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Archive for September 2017

The Tiny-Lines Edition Sunday, September 24, 2017

iPhone 8 Is Seeing Some Tiny Launch Day Lines, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

For one, this is the 10th generation of the iPhone, and hype has probably just died down. People are no longer lining up to buy their first or second smartphone, and this year’s model doesn’t have any revolutionary new features that people are willing to wait overnight for.

More importantly, Apple is launching another iPhone in November — one that’s far more interesting. If you’re the type of person who is willing to wait overnight for a phone to ensure you get it on day one, you’re probably the kind of person who would buy the cutting-edge model — the iPhone X — not the iterative update that’s coming out today. It’s the same reason there wasn’t a rush for the iPhone SE, either.

iPhone 8: Here's How Apple Tried To Sell Me On It, by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET

"If the camera is the most important thing to you, buy the 8. The X doesn't have a better camera," she replied, deliberately pronouncing it "ten."

I put my 6 next to the 8. "Yes, but doesn't this look just like my 6?" I asked.

"Well, the 8 is going to be much faster."

Stuff

Beats Studio 3 Bring Premium Noise Canceling And Battery Life At A Premium Price, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Transcribing audio is a pain in the ass, and the background sound makes it next to impossible to catch everything. With the headphones on and noise canceling fired up, it’s easy to remain blissfully oblivious to your surroundings. The company’s developed an impressive bit of noise canceling that works across a broad range of scenarios — I’m currently typing this from a window seat on an Airbus A320, and the Studio 3 are doing the trick drowning out the hum.

Skype Is Broken On Apple's Newest iPhones, But A Fix Is Coming, by Mehedi Hassan, MSPoweruser

People who have purchased the new iPhones have started complaining about a bug on Skype’s iOS app that’s causing the app to crash on the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Develop

How We Grow Junior Developers At The BBC, by Josh Tumath, Medium

I’m currently on the BBC’s Software Engineering Graduate Scheme, which is a two year long scheme for anyone who has a Computer Science related degree. The scheme is a great way to enter the BBC as a junior-level Software Engineer, but with the added bonus of being able to move to a different team every six months with opportunities to grow a variety of technical and soft skills. I have recently finished my first year in scheme, where I served in BBC Sport’s services team and BBC Children’s responsive website team.

I don’t think there is any other scheme like this in the world that allows you to get Web development, mobile and Smart TV app development, backend service development and embedded systems development under your belt in the space of two years in the same organisation; all while getting to know some pretty amazing people and highly skilled teams along the way.

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Once upon a time, people were saying Apple was missing out on the AI bandwagon. Turned out, they didn't.

Once upon a time, people were saying Apple was missing out on the VR bandwagon. Turned out, the bandwagon is AR, and Apple is the driving position.

If these people are saing Apple is missing out on some new bandwagon again, wait a few years before you believe anything these people says.

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I fear the lines for iPhone X.

(Were there any lines for AirPods?)

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Thanks for reading.

The Got-Good-Supply Edition Saturday, September 23, 2017

Apple CEO Tim Cook: iPhone 8 And Apple Watch Series 3 Are Sold Out In Some Places, by Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

"I am thrilled," Cook told CNBC's Josh Lipton on Friday. "Here's what we're seeing right now. The watch with LTE — the Series 3 Watch — we are sold out in so many places around the world. And we're working really hard to meet demand. We've sold out of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in some stores, but we've got good supply there. You can see what's going on here this morning — I couldn't be happier."

Apple Shares '8 Things To Love About iPhone 8' Video, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple this morning published a new iPhone 8 ad to its YouTube channel, highlighting eight things to love about the new device.

Not A Screen Replacement

AppleCare+ iPhone 8 Back Screen Glass Replacement $99, Not Screen Repair Cost Of $29, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Users with AppleCare+ for the iPhone are accustomed to a relatively new $29 screen replacement from Apple —but that only applies to the screen in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and not the back glass.

Disassemblies of the iPhone 8 family have shown a relatively simple disassembly process for a screen replacement. However, the back glass is retained with a significant quantity of glue and is essentially fused into the case assembly itself.

Fakes Everywhere

I Uncovered A Group Of Scammers Posing As Apple Support Technicians, by Louise Matsakis, Motherboard

While messing around on Twitter late Tuesday night, I noticed people discussing iCloud Keychain, Apple's password management system. I clicked on a hashtag associated with the tool, #iCloudKeychain, to check out more tweets about it.

Instead of finding people chattering about their iPhones, I stumbled upon over a dozen accounts that could easily be confused for official Apple tech support.

Did A Harvard Study Prove That Apple Slows Down iPhones To Boost Sales Of New Ones?, by Kim LaCapria, Snopes

The years-old clickbait was revived in September 2017 just as new iPhones were released, with no additional information substantiating the original claim. No Harvard study proves that Apple slows down iPhones down intentionally, and the original post that was rehashed for future articles seemed to contradict — if not outright disprove — the theory.

Stuff

iTunes Finally Offers 48-hour Rentals In The US, by Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

If you rent a movie on iTunes in the U.S., you now have 48 hours to start watching and finishing it. And you can watch the movie as much as you want during that 48-hour window. As always, you have 30 days to start watching the movie.

Apple Adds Global FeliCa Support To Apple Pay With iPhone 8, iPhone X & Apple Watch Series 3, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

With FeliCa support, users can apply Apple Pay to Suica charges and tap-to-pay solutions from Docomo and QUICPay. Until now, however, FeliCa functionality was limited to iPhone and Apple Watch products sold within Japan.

Dropbox Integrates With iOS 11’s Files App In Latest Update, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Adding Files support means Dropbox files can now live alongside files from iCloud Drive and other file providers.

Develop

Designing Websites For iPhone X, by Timothy Horton, Webkit.org

If your page has only text and images above a solid background color, the default insets will look great.

Other pages — especially those designed with full-width horizontal navigation bars, like the page below — can optionally go a little further to take full advantage of the features of the new display.

Apple Details Web Developer Tips On Designing For The iPhone X, Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

Once the viewport is adjusted, content may now appear hidden under the sensor housing and home indicator. Apple notes that the next step here is to account for the iPhone X’s safe area. By accounting for the safe area, a web developer can web sure that content won’t be obscured by the sensor housing, home indicator, or rounded corners.

This is the crux for designers; for its bezel-less design, the iPhone X just reintroduces bezels into its software.

Tech's Push To Teach Coding Isn't About Kids' Success – It's About Cutting Wages, by Ben Tarnoff, The Guardian

Everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to code. Coding can be a rewarding, even pleasurable, experience, and it’s useful for performing all sorts of tasks. More broadly, an understanding of how code works is critical for basic digital literacy – something that is swiftly becoming a requirement for informed citizenship in an increasingly technologized world.

But coding is not magic. It is a technical skill, akin to carpentry. Learning to build software does not make you any more immune to the forces of American capitalism than learning to build a house. Whether a coder or a carpenter, capital will do what it can to lower your wages, and enlist public institutions towards that end.

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I am not sure if there are some kind of reverse placebo effect happening in my brain, but ever since I've updated my iPhone to iOS 11, there seems to be more TouchID failures in recogninzing my fingers. (And no, my fingers are not wet.)

Coupled with the fact that there doesn't seem to be any visual indicators that TouchID failed to recognize my fingers, this is starting to get frustrating.

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Thanks for reading.

The What-Can-We-Create Edition Friday, September 22, 2017

How Apple Built An iPhone Camera That Makes Everyone A Professional Photographer, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

"There’s the Augmented Reality team, saying, 'Hey, we need more from the camera because we want to make AR a better experience and the camera plays a role in that,'" Schiller says. "And the team that's creating Face ID, they need camera technology and hardware, software, sensors, and lenses to support on-device biometric identification. And so there are many roles the camera plays, either as a primary thing — to take a picture — or as a support thing, to help unlock your phone or enable an AR experience. And so there's a great deal of work between all the teams and all of these elements."

And when all these sides work together there's the potential to create a new paradigm for phone-based photography. When I ask Schiller about the evolution of the iPhone's camera, he acknowledges that the company has been deliberately and incrementally working towards a professional-caliber camera. But he quickly follows up with an addendum that tells you most everything you need to know about Apple and camera design: "It's never just 'let's make a better camera,'" he says. "It's what camera can we create? What can we contribute to photography?"

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Reviewed: The Best Smartphone Camera We’ve Ever Tested, by David Cardinal, DXOMark

Overall, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus is an excellent choice for the needs of nearly every smartphone photographer. It features outstanding image quality, zoom for those needing to get closer to their subjects, and an industry-leading Portrait mode for artistic efforts. It is at the top of our scoring charts in nearly every category — and in particular, its advanced software allows it to do an amazing job of capturing high-dynamic range scenes and images in which it can recognize faces.

iPhone 8 Is World's Fastest Phone (It's Not Even Close), by Mark Spoonauer, Tom's Guide

The "Bionic" part in the name of Apple's A11 Bionic chip isn't just marketing speak. It's the most powerful processor ever put in a mobile phone. We've put this chip to the test in both synthetic benchmarks and some real-world speed trials, and it obliterates every Android phone we tested.

Craig Federighi Says 3D Touch App Switcher Gesture Will Return In Future Update To iOS 11, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Federighi, replying to an email from MacRumors reader Adam Zahn, said Apple had to "temporarily drop support" for the gesture due to an unidentified "technical constraint."

For Streaming Only

4K iTunes Content Limited To Streaming Only, No Downloads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple, customers can download a local copy of an HD movie, and on occasion, HD movies that support HDR and Dolby Vision, but 4K movies are not available for download and thus can't be watched without an internet connection.

[...]

It's not clear why Apple is not allowing customers to download 4K content onto their devices, but it could potentially be a licensing issue.

Stuff

Apple HomeKit Devices Are Suddenly Booming, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

Perhaps the biggest boost came from Ikea when it announced in August that its entire Trådfri range of smart lights, switches, and sensors will become HomeKit compatible via a software update in the Fall.

Encrypt.me Review, by Mike Williams, TechRadar

Encrypt.me's main focus is on simplicity. It watches your activities, and automatically connects to the fastest VPN location whenever you access an insecure network. Users don't need to understand any of the underlying technical details: it just works.

Just Press Record Refreshes Its iOS Design And Adds Powerful Features To Its Watch App, by John Voorhees, MacStories

My favorite way to make quick recordings on my iPhone is Just Press Record. It’s a great way to capture a thought before it escapes me. With the release of iOS 11 and watchOS 4, the app launched an update with a modern design and more powerful watchOS app that makes it even easier to use.

Note Transfers Done Simple With Carbo’s iOS 11 Update, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Now, with Carbo and iOS 11, you can import an image of your notes from Photos by simply dragging it into Carbo for editing. Whether you want to edit your notes immediately or build up a library for later, dragging images from Photos is a much better process than using Carbo’s built-in camera.

Netflix Update Brings HDR Content For The 2017 iPad Pro Line, iPhone X, iPhone 8, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

Currently, it looks like only Netflix original series and movies are available in HDR.

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I was eager to update to iOS 11, because I really didn't like the Control Center in iOS 10. Not only am I usually in the wrong panel when I flick up the Control Center, but when switching between the two panes (standard and music; I don't have any HomeKit devices) by swiping, I often unintentionally 'swiped' on either the brightness control or the scrub control.

Now, accidentally changing the brightness of the iPhone screen is not a big deal; this can be easily readjusted back. Changing the playback position of a song that I'm listening is not a big deal either. But, when I am listening to an audiobook (which can range from 8 hours to 20+ hours), or a podcast (30 minutes to 2 hours), accidentally activating the scrub control and changing the playback position is a big deal. Finding the position to scrub back is often difficult and time-consuming.

So, when iOS 11 arrives on Tuesday with the promise of a single Control Center pane, I felt happy. On Wednesday night, after noticing no wide-spread reports of problems, I downloaded and installed iOS 11 on my iPhone.

Less than 48 hours later, on Friday night, while waiting for the bus to arrive, I was listening to a podcast on my iPhone. I wanted to check the bus arrival time, which is on the Widget panel of the lock screen. So, I turn on my iPhone, and swipe from left to right to switch from the Notification Center panel of the lock screen to the Today's Widget panel of the lock screen.

And, yes, I've accidentally activated the scrub control on the lock screen, and I lost the playback postion of the podcast.

Sigh.

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Thanks for reading.

The iPhone-8-In-India Edition Thursday, September 21, 2017

iPhone 8 Camera Review: India, by Austin Mann

I’m writing to you from a small hotel room in India having just experienced a magical adventure in western India orchestrated by friends at Ker & Downey. I’ve shot thousands of images and countless portraits with the iPhone 8 Plus and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned.

While the iPhone 8 Plus looks essentially the same as the phone we’ve had since the 6 Plus, there are some new features in the 8 Plus which really impact creative pros across the board — most notably Portrait Lighting, along with a few other hidden gems.

Getting To Know iOS 11

Turning Off Wi-Fi And Bluetooth In iOS 11's Control Center Doesn’t Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi Or Bluetooth, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

In its own documentation, the company says that "in iOS 11 and later, when you toggle the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, your device will immediately disconnect from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth accessories. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will continue to be available." That is because Apple wants the iPhone to be able to continue using AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and other features, according to the documentation.

[...]

The takeaway is that if you want to really and completely turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on iOS11 you can't do it from the Control Center anymore, you'll have to do it through the Settings app.

What To Do If Spotlight In iOS11 Seems Out Of Focus, by Rob Griffiths

The fix is easy enough, though incredibly aggravating and time consuming: I have to tap into every…single…app that’s marked as Off, and toggle it on. I cannot overstate how much I’d love a global “enable all” button right now.

