become more productive using three apps. These apps promise to keep distractions to a minimum so you can get more done: OFFTIME, an app that lets you track and customize your smartphone's connectivity, FocusList, a daily planner and focus app, and Freedom, an internet, app and social media blocker.

While there are countless apps promising to help limit distractions and make users more productive, I chose these three because they’re among the most popular, best reviewed and work across multiple platforms.

A Silent, 10-minute Song Is Climbing The iTunes Charts, by Nathan Ingraham, Engadget

Since the iPhone starts playing music alphabetically when you plug it in to many car stereos, that usually means there's one song that you hear whether you want to or not. Many songs starting with the letter A have probably been ruined thanks to this quirk -- but if you download Rezhami's creation, you'll instead have plenty of time to queue up the songs you want to hear.

Safari Should Display Favicons In Its Tabs, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I don’t know what the argument is against showing favicons in Safari’s tabs, but I can only presume that it’s because some contingent within Apple thinks it would spoil the monochromatic aesthetic of Safari’s toolbar area. I really can’t imagine what else it could be. I’m personally sympathetic to placing a high value on aesthetics even when it might come at a small cost to usability. But in this case, I think Safari’s tab design — even if you do think it’s aesthetically more appealing — comes at a large cost in usability and clarity. The balance between what looks best and what works best is way out of whack with Safari’s tabs.

Safari Pinned Tab Favicons, by Manton Reece

Even more surprising to me is that Safari doesn’t use favicons for pinned tabs. Instead it uses a special monochrome vector icon.

Stuff

Apple’s 10.5-inch iPad Pro Aims For The Sweet Spot, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

With the iPad Pro, Apple seems to have set its sights on a slightly different, somewhat distant scenario: a world in which iPads better match up with the Mac’s capabilities, causing many to choose an iPad over a Mac notebook with little or no hesitation. Developments this year clearly point in this direction.

MeeTime Is The Cure To Those Endless Meetings, by AppAdvice

The real beauty comes in once the meeting begins. MeeTime sets timers for each segment of your meeting, letting you know how much time is remaining.

IKEA Trådfri Smart Lighting System Now Supports Apple HomeKit, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

IKEA's Trådfri smart lighting system is now officially compatible with HomeKit, Apple's smart home management platform.

Ulysses Announces Move To Subscription Pricing, by John Voorhees, MacStories

It’s a backstory that has become familiar. Pay-once pricing is not sufficient to sustain ongoing development of professional productivity apps like Ulysses. While Ulysses has enjoyed success, funding the kind of development that pro users expect through growing the app’s user base is not sustainable in the long-term.

Notes

Apple’s App Store In China, Long A Moneymaker, Faces Scrutiny, by Amy Qin, New York Times

In China, where Western-owned online services like Facebook and Google have long been blocked, Apple’s app store is a lucrative exception. Apple offers gaming, dining and dating apps in a country where most rivals are locally owned — and where it can reap big fees from iPhone users.

That business is now facing a number of threats.

The latest came this week, when a law firm representing more than two dozen app developers asked the Chinese authorities to investigate whether Apple’s app store policies violated local pricing and antitrust laws.

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Just finished watching: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, by Christopher McQuarrie. Nothing new here, it seems.

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Thanks for reading.

The Element-Of-Anonymity Edition Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Fifth Of American Women Are Turning To Apps To Learn More About Sex, by Sofia Lotto Persio, Newsweek

The element of anonymity also explains increased use of apps to connect, communicate and learn about sex. “You can keep track of your experiences in a way that feels safe. Apps provide valuable information in a way that you don't have to share with others,” Gesselman says. “That's opened a lot of doors for a lot of people in different cultural contexts, cultural taboos or people who are not as comfortable in their identities or feel stigmatized.”

New Signed Mac Malware Spotted In The Wild Bypasses Gatekeeper, by Rafia Shaikh, wccftech

The new strain called Mughthesec was signed with a legit Apple developer certificate and hence was able to bypass Gatekeeper. Gatekeeper is Apple’s defense system for macOS that keeps users protected from installing unsigned applications. But, as the latest research proves, even the signed applications can be unsafe for users. Apple has now revoked the associated developer ID with this malware strain.

Not Quite A Genius: My Year Working At Apple's Flagship Store, by Nate Dern, Vice

"Nate, we saw the video," he said. He was comporting himself like he was Leon Jaworski sliding the Smoking Gun Tape across a table to Nixon. Only I wasn't being tricky: I just honestly still had no idea what he was talking about. I said as much, and with a disappointed sigh, the recruiter revealed that he was referring to an online sketch comedy video I'd appeared in months earlier called "Evil Genius Bar" made by some friends of mine on the comedy team LandlineTV. The recruiter told me I would need to "scrub the video from the internet." I told the recruiter that wouldn't be possible. He said he was "sorry to hear that" and hung up. I figured I didn't get the job. Three weeks later he called me back as if that exchange had never happened and offered me a job anyway, with the parting words, "Congratulations! And no more Apple comedy skits, OK?"

I was hired as a Family Room Specialist at the Apple Fifth Avenue location, an underground store you enter via a cylindrical glass elevator on the southeast corner of Central Park. A Family Room Specialist is close to being an Apple Genius, but not quite. Instead of doing tech support for computers, we divided our time between fixing iPhones and teaching lessons. Except there wasn't much we could do by way of actual repair, so the job mainly consisted of explaining to people that AppleCare did not cover water damage. One such interaction entailed me explaining to an Eileen Fisher–clad customer that wine damage counted as water damage, to which she replied, "Well, then you should call it liquid damage."

Touché.

Excerpted from Not Quite A Genius, by Nate Dern.

Flat Singing

Carpool Karaoke: The Series – Can James Corden Help Apple Break Into Original TV?, by Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian

Perhaps Apple chose Carpool Karaoke for that reason: it’s a clear example of something that does have an impact far bigger than its origins. Certainly, the 165 million people who streamed Adele in Corden’s car around the world weren’t watching The Late Late Show on CBS. Yet Apple content isn’t there yet. It still feels fenced off and remote.

However, it’s early days, and it would be foolish to write off Apple based on its two mediocre efforts so far, because it’s almost guaranteed that Apple is simply biding its time.

Carpool Karaoke Debuts On Apple Music For Some Reason, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

As it stands, Carpool Karaoke is five minutes of content aimlessly attempting to fill up 20. Coupled with the dismal Planet of the Apps, an app-focused rehash of ABC’s Shark Tank where developers pitch to disinterested celebs, it’s not a compelling reason to subscribe to Apple Music. Nor is it a very good sign of Apple’s ability to compete on original content with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

Stuff

Wicked Brainstorm Lets You Brainstorm Up A Storm In iOS Message, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Before using the app, my brainstorming buddies saw all our ideas mixed in with every other text message. With Wicked Brainstorm, those ideas are gathered together, yet still kept within Messages.

The App That Tells You Where A Stranger Got Their Outfit, by Lucy Holden, Daily Mail

Users surreptitiously photograph the clothes and a search tool finds them online. Asos sifts through 85,000 items and presents customers with clothes that are either the same or strikingly similar.

OneDrive For iOS Adds Offline Folders, Improved Document Scanning, And New Sharing Options, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

OneDrive has offered offline files for a while now, but the ability to save entire folders offline has been painfully absent. I expect this feature will make a lot of users very happy.

Develop

The Secret To Office Happiness Isn’t Working Less—it’s Caring Less, by Andrew Taggart, Quartz

But caring as much as we do about work is causing us needless suffering. In my role as a practical philosopher, I speak daily with individuals from Silicon Valley to Scandinavia about their obsessions with work—obsessions that, by their own accounts, are making them miserable. Nevertheless, they assume that work is worth caring a lot about because of the fulfillments and rewards it supplies, so much so that it should be the center of life.

The solution to our over-worked state isn’t to do less work; it’s too care less about it. I think this is an unsound foundation to base our lives upon. The solution to our over-worked state isn’t to do less work; it’s to care less about it.

Why A Lifestyle Business Beats A Startup, by Stefan Klumpp

Success comes in many different ways. Selling your company for $50 million is just one sign of success, and a week later everyone has forgotten about that news headline anyway!

Notes

Emergency Services Organizations Call For Apple To Implement Life-saving Location Feature, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Advanced Mobile Location (AML) is a capability built into carrier networks which can automatically identify the exact position of someone making a emergency call with pin-point accuracy. Google added support for it in Android last year, but Apple has so far not responded to requests to implement it in iOS.

How Your Phone Number Became The Only Username That Matters, by David Pierce, Wired

WhatsApp was among the first apps to equate your account with your phone number. Now apps like Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger do it, too. Starting this fall, setting up your iPhone will be as easy as punching in your number. The supposedly super-secure way of logging into apps involves texting you a secret code to verify your identity. Phone numbers are killing the username, killing the password, and making it easier than ever to go wild online. So guard it with your life, because it is your life.

[...]

As more of your personal life moves online, having a single way to identify yourself matters. It helps you find people, helps people find you, and helps keeps you safe. And while people change email addresses when they switch jobs or tire of being fartman420@hotmail.com, a phone number has remarkable staying power. Now that you can port your number between phones, plans, and even carriers, you have no reason to change yours. And the odds are your phone's area code indicates where you were living when you first got a cell phone—like a badge of honor, a statement of personality wrapped up in three numbers.

50+ Disney & Nickelodeon Apps Allegedly Snooping On Your Kids, by Kate Cox, Consumerist

The suits claim that children under 13 who use the apps named in the complaints “have had their personally identifying information exfiltrated… for future commercial exploitation.”

The apps, the complaint claims, track children’s app usage and device behavior by obtaining “peristent identifiers.” That is to say, any time you use App X, the app will identify you and relay back your information under a unique number, like 7A51F9D56200.

That identifier is persistent across devices, so any software you are using can identify that you are you whether you’re on your work laptop using the Facebook version of a game, or whether you’re using your phone to play the mobile version on the bus home.

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Just finished reading: Based on a True Story, by Delphine De Vigan, translated by George Miller. Wonderful. If I ever learn French, I'll have to remember to go read this again in the original text.

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Does it seem to you that we know everything about the upcoming highest-end iPhone except the price and the name? Except that Apple can probably find some way to surprise us come September.

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Thanks for reading.

The Hollywood-Outing Edition Wednesday, August 9, 2017

'Carpool Karaoke' Spinoff Premieres As Apple Content Ambitions Grow, by Natalie Jarvey, Hollywood Reporter

It was a true Hollywood outing for Apple, which up until 2016 when it began striking deals with producers such as Winston and Propagate Content's Ben Silverman, spent years deflecting rumors about its entertainment ambitions. "Carpool Karaoke," which premieres Tuesday on Apple Music, represents Apple’s second stab at original programming following the June premiere of Planet of the Apps, a reality series produced by Silverman that saw mentors including Jessica Alba and will.i.am help app developers pitch investors on their big ideas. The shows are meant to lure more subscribers to the subscription music service, which costs $10 per month and competes with products such as Spotify and Tidal.

TV Review: ‘Carpool Karaoke’ On Apple Music, by Sonia Saraiya, Variety

But for a segment that emphasized spontaneity and intimacy, “Carpool Karaoke” on Apple Music feels distancing — highlighting how dissimilar the guests are from the audience, instead of the other way around. Sometimes it feels like a camera crew was invited along to watch Corden and Smith network, or to tag along with another bizarre family outing for the Cyrus family. But why would we pay to watch them do something they would do anyway?

Apple Park Construction Workers Are Posting On-site Photos And Videos To Snapchat, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Whilst this openness surely isn’t endorsed by Apple, it seems to have been going on for a long time unnoticed with snaps going back weeks. There is enough for it to appear on the ‘Snap Map’ as a heat spot at least.

The images don’t reveal too much, although the interior videos of the work-in-progress pods definitely give off a dystopian vibe.

Stuff

Reviewed: Lego Boost, The Set That Lets You Build Real Moving Robots, by Carson And Cannan Huey-You, Popular Mechanics

That you can control the Legos from your iPad is the coolest part of the set though. You don't just roll it around with your hand, you can move it using the app. We've been playing with Legos forever, and we still play with them a lot. I think we would play with this set again in the future.

My iOS Writing App Of The Moment Is Editorial, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What has put Editorial over the top for me, at least for the moment, is its powerful set of user-creatable and shareable workflows. These powerful features can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts, which is huge for me since I write articles on my iPad Pro while attached to an external keyboard.

Apps We Love: Transmit, by Stephen Hackett, The Sweet Setup

Put simply, Panic makes some of the nicest Mac apps out there. Transmit is no exception, and is well worth its price tag if you work with file servers on any regular basis.