11 Things You Should Know About iOS 11, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

It’s new iPhone season, and while setup isn’t a great hardship, it is the most time-consuming part of getting a new iPhone. For years, you’ve been able to set up an Apple TV automatically by placing an iOS device near it. Now you can finally set up iOS 11 devices the same way!

So, if you have a new iPhone 8 on the way, for instance, I highly recommend upgrading your existing iPhone to iOS 11 before it arrives. Then, when you set up your new iPhone, you’ll save yourself from entering Apple ID credentials, Wi-Fi passwords, and the like.

Watch Updates

How Your Apple Watch Connects To Wi-Fi Networks When Away From Your iPhone, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Essentially, the Series 3 GPS + Cellular watch tries to save battery life at all times by using your iPhone's connection, or failing that, a Wi-Fi network. What's happening here is that the watch is attempting to jump on a so-called "captive" network — a public network with an interstitial login prompt or terms and conditions agreement. (You've probably seen these at a Starbucks, McDonalds, or Panera.)

In theory, the Apple Watch shouldn't be allowed to connect to captive networks at all, because there's no way for it to get through that interstitial layer. Unfortunately, watchOS 4 has a bug where captive networks are being recognized identically to normal saved Wi-Fi networks — so while you're technically "connected" to a network, you won't be able to connect to the internet; nor will you be able to go to cellular, because the Watch's auto-switching prevents you from connecting.

Why The Apple Watch Won't Replace Your Doctor Anytime Soon, by Christina Farr, CNBC

While the Apple Watch certainly could become a screening tool for disease ("you should seek further medical attention"), there are high regulatory hurdles to become an actual diagnostic tool ("you have or do not have atrial fibrillation"). The latter requires a greater investment in clinical studies and research.

[...]

That would be unprecedented territory for Apple, which would need to think about a lot more than designing elegant products.

TV Updates

Apple TV 4K Review: So Close, So Far, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

I am very confident Apple is going to figure this TV thing out. It’s the only company that has the combination of power and care to actually do it. But the Apple TV 4K’s unrealized potential just makes it obvious that the future of TV is still pretty far away, and it’s simply too expensive to gamble on in the meantime.

Basic Human Decency

Tim Cook Issues Strongest Language Yet Regarding DACA, Supporting DREAMers, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"This is unacceptable, this is not who we are as a country," Cook said at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum on Wednesday morning regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order's pending elimination. "I am personally shocked that there's even a discussion on this. It's not a political thing, at least I don't see it that way at all. It's about basic human decency and respect."

"If I were a world leader, my goal would be to monopolize the world's talent," Cook declared. "Smart people create jobs. ... I'd have a very aggressive plan, not to just let a few people in, but I'd be recruiting."

Apple's Cook Slams Trump, Says DACA About 'Human Dignity', by Ian Sherr, CNET

Tim Cook disagrees with President Donald Trump, and he's increasingly outspoken about it.

Stuff

Apple Upgrades Safari For Older Versions Of macOS, by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

Although Safari 11 patched several vulnerabilities that had existed in its predecessor, the most notable change was the introduction of what Apple called "Intelligent Tracking Protection," or ITP.

ITP automatically deletes some browser cookies -- the small bits of code used by sites to "remember" previous visitors -- to crack down on cross-site tracking. The practice has been widely criticized by privacy advocates for its use by advertisers to follow users from site to site, then bombard them with ads similar to those clicked on previously. Also, those cross-site cookies will be ignored after 24 hours (unless the user during that time has again interacted with the original site).

MeasureKit Brings AR Measuring Tools To The iPhone, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

While I think a simple AR ruler as seen in that first demo would have still been useful, MeasureKit offers much more than that. The app contains a comprehensive set of tools that makes your iPhone or iPad into a sort of Swiss Army Knife of measuring.

Home 3.0 Offers Powerful HomeKit Automation In An iOS 11-Optimized Package, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

When setting up HomeKit automations, Home 3.0 now contains several new event options. One of those options is an event trigger currently unavailable in Apple’s own Home app: characteristic value ranges. It taps into precise value measurements tracked by HomeKit accessories – such as the current temperature as read by a smart thermostat – and can use those values as event triggers. For example, your thermostat could trigger a Home action when the house hits a certain indoor temperature.

Myst-Like Puzzle Game 'The Witness' Now Available From The App Store, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Popular PC and console game The Witness finally made its way to the iPhone and iPad tonight with the official release of the iOS version of the game. If you're not familiar with The Witness, it's a 3D Myst-like puzzle adventure game designed by Jonathan Blow, the developer behind popular game Braid.

iOS 11 Has Introduced A Snapchat Loophole That Is Allowing People To Secretly Record Other Users’ Snaps, by Mike Wright, Telegraph

Tests conducted by the Telegraph showed that users were not getting alerts when snaps were captured using screen record until they installed the 10.17.5 update.

Even with the latest update, our tests found that screen recording didn't always trigger a screenshot notification, and when it did these sometimes came through after a delay.

Craig Federighi: Apple Has Considered Nightstand Mode For iPhone X, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

"This is definitely something we've considered," said Federighi, in response to an email from MacRumors reader Zain. "This probably makes the most sense for customers who charge their phone in a dock that tilts up the phone."

However, Federighi noted that it's "not currently super common" for people to charge their iPhones that way.

The Hear-Me-Just-Fine Edition Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: Apple Watch Series 3 With Cellular, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

I had the watch about chest high when I was speaking, but he said he could hear me “clear as day.” I could also hear him clearly from the Apple Watch speaker.

Next, I dropped my arm and started walking, but continued my conversation with him. He said he could still hear me just fine, even though my arm was down by my side and I was walking at a normal pace. To be honest, I wanted to see what I could do so that he couldn’t hear me, but he kept saying it sounded fine.

Apple Watch Series 3, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Battery life has been fine. “All day” is about right — charging at night, using it all day, and I’ve had plenty left in the tank when I went to bed again. That said, I’ve been testing a 42mm watch. I can’t speak to the battery life of the 38mm models. This is what I expected, but it’s kind of exciting when you think about it. Apple turned Apple Watch into a goddamn cell phone, without making the device thicker or heavier, and it still lasts all day.

Apple Watch Series 3 With LTE Review: Missed Connections, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

On more than one occasion, I detached myself from the phone, traveled blocks away from my home or office, and watched the Watch struggle to connect to LTE. It would appear to pick up a single bar of some random Wi-Fi signal, and hang on that, rather than switching to LTE.

[...]

The day before publication of this review, Apple sent a statement about this, saying that the company discovered “that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release.”

[...]

It’s worth noting, though, that Apple’s aggressive estimates for Series 3 battery life are based on 30-minute workouts while connected to LTE. So long-distance runners or hikers may find themselves sorely disappointed by the battery life if you go out for a multi-hour workout while the Watch is connected to both GPS and LTE. In fact, you’d probably want to go into the Watch’s settings and turn off cellular data until you need it, which in some ways defeats the purpose of having an LTE-connected watch.

Apple Launches watchOS 4 For Apple Watch With Improved Activity & Workout Tracking, Revamped Music App, Siri Watch Face, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

The Apple Watch interface has been refined and improved with Tuesday's launch of watchOS 4, including a new vertically scrolling app dock, the ability to view installed apps in a list view instead of grid, and new watch faces including a Siri smart assistant and characters from the iconic "Toy Story" films.

Forget The Swiss, It's Fossil That Apple Is Threatening, by Joe Thompson, Hodinkee

Then along came Apple. Suddenly, Fossil was competing with a monster 67 times bigger than it was (measured by revenues). “Prior to that, we were clearly positioned as the competitively advantaged leader in a growing category,” Fossil CEO Kosta Kartsotis told financial analysts in February. “However, with the introduction of technology into wrist devices, traditional watches came under pressure and we were disadvantaged. We didn’t have the technology capabilities to compete with smartwatches, leading to a decline in our market.”

iOS 11

Apple Posts How-To Videos Featuring Third-Party Apps, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Like the videos posted by Apple in August, these spots strike a good balance between being informative and humorous. I’m glad to see Apple calling out third-party apps too because the ‘Pro’ in iPad Pro is as much about the third-party tools that are available as it is about the device’s hardware features.

iOS 11: The MacStories Review, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

With iOS 11, Apple’s iPad vision feels resolute again. Multitasking is blending with multitouch, giving drag and drop a new purpose; the Mac’s best features – from file management to the dock – have been rethought, simplified, and extended specifically for iOS. The iPad’s mission is to reimagine the very concept of a portable computer by empowering a new generation of users to do their best work wherever they are, whenever they want.

If anything, iOS 9 was merely the iPad’s overture.

iOS 11: How Control Center Works, by Jason Snell, Macworld

When I first saw the new Control Center, I was frustrated with the demotion of audio controls—which I use all the time—from a full page to a single icon. But Apple’s design is excellent: You can tap on the play/pause, next, and previous buttons within the audio control. There’s also a speaker icon in the upper-right corner of the audio control, and if you tap you can quickly choose your audio output device.

Similarly, the wireless control block is more sophisticated than it can appear. From the main Control Center screen, you can toggle Airplane Mode, Cellular Data, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. But if you 3D Touch (or tap and hold on non-3D Touch devices), you’ll get extra options to control AirDrop and Personal Hotspot.

iOS 11’s New Control Center Will Freak You Out, But Give It A Chance, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Overall, the new Control Center is an improvement that you’ll ultimately get used to. It feels a little unfinished, though. It took weeks after my initial shock to get accustomed to iOS 11’s Control Center. It’s not perfect, and could do with a better design and some usability changes, but it’s like taking the trash out: it looks a little nasty but you get over it and deal with it.

Apple's HEIF Vs JPEG: Here's What Advantages And Disadvantages There Currently Are To Apple's New Image File Format, by PhoneArena

The real benefits of HEIF will shine when computational photography becomes commonplace—or at least more so than now—and the format becomes more widely adopted, but this is still quite a way off. For now, and as far as us regular users are concerned, the new format will indeed save storage, but it will also cause headaches for many due to compatibility issues.

Apple Sets New 150MB Ceiling For Over The Air App Store Downloads, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

"We've increased the cellular download limit from 100 MB to 150 MB, letting customers download more apps from the App Store over their cellular network," Apple said.

Ikea’s ARKit Furniture App ‘Place’ Is Now Available On The App Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Place hit the App Store this evening touting the ability to position furniture wherever you want in your home using augmented reality. Designed for both iPhone and iPad, Ikea Place uses ARKit as its foundation and features a catalog of thousands of Ikea products, whether it be a sofa, bed, or any other piece of furniture. Everything is true-to-scale, meaning how it looks in the app is how it will look in your home.

And TV Too

tvOS 11 Update For Apple TV Is Now Available, Here’s Everything New, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

tvOS 11 brings automatic dark mode switching, Home Screen Sync, proper AirPods support, and more to the Apple TV.

Apple's Directions

Apple Becomes A Chipmaker To One-Up Smartphone Foes, by Tom Simonite, Wired

The new chip’s prominence reflects Apple’s deepening investment in chip design. Last week the company also revealed it had built new custom chips or chip components for artificial intelligence, graphics, and video. And Apple highlighted two new chips in its refreshed smartwatch, suggesting they helped the company add a cellular connection to the device without hurting its battery life.

Computer and gadget makers have traditionally outsourced the work of designing and making the processors at the heart of their products. In the PC era, Apple followed this path as well: The processors in its Macintosh computers were initially built by Motorola, and later by Intel. In smartphones, however, industry watchers say Apple’s strategy of designing chips itself has given it a big advantage—and arguably made its mobile chips the best on the planet.

Apple’s Lisa Jackson Says The EPA Hasn’t Changed, Leadership Has Changed, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

“Every EPA administrator has committed to regulate transparently. We don’t have that commitment anymore. It’s not the EPA, it’s that the leadership has decided to move away from the transparency that assures people that their health and their community come first rather than somebody else’s bottom line.”

Jackson then talked about Apple more specifically. Many people think you have to choose between repairing and replacing a device. “I don’t think you can say repairability equals longevity,” she said. Instead, she thinks Apple should focus on building durable products. By focusing on durability, you can minimize both repairs and replacements.

Stuff

Apple Updates Pages, Numbers, And Keynote With New iOS 11 Features, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Following the release of iOS 11 to the general public earlier today, Apple is now rolling out updated versions of Numbers, Pages, and Keynote for iOS. The updates bring support for new iOS 11 features, performance improvements, and more.

Hands On: OmniFocus Update Exploits Powerful New Features In iOS 11, by Mike Wuerthele and Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

The OmniFocus 2.21 To Do app for iPad and iPhone has been updated to make excellent use of new features in iOS 11. You can now add To Do tasks directly through Siri and by dragging and dropping from other apps. Once you've got a task in OmniFocus, that same dragging and dropping is also used superbly well for manipulating and organizing your work.

Procreate 4 Delivers Drag And Drop, Files App Support, Other iOS 11 Enhancements, by AppleInsider

Backing up the UI is a new painting engine called Silica M. Built entirely on Apple's Metal 2 API, with help from Swift 4 and Accelerate, Silica M draws on iPad's raw processing power to deliver a fluid and accurate painting experience.

The engine powers a new smudge tool that lets users mix and smudge paint with fast and accurate results. According to the developers, smudge is now 250 times more accurate than previous Procreate builds.

Apple, Microsoft Working To Fix iOS 11 Mail App Issues With Outlook.com, Office 365 & Exchange Accounts, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple says it is working closely with Microsoft to fix an issue that prevents Outlook.com, Office 365, and Exchange 2016 account holders from sending or replying to emails using Apple's native Mail app in iOS 11.

Develop

Apple Releases Xcode 9 With Swift 4 And iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, And macOS High Sierra SDKs, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Xcode 9 introduces Swift 4 and all of the SDKs necessary to develop apps for iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and macOS High Sierra, including the new Core ML framework for machine learning and ARKit for augmented reality.