Foursquare’s Redesigned Swarm App Is A Journal For Capturing Your Travels, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Swarm, the check-in app from social mainstay Foursquare, is pivoting once again. Foursquare is calling Swarm’s latest incarnation the “lifelog,” and it’s meant to offer a new way of thinking about the trademark check-in process that’s less about gamification and leaderboards and more personal. With younger smartphone users gravitating toward text, photos, and videos that disappear — and the more raw and genuine style of sharing that allows — Foursquare now wants to create a space where you can plant a virtual flag, to come back to a memory and savor it later on in life.

Wikipedia For iOS Gains Dark Mode, iMessage Stickers, ‘On This Day’, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Wikipedia’s implementation looks sharp, tastefully combining black and grey with a beautiful blue serving as an accent. There’s also the bonus of an optional toggle that dims images while using the dark reading theme.

Anchor Introduces Video Generation For Sharing Audio Clips, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Put simply, an Anchor Video takes your recorded audio, transcribes it, then creates a video out of the content. The finished product includes your original audio complemented by a running stream of the clip’s spoken words in written form; transcribed words animate across the screen as the clip plays, providing an elegant visual way of sharing your content on social media.

Notes

Trade Commission Agrees To Investigate Apple For Alleged Qualcomm Patent Violation, by Tom Westrick, iMore

The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it will be investigating Apple following allegations from Qualcomm that the Cupertino-based company infringed on Qualcomm's patents with the iPhone 7. Some models of iPhone 7 use an Intel modem rather than a Qualcomm one, and while Qualcomm does not claim that the modem itself violates any patents, Apple's implementation of that modem reportedly does.

Singapore In The Eyes Of Local Photographers, by Nicholas Yong, Stuff

“After every long trip, I always have this smile when I leave the aircraft, go through immigration, pick up my luggage from the carousel, and step onto the arrival hall. It's usually my first feeling of being home.”

He shares how easy it is to compose your shots, “For the iPhone 7 Plus, remember you have a 2x optical zoom to play with. It’s easy to switch between 1x and 2x, and the quick toggling between the two focal lengths helps you nail your desired shot better.”

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Dear app-makers: I do not need a dark mode in any of my iPhone apps. What I really need is a no gray-text-on-light-background paried with no tiny-tiny-font-size mode.

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I've watched the first episode of Apple Music's Carpool Karaoke, and I have yet to find the joy of music.

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Thanks for reading.

The Joy-Of-Music Edition Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Apple Music's 'Carpool Karaoke' Showrunners Call Series 'A Celebration Of The Joy Of Music', by Gil Kaufman, Billboard

We were always surprised by the success of "Carpool" -- when we put the first one on with Mariah Carey, it had 14 million hits -- which, when you have a new late night show, that's the last thing you expect to happen. The fact that we stumbled into this joyful, wonderful piece of television is what makes it an amazing moment. People talk about it being a viral hit, but the fundamental thing that makes it work is that it's really just a beautiful piece of television with two people having a chat and making each other laugh, singing songs, with none of the barriers we usually see on TV.

[...]

It's a celebration of the joy of music. You see people singing the hits you love, big stars singing other people’s songs -- actors, comedians and athletes singing and rapping songs that mean something to them. You can tell [it's real] because you can't fake passion and when you see it it's infectious.

The 20 Best Carpool Karaoke Episodes, Ranked, by Paula Mejia, Rolling Stone

Ahead of the spinoff show's Apple Music premiere on August 8th, we've ranked the 20 most memorable "Carpool Karaoke" segments.

New Businessses

Apple Finally Catches Up With The Rest Of The World And Joins Instagram, by Patrick Kulp, Mashable

The notoriously social media-shy tech giant just launched a new Instagram account to showcase some of the best photos taken with the iPhone.

Like Apple's long-running "Shot on iPhone" campaign, @Apple will exclusively feature curated and credited photos from iPhone users all over the world. The company says product photo galleries, commercials or other company marketing will never appear on the account.

Remember When The iPad Was Going To Be The Key To The Media Business?, by Peter Kafka, Recode

Hard to remember, but back in early 2010, when Jobs rolled out the iPad, Facebook wasn’t one of the two dominant distribution and monetization engines for media. It was just a social network. A big one! With 400 million users. But nothing like the two billion user giant it is today. The one that functions, for many people, like a media/news app.

Stuff

Apple Details 2017 Back To School Promotion In Europe: Free Beats With Select Mac Or iPad Pro Models, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today launched its annual Back to School promotion in Europe. The company is offering the choice of a free pair of Beats Solo3, BeatsX, or Powerbeats3 headphones to qualifying students, parents of students, and educators who purchase an eligible Mac with education pricing for a limited time.

Apple Music Is Getting Much Better, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

It seems Apple flipped a switch and realized that classic stations should be playing the best of those genres with only a little bit of discovery. That’s the way those stations should be. The hits of those years have already been set—that’s what people want to hear.

Apple MacBook Pro Lasts 135 Minutes Longer On Battery In Full Screen Mode, by Notebook Check

During the first review, the video was played in maximized window mode, whereas the second reviewer used full screen mode instead. Apparently, Apple has optimized the latter significantly: power consumption in full screen mode was much lower.

Honeydue Is A Money Management App For Couples, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Honeydue is a mobile app that aims to reduce money-related arguments between couples by offering tools to share information on respective account balances and spending.

The app also lets couples stay on top of money matters in other ways, such as being able to comment on individual transactions and manage bill reminders together — so they can, in the words of co-founder Eugene Park, “be on the same page” about money.

Notes

New iOS 11 Developer Beta Out; Messages In iCloud Delayed?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

That wording suggests this feature won’t ship with iOS 11.0, but a subsequent update. It suggests that the feature’s not quite stable enough for Apple to migrate all iOS users to it just yet, and so it’s being removed as the company moves closer to shipping iOS 11.

Misunderstanding Apple Services, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Apple Services is a key component that ensures the durability of Apple’s personal computers business. But the “Next Big Thing”? It’s big, but it’s not new and it’s not a ‘thing’.

Some Employees Are Rumored To Hate The Open Floor Plan At Apple's New $5 Billion Campus, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

The latest was shared by John Gruber, an Apple podcaster and blogger who frequently cites Apple insiders as "birdies."

[...]

"When he was shown the floorplans, he was more or less just 'F--- that, f--- you, f--- this, this is b-------.' And they built his team their own building, off to the side on the campus. So they're not even in, not only are they not going along with the open floor plans, but Sroji's team is in their own building. Maybe internally they're saying it's for security, or that's there's a logical reason for it, but my understanding is that that building was built because Sroji was like, 'F-- this, my team isn't working like this.'"

The Man Who Wrote Those Password Rules Has A New Tip: N3v$r M1^d!, by Robert McMillan, Wall Street Journal

The new guidelines, which are already filtering through to the wider world, drop the password-expiration advice and the requirement for special characters, Mr. Grassi said. Those rules did little for security—they “actually had a negative impact on usability,” he said.

Long, easy-to-remember phrases now get the nod over crazy characters, and users should be forced to change passwords only if there is a sign they may have been stolen, says NIST, the federal agency that helps set industrial standards in the U.S.

F Is For Fired

Google Fires Employee Behind Controversial Diversity Memo, by Mark Bergen, Bloomberg

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes." A Google representative didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees on Monday that said portions of the employee’s memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee.

Why It May Be Illegal For Google To Punish That Engineer Over His Now Viral Anti-diversity Memo, by Dan Eaton, CNBC

First, federal labor law bars even non-union employers like Google from punishing an employee for communicating with fellow employees about improving working conditions. The purpose of the memo was to persuade Google to abandon certain diversity-related practices the engineer found objectionable and to convince co-workers to join his cause, or at least discuss the points he raised.

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If the rumors are true, somebody should buy up the office buildings near Apple Park. When Apple is forced to renovate Apple Park to put in cubicles and private offices, Apple will need a whole ton of temporary (or even new permanent) offices around the park.

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In my whole working life here at space-constraint-ed Singapore, I've only had one job that had semi-private offices. (And, if I remember correctly, I hated that job.)

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Thanks for reading.

The Thirty-Percent-Cut Edition Monday, August 7, 2017

Financial Times Returns To Apple’s App Store After Six-Year Hiatus, by Jack Marshall, Wall Street Journal

Since 2011, Apple device users have only been able to access the FT’s full range of content via its mobile website. The FT decided to invest in its web offering rather than a “native” iOS app partly because of Apple’s requirement to be paid a 30% cut of any subscription revenue generated from apps in its App Store, according to people familiar with the matter.

The new iOS app will therefore only be accessible to existing FT subscribers. New readers won’t be able to purchase subscriptions from within the app itself, but must instead do so from the FT’s website before logging in.

Return To TextExpander, by And Now It's All This

I returned to TextExpander for two reasons. First, I have an iPad and want to do more writing on it. I didn’t realize how much I relied on expansions—even those that don’t run scripts—until I didn’t have them. TextExpander is the only solution that works on both the Mac and iOS. That’s the main reason, and probably the obvious one.

Less obvious is the second reason: TextExpander is much better at creating new snippets than Keyboard Maestro is.

A Googler's Anti-Diversity Screed Reveals Tech's Rotten Core, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

These reactions to the screed are sound, but they risk missing a larger problem: The kind of computing systems that get made and used by people outside the industry, and with serious consequences, are a direct byproduct of the gross machismo of computing writ large. More women and minorities are needed in computing because the world would be better for their contributions—and because it might be much worse without them.

Stuff

ScreenFlow 7.0, by Agen G. N. Schmitz, TidBITS

Telestream has released ScreenFlow 7.0, a major update to the popular screencast recording and video editing app that adds a number of new features that boost options for creativity and reduce some repetitive tasks.

Kosada's Vuo Lets You Easily And Interactively Create And Mix Audio, Video, And 2D + 3D Effects, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

Aimed at media producers, VJs, interactive artists, and media-making non-programmers, it enables users to interactively create and mix audio, video, and 2D + 3D effects.

Develop

Take Naps At Work. Apologize To No One., by Tim Herrera, New York Times

In a study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers tested subjects on their perceptual performance four times throughout the day. Performance deteriorated with each test, but subjects who took a 30-minute nap between tests stopped the deterioration in performance, and those who took a 60-minute nap even reversed it.

“Naps had the same magnitude of benefits as full nights of sleep if they had a specific quality of nap,” said Sara Mednick, a co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

How To Build A Rumor, by Michael Lopp, Rands In Repose

Rather than stress uselessly about the source of the rumor or how it propagated, start by taking the time to reflect: What possible truth could be contained within the rumor? What unanswered question is this rumor trying to answer? It’s about you, so what is the organism asking?

Your journey of self-reflection on this a particular rumor is a test. I’m not you, I don’t understand your culture, and while I know contemplating, digesting, and understanding this rumor is rough, I know you need to discover what, however inefficiently, the team is telling you.

Notes

Inside The World Of Silicon Valley's 'Coasters' — The Millionaire Engineers Who Get Paid Gobs Of Money And Barely Work, by Julie Bort, Business Insider

"Resting and vesting" is when an employee, typically an engineer, has an easy work load (if any job responsibilities at all) and hangs out on the company's payroll collecting full pay and stock. Stock is often the bigger chunk of total compensation for a senior engineer than salary.

Once she was in rest-and-vest mode, this engineer spent her time attending tech conferences, working on pet coding projects and networking with friends, quietly developing an idea for her next gig, a startup.

She realized that her manager let her "rest and vest" to keep her quiet about the problems with that acquisition, so she had time to find her next thing. Had he terminated her immediately, she would have been incensed. "Everyone knew I had a big mouth and would speak out. He figured, 'Hey, it costs us next to nothing keep her happy for six months,'" she said.

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When I am stuck in Sudoku, I am really stuck.

(And I can't click on any buttons to get any hints, because... well, I am doing this on a physical book. Imagine that. I've bought a physical book in the year 2017.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The High-Heels Edition Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Technology Promises A Comfortable High Heel, But Begs The Question: Why Wear Heels At All?, by Marc Bain, Quartz

The way True Gault aims to achieve this near-miracle is through technology: You use their iPhone app to take pictures of your foot. (It’s only available on Apple’s phones at the moment.) The app generates a 3D model of the foot, and the company’s algorithmically powered “fit formula,” honed on thousands of scans of women’s feet, determines the shoe’s dimensions.

Each shoe is unique, meaning even the left foot and right foot are different, unless your feet themselves happen to be exactly the same. But True Gault says it has found that one foot is roughly half a size different from the other, in either width or length, in about 97% of the thousands of individuals the company has scanned.

Apple TV With 4K UHD, 10-bit HDR And Dolby Vision Revealed By HomePod Firmware, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Apple's own firmware for the upcoming HomePod speaker has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving for enthusiasts, this time revealing that a next-generation Apple TV will boast support for 4K video, as well as high dynamic range in both 10-bit and Dolby Vision formats.