Xcode 9 includes a new structure-based editor with native Markdown support and faster navigation through code, plus it includes built-in refactoring that works across Swift, Objective-C, C, C++, Interface Builder, and more.

Apple Updates TestFlight & Swift Playgrounds For iOS 11's New Tech, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

In conjunction with the release of iOS 11, Apple has also released new versions of TestFlight and Swift Playgrounds, redesigning the former's interface and adding an things like an Augmented Reality challenge to the latter.

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Got to go. It's time to configure my Control Center...

~

Thanks for reading.

The Ambitious-And-Impressive Edition Tuesday, September 19, 2017

iOS 11, Thoroughly Reviewed, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Today, the good news for the iPad continues with the public release of iOS 11. There’s a lot of stuff in this update, and a bunch of it benefits iPhone owners, too. But Apple has put a lot of work into the iPad-related parts of the operating system this year—the tablet still exists somewhere in between the iPhone and the Mac, but the changes to the UI and to the underpinnings of iOS 11 help iPads move further toward the Mac than they’ve ever been before. The upgrade is even more significant for tablets than iOS 9, both because the changes are bigger and because more iPads can actually take advantage of all these fancy productivity features now.

iOS 11 Review: Apple’s Most Ambitious And Impressive Upgrade In Years, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In iOS 11, you can transfer key features (including settings, preferences, and your keychain passwords) directly between devices by pointing your old iPhone’s camera at the new model, which displays a pattern that allows the two devices to pair with each other wirelessly and begin transferring information. When all was said and done, I still needed to restore my iCloud backup and reload apps from the App Store, but the process was measurably smoother than ever before. Assuming that everyone updates their old devices to iOS 11 before buying new iPhones, this year’s iPhone upgrades should be much smoother for new phone buyers.

Control Center, the interface that lets you make quick changes to your iPhone with a quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen, is completely redesigned in iOS 11. Gone is the old three-page interface, replaced with a single page of icons, buttons, and sliders. You can customize Control Center now—for example, to add a button to enable Low Power Mode or remove the button for HomeKit. Most of the buttons also provide additional features if you 3D Touch them (or tap and hold if you’re not on a 3D-touch-capable device).

iOS 11 Arrives Today ... And It Is A Mess, by Paul Thurrott

Put simply, adapting the touch-first iOS user interface to traditional multitasking and productivity tasks is a work in progress as I’ve noted. It is a mess, a glorious mess if you will. But a mess.

There are a few arguments to be made about how people just adapt to what they use. But that’s where iOS really lets down the typical user. Because it works differently across devices, users will face a learning curve every single time they acquire a new device or upgrade to iOS 11 on any device. That is, you don’t just learn iOS 11 once. You have to relearn it on each device to some degree. And then remember what the differences are when you move between them.

Apple Pay Cash Coming In Future Update To iOS 11 And watchOS 4, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple Pay Cash is a new peer-to-peer payment service that enables iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users to send and receive money.

Platonic Ideal Of That First iPhone

The iPhone 8: A Worthy Refinement Before The Next Generation, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

So here’s my conclusion, after nearly a week testing the 8 and 8 Plus: The 8s feel like a swan song — or, to put it another way, they represent Apple’s platonic ideal of that first iPhone, an ultimate refinement before eternal retirement.

Unsurprisingly, both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are very good phones. Most of Apple’s improvements over the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are minor, but if you have an older model, either of the 8s will feel like a solid upgrade. And if you are considering upgrading from an Android phone, there’s one area where the new iPhones still rank head and shoulders above their competition — the processor, the engine that runs the entire device, where Apple is so far ahead that it almost feels unfair.

iPhone 8 And 8 Plus Review: Change In Small Doses, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

All of these elements come together in bodies that are longer, thicker and weightier than before. For those keeping track, the 8 is as thick as the 7 Plus, and the 8 Plus is the heaviest of them all. You wouldn't think half an ounce would make a difference, but it does: The smaller 8 is still comfortable to use for long periods of time, but the combination of its weight and bezels make the 8 Plus one of the more uncomfortable big smartphones I've tested lately.

[...]

Sure, objectively speaking, the [TrueTone] feature makes the display less accurate -- as I write this, I'm in our dim studio and the iPhone 8 has adjusted its display to be a little warmer than normal. The flip side is that the colors I see now seem a little more accurate in this context, and everything is generally easier on the eyes too.

Review: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

The new Portrait Mode improves background blurring and performance in low light to make those photos even better. Not only that, Apple has added a new portrait feature to the iPhone 8 Plus: Portrait Lighting.

Portrait Lighting uses facial landmarking and depth maps to create photos that are unbelievable—and quite honestly photos that were unattainable to people like me before using this iPhone.

iPhone 8/Plus Review: With This Traditionally Beautiful Powerhouse, Should You Really Wait For iPhone X?, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The first thing you might notice is zero shutter lag, something Apple told me it has been able to achieve on both iPhone 8 and 8 Plus with a bit of help from the A11 Bionic chip. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus got close, but the 8 and 8 Plus are the first iPhones with true zero shutter lag and in my tests that truly made for a more satisfying experience when snapping photos.

I also appreciated some new haptic feedback Apple added when you tap the shutter button, a nice touch that makes a lot of sense now that zero shutter lag has arrived. Initially you might think the haptics would blur the pictures but they don’t at all – it’s just enough to make it feel like a real shutter button.

The iPhones 8, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I was tempted to write this review under the conceit that there was no such thing as the iPhone X. Just don’t even mention the iPhone X, and consider the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as though they were the only two new phones coming from Apple this year. That conceit would work, insofar as the iPhones 8 are excellent year-over-year upgrades compared to their iPhone 7 counterparts.

But ignoring the iPhone X would actually do an injustice to the 8 and 8 Plus, because so much of what is inside the X is also inside the 8’s. These phones are in no way shape or form some sort of half-hearted or minor update over the iPhone 7.

Tim Cook Speaks To Good Morning America, Discusses iOS 11, iPhone X, Face ID. Steve Jobs Legacy, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Cook noted that Jobs's vision for products from the company remains at Apple, and continues unabated to this day. The CEO noted that Apple has never been about selling the most of anything despite the iPhone's success and has always been about making the best for all of its users and not just a select few.

"[Apple is] a values-based company that is making insanely great products that are simple to use where the technology takes the back seat, " Cook said, about Jobs's foundation for Apple. "The user experience is top for us —we want users to be happy."

APFS Not On Fusion Drives, Yet

New Apple File System Coming In macOS High Sierra Won't Work With Fusion Drives, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

When macOS High Sierra is released to the public next week, the new Apple File System (APFS) feature will be limited to Macs with all-flash built-in storage, which means it won't work with iMacs that include Fusion Drives.

Stuff

Apple Raises Prices For iPhone Screen Replacements By $20, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

That means that it now costs $149 to replace a screen on the smaller 6S and 7 instead of the original $129, and $169 for the 6S Plus and 7 Plus, up from the old price of $149. The new $149 and $169 prices also apply to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which will be released later this week.

Apple iBeacons Are Helping Blind Shoppers Find Their Way, by Emily Chung, CBC

The project installs and programs palm-sized Apple iBeacons that use Bluetooth wireless signals to connect with nearby users' phones via an iPhone app called BlindSquare. It provides directions to help them navigate through doors and vestibules, to service counters, washrooms, and other important parts of buildings such as stores and restaurants.

Index Is A Clean, Colorful App For Organizing Your Ideas And Digital Content, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

The makers of Index are hoping they’ve created the only app you’ll need to access all your files, notes and links.

“We’re giving people a full control panel for the digital world,” founder Brian Cox told me.

Momento Brings Depth Filters To Version 4.0, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

A GIF maker for your Live Photos, videos, and bursts, Momento makes it easy to turn your memories into bite-sized, customized animations. In version 4.0, Momento introduces a new way to take advantage of the iPhone’s dual camera system: depth mapped filters.

Develop

What Comes After User-Friendly Design?, by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, Fast Company

The discussion around privacy, security, and transparency underscores a broader transformation in the typical role of the designer. [...]

So what does it mean to be friendly to users–er, people–today? Do we need a new way to talk about design that isn’t necessarily friendly, but respectful? I talked to a range of designers about how we got here, and what comes next.

HTML5 DRM Finally Makes It As An Official W3C Recommendation, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C's members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.

The Demo-Veteran Edition Monday, September 18, 2017

iPhone X: The Demo Gods Are Cheeky, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

As a veteran of product demos — I gave my first one 49 years ago this very month — I feel for Federighi and admire his composure. As I quickly learned, something almost always goes wrong. Sometimes it’s the demonstrator. For the first demo of the HP 9100A I was to give at the Orly Hilton in September 1968, I forgot to bring the Samsonite suitcase containing the magical machine.

More often, though, it’s the product that behaves erratically or, like a stubborn mule, altogether refuses to work when rebooted. That’s why you always have one or more spares. Or, in the case of delicate prototypes that travel poorly, one brings along a medic. When we flew around the country during the Be, Inc IPO Road Show, one of our engineers who had also studied dentistry came along to revive our Internet Appliance’s delicate hardware whenever it was manhandled too vigorously as it entered and exited the cargo hold.

Inside Apple's Products

The New Watch 3 And iPhone X Interfaces Are Examples Of A Classic Steve Jobs Insight, by Dave Edwards, Quartz

I’ve always thought of Jobs’ UI design as following a simple rule: create products that work for the user, don’t make the user work for the product.

[...]

The moment that became clear for me was when Apple introduced the new Watch 3. In the demo, Apple’s Deidre Caldbeck talked on a phone call through her Apple Watch while paddling a standup paddle board. The audio was excellent. She didn’t need to speak differently, the Watch just heard her. The watch captured her audio seamlessly and evenly without her holding her wrist near her face. The watch was working for her, not the other way around. (You can see that demo around 32 minutes into the keynote video, or 15:30 in the keynote video excerpt below.)

Dive Into The Details Of iOS 11: Is Apple Still Detail-oriented?, by Ryan Lau, Medium

The unfinished feeling in iOS 11 mostly comes from UI and animation. UI elements in iOS are quite inconsistent, mixing a variety of UI elements, which might look quite similar but introduce a disconnected feeling for UX. The inconsistency of those elements majorly stems from those UI element updated in iOS 11, such as Large Title and new Search Bar. In my opinion, those newly introduced elements, which might be unfamiliar and new even to Apple engineers, have caused many inconsistent UI experience in iOS 11.

A Different Economy

Thanks To China, Apple Has Updated Its App Store Policy To Allow Tipping, by Josh Horwitz, Quartz

A recent update to the company’s global App Store Guidelines shows that Apple now permits users to send monetary tips to one another—a practice which, while widespread in China, the company had previously shown ambivalence towards. The revision shows that Apple is now accommodating China’s vast tip economy, and also highlights the power that Chinese social media giant Tencent has over China’s internet culture, as well as the foreign companies that operate in the country.

Now Apple Needs To Reinvent The Digital Economy, by John Thornhill, Financial Times

What would catalyse a true transition is if a leading tech company were to help redesign the digital economy by enabling users to control their own data. What is needed is another revolutionary product that could change everything. Apple, which uses the data it amasses to build better products rather than to sell on to advertisers, seems most attuned to this philosophy. Over to you, Cupertino?

Stuff

Hands On: Mellel 4 Targets Mac And iPad Microsoft Word Users With Indexing And Outlining, by Mike Wuerthele and William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Mellel is a word processor for academics, people writing long documents and multi-lingual writers. It's also very much aimed at being for people who don't want to use Microsoft Word. Consequently this new Mellel 4 for Mac update has targeted Word's weak spots like indexing and outlining.

Drag And Drop Streamlines Editing Images In Annotable, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

Annotable serves as an interim stop for importing images and then exporting annotated versions to another app. With an iOS 11 update, images can now be dragged into and out of Annotable, making the annotation process simpler than ever before.

Springbrook Man Develops App To Help Kids Learn To Read, by Sheldon Spackman, RDNewsNow

Nish says he soon found the project to be helpful for his kids, so he approached his daughter’s teacher and she too liked the idea of an app with sight words to help children read. Then Nish thought to himself “What if I developed it in such a way that all of the words could be in there in the various lists of grade levels, which they are and then you could actually pick and choose your words? You can drag your own lists in it with also an option to create your own list from scratch.”

There's Now An App That Helps You Read Food Labels, by Rachael Kane, Buzz.ie

And in the process of her own personal bid to figure out food labels, she hit on an idea that looks set to make things a lot simpler for those with allergies, intolerances or special dietary requirements.

The free Whatsinit App allows users to choose from pre-set diets ranging from a nut allergy to lactose intolerance, and also provides valuable information about nutrients in food and their side effects, meaning you won’t need a degree to decipher what’s in a packet of biscuits!

Develop

Join Our Startup, We’ll Cut Your Pay By 40%!, by Itamar Turner-Trauring, Code Without Rules

So here’s my advice to all you junior engineers out there: avoid companies that want you to work crazy hours.

Bottom of the Page

Once upon a time, I thought I will be able to just do my own programming projects when I retire. I will be working on something I enjoy working on full-time, without too much worry about income and time.

Now, I realize I do have one worry, that I cannot afford to retire if I still want to buy an iMac and an iPhone X every few years.

Time to think of retirement hobbies that can generate income.

~

This morning, I stared at my phone, with my full attention, with my eyes opened as wide as possible, and nothing happened.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Updating-To-Eleven Edition Sunday, September 17, 2017

7 Settings To Change Right Away On iOS 11, by Matt Elliott, CNET

Given the frightening number of drivers I see each and every day with their eyes not on the road but in their laps, this might be the best new feature of iOS 11. It keeps calls, texts and notifications from distracting you when you are behind the wheel. After you install iOS 11, one of the setup screens will ask you if you want to enable Do Not Disturb While Driving.