Stuff

How I Fell In Love With iPad Pro (And Stopped Missing My Mac), by George Tinari, Guiding Tech

When I returned to my MacBook after that week of solely using my iPad I was so disappointed at how slow it was launching apps, opening new tabs in Safari, playing games and more. There is so much lag that just isn’t present on the iPad Pro. In fact, it’s astonishingly difficult to experience any lag at all.

Hands On: LiquidText 3.0.11 Changes How You Annotate Documents On The iPad, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

We'd be doing you and LiquidText a disservice if we just called it a PDF editor but at its heart, that is what it is. It's so much more than that, though, that the PDF element seems almost incidental. LiquidText 3.0.11 for iOS is about gathering ideas and making something useful out of them.

Notes

Apple Has Once Again Updated Their Logo's Legal Coverage To Cover Fitness And Gaming Hardware & Beyond, by Jack Purcher, Patently Apple

Of course Apple hides what they really want covered within a sea of boiler plate verbiage that is classic basic coverage for International Class number 28. Most items are obviously never going to be made by Apple while some are questionably possible as they cover themes Apple has shown some interest in. I've highlighted a few items of interest that relate to distinct two themes. The first theme relates to video games, game consoles and apparatus – which could also cover a future gaming AR/VR headset. The second theme covers fitness.

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Sometimes, I wish I can have only one app to read all my e-books, no matter which store the book was purchased from.

Sometimes, I wish I can have only one app to listen to all my audios, whether the audio is a song, an audiobook, or a podcast.

Sometimes, I wish I can have only one app as my universal inbox, for all my emails, RSS articles, and tweets.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Summer-Camp Edition Saturday, August 5, 2017

At Apple's New Summer Camp, High School Kids Can Build The Next Big Thing, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

In a nondescript Apple office building in Cupertino, California, a group of engineers has spent the past four weeks working feverishly on the next big thing in consumer hardware, prototyping a water-saving shower head, a new version of the Apple Watch, and a “smart” water bottle.

These products may never hit the market, but that hasn’t deterred the 25 high schoolers who are building them as part of an Apple summer camp. Called the Engineering Technology Camp, or ETC for short, the new camp was designed to give high school juniors and seniors full access to 40 Apple staffers, as well as various building tools, as they split into teams and try to build working prototypes in just under a month.

What’s Wrong With The Touch Bar, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

In most cases, the Touch Bar is the slowest way to perform an action! It’s a cool-looking racing stripe that slows you down in many cases, and even worse, eliminates useful physical keys that you probably reach for reflexively, like Esc.

That’s not all. The screen is too small to be useful in some cases. For instance, you can use the Touch Bar to switch tabs in Safari, which looks cool, but you can barely make out what’s in each tab.

Apple Plans To Release A Cellular-Capable Watch To Break IPhone Ties, by Mark Gurman, Scott Moritz, and Ian King, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device’s reliance on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said.

[...]

Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation. That’s a big win for the chipmaker, which has been trying for years to get its components into more Apple mobile devices.

Stuff

Watch Apple’s Carpool Karaoke Teasers Ahead Of Series Premiere, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Carpool Karaoke is growing up and becoming so much more than just segments on James Corden’s Late Late Show. Apple has commissioned 16 standalone episodes, and the show is about to premiere on August 8. The company shared three different teasers this week to promote the show.

Send And Receive Faxes Cheaply With The Right iOS App, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

You may think of fax services as relying on Web sites and Mac apps, but there are also plenty that you access through iPad and iPhone apps. Although iOS can be clumsy for productivity work, these apps skirt such awkwardnesses by working with intra-app sharing, cloud services, the Photos library, and the onboard camera. Having everything in one place can reduce friction. Most offer one-off faxing via a credit-based system, though some are wildly more expensive than others.

Elgato Eve Motion Review: A Smart Sensor To Automate Apple Households, by Popular Science

This wireless motion sensor is part of Elgato's lineup of HomeKit-compatible accessories and can be used to trigger "scenes" and rules based on your movement (or the lack thereof) around your house.

Develop

Software As Narrative 1/N, by Infinite Undo!

In order to not build the wrong thing we must know with clarity what we are meant to be building. It sounds like a tautology and if we were talking about any medium but the digital medium it would be a tautology. But as all software engineers immediately come to learn, there is a Lovecraftian, Non-Newtonian gulf between “what we build” and “what we were meant to be building.”

“Know what is meant to be happening not just what is happening” is anything but a tautology in software. It is a yawning conceptual gulf that can swallow projects whole.

Conjecture Regarding The Precise Details Of The iPhone D22 Display Resolution, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

All of these facts point to the same conclusion: D22’s display is 5.8 inches, 2436 × 1125, 462 PPI. The only reason to think otherwise is that Ming-Chi Kuo reported otherwise back in February. The simplest explanation is that Kuo got this wrong, and either he or his sources conflated the displays of two different iPhones.

Notes

The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across The Universe, by Kim Tingley, New York Times

All explorations demand sacrifices in exchange for uncertain outcomes. Some of those sacrifices are social: how many resources we collectively devote to a given pursuit of knowledge. But another portion is borne by the explorer alone, who used to be rewarded with adventure and fame if not fortune. For the foreseeable future, Voyager seems destined to remain in the running for the title of Mankind’s Greatest Journey, which might just make its nine flight-team engineers — most of whom have been with the mission since the Reagan administration — our greatest living explorers. They also may be the last people left on the planet who can operate the spacecraft’s onboard computers, which have 235,000 times less memory and 175,000 times less speed than a 16-gigabyte smartphone. And while it’s true that these pioneers haven’t gone anywhere themselves, they are arguably every bit as dauntless as more celebrated predecessors. Magellan never had to steer a vessel from the confines of a dun-colored rental office, let alone stay at the helm long enough to qualify for a senior discount at the McDonald’s next door.

Their fluency in archaic programming languages will become only more crucial as the years go on, because even as the probes harvest priceless information from the cosmos, they are running out of fuel. (Decaying plutonium supplies their power.) By 2030 at the latest, they will not have enough juice left to run a single experiment. And even that best case comes with a major caveat: that the flight-team members forgo retirement to squeeze the most out of every last watt.

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The trailers of Carpool Karaoke looks much more fun than Planet of the Apps, much more Apple-Music-ly.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Activating-iMessage Edition Friday, August 4, 2017

How To Unknowingly Broadcast Your Personal iMessages To All The Company’s iPads, by Daniele Vian, Medium

When I put my SIM in the secondary (company) iPhone, it tried activating iMessage on the phone number but couldn’t.

When I wrote my wife, my messages went out from my company’s iCloud account, not my number as I thought.

Apple’s “Walled Garden” Approach To Content Has Paid Off Massively, by Mike Murphy, Quartz

Apple hand-picks every app that goes live in its store, sometimes rejecting apps for no good reason, or because a foreign power tells them to. It’s a system built in the image of its creators, and it’s such a beautiful garden that it has paid off handsomely for Apple.

Operation Luigi: How I Hacked My Friend Without Her Noticing, by The hacker known as "Alex"

I’m at a ramen place with my friend Diana. Diana isn’t her real name, but we’re going to pretend it is because that’s what all the cool journalists do and I wanna fit in too so don’t ruin this for me okay.

I ask her if it would be okay for me to try and hack all her stuff. She’s instantly visibly excited. I explain how this could result in me seeing everything she’s ever put on a computer ever. She tells me she thinks this is going to be “so good”. We lay down some rules.

Stuff

Simon Is A Useful, Flexible Server Monitoring Tool For macOS, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

It’s not for everyone, but Dejal Systems' Simon is a useful server monitoring tool for macOS that lets you checks web pages, FTP and DNS servers, local or remote ports or volumes, and many other kinds of services for changes or failures.

iMessage App 'Checkmate' Available For Free As Apple's App Of The Week, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With Checkmate, you can play a game of chess with a friend entirely over iMessages.

Develop

Why Chefs And Soldiers Make The Best Product Managers, by First Round Review

Five years ago, Clover Health COO Wilson Keenan got his first job in product management. Before that, he was a line cook. It wasn't his only work experience, but it's what stood out to the man who hired him, Jim Patterson — then Chief Product Officer at Yammer, now CEO of cannabis technology startup Eaze. In fact, it fit into a broader hiring philosophy Patterson subscribes to: chefs and soldiers make excellent product managers.

“Both the military and professional kitchens are environments where there's zero tolerance for slackers and indecision — you have to be on all the time, working quickly under high pressure,” he says. “When Wilson told me he'd worked at that job for a year I thought, 'He must be good.' Otherwise you get bounced out of that industry immediately.”

Notes

Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?, by Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic

I’ve been researching generational differences for 25 years, starting when I was a 22-year-old doctoral student in psychology. Typically, the characteristics that come to define a generation appear gradually, and along a continuum. Beliefs and behaviors that were already rising simply continue to do so. Millennials, for instance, are a highly individualistic generation, but individualism had been increasing since the Baby Boomers turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. I had grown accustomed to line graphs of trends that looked like modest hills and valleys. Then I began studying Athena’s generation.

Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.

The allure of independence, so powerful to previous generations, holds less sway over today’s teens.

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Out of six addresses that I've stayed in, three of them no longer exists.

Out of five schools (including kindergarten) that I've attended, two no longer exist, and the other three have changed name. (Two of them have also moved.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Monetizing-Said-Hardware Edition Thursday, August 3, 2017

Apple And The Oak Tree, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

The reality is that Apple’s elegant transaction-based business model, centered on selling software-differentiated hardware, died along with the iPod. One could certainly argue that Apple’s services don’t differentiate their hardware, at least not in a positive direction, but it is impossible to deny that said services play an ever more important role in monetizing said hardware, above-and-beyond increasingly infrequent (on an individual basis) up-front purchases. And while that is great for Apple’s continued growth, it is a limit on Apple’s freedom to maneuver — and now, for the company’s Chinese customers, a limit on their freedom to circumvent China’s Great Firewall.

[...]

Apple is no longer the little reed they were when Jobs could completely change the company’s strategy in mere months; the push towards ever more lock-in, ever more centralization, ever more ongoing monetization of its users — even at the cost of the user experience, if need be — will be impossible to stop, for Tim Cook or anyone else.

Why Apple Is Experiencing Another Growth Spurt, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

“Wall Street is waking up to the reality that the next great product might not be an Apple car or the TV or the Watch,” said Trip Miller of Gullane Capital Partners, which loaded up on Apple shares when they were below $100. “The services business is the next great product.”

Stuff

Apple Shares Three Short 'The Rock X Siri' Ads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Each video features one short scene from the original ad, with the Rock interacting with Siri to set a reminder, take a selfie, and set a timer.

Review: Vinpok Bolt-S Cable Returns MagSafe-like Technology To The USB-C MacBook Pro, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

The Vinpok Bolt-S cable has a USB-C detachable end that inserts into the computer, with the cable itself held in place with a magnetic ring. The approach is not all that dissimilar to that of Apple's MagSafe, but with all the functional elements external to the laptop, rather than as part of the computer's case.

Google Earth Gets A Big iOS Update, by John Voorhees, MacStories

‘Voyager’ is designed to help you plan your next trip with over 140 stories organized by topic like ‘Museums Around the World,’ ‘Mexico City Street Food,’ and ‘Beautiful Hiking Destinations in Canada.’ When you pick a location, Google Earth offers ‘Knowledge Cards’ that you can pull up from the bottom of the map. Cards include galleries of photos for your chosen locale as well as basic facts and links to Knowledge Cards for points of interest and related searches.

Plex Brings Live TV Features To Fourth-generation Apple TV, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

To use Live TV, Apple TV owners must have a Plex Pass subscription and a compatible digital antenna and tuner connected to a Plex Media Server.

Develop

Apple Should Remove The 99¢ Tier From The App Store, by Mo Bitar

And if you don’t think your product is worth $4.99, really consider whether you should be making it in the first place.

Notes

Microsoft Website Reveals Touch Cover Keyboard For Apple's iPad, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Whether the hardware is forthcoming or was a scrapped project, it's openly mentioned on Microsoft's site, on a page listing products with integrated lithium batteries. The inclusion of a battery in the Microsoft Touch Cover for iPad would suggest that the keyboard accessory is Bluetooth, and does not sync over the Smart Connector port.

Oh, Snap! Scientists Are Turning People's Food Photos Into Recipes, by Laurel Dalrymple, NPR

To do this, researchers have been feeding the computer pairs of photos and their corresponding recipes — about 800,000 of them. The AI network, called Recipe 1M, chews on all of that for a while, learning patterns and connections between the ingredients in the recipes and the photos of food.

"What we've developed is a novel machine learning model that powers an app. The demo that you see is just a pretty interface to that model," says Nicholas Hynes, an MIT graduate student at CSAIL who also co-authored the paper.