[...]

iOS 11 has wrestled control away from developers for how and when apps access your location and given it to you. No longer can a developer offer only Always or Never for the tracking options for location services. Now, you'll be able to choose While Using the App whether the developer likes it or not. Head to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to adjust the settings for all of your apps that use location services.

Apple's "Town Squares" Show That Tech Wants To Look More Transparent Than It Is, by Stephanie M. Lee, BuzzFeed

But the use of the term “town square” illustrates something bigger than a questionable branding strategy by Apple. It highlights the tension in Silicon Valley companies’ increasing tendency to make their buildings — from their stores to their headquarters — look more open, more inclusive, and more like part of cities. It’s not just Apple. Facebook and Twitter have done it too. Projecting the appearance of transparency, but not always the reality of it, is how the tech industry sells itself to customers and politicians alike.

What's The Big Deal With All These Bezel-free Phones?, by Elizabeth Stinson, Wired

Still, the tradeoff can be worth it for what many tech companies see as the most important factor of all. "The screen is all that matters,” says Argodesign's Rolston. Yes, the bezel offers extra protection when a phone gets dropped, and it gives users a place to put their fingers without smudging up the screen. But the desire for a completely immersive screen experience has long outweighed those benefits.

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What am I really excited about iOS 11? The Control Centre. I'm tired of switching between the different panels in iOS 10.

I wonder which annoys me more though: switching between Control Centre's panels, or switching between Notification Centre and Today Widgets.

You gain some, you lose some.

~

Apple is never getting rid of X-as-Ten naming, is it?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Collected-Without-Permission Edition Saturday, September 16, 2017

Apple Defends New Ad-tracking Prevention Measures In Safari, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

"Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally."

Apple's Data-Mining Privacy Protections May Fall Short, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

By taking apart Apple's software to determine the epsilon the company chose, the researchers found that MacOS uploads significantly more specific data than the typical differential privacy researcher might consider private. iOS 10 uploads even more. And perhaps most troubling, according to the study's authors, is that Apple keeps both its code and epsilon values secret, allowing the company to potentially change those critical variables and erode their privacy protections with little oversight.

[...]

What Korolova finds most troubling about Apple's approach, however, is its opacity. It took six months of analysis by a team of researchers to determine the epsilon of its differential privacy systems, when Apple could simply publish it openly. "They're saying 'yes, we implement differential privacy, trust us, but we’re not going to tell you at what level we do it,'" Korolova says. "By virtue of not revealing what their parameters are, they're kind of breaking any real commitment."

Attentive Authentication

Interview: Apple’s Craig Federighi Answers Some Burning Questions About Face ID, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

One anecdotal thing: if you lift your phone and swipe up immediately, there’s a good chance that the Face ID system will have performed its authentication fast enough to have unlocked your device by the time you finish your swipe. That’s how fast it is.

[...]

He notes that there are some people for whom the ‘attention’ feature just won’t work. If you’re blind or vision impaired for instance, you may not be able to stare directly at the phone to communicate your intent. In those cases, where a face is recognized (even with sunglasses on), but it can’t see your eyes you can just turn off the ‘attention detection’ feature. You still get Face ID, but at a lower level of overall security because it’s not ensuring that your eyes are directly focused on it.

Earthquake Proofing

The Incredible Architectural Secrets Of Steve Jobs Theater, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

Steve Jobs Theater can, according to Apple, ride out earthquakes with a magnitude of 8-plus. While the venue looks like one piece, the external terrace, glass panels, and roof sit on pendulum isolators, which are like ball-bearings, allowing those sections to remain stationary while the earth moves around them. So, the earth could shake away and much of the theater lobby will appear to just sit there, unmoving. In addition, the ring of white terrazzo slabs inside will, if the wall moves toward them, slide up over the top of the floor slabs next to them.

If one of the glass panels holding up the roof give way, the Theater would be okay. In fact, Apple claims the theater is built to hold up even if it loses every other glass panel (there are 44 in total). Apple and Foster + Partners tested for seismic activity, maxing out a racking machine, and the design held up. Even so, it’s quite a claim and one that I hope Apple never has to put to a real-world test.

Stuff

PCalc’s Delightfully Insane About Screen, by John Voorhees, MacStories

PCalc is an excellent calculator app that was one of Federico’s ‘Must Have’ apps of 2016. It’s available on iOS devices, the Apple Watch, and even the Apple TV. Still, you wouldn’t expect it to incorporate 3D animation or augmented reality, but that is exactly what the latest version of PCalc has tucked away in its settings.

Develop

New App Store Review Guidelines Cover Face ID, ARKit, And More, by Paul Hudson, Hacking With Swift

Apps that use facial recognition for account authentication “must use LocalAuthentication (and not ARKit or other facial recognition technology)”, including a requirement for providing an alternate authentication method for users under 13 years old.

Apps may now allow users to send money to others as a gift on two conditions. Fisrt, the gift must be a completely optional choice by the giver, and second 100% of the funds must go to the receiver of the gift.

Notes

The Father Of Mobile Computing Is Not Impressed, by Brian Merchant, Fast Company

The Dynabook, which looks like an iPad with a hard keyboard, was one of the first mobile computer concepts ever put forward, and perhaps the most influential. Although some of its concepts were realized in 1973 with the desktop Alto, the Dynabook has since accrued the dubious distinction of being the most famous computer that never got built.

I’d headed to Kay’s home in part to ask the godfather of the mobile computer how the iPhone, and a world where 2 billion people own smartphones, compared to what he envisioned in the ’60s and ’70s. Kay believes nothing has yet been produced that fulfills the original specs for the Dynabook, including the iPhone and the iPad. In fact, mobile computers, he says, have turned out to be mind-numbing consumption devices—sophisticated televisions—rather than the wheels for the mind that Steve Jobs envisioned.

Bottom of the Page

Someday, you'll just wear your cellular Apple Watch, and everywhere you go, everything you touch will have celluar data too.

~

Thanks for reading.

The iPhone-Silhouette Edition Friday, September 15, 2017

Apple Is Turning A Design Quirk Into The iPhone X’s Defining Feature, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

Apple’s awareness of the importance of the iPhone silhouette is signaled on the company’s own website. It uses that shape as an asset and identifier for its devices when it sells them. The company, widely recognized for being the best at marketing its products, is now giving the world another universally recognizable feature (and an amusing pun) in its top-notch design. Even on the most minimalist iPhone that Apple has ever designed, there’s a little departure from the norm to give it a signature Apple look.

Apple’s iPhone X Notch Is An Odd Design Choice, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple’s design choice looks ugly thanks to the permanent notch at the top, but its decision to embrace it should also encourage developers to do the same and offer more unique ways to handle the display.

The iPhone Event

Steve Jobs’ Legacy & The iPhone X, by Om Malik

The FaceID is a perfect illustration of Apple’s not so secret “secret sauce” — a perfect symbiosis of silicon, physical hardware, software, and designing for delight. Their abilities to turn complex technologies into a magical moment is predicated on this harmonious marriage of needs.

[...]

The iPhone represented a fresh start for the company — and Steve Jobs, had learned his lessons well. Don’t depend on a third party to be enabler of your key innovations and capabilities. I have written about the critical need for vertical integration for today’s giants in the past.

Thoughts And Observations On The Products Announced At This Week’s iPhone X Introductory Event, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

It’s the front-facing equivalent of the camera bump. It offends me because it’s not just imperfect but glaringly, deliberately imperfect. But — again, exactly as with the bump — I understand why it’s there. I don’t like it but it wouldn’t keep me from buying the phone.

When using an iPhone X (again, based on a severely limited amount of time) the notch seems less noticeable than when looking at promotional photos of it. But that’s in portrait orientation. In landscape, the notch looks like a joke. I think Jony Ive either lost a bet or lost his mind. It looks silly, and to pretend otherwise is nonsense. I’m OK with this because I never use my phone in landscape other than when using the camera, watching videos, looking at photos, or playing games. But this looks just awful.

Gripping Buttons On Both Sides Of iPhone X Disables Face ID, Recognition Works With Most Sunglasses, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

"There are two mitigations: if you don't stare at the phone, it won't unlock," Federighi said. "Also, if you grip the buttons on both sides of the phone when you hand it over, it will temporarily disable Face ID."

Krimbel also asked if Face ID will work with sunglasses, and Federighi explained that "most" but not all will not interfere with the biometric unlock mechanism.

The Slimmer iTunes, Now With 4K

4K HDR Content Rolling Out On iTunes Ahead Of Apple TV 4K Launch, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

4K movies are denoted by a new "4K" and "Dolby Vision" tags visible in the iTunes Store and in the TV app on iOS devices, Macs, and the Apple TV. 4K content is not universally displaying across all devices just yet, but it should be rolling out fully soon.

How Developers Will Suffer From The Removal Of The App Store From iTunes, by Kirk McElhearn, Kirkville

In fact what happens after that click is interesting. The user’s web browser opens a web page which displays a message, above a spinning gear, that says Opening the iTunes Store. The browser eventually redirects to iTunes, which redirects back to the browser displaying a webpage showing information about the app. However, there is no way to purchase an app from this page. And there aren’t even any hints as to how one might go about this, such as suggesting that the user copy the URL and email it to him or herself to be able to access the information about this app on the iOS App Store.

Just Stop Tracking Me

Every Major Advertising Group Is Blasting Apple For Blocking Cookies In The Safari Browser, by Marty Swant, AdWeek

The feature, which is called “Intelligent Tracking Prevention,” limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting.

[...] the groups describe the new standards as “opaque and arbitrary,” warning that the changes could affect the “infrastructure of the modern internet,” which largely relies on consistent standards across websites. The groups say the feature also hurts user experience by making advertising more “generic and less timely and useful.”

Previously: Intelligent Tracking Prevention, by John Wilander, Webkit Blog

The success of the web as a platform relies on user trust. Many users feel that trust is broken when they are being tracked and privacy-sensitive data about their web activity is acquired for purposes that they never agreed to.

WebKit has long included features to reduce tracking. From the very beginning, we’ve defaulted to blocking third-party cookies. Now, we’re building on that. Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a new WebKit feature that reduces cross-site tracking by further limiting cookies and other website data.

The Real Threat

You Are Already Living Inside A Computer, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

The real threat of computers isn’t that they might overtake and destroy humanity with their future power and intelligence. It’s that they might remain just as ordinary and impotent as they are today, and yet overtake us anyway.

Stuff

How To Choose A Wireless Charger For An iPhone 8 Or iPhone X, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple will be eventually releasing its own wireless charger, called AirPower, but it’s not set to release until sometime next year. If you want to be able to charge an iPhone 8 or iPhone X sooner, you’ll need a third party alternative.

There are tons of wireless charging options out there in the world, and finding one that’s actually good for your new iPhone can be confusing. So to help you get ready, we’ve put together a guide of what to look for in a wireless charger for your next iPhone.

Bottom of the Page

The next target for the AR team in Apple: make it possible for potential customers to try out Apple Watches on their real wrists, via the Apple Store app.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Authenticating-Everyone Edition Thursday, September 14, 2017

Apple Explains What Exactly Happened When Face ID ‘Failed’ During iPhone X Demo, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explained that the demo iPhone X had been handled by several people before being setup at the demo table for Craig Federighi. Face ID had tried to authenticate the faces of everyone who handled the device, and after failing, the iPhone X moved to require a passcode. Thus, when Federighi went to demo Face ID, the iPhone X was already in passcode mode.

Face ID, Touch ID, No ID, PINs And Pragmatic Security, by Troy Hunt

More than anything though, we need to remember that Face ID introduces another security model with its own upsides and downsides on both security and usability. It's not "less secure than a PIN", it's differently secure and the trick now is in individuals choosing the auth model that's right for them.

Customers' Desires

Down On Apple's Farm With The Rest Of The Press, by Mat Honan, BuzzFeed

No other person or entity, no politician or even Hollywood franchise is so able to so fully peel away the layers of our daily reality in service to engineered desire. This is Apple's specialty. Its entire purpose is to make you pay attention to it; to make you want it. And it is very, very good at that. This was so fully on display Tuesday that it's worth examining, and understanding.

The Lessons And Questions Of The iPhone X And The iPhone 8, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

I don’t know if Apple can segment the iPhone market; what has been shown is that they can’t, that the iPhone can only be the best, nothing less.

The Future Of Retail Is Stores That Aren’t Stores, by Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic

Retailers are, very consciously, promoting these in-store “experiences”—or at least, they are doing so at the flagship stores in big cities that they like to draw attention to. It’s a reaction to the fact that buying is now something that can be done anywhere, and that reaction can be detected in a linguistic shift. “There is no question that people are trying to get away from the use of the word store as well as mall,” says Leonard Schlesinger, a professor of management at Harvard Business School. “They are increasingly perceived as remnants of a retail world which is increasingly under siege.” Schlesinger thinks companies with physical stores will have trouble if they don’t adjust to the fact that the internet has taken away many consumers’ reasons for visiting physical locations in the first place.

Parkwalk

A Visit To Apple Park, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The fact is, the Steve Jobs Theater and the entire Apple Park campus are Apple products. Of course they look like Apple Stores. Of course they have custom-designed stone staircases and beautiful wood furniture. When you’re a company that has built its entire identity around design and style, from hardware to software to the contents of retail stores, it’s awfully hard to just build a glass office tower and call it a day. If you’ve ever imagined what an Apple Store would look like if it sprawled over 175 acres, well, it’s called Apple Park.

Welcome To The Steve Jobs Theater, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The hands-on area looked beautiful, and the retractable wall is a nifty architectural trick. It looks like the wall is supposed to be there when the area is closed, and looks like there couldn’t be a wall there when the area is open. Several Apple employees I spoke with were particularly proud of the hands-on area. “Isn’t the hands-on area beautiful?” was an ice-breaking question I was asked in several conversations. Indisputably, the answer is yes. It’s beautiful. But from a practical standpoint it was the worst hands-on area I’ve seen at an Apple event. It was incredibly crowded, and nearly impossible to get your hands on any of the new iPhones, especially the iPhone X. There were way, way too few units available for the number of guests. An hour after the show had ended, the crowds were still three-deep around the sample tables. As a hands-on area after a major product introduction, this room fails the “design is how it works” test.

Photos: What It Was Like To Attend Apple’s iPhone X Event — Its First At The Steve Jobs Theater, by Dan Frommer, Recode

I was in attendance yesterday and took hundreds of photos. Here’s my experience, as told through a few dozen.

More FaceIDs

Face ID And The Mac, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

I think a lot of people want Touch ID on the Mac without the Touch Bar. Face ID could deliver the same benefits without the baggage of the Touch Bar. I, for one, would love to see biometric authentication come to Macs without it.

Font ID

Meet The Font Detectives Who Ferret Out Fakery, by Glenn Fleishman, Wired

Detecting fraud via fonts isn’t as sexy as sleuthing art forgery; it often involves tedious measurements with digital calipers, examinations under loupes and microscopes, charts that track the slight differences between two versions of the Times Roman face, or evidence that a particular form of office printer didn’t exist at the document’s dated execution.

Even so, such measurements can be worth millions—and can even be lucrative, for the handful of experts (maybe a dozen) who have hung out a font-detective shingle. Phinney had an expert declaration filed last month as part of a lawsuit against Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, their labels, and others. The suit is about a sample used in Timberlake’s 2006 "Damn Girl," but the case might hinge on the size and clarity of the type on Timberlake’s CD cover. (How could that be? Read on.)

Stuff

Apple Releases urBeats3 Earphones With New Design, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

Apple says the earphones feature a “fine-tuned acoustic design” with an axial-aligned driver as well as secure-fit wingtips and magnetic earbuds.

How To Set Up A Robust Web Reading Environment, by Chris Bowler, The Sweet Setup

With all this in place, Instapaper and Pinboard are my primary tools (with IFTTT greasing the wheels in places), and share extensions and bookmarklets covering the remaining gaps. Being mindful of my different reading activities helps me to remember the primary purpose of each tool.

Develop

Apple Wants Appmakers To Avoid The Notch When Designing For iPhone X, by The Next Web

With this in mind, the Cupertino giant instructs appmakers to “ensure that layouts fill the screen and aren’t obscured by the device’s rounded corners, sensor housing, or the indicator for accessing the Home screen.”

Among other things, this includes making sure that interactive controls don’t appear at “at the very bottom of the screen and in corners,” that the interface doesn’t bring attention to the device’s rounded corners, and that the user interface isn’t clipped by the notch.

Apple Watch Apps Head To College, by David Smith

I am now thinking about my watchOS apps as though they must be able to fully function out on their own with only minimal help and supervision from their iPhone. If they don’t, I suspect I’ll find them to be quite frustrating.

While previously there have been technical capabilities where watchOS apps could connect to external services without their iPhone present, the expectation I think has always been that this would be rare and unusual. Now it may very well be common and expected.

Removing The White Bars In Safari On iPhone X, by Stephen Radford

The new iPhone X features a beautiful edge-to-edge display. Well, almost. There is the small issue of a notch at the top of the browser which doesn't cause an issue when viewing websites in portrait but by default does cause some issues in landscape.

[...]

Thankfully there are two simple fixes that can be made to solve this letterboxing.

Bottom of the Page

What is iPhone 8's purpose in life?

~

Coming in 2018: iPhone 9, iPhone 9 Plus, iPhone XI
Coming in 2019: iPhone 10, iPhone 10 Plus, iPhone XII
Coming in 2020: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Plus, iPhone XIII

:-)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Steve-Jobs-Theatre Edition Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Something's Transmitted, by Dustin Curtis

If you look hard enough, you can understand the philosophy, love, and care of the people who took an idea, made it wonderful, and then made it real.

iPhone 8 And iPhone X: The MacStories Overview, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

All things considered, Apple has put out a somewhat incredible lineup of smartphones this year. The iPhone X may be stealing most of the thunder, but I think it's definitely worth keeping in mind that most of the performance improvements are shared across both lines. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are excellent new phones, and will serve any user well. They might not have all the bells and whistles of the iPhone X, but they also have the tried-and-true Touch ID scanner which is fast, efficient, and effective. Sometimes waiting for the future to become the present is a better idea than leaping ahead prematurely.

With that said, the iPhone X really does look like a device from the future, and in a lot of ways that's just awesome. Having a facial scanner on a smartphone which can be trusted enough to protect your credit card feels like something out of a movie. The TrueDepth camera's facial mapping will change selfies forever. The OLED display is striking in a way that a bezeled display could never be. There's no doubt that this new iPhone may have some growing pains, but there's also no doubt that this is where all smartphones are heading. If you can afford the higher price and can wait the couple months, you could live in that future ahead of time.

A Unique Marketing Problem For Apple, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

All in all, Apple put themselves in a spot where they made a better camera for the X, but they can’t really say the camera is that much better without answering the question: why not put it in the 8 Plus too? Had the iPhone X been the only model announced, those new cameras would have been touted as the best cameras to ever grace a mobile phone, because they certainly are. Instead, Apple has had to dial back the narrative, while still talking about them.

The Empire Of Apple, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

This approach—lining up one new, killer product after another—seems almost impossible, even for Apple. But the company’s latest announcement points toward a new way of culturing attention, one that’s much more subtle than just getting people to buy or rent a glass rectangle year after year.

[...]

The future of Apple isn’t in tablets or watches or even cars. It’s in how well, or how poorly, it manages global life run by its smartphones. And how willingly the public lets it.

iPhone X - All Screen, No Home Button

iPhone X: Hands-on And First Impressions With Apple’s New iPhone, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Still, the iPhone X is familiar—when you hold it, it’s undeniably still an iPhone. Even if it doesn’t have the home button that was once the trademark of the iPhone line.

Hands On With The iPhone X: OLED And HDR Outshine Everything Else, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

More than the design or the facial recognitions, it was this display that set the iPhone X apart for me.

[...]

As hard as it is to judge phone displays on a showroom floor, the color balance was lovely. And the blacks were completely black, even while the well-lit parts of photos and videos were bright enough to fight the overhead lighting in the room.

Animated Emoji Are Coming To Your iPhone, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple is introducing a new Animoji feature in iOS 11, which are animated versions of the popular emoji found on the iPhone. Animoji will use the Face ID hardware face-scanning features of the iPhone X to create custom 3D versions based on your own facial expressions.

AppleCare+ For The iPhone X Will Cost $199, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

You get the same two years of coverage for manufacturing defects or battery life issues (up from the one year that the phone comes with), and the same two incidents of accidental damage coverage.

It's Pronounced ‘iPhone Ten’, by Paul Miller, The Verge

Like the Roman numeral.

iPhone X - FaceID

How Secure Is The iPhone X's FaceID? Here's What We Know, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

For the average iPhone owner, the difficulty of spoofing FaceID and also gaining physical access to a target iPhone will likely make any attack on it a monumental waste of effort, says Rich Mogull, a security analyst who has long focused on Apple. "If you have to 3-D print a model of someone's face to defeat this, that’s probably an acceptable risk for most of the population," says Mogull. "If that’s the economic cost to break into one of these devices, we’re ok."

That said, he adds that those with more security sensitivities should simply turn it off—and TouchID too, for that matter. "If I were an intelligence agent, I wouldn't turn on any biometric," Mogull says.

Face ID On The iPhone X Is Probably Going To Suck, by Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

This is not the first phone we've tried with a facial recognition feature, and they all have the same problem. It doesn't matter how fast or accurate Face ID is, the problem is the ergonomics: you need to aim it at your face. This is slow and awkward, especially when compared to a fingerprint reader, which doesn't have to be aimed at anything.

[...]

To use the iPhone X's Face ID, you have take the phone out of your pocket, lift it up to your face, swipe up to turn it on, and only then can can you start the unlock process. The difference is probably one or two seconds, but for something you do 80 times a day, having the fastest possible unlock system really matters.

Apple's First Face ID Demo Failed, But It Probably Wasn't Face ID's Fault, by Chris Welch, The Verge

In fact, it doesn’t seem to be an error by the company’s replacement for Touch ID at all. The passcode screen that Federighi got said “Your passcode is required to enable Face ID.” This is the same screen that would come up on existing iPhones after a device has been restarted — or simply after several hours have passed without authenticating through the lock screen. This is a security precaution introduced with Touch ID that will clearly carry onward with Face ID.

iPhone 8 & 8 Plus - True Tone

iPhone 8 And 8 Plus Announced With Wireless Charging, True Tone Display, A11 Bionic Processor, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The jump from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 8 is pretty significant, marking the first time since the iPhone 3GS was released back in 2009 that an iPhone model hasn’t received a spec-boosted “S” variant. Apple may be moving up numerically, but the new iPhone 8 models look to continue the same rough design the company has been using since 2014 from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

One of the biggest changes comes in the form of a glass back, in order to enable one of the biggest internal changes: inductive wireless charging, which wouldn’t have worked through the aluminum shell of the old model. And, like the iPhone 7, there’s still no 3.5mm headphone jack.

Familiar, But Not Too Familiar, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

All told, it's not hard to look at these things as the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. They're not. Despite what their looks may suggest, there are some serious improvements on display here and I suspect the upgrade will be well worth it. Who knows? If the iPhone X does well, this might be the last time you'll able to own an old-school, home-buttoned iPhone.

Wireless Charging - Qi

Apple Reveals AirPower Wireless Charging Pad Coming In 2018, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Apple has a new wireless charging pad called the ‘AirPower’ which is essentially a mat with room for your new iPhone 8 or iPhone X, as well as your Apple Watch, and even AirPods with a new optional wireless charging case accessory. It’ll charge all of them without any cables required, but you’ll have to wait until 2018 to get one – Apple said it’s coming early next year.

Apple Announces A Wireless Charging Case For The AirPods, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

The AirPower charger is coming next year. So don’t expect to be able to buy this optional AirPods case just yet.

Apple Watch Series 3 - Cellular, Health

Up Close With The New LTE-enabled Apple Watch, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

Apple Watch the third’s form factor is largely the same as previous models, but with LTE version has a red digital crown to tell it apart. When you swipe up from the screen, you’ll find an LTE icon from the Control Center to signify that you’re online.

The cellular connectivity comes via an electronic SIM card integrated right into the watch. But even though Apple says this means the new Watch is just 0.25mm thicker, or roughly the thickness of two pieces of paper, there does appear to be a noticeable difference. It’s small, but definitely noticeable.

It's Official: Health, Not Just Wellness, Is Apple's Future, by Christina Farr, CNBC

In the months after Apple announced its health and fitness-tracking Apple Watch, users started making some surprising declarations.

The Apple Watch had saved their life.

Apple's executive team took note.

The Apple Watch Series 3 Will Transform A Lot Of Workouts, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Cellular connectivity isn’t for everyone, but it will definitely change a lot of workouts.

Apple TV - 4K

The New Apple TV Gets A 4K HDR Upgrade, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Apple TV 4K will support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision profiles, which are industry standard for content makers. The entire UI is also redone in 4K, Apple announced.

Apple Is Bringing Live Sports To The Apple TV 4K, by Matthew Lynley, TechCrunch

The new TV has a dedicated sports tab that has every live and upcoming game, and as seasons change so will the sports tab. There will be scores, and the new TV app is available on the iPhone and iPad.

Apple Will Sell 4K Movies For Same Price As HD, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Verge

4K movies will be added to iTunes at the same price as HD content (a price point the company haggled with studios over earlier this summer), and Cue also announced that previously purchased HD movies will be automatically upgraded to 4K for free. Netflix — which has offered 4K content on other platforms since April of last year — will also be available in 4K on the new Apple TV. The Amazon Prime video app and Amazon’s 4K content will be coming “later this year.”

Disney Is Missing From Apple TV’s 4K Lineup, by Ben Fritz, Wall Street Journal

It wasn’t immediately clear why the company behind “Star Wars” and Marvel couldn’t reach an arrangement with Apple.

Sky Is Thatgamecompany’s Next Game, And It’s Coming First To Apple, by Allegra Frank, Polygon

Sky is reminiscent of thatgamecompany’s breakout hit Journey, in that it combines exploration with a light social experience. Players will fly through the clouds in order to collect light from around the world, controlling a mysterious cloaked figure.

Siri Remote For Apple TV Updated With New Menu Button And Price, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Siri Remote also gets a new price with the redesign: $59. That’s down $20 from the rather expensive $79 Siri Remote with the clicky Menu button.

Apple's TV App Expanding To Seven Countries, Starting With Canada And Australia Later This Month, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The app will be released in Canada and Australia later this month, followed by France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the UK by the end of the year.

Software Updates

iPhones And iPad Will Get iOS 11 Update On September 19, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

iOS 11 won't fundamentally change the look and feel of your iPhone, but it does offer some exciting updates. One of the most useful new features is the Files app, which organizes all of the files on your iPhone as well as files stored in other locations such as iCloud and Dropbox. It almost mimics the Finder window on macOS, and that offers a convenient new way to store, organize, and access all the information on your handset. Developers have access to the Files app, too, so individual apps will show up in the Files app as their own folders, making it easier to move documents in between programs.

The Control Center also has a new look in iOS 11 with new bubble-like icons that you can move around and customize. Much like you can do with Widgets, you'll be able to choose the tools you want to have in the Control Center. Since the Control Center can take up the entire display, you're not as restricted in the number of tools you include either. Many features will be accessible via 3D Touch in the Control Center as well.

Apple Announces macOS High Sierra To Launch On September 25th, by John Voorhees, MacStories

As detailed at WWDC in June, macOS High Sierra features the introduction of several significant new and updated under-the-hood technologies including APFS, macOS’s new file system, Metal 2, which harnesses the power of your Mac’s GPU, and HEVC video compression. High Sierra also adds new features and refinements to existing apps like Mail, Photos, Notes, Safari, Siri, and more.

iTunes Removes The App Store And More To Focus On Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, And Audiobooks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple has updated iTunes on macOS to eliminate ringtones, iTunes U, and perhaps most surprising of all, iOS apps.

[...]

The update to iTunes also adds the Friends feature first seen in the iOS 11 beta. Apple Music subscribers can set up a profile and follow friends to see the music and playlists they are listening to.

The Event in the Park

As Gender Diversity Battles Roil Silicon Valley, Apple Puts Just One Woman Onstage, by Colin Lecher, The Verge

The company is not the only major player in the industry that’s struggling with diversity, but the iPhone announcement is arguably the tech industry’s biggest moment of the year. At a time when the problem of diversity is on so many minds, a failure to highlight more women — or to even demonstrate progress in doing so — seems like a wasted opportunity.

A Look Inside The New Steve Jobs Theater At Apple’s Spaceship Campus, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

While the interior of the theater itself is not strikingly innovative from a design, architectural, or functional standpoint, the waiting area above it is a unique space.

Apple Built An Augmented-reality App To View Its New Campus—while You’re Already There, by Mike Murphy, Quartz

Using the iPad, visitors to the center are able to see a virtual version of the campus overlaid onto the metal model in front of them. You can change the time of day to see how the massive glass structures look as they’re first kissed by the morning sun, or how they look when no one is around.

To The Future

Apple’s ‘Neural Engine’ Infuses The iPhone With AI Smarts, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Apple said the neural engine would power the algorithms that recognize your face to unlock the phone and transfer your facial expressions onto animated emoji. It also said the new silicon could enable unspecified “other features.”

Chip experts say the neural engine could become central to the future of the iPhone as Apple moves more deeply into areas such as augmented reality and image recognition, which rely on machine-learning algorithms. They predict that Google, Samsung, and other leading mobile-tech companies will soon create neural engines of their own.

Stuff

Apple Increases Prices Of Select iPad Pro Models Due To Rising NAND Flash Costs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Without official announcement, the company raised the prices of the 256GB/512GB 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models by $50. This move is due to the rising cost of NAND flash memory chips, according to sources in the know.

Apple's Clips App To Offer 360-Degree 'Selfie Scenes' On iPhone X, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

When using Clips with an iPhone X, there's a new "Selfie Scenes" feature that will use the TrueDepth front-facing camera on the device to immerse users in a selection of 360-degree animated landscapes.

IKEA Place, The Retailer’s First ARKit App, Creates Lifelike Pictures Of Furniture In Your Home, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

The Swedish home goods giant IKEA has been a trailblazer when it comes to applying new technology to improve its products and overall retail experience. Today, it’s taking the latest step into the future of shopping with the launch of IKEA Place, one of the first wave of augmented reality apps getting released today to work with Apple’s new ARKit technology and iOS 11.

Saving Heart Attack Victims? Now There's An App For That, by Tomoko Otake, Japan Times

Tokyo-based social venture Coaido is launching an iPhone app that helps bystanders assist as effectively as possible in the crucial few minutes after a cardiac arrest.

The app prompts the user to send an SOS to people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) nearby, checks whether they have already contacted the emergency number, 119, and connects them with facilities where automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are available.

This Cofounder Made His App More Accessible To Vision-impaired Users In Honor Of His Blind Father, by Becky Peterson, Business Insider

When Justin Rosenstein co-founded the productivity software company Asana in 2008, his father had one request: that he, as a blind person, could someday use his son’s creation.

On Tuesday, Rosenstein honored that request, with the announcement of a new Asana update, which includes enhanced support for VoiceOver, the Apple accessibility feature that aids visually-impaired people in using their iPhones and iPads without seeing the screen.

Develop

Apple Asks Developers To Submit iOS 11, watchOS 4, macOS High Sierra, And tvOS 11 Apps For Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Ahead of the upcoming public releases of iOS 11 and watchOS 4 on September 19th and macOS High Sierra on September 25th, Apple has told developers via its developer website that App Store submissions are open.

How iOS Apps Adapt To The iPhone X Screen Size, by Geoff Hackworth, Medium

The ways in which app developers implicitly or explicitly declare how forward-compatible their apps are is not the focus of this article. The version of Xcode an app is built with (and therefore the version of iOS it targets), the presence of a launch screen storyboard and certain Info.plist keys are the most important factors. What I want to discuss here is the new iPhone X and how it behaves when running both older and updated apps.

Apple Brings Face-tracking To ARKit On iPhone X, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

The most notable ARKit announcement was that Apple will be bringing face-tracking support to the AR platform on iPhone X, allowing dev to gain access to front color and depth images from the cameras while tracking face position and a number of expressions in real-time.

Bottom of the Page

I want the no-home-button UI from iPhone X on my iPhone 6.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Change-The-World-With-Products Edition Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Apple's Tim Cook On Environment, Education And Health Care, by Adam Lashinsky, Fortune

Ultimately, Cook sees Apple’s greatest societal contribution coming through the 2 million U.S. jobs it believes it creates through its “app economy” as well as the “many millions” more it supports in the rest of the world. For Apple, everything comes back to its products, about a billion of which are denting the universe at this very moment.

TIM COOK: Yes, I think in numerous ways. I think the No. 1 way Apple changes the world is through our products. We make products for people that are tools to enable them to do things that they couldn’t otherwise do—to enable them to create or learn or teach or play. Or do something really wonderful.

So that’s the primary way we change the world. We also try to change the world by the way we run the company. And whether that’s being very focused on the environment and making sure that we have a no-carbon footprint, essentially, or running our company on 100% renewable energy.

Shadows and Fog

How I Survived And Thrived In Apple's Legendary Environment Of Super-secrecy, by Matt MacInnis, Recode

This environment of secrecy produces an unwritten hierarchy of “haves” and “have-nots” within the company. For the “haves,” the hierarchy of disclosure is a way to exert influence and demonstrate power beyond one’s role or title. For “have-nots,” it’s a subtle but constant reminder of your rank.

To be sure, this culture of secrecy generates billions of dollars in real value for Apple’s shareholders. There’s no denying its merit and its reflection of the man who created the culture.

But values drive priorities, and no value can be reflected in a company’s culture without making trade-offs. Apple is no exception. Its legendary secrecy led to information silos, discouraged cross-functional knowledge sharing and created a rigid definition of roles that discouraged individuals from expanding their professional horizons.

Apple’s Needless Cult Of Secrecy, by William Turton, The Outline

While it’s understandable that Apple wants to control the information around its product releases, maybe it’s time to stop subjecting its employees to an unhealthy culture of secrecy that has proven to be ineffective.

Upcoming From Apple

Apple Is About To Win Its War On Buttons With The New iPhone, by Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

“The joke back in the day was that the reason Jobs wore turtlenecks was because he hated buttons,” said Jason Snell, who was a lead editor at Macworld for more than a decade and a member of the audience that day. “It’s stupid. But I think there’s truth to it, because Apple believes very strongly from its design standpoint that buttons are clutter, that there can only be as many controls that are necessary, and no more.”

Jobs is no longer around to take aim at his competitors’ unsavory design decisions, but a decade after that presentation, his company continues to honor his stance. At Apple’s keynote event on Tuesday, for instance, the brand is expected to do away with the Home button.

It’s About To Get Tougher For Cops, Border Agents To Get At Your iPhone’s Data, by Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica

Prior to this latest version of the firmware, in order for an iOS device to be "trusted" by a computer that it was physically connected to, that device had to be unlocked first via Touch ID or passcode. Next, the device would prompt the user: "Trust This Computer?" Only then could the entire device’s data could be extracted and imaged. Under iOS 11, this sequence has changed to also specifically require the passcode on the device after the "Trust This Computer?" prompt.

While the change may seem minor, the fact that the passcode will be specifically required as the final step before any data can be pulled off the phone means that law enforcement and border agents won’t have as much routine access to fully image a seized device.

Apple Park's New $108M Visitor Center Spares No Expense To Dazzle Guests, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

As it puts the finishing touches on Apple Park the company is also getting ready to open its first major welcome center for tourists, featuring a retail store, a cafe and rooftop deck providing a view of overlooking the Apple Park Spaceship across the street.

iPhone Event: The Set List Isn't The Performance, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Stories are compelling. The famed Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field wasn’t about blazing specs, it was about telling a story that put you and a new Apple product in the center of a miraculous future that had just arrived in the present.

Even if you roll your eyes at that, consider this: The way Apple describes its new products says something about how Apple views those products itself. Which features is it emphasizing? Who is being targeted? When Apple announced the HomePod in June, one of the most notable things about the roll-out was that the company pushed audio quality hard while spending almost no time on Siri. That was notable.

Apple Explains How It’s Making Siri Smart Without Endangering User Privacy, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

“I think it is a false narrative,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of product marketing. “It’s true that we like to keep the data as optimized as possible, that’s certainly something that I think a lot of users have come to expect, and they know that we’re treating their privacy maybe different than some others are.”

Joswiak argues that Siri can be every bit as helpful as other assistants without accumulating a lot of personal user data in the cloud, as companies like Facebook and Google are accustomed to doing. “We’re able to deliver a very personalized experience . . . without treating you as a product that keeps your information and sells it to the highest bidder. That’s just not the way we operate.”

Apple Is Working With Stanford And American Well To Test If Apple Watch Can Detect Heart Problems, by Christina Farr, CNBC

The company is partnering up with a group of clinicians at Stanford, as well as telemedicine vendor American Well, to test whether Apple Watch's heart rate sensor can detect abnormal heart rhythms in a cohort of patients, according to two people familiar.

Arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms, aren't always problematic. But in some people, a condition known as atrial fibrillation can show no external symptoms while carrying a risk of blood clots, strokes and other complications.

Internet-Connected Security

A Prairie HomeKit Companion: HomeKit Security Provides Peace Of Mind, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

So before a recent trip, I took a major precautionary measure to assuage my simmering insecurities. I set up Internet-connected video cameras, motion sensors, and smart outlets so I could control and monitor my home from afar.

This was an opportunity to play with Apple’s HomeKit technology, which lets iOS devices manage a variety of home-automation products from other companies. [...]

Unable to achieve all my monitoring goals with the HomeKit devices available to me, though, I searched farther afield for other home-security gear that also works with Apple devices – albeit outside the HomeKit ecosystem.

Stuff

Apple Adds Mail-in Option For iPhone Upgrade Program Customers Ahead Of iPhone X, Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Ahead of the expected launch of Apple's hotly anticipated iPhone X, the company recently updated its iPhone Upgrade Program to include a new trade-in feature that allows customers to mail their old handset instead of visiting an Apple store.

Safari Extensions Are Now Available In The Mac App Store, by iMore

Safari Extensions are tools that you can add to the menu bar in your Safari browser that gives you quick access to features offered by developers.

Making Better Use Of The Touch Bar, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Many users of Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X were quick to point out how useful the Touch Bar is for editing media. [...] However, for the rest of us, I found or was alerted to a couple of built-in functions that are genuinely useful.

How Apps Can Make Your Vacation Better, by Shivani Vora, New York Times

Forget just taking pictures with your phone’s camera — there are far more creative ways for travelers to use technology to capture memories from their trips, says Dennis Crowley, the co-founder and executive chairman of Foursquare, a company behind two location apps that have 50 million global users a month. “Between various apps and social media platforms, you can preserve experiences of your travels beyond the sights you see,” he said.

Here, his tips on how.

Develop

Writer's Block, Or The Wantrepreneur Blues, by Tommy Walsh, Indiehackers

I think this is why most self-help/entrepreneur books will tell you to find a partner to work with. Not only can a partner help with skills that you don't have, they can also provide you with motivation, and give the third leg to the Energy/Direction/Time stool when you don't have it by yourself.

Why Must You Pay Sales People Commissions?, by Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz

Speaking of culture, why should the sales culture be different from the engineering culture? To understand that, ask yourself the following: Do your engineers like programming? Might they even do a little programming on the side sometimes for fun? Great. I guarantee your sales people never sell enterprise software for fun.

Bottom of the Page

As usual, Apple's keynote is going on while I am sleeping on the other side of the globe. So, today's edition does not include whatever Tim Cook and his colleagues are revealing at Apple Park today. For that, either you'll have to wait for tomorrow's edition, or you can just go to any technology web site or section of a web site, and you'll be sure to get all the latest news. (Apple is no longer a niche computer maker since a long long time ago.)

Or you can watch it live on Apple's website.

~

Has any one asked Siri how to pronounce the X in iPhone X?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Comfort-Button Edition Monday, September 11, 2017

A Requiem For The iPhone's Home Button, by David Pierce, Wired

Of course, Apple's largely right. Most people do know how to use an iPhone, in a basic sense, which gives Apple some freedom to teach new behavior. Ditching the home button means one less breakable part to every phone, and more room for more screen. There will probably be commercials about the new home not-button, maybe even a popup when you first get the device. You'll figure it out.

But there's still something distinctly hostile about it, design and features trumping ease of use and peace of mind.

Series Number Three

Select Apple Watch Models Currently Unavailable From Apple Ahead Of Tuesday’s Refresh, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Currently, the 42mm Apple Watch Edition is unavailable, as are all Hermès models. [...] Also worth noting, the Siri Remote for the Apple TV is listed with shipping times of two to three weeks.

Verizon App Briefly Mentions ‘Apple Watch Series 3’ Ahead Of Apple Event, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The accidental leak by Verizon gives a lot of weight to the ‘Series 3’ name but we have to acknowledge the possibility that the carrier is simply preparing its backend for the addition of Apple’s new Watch and it is using placeholder product names until the official name is revealed.

More From The Leak

More iOS 11 Software Examination Shows Evidence Of Wireless Charging In iPhone, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Spotted by developer Guilherme Rambo, iOS 11 includes a new "ChargingViewService" routine. Not only does the routine identify if a model is compatible with wireless charging, it is also in control of displaying some 3d animations while the device is using the feature.

'A11 Fusion' In iPhone X Appears To Be A Six Core Processor, According To iOS 11 Leak, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Unearthed by Steve Troughton-Smith on Sunday, the iOS 11 leak from the end of the week reveal CPUs labeled 0 through 5 —a total of six. Without expanding on further delving, the developer claims that four are the high-powered "Mistral" cores, with two "Monsoon" ones supplementing the four for lesser computational needs.

The 4K Apple TV Appears To Feature An A10X Fusion Chip SoC With 3GB RAM, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple could have been more conservative as it seems like earlier chips could support the necessary HEVC decoding for 4K content. It looks like Apple is future-proofing this box for the next few years.

The inclusion of such a powerful chip could also indicate a renewed attempt to make the Apple TV a better games console with the ability to render graphically rich 3D games to better compete with consoles like the Nintendo Switch.

Who's Leaking?

Apple Suffers 'Major iPhone X Leak', by Leo Kelion, BBC

The BBC has independently confirmed that an anonymous source provided the publications with links to iOS 11's gold master (GM) code that downloaded the software from Apple's own computer servers.

BBC Confirms iOS 11 GM URLs Were Leaked To 9to5Mac And MacRumors, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

That person should be ashamed of themselves, and should be very worried when their phone next rings.

No Profits? No Problem

France Drives EU Tax Blitz On Revenues Of US Tech Giants, by Jim Brunsden, Financial Times

Currently, US technology groups such as Apple and Facebook are taxed in Europe based on profits rather than total revenues.

Many of these companies have angered European tax collectors and voters for years by using EU governments’ disparate tax codes to record profits in jurisdictions with the lowest effective rates, meaning that some companies have been able to pay little or no tax in countries where they have billions in sales.

Develop

Basecamp 3 For iOS: Hybrid Architecture, by Zach Waugh, Signal v Noise

In our use, we’re referring to standard native apps where a significant portion of the content is rendered using web technology. I explicitly say content there because it is an important distinction. We’re not using a framework that attempts to mimic native controls using HTML/CSS. We’re not using a framework that tries to compile another language to native code, or make a cross-platform app from a single codebase.

For us, it means using Xcode + Swift, and conforming to all the platforms conventions regarding navigation/presentation.

Bottom of the Page

What am I looking forward to tomorrow's event? Just two things. One is "confirmed" to be presented. The other? Hope.

a. iPhone X / Pro / Edition
b. New Podcast app that will be perfect for me.

That's all.

~

Just finished reading: Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett. Happiness and sadness, love and pain, they're all in the book. I do recommend this book to savor on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

~

Thanks for reading.

The How-To-You-Pronounce-X Edition Sunday, September 10, 2017

Apple iPhone X Name Revealed In Leaked iOS 11 Firmware, by Tom Warren, The Verge

iOS developer Steven Troughton-Smith has discovered references to iPhone X that are linked directly to the D22 codename with a bezel-less display. It’s the strongest indicator we have so far that Apple is planning the special naming to mark 10 years of the iPhone.

iOS 11 GM Leaked, Reveals New iPhone Names, Wallpapers, Cellular Apple Watch Details, And More, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Someone within Apple leaked the list of URLs to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. I’m nearly certain this wasn’t a mistake, but rather a deliberate act.

Harvey, Irma, Etc

As Hurricane Irma Devastates, Walkie Talkie App Zello Adds 6 Million Users In A Week, by Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed

Zello is used almost exactly like a walkie talkie, except it relies on wifi and cell service, so it can support big groups of people in dispersed locations. When Harvey caused widespread devastation in and around Houston, volunteers leaned on Zello to coordinate search and rescue efforts. And people in the path of Irma seem to believe they can put the app to similar uses in this storm too.

I Downloaded An App. Suddenly, I Was A Rescue Dispatcher., by Holly Hartman, Houston Chronicle

As I was listening, I quickly figured out that there were a few moderators on the app that were in charge and very experienced in using this method of communication during emergencies. One in particular, Brittney, was giving directions, taking rescue requests, and prioritizing calls and rescues. At one point, she said something that made me realize she's a nurse, so I immediately understood why she was so effective in this situation.

A couple of other women (who were working from other parts of the country, not Houston) who had been taking calls from victims and logging in the information came on the line around 12:30 and said they had to sign off so they could get to bed. They asked if there was anyone who could work through the night to keep taking rescue requests and log them.

I sat up and turned on my light. I timidly pushed the "talk" button and said, "I can."

Apple Donates $5 Million For Hurricane Relief Efforts, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief says Apple has donated $5 million toward ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas, as well as programs benefitting what is expected to be massive damage from Hurricane Irma.

Of Monopoly And Conformism

How Silicon Valley Is Erasing Your Individuality, by Franklin Foer, Washington Post

As individuals, we have similarly accepted the omnipresence of the big tech companies as a fait accompli. We’ve enjoyed their free products and next-day delivery with only a nagging sense that we may be surrendering something important. Such blitheness can no longer be sustained. Privacy won’t survive the present trajectory of technology — and with the sense of being perpetually watched, humans will behave more cautiously, less subversively. Our ideas about the competitive marketplace are at risk. With a decreasing prospect of toppling the giants, entrepreneurs won’t bother to risk starting new firms, a primary source of jobs and innovation. And the proliferation of falsehoods and conspiracies through social media, the dissipation of our common basis for fact, is creating conditions ripe for authoritarianism. Over time, the long merger of man and machine has worked out pretty well for man. But we’re drifting into a new era, when that merger threatens the individual. We’re drifting toward monopoly, conformism, their machines. Perhaps it’s time we steer our course.

Stuff

Review: The Bluetooth Keyboard That Works With Any Device, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

I could be working away on the PC when a text came in on the iPhone’s iMessage app, which can only be accessed on Apple devices. Instead of picking up my iPhone and typing — slowly — with my thumbs, I could tap the “2” hotkey and reply without moving my fingers from the keyboard.

Develop

Javascript : The Curious Case Of Null >= 0, by Abinav Seelan, Camp Vanilla

So I sought out to find the root cause of this and started to sift through the single source of truth for Javascript — The Javascript Spec.

And boy did I go down a rabbit hole!

Bottom of the Page

If I want to catch a leaker, I'll first create a whole bunch of URLs, each of which consist of, I don't know, a different combination of random alpha-numeric characters. And I'll just put a fake copy of iOS 11 at each of these URLs, each of which contains, for example, some iPhone names that has already been rejected.

Next, I'll pass out each of these URL to a potential leaker. Then, sit back. Relax. And see which fake iOS 11 copy gets downloaded.

Which is my long-winded way of saying that I will not be surprised if the name revealed on Tuesday is not iPhone X.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Left-Ear-Right-Ear Edition Saturday, September 9, 2017

Here’s How The iPhone 8 Status Bar Will Accommodate The Notch, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The left side of the status bar will feature the system clock time, with the right side primary displaying WiFi, cellular signal strength and battery life.

iOS 11 GM Leak Confirms D22 ‘iPhone 8’ Features: Portrait Lighting, True Tone Display, Revised AirPods, More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

We’re also seeing evidence that the OLED iPhone will feature a True Tone Display for white balancing like the iPad Pro lineup. As for the new resolution, we believe we’ll see 1125×2436 based on this firmware.

iPhone 8 To Feature Animoji, Send 3D Animated Emoji Based Off Your Facial Expressions, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In the iOS 11 code, Animoji are described as ‘custom animated messages that use your voice and reflect your facial expressions’.

Users create them from within the Messages app on an iPhone 8; it appears the feature will be exclusive to the OLED phone as it relies on the face-tracking 3D sensor hardware.

Future Watch

Firmware Points To New Apple Watch Case Finishes: ‘Blush Gold’ Aluminium And ‘Gray’ Ceramic, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

It seems Apple Watch Series 3 will come in a new ‘blush gold’ color for the aluminium Sport watches and a new gray ceramic material for the Apple Watch Edition.

LTE Apple Watch Uses Same Phone Number As iPhone, Some Carriers To Offer Free/cheaper Trial Plans, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

As expected, the LTE Apple Watch will share the same phone number as the connected iPhone.

This means other people will simply call the same number ever and LTE Watch owners will be able to seamlessly talk using their watches.

Future Interface

An Artist Uses An iPhone To Visualize Sounds In AR, by Elizabeth Stinson, Wired

The reality, of course, is slightly more complicated. Lieberman, who runs the School For Poetic Computation in Brooklyn, built his real time sound map using Apple’s ARKit and the coding toolkit OpenFrameworks. Like all apps built with ARKit, Lieberman’s uses SLAM Technology—that's simultaneous localization and mapping—which leverages the phone’s sensors and camera to build a low resolution map of a room’s boundaries and contours.

With this environmental information in hand, Lieberman can capture sound through the phone’s mic, process and visualize it with the app he built, and then map the illustrations to an exact location in the room. You can leave a snap in one corner, a word in another, and watch a trail of sound waves appear exactly where the phone first captured them. Move the phone along the 3-D path, and it’ll work like a scrubber, replaying the audio forwards and backwards in real time. “It plays that chunk of audio that’s closest to where the devices is,” Lieberman says.

Siri Today And In The Future, by David Sparks, MacSparky

I think in the short term, the Amazon approach is easier and gets the ball forward faster. In the long-term, I think the Apple approach could be right if properly executed. If Siri does incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence the way Apple wants it to, it could ultimately end up leapfrogging the syntax driven approach of its competitors.

Surviving Apps

Built To Last, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Older people like to accuse the modern world of being disposable, as opposed to back in the past, when things were built to last. But most of the software from the 90s is long gone. Surviving this long is extremely rare. It takes a bunch of factors to last as a product.

Your Apps Are Making You Miserable, by Karen Hao, Quartz

It may be common knowledge that spending too much time on social media leads to disappointment with yourself, but according to data from Moment, an iPhone app that tracks app usage, there isn’t a single app that makes you feel good for spending more, rather than less, time on it. Not even Spotify.

Goodbye to Chaos Manor

RIP Jerry Pournelle, The First Author To Write A Novel On A Computer, by Andrew Liptak, The Verge

Science fiction author Jerry Pournelle passed away earlier this week after a sudden illness at the age of 84. He helped popularize the military science fiction genre with novels such as Janissaries and The Mercenary, but is also credited with a major milestone: the first author to write a novel entirely on a computer.

Stuff

How To Resize Images Using Preview In macOS, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

On macOS, Preview.app is highly underrated for all it can do. It’s my go-to app for a lot of things — one of them being fast image resizing. Let’s say you have an image that is too big for where you want to use it. Preview can quickly cut it down.

Review: Apps To Help Get Work Done, by Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times

Most of the new technologies being adopted by companies encourage more chatty collaboration, such as Slack, Dropbox’s Paper and Salesforce’s Quip. Co-workers commandeer your day by placing events in your shared calendar and endlessly demand attention with pedantic comments on shared Google documents.

There is, however, an antidote emerging in a new generation of technologies. They aim to make time alone at work an affordable indulgence, even if you are not the boss.

Review: SanDisk's iXpand Base Offers An Expensive But Simple iPhone Backup Solution, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The idea is to put the iXpand Base on your nightstand, plug it into the wall, and then plug your iPhone into the Lightning port at night. This charges the iPhone and allows it to transfer your photos, videos, and contacts to the Base for the purpose of backing up.

Little Snitch 4 Review: Mac App Excels At Monitoring And Controlling Network Activity, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The Internet is a terrifying place, and Objective Development’s Little Snitch 4 has tried for many years to help keep your Mac locked down by monitoring connections and letting you control inbound and outbound traffic. Version 4 refines and extends this friendly firewall, and if you’ve used it or looked at it in the past, you’ll find it mostly familiar. But the app has significant updates for visualizing connections and improves how it explains what apps are trying to do.

Develop

Apple Updates WWDC App For iOS, Apple TV With Support For Handoff, by AppleInsider

The WWDC app lets developers view sessions from the conference even if they were not able to attend. Those sessions from Apple employees help developers create apps for the iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS platforms.

As Apple Preps Augmented Reality For The Masses, Developers Are Figuring Out How To Make Money, by Ari Levy, CNBC

Apple's big bet is on ARKit, the company's homegrown technology for enabling developers to build AR apps. The software is among the most anticipated features of iOS 11, which is likely to be available this month, and you can expect to see some splashy use cases for the technology at Apple's iPhone event on Sept. 12, in Cupertino.

For game developers, who will surely be some of the earliest adopters of ARKit, a new challenge awaits -- advertising.

Bottom of the Page

I've enjoyed many of Mr Jerry Pournelle's "Chaos Manor" column in Byte magazine. Thank you, and goodbye.

~

I hope all the iOS 11 features and gestures that allow one to not use a home button because the home button is not there anymore will also be available to phones that do have a home button.

(Am I making any sense?)

~

Nobody is predicting Apple showing off new Podcast and iTunes apps in the upcoming Apple event?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Face-Reading Edition Friday, September 8, 2017

What Machines Can Tell From Your Face, by The Economist

Technology is rapidly catching up with the human ability to read faces. In America facial recognition is used by churches to track worshippers’ attendance; in Britain, by retailers to spot past shoplifters. This year Welsh police used it to arrest a suspect outside a football game. In China it verifies the identities of ride-hailing drivers, permits tourists to enter attractions and lets people pay for things with a smile. Apple’s new iPhone is expected to use it to unlock the homescreen.

Set against human skills, such applications might seem incremental. Some breakthroughs, such as flight or the internet, obviously transform human abilities; facial recognition seems merely to encode them. Although faces are peculiar to individuals, they are also public, so technology does not, at first sight, intrude on something that is private. And yet the ability to record, store and analyse images of faces cheaply, quickly and on a vast scale promises one day to bring about fundamental changes to notions of privacy, fairness and trust.

Ever Better And Cheaper, Face-recognition Technology Is Spreading, by The Economist

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the spread of these services has already prompted efforts to thwart them. An Israeli startup, D-ID, which stands for “de-identification”, has developed software that slightly alters photos so that algorithms cannot recognise them. This allows people to share pictures of their faces without having to worry that they will be used to identify them. Others have suggest low-tech defences against sophisticated surveillance systems, such as glasses with hallucinogenic patterns on the frame of the specs, or simply wearing masks or make-up.

Capturing Light

TIME's Director Of Photography On The Magazine's First iPhone Portfolio, by Kira Pollack, Time

The work I saw in Luisa’s Instagram feed synched with the vision. I knew from the cohesive feel of her feed—and her interest in women as subjects—that she could thread a portfolio. What I couldn't know was how well she would use her iPhone in unimaginably small windows of time—sometimes just five minutes to capture cover portraits of some of the most important women in the world. It’s hard to know how even the most experienced talent will wring art from such pressure. Luisa succeeded and exceeded.

Behind The FIRSTS Project: How Luisa Dörr Shot 12 TIME Covers On Her iPhone, by Kira Pollack, Time

"I bought my first iPhone in 2012. It was just a complement to my work back then. But the expectations as a user were growing exponentially as new models come out. Now, my heavy camera is the complement. I went from carrying a camera only when I was on assignment, to carrying a camera on my pocket every single day. Suddenly I was able to make great pictures anytime, anywhere, without the stress of carrying a bag full of lenses, cards and batteries. Also, it feels less intrusive to the model when you ask to take a photo with your phone. I liked the practicality, and of course I liked the resulting images."

Phones Are Changing How People Shoot And Watch Video, by Clive Thompson, Wired

For the present, one lesson seems clear: Verticality means immediacy. It’s the aspect ratio of breaking news (courtesy of bystanders) and of social media. We have come to see the now through a vertical frame.

Notes

Reports Of Ultrasonic Attack On Voice Assistants More Sound Than Fury, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Yes, voice assistants broad the attack field somewhat, but at the moment, this risk is still pretty low in the grand scheme of things. So don’t panic and mute your Echo and your Google Home—you won’t get a lot of use out of them at that point anyway.

Why I Still Wear The Apple Watch, by John Biggs, TechCrunch

The Apple Watch is the last watch most of us will ever wear. Watches, as a fashion statement and a tool, are fading and things like the Apple Watch are the last vestige of these strange objects that William Gibson called “the very finest fossils of the pre-digital age.” The Apple Watch is a hyper-evolved version of the watch that Packard tucked into his waistcoat, the culmination of centuries of work in miniaturization and design. It is also the Omega, the last of its breed. Sure, obsessives like me will still wear mechanical watches as my primary daily wear pieces – most recently I’ve been most enamored by the aforementioned Airman SST Purist edition, one of the few watches with a 24-hour-dial. But even obsessives like me will wear the Apple Watch because, compared to every other electronic watch I’ve tested, barring a few higher-tech Casios, the Apple Watch is still the only – and last – wrist-worn computer worth buying.

Bottom of the Page

I hope I don't get to see my stupid face whenever I unlock my new phone with the FaceID.

~

Thanks for reading.

The It-Is-Natural Edition Thursday, September 7, 2017

How Apple Finally Made Siri Sound More Human, by David Pierce, Wired

The first time Alex Acero saw Her, he watched it like a normal person. The second time, he didn't watch the movie at all. Acero, the Apple executive in charge of the tech behind Siri, sat there with his eyes closed, listening to how Scarlett Johansson voiced her artificially intelligent character Samantha. He paid attention to how she talked to Theodore Twombly, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and how Twombly talked back. Acero was trying to discern what about Samantha could make someone fall in love without ever seeing her.

When I ask Acero what he learned about why the voice worked so well, he laughs because the answer is so obvious. "It is natural!" he says. "It was not robotic!" This hardly counts as a revelation for Acero. Mostly, it confirmed that his team at Apple has spent the last few years on the right project: making Siri sound more human.

I Looked At A Map Of Every Connection My Computer Was Making — And It Wasn’t Pretty, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

The idea behind Little Snitch is to put you in control of those connections, but I don’t feel in control. I can block any of the domains at any time — all I have to do is click the red switch next to the name — but I’m nervous about how much damage that would do.

Red Sox Cheating Scandal Highlights Apple Watch’s Illicit Uses, by Tiffany Hsu, New York Times

The Red Sox were not the first to see illicit opportunities with the Apple Watch.

Users on Reddit have posted about cheating on exams by transferring documents to their watch. One video on YouTube from 2015 declared the Apple Watch the “New Easiest Way To Cheat in Exam” and garnered more than 180,000 views.

But testing firms have responded.

Entertainment This Week

Apple Reaches Music Deal With Warner, Eyes Sony Pact, by Lucas Shaw and Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Apple plans to pay record labels a smaller percentage of sales from Apple Music subscribers than it did under its first deal for the streaming service, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.

[...]

Large technology companies and music rights holders are establishing a framework this year for how to share proceeds from on-demand streaming, now the dominant source of sales for the record business in the U.S. Music rights holders are willing to accept a slightly smaller share of the sales from on-demand services, provided those services continue to sign up paying subscribers at a high rate.

Apple, Amazon Join Race For James Bond Film Rights, by Tatiana Siegel, Hollywood Reporter

The James Bond sweepstakes has taken an unexpected turn. While Warner Bros. remains in the lead to land film distribution rights to the megafranchise — whose deal with Sony expired after 2015’s Spectre — a couple of unlikely suitors have emerged that also are in hot pursuit: Apple and Amazon.

The tech giants are willing to spend in the same ballpark as Warners, if not much more, for the rights, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. MGM has been looking for a deal for more than two years, and Sony, Universal and Fox also had been pursuing the property, with Warners and Sony the most aggressive.

Apple Recruits Four Veteran Execs To Join Growing TV Unit, by Daniel Holloway, Variety

Kim Rozenfeld, formerly head of current programming at Sony Pictures Television, is joining the tech giant as its future head of current and the lead executive on documentary series development.

Stuff

It’s 10 P.M. Do You Know What Apps Your Children Are Using?, by Hayley Krjscher, New York Times

But social media apps are appendages for tweens and teens. It’s one way they earn social currency. Below, a guide to what parents will (or should) be anxiously monitoring during this busy back-to-school season.

Quick Tip: Zip Files As Templates, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

You could recreate your files and folders every time you start a new project. Or you could do what I do, which is create an example of the file and folder structure that I prefer and then make a zip archive of it in the Finder, ready to be re-deployed every time I need a new one.

Kobo’s iOS App Now Offers Audiobooks, Including Audible-style $10/month Subscription, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

As with Audible, the $10/month subscription gets you one book, regardless of its normal price. If you want more, you can buy additional three-pack credits for $30, with a maximum of 24 credits held in your account at any one time.

Develop

Apple Says Its Developer Service Was Affected By A Bug Not A Security Breach, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

The company issued the following note to developers which explains that an unspecified bug caused the temporary issue, which it said impacted “some” but seemingly not all developers:

Notes

Apple Will Help Choose Investment Manager For Irish Tax Billions, by Dara Doyle, Bloomberg

If the appeal, which could take as long as five years, is successful, the money will be returned to Apple. Ireland had sought an indemnity to make sure it isn’t liable for any drop in the value of the fund while the case winds its way through the EU courts. Apple’s role in choosing the fund managers could be one compromise to help resolve that issue.

Silicon Valley’s Politics: Liberal, With One Big Exception, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

The survey suggests a novel but paradoxical vision of the future of American politics: Technologists could help push lawmakers, especially Democrats, further to the left on many social and economic issues. But they may also undermine the influence of some of the Democrats’ most stalwart supporters, including labor unions. And they may strive to push Democrats away from regulation on business — including the growing calls for greater rules around the tech industry.

Bottom of the Page

The iMac Pro is going to be bundled exclusively with a black Magic Keyboard and a black Magic Mouse.

Will the upcoming iPhone Pro / Edition / X be sold with a pair of not-sold-anywhere-else black AirPods?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Rotating-Elevators Edition Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Apple's Other Big Reveal On Sept. 12, by Alex Webb

The entrance to the venue sits underneath a silver disc, whose supporting glass panels make it seem to float 20 feet above the surrounding clearing. The auditorium itself occupies four underground stories, and to get there, journalists will descend a staircase spiraling down alongside the walls.

It also boasts two custom-made rotating elevators, which turn as they ascend and descend so that passengers enter and exit by the same door even as they go in and out from different directions. So far, so Apple—the more elegant single door, with its complex engineering, preferred to the more obvious double-door solution.

Apple Updates Apple TV ‘Events’ Streaming App Ahead Of iPhone 8 Unveiling Next Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple this evening has updated its Apple Events app for Apple TV ahead of next week’s iPhone 8 showcase.

Apple Uses iOS 10 Tips App To Start Teaching iOS 11 Features, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Apple has begun pushing out Tips notifications to iOS 10 users, encouraging them to get familiar with some of the features coming in this fall's iOS 11 —perhaps a sign that the update is as little as a week away.

Believe In The Power Of Dreams

Tim Cook Urges Congress To Keep DACA Alive In Letter To Apple Staff, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Over the weekend, Tim Cook reaffirmed his support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama era policy that allows some illegal immigrants to defer deportation. After Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to a podium at the Department of Justice earlier today to confirm the administration’s decision, Cook emailed Apple staff a long memo urging Congress to make the policy permanent.

[...]

“On behalf of the hundreds of employees at Apple whose futures are at stake,” Cook writes, “on behalf of their colleagues and on behalf of the millions more across America who believe, as we do, in the power of dreams, we issue an urgent plea for our leaders in Washington to protect the Dreamers so their futures can never be put at risk in this way again.”

Apple, Microsoft Offer To Defend Dreamers From Deportation, by Klint Finley, Wired

Microsoft and Apple are offering the most full-throated defense of "Dreamers"—undocumented individuals who have been in the US since they were young and registered with the federal government to get work permits.

"If Congress fails to act, our company will exercise its legal rights properly to help protect our employees," Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Tuesday, shortly after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration would stop accepting new applications and seek to "wind down" the program. "If the government seeks to deport any one of them, we will provide and pay for their legal counsel," Smith wrote, of the 39 Dreamers who work at Microsoft. He said the company would also seek to intervene in those cases.

Tech Leaders Respond As The Trump Administration Announces Plans To End DACA, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The tech community hasn’t minced words since the president announced that he was strongly considering ending the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy last week. Several of technology’s most high-profile executives added their name to a letter calling on Trump “to preserve the DACA program,” and asking Congress “to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or legislation that provides these young people raised in our country the permanent solution they deserve.”

Stuff

App Launched To Help Monitor Diabetic Foot Ulcers, by The Diabetes Times

“The standardisation feature of the app is, however, only the first stage of what we will go onto achieve.We are now incorporating more sophisticated algorithms, which allow for state-of-the-art monitoring and prevention of foot ulceration over time.

“This will be a very useful clinical tool for healthcare professionals to monitor ulcer healing and is a major advantage over the current approach, which is mainly based on subjective judgement.”

Yoink Takes Mac Drag And Drop To The Next Level, by Jeffery Battersby, TidBITS

In short, Yoink acts as a temporary holding spot for items you drag and drop from the Finder or any other app, letting you store them for use later in other applications.

Think of Yoink like a virtual shelf for your Mac. Drag files or other items to it and they sit there, right at hand, until you’re ready to drag them off the shelf and into another app or folder.

Best Apps For Fashion Designers, by Sandy Stachowiak, AppAdvice

Sketch your ideas, mix and match, and create the perfect design wherever you go. These apps keep you prepared for when inspiration strikes.

Best Document Signing Apps For iPad: Sign And Send, No Pen And Paper Required!, by Joseph Keller, iMore

Not only is the iPad a great tool for reading and managing documents, but it also makes it easy to add an electronic signature to pretty much anything, from lease agreements to permission slips. There are several apps that let you sign documents and send them on their way, and below, we've collected the best out there.

Moleskine Launches Paper Planner That Syncs Appointments To Cloud Calendars, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

It should come as no surprise, then, that a company with expertise in both physical and digital realms would put that skill to use creating a system that seamlessly blends both worlds.

Notes

Apple's Refusal To Approve India's Anti-Spam App Angers Regulators, by Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has been trying unsuccessfully to get its Do Not Disturb software included in the App Store. The program lets people share spam call and text message logs with the agency, which uses the data to alert mobile operators to block the spammers. Apple has said the app violates its privacy policy, according to the regulator.

Apple To Sell $5 Billion Of Debt To Fund Buybacks, Dividends, by Molly Smith, Bloomberg

Apple is about three-fourths of the way through a program that’s returning $300 billion of capital to shareholders by the end of March 2019.

As Push Notifications Pile Up, Publishers Look To Get More Targeted, by Max Willens, Digiday

In the past six months, publishers ranging from CNN to Bustle to The Guardian have deployed new strategies to get readers involved in their push strategies as competition for home-screen real estate heats up: According to mobile developer Urban Airship, publishers are sending 40 percent more push notifications per month compared to two years ago.

The push craze has heated up because pushes work, and now that mobile visitors now account for a majority of most publishers’ traffic, push notifications have grown from a curiosity into a core component of many publishers’ engagement and retention strategies.

The No-Longer-Hosting Edition Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Apple Axes Annual Apple Music Festival In London After 10 Years, by Tim Ingham, Music Business Worldwide