The Streaming-From-iPhone Edition Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How Apple Is Putting Voices In Users’ Heads—Literally, by Steven Levy, Wired

My conversation with Mathias Bahnmueller started as pretty much all my phone interviews do. “Can you hear me?” he asked, and I replied affirmatively. Then I asked him the same question. His answer was yes—he could hear me very clearly. And this was a tiny miracle.

That’s because Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant—an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism. Around a million patients have undergone this increasingly mainstream form of treatment, and that’s just a fraction of those who could benefit from it. (Of the 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss, about 10 percent would qualify for the surgery.) “For those who reach a point where hearing aids no longer help, this is the only solution,” says Allison Biever, an audiologist in Englewood, CO who works with implant patients. “It’s like restoring a signal in a radio station.”

Cochlear implants bypass the usual hearing process by embedding a device in the inner ear and connecting it via electrodes to the nerve that sends audio signals to the brain. The implant gets sound from an external microphone and sound processor that usually sits behind the ear. Until now, users have had to deal with balky remote controls to adjust the settings. And dealing with smartphones has required a separate piece of equipment that vexes communication thanks to its low quality and annoying lags. But Bahnmueller, a 49-year-old executive in automotive safety, has recently been testing a new solution. The reason I was coming through so clearly is that his over-the-ear device linked to the implant was streaming directly from his iPhone—essentially putting the conversation in his head.

Requiem For A Shuffle, by Steven Levy, Wired

That low price shouldn’t be dismissed. It was a feature that Jobs took pains to boast about even on the 2005 day when he introduced the Shuffle. iPods were too expensive, he said—even for him. He told me that he’d bought a regular iPod as a birthday gift for his son, who turned 13 that year. “It was great and he loves it,” he said. But then his daughters, who were nine and six at the time, started asking for their own. “There’s no way I’m going to spend 250 bucks apiece on them,” he said, clarifying that while he certainly could afford to buy them, he didn’t think it was right to give a child of that age such an expensive gift. The Shuffle changed that. “I will go buy them one of these for 100 bucks apiece,” he said. “They’ll probably lose them in 60 days. But they’ll get into it this way.”

[...]

“Smart Shuffle came from people complaining that songs aren’t random,” Jobs said, not needing to specify that I was the biggest complainer. “And of course it really is random, and we go talk to them and they say, ‘There’s two Bob Dylan songs right after another, how could it be random?’ and you explain to them it could happen, [and in fact] it often does. What they really want is to make sure that it doesn’t happen. Rather than argue whether it’s random or not, we can give them the outcome they want.”

Another Quarter

Did The iPad Turn The Corner This Quarter?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What this means it that boosted iPad sales are likely being driven by the $329 fifth-generation iPad. At this point, I’m happy to take the win if I’m an iPad fan, even if the growth is coming from the lower-end model.

[...]

The story of the iPad isn’t over. It’s a real question about how it grows, and what size of a business it becomes for Apple in the long term. Will sales flatten or start to grow slowly? Is the iPad truly going to get enough of Apple’s attention to potentially evolve into a fitting next-generation replacement for the Mac? Or will it remain in its current form as a “tweener” of a product, neither Mac nor iPhone. (I will remind you that despite all this talk about the iPad’s troubles, it still generated $5 billion in revenue last quarter—only slightly less than the Mac’s 5.6 billion.)

Apple's Services Business Alone Now The Size Of A Fortune 100 Company, Beats Out Facebook, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Apple's last four quarters of service revenue total $27.804 billion. That figure puts it in 97th place ahead of Facebook's entire business at $27.64 billion, and just ahead of Northwestern Mutual's $27.8 billion.

Apple Increasing Production Capacity For AirPods As Availability Issues Persist, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple continues to be vague about what’s causing the AirPods supply shortage.

Tim Cook Suggests Apple Is Building Autonomous Systems For More Than Cars, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

“[Autonomous] systems can be used in a variety of ways,” Cook said during a call with investors this afternoon. “A vehicle is only one, but there are many different areas of it. And I don’t want to go any further with that.”

Apple Continues To Struggle In China As Revenue Drops 10%, by Fitz Tepper, TechCrunch

Apple took in just over $8 billion in revenue from Greater China this quarter, which is less than half of what it made there two years ago in Q2 2015. It’s also a 10 percent decline year-over-year and a 25 percent decline from last quarter. To compare, revenue generated in the Americas was up 13 percent year-over-year, and down only 4 percent from last quarter.

Tim Cook Hopeful China Will Loosen Regulations On VPN Applications, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Cook explained that Apple would rather not remove the apps, but it is forced to comply with laws where it does business.

Tim Cook Dodges Question About Trump’s Claim Of US Apple Plants, Says Company Is Committed To Job Creation, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

When pressed for comment on Trump’s promise, Cook turned to talking about what Apple is currently doing to create jobs and fuel the United States economy.

Stuff

Avid Makes Limited Version Of Movie Editing Tool Media Composer Free For macOS, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"Media Composer | First" includes the ability to mix four video tracks, eight audio tracks, and modify them with host of built-in visual effects, transitions, color correction presets and titling templates.

Spark For Mac 1.3 Arrives With A Much Improved Search Feature, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

The new search feature in Spark for Mac 1.3 is highly visual and offers relevant and beautiful suggestions for your queries. As you type, the query is broken down by keywords that you can refine to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Notes

How Two 20-Somethings From Ireland Built A $9.2 Billion Company, by Ashlee Vance, Bloomberg

For years, the explosive growth of e-commerce has outpaced the underlying technology; companies wanting to set up shop have had to go to a bank, a payment processor, and “gateways” that handle connections between the two. This takes weeks, lots of people, and fee after fee. Much of the software that processes the trans­actions is decades old, and the more modern bits are written by banks, credit card companies, and financial middlemen, none of whom are exactly winning ­hackathons for elegant coding.

In 2010, Patrick and John Collison, brothers from rural Ireland, began to debug this process. Their company, Stripe Inc., built software that businesses could plug into websites and apps to instantly connect with credit card and banking systems and receive payments. The product was a hit with Silicon Valley startups. Businesses such as Lyft, Facebook, DoorDash, and thousands that aspired to be like them turned Stripe into the financial backbone of their operations.

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Of the five lines of iPods, I have bought three of them. I've always felt that the iPod classic was too expensive for me, whereas the iPod shuffle was too limiting for me, given that I was mostly listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Staircase-With-Widening-Price-Range Edition Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How Much Will The New iPhone Cost?, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

The graph shows a high degree of consistency of pattern: Every year a new iPhone is launched which replaces the one launched the year before. The older product is still offered at a reduced price. Price brackets are very firm and set at fixed intervals about $100 apart.

[...]

The overall pattern looks like a staircase with a widening price range where the lowest price remains constant and the upper price rises every three years by $100.

The Physics Behind The Magical Parallax Effect Running Your AR Apps, by Rhett Allain, Wired

Let's start with a super simple demo to demonstrate the effect. Here's what you do: Take your arm and hold it out in front of you with your thumb sticking up. Now close your left eye and look at your thumb. In particular, look at some object that is past your thumb (something in the room or something outside—it doesn't matter). Now open your left eye and close your right eye. Notice the apparent motion of your thumb with respect to background objects. It looks as though your thumb is moving. Now switch your viewing eye back and forth—left, right, left, right. Cool winky face, dude.

The moving thumb is an example of parallax. It's the apparent motion of an object with respect to background objects when the viewing point moves. The closer the object is to an eye (or a camera), the more it appears to move. In the case of your eyes, it's as though your view moves from the left to the right eye. You could also do this with an actual camera.

But here is the cool and useful part. If you know the actual distance between two viewing points and the angular change in position of an object, you can calculate the distance to the object. Parallax isn't just a cool party trick, it can also be used to find real stuff.

Apple Versus The Trademark Sleuths, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In recent years, Apple-obsessed sleuths have managed to ferret out the names and details of the company's products by searching trademark offices around the world. But their challenge has become exponentially harder thanks to a well-timed rule change at Jamaica's trademark office and some clever maneuvering in Liechtenstein.

Apple, Google Drop Trading Apps After Australian Intervention, by Emily Cadman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and Google have removed over 300 so-called binary trading applications from their online stores after intervention by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, according to an ASIC statement on Tuesday.

The country’s securities regulator said it made the request to Apple and Google after numerous cases of fraud involving unlicensed operators of the apps, which encourage consumers to make bets on whether instruments like shares or currencies will rise or fall. While some are legitimate operations, there has been an explosion in unlicensed products operating across borders and beyond the reach of regulators in recent years.

Stuff

Carpool Karaoke: The Series Launches August 8th, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple announced today that its next original TV series, Carpool Karaoke: The Series, will premiere on August 8th and air new episodes every Tuesday from that point on.

Apple Launches Limited-time Discount On Select Beats Products, But We’ve Seen Better Deals, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has launched a limited-time discount on select Beats products, offering slightly lower prices on the Beats EP headphones, the Beats Pill + speaker, and the urBeats earbuds.

I Mocked The Apple Pencil. Now My iPad Productivity Depends On It, by Matthew Miller, ZDNet

Many websites and advertisements show some pretty amazing Apple Pencil creations, primarily from artists who have talent and skill. I am a professional engineer, not an artist, and I struggle to draw stick people. I was hesitant to purchase an Apple Pencil because I couldn't see how I would use it.

Thankfully, there is much more you can do with an Apple Pencil than draw pictures, create cartoons, and develop electronic masterpieces.

Gboard Update Brings YouTube And Maps Integrations, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When using Gboard, tapping the G button will now present YouTube and Maps tabs alongside the standard Search option. Both new options present an assortment of suggestions when you first open them, along with the expected search function.

Flume 2.7 Adds Carousel Uploads, Saved Collections And 2FA Settings, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Flume 2.7 adds full support for carousel/multi-image uploads. Instagram added this feature back in February and Flume has supported browsing, viewing and editing them since Flume 2.5 which was released in March.

Spotify Is Coming After Apple With A New Podcast Initiative, by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

Spotify is testing whether to devote more resources to areas other than music. Podcasts are a fast-growing field currently dominated by Apple Inc. By increasing the revenue it gets from other media, Spotify could reduce the huge share of sales that goes to record labels.

Develop

Apple Expands The Tester Limits In TestFlight, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Developers can now invite up to 10,000 users to beta test their apps before they’re released on the App Store.

Developing For iPhone Pro, by Allen Pike

Instead of the Back button being located in literally the least convenient place on the screen, imagine it right under your thumb, nestled right beside our old friend the Home button. Maybe they’ll even let Jony put a little clock face in there. It’s going to be wild, people.

Notes

Apple's Sustainable Forestry Strategy Branches Out, by Joel Makower, GreenBiz

The tech giant has just announced the latest expansion of its sustainable forestry strategy, aimed at protecting or creating enough responsibly managed forests to offset its packaging footprint. Late last week, it said that the Forest Stewardship Council had certified 320,000 acres of working forest that the company supports in China, enough to cover all its product packaging.

[...]

"We found that the Chinese were willing to be wonderful partners, both on the private- and public-sector side because they have a real appreciation for the forest resource," Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, told me.

A Farewell To Screen Savers, The Imagined Dreams Of Our Machines, by Jacob Brogan, Slate

Maybe the change was inevitable. Screen savers were always disappearing; that was the point. Move your mouse, hit a key, and they vanish. Though their animations were often hallucinatory, it was that insubstantial quality that made them truly phantasmagoric. They operated at the outer limits of attention, engagement, and interaction. Screen savers belonged to a world we could only ever observe, a world of dreaming machines.

On Apple Removing VPN Apps From The App Store In China, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If Apple tugged on the “We refuse to remove these VPN apps from the App Store” thread, it would inextricably lead to their leaving the entire Chinese market. It’s easy to say “Apple shouldn’t have removed these apps.” It’s not so easy to say “Apple should pull out of China.”

[...]

If you really think VPN apps in the App Store is the sword Apple should die on in China, I get it. But I do not agree.

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Now that Apple has stopped selling iPod nano and shuffle, how long more before iTunes (the app) stops supporting the must-sync-via-USB iPods? Because, this may well be the moment Apple rewrites the iTunes app to make it simplier and more focused.

Apple may get rid of contacts and calendar syncing from iTunes, and have everything goes through iCloud. Similiarily, photo albums can be downloaded and sync-ed across Wi-Fi. And, finally, all those code dealing with moving music and podcasts and movies and other media between the computer and iPods can be thrown away. Oh, and no more purchasing of iOS apps on the Mac, nor can you rearrange the icons on your iPhone while you are in iTunes.

What emerges may well be a simplier and more focused iTunes that we hopefully will enjoy using.

(Given that Apple just recently announced it is bringing the iTunes app into Windows store, I am not expecting iTunes app to be broken up into little pieces of little apps, like how it is being done on iOS. I am expecting feature-and-user-interface parity between iTunes on the two platforms.)

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Thanks for reading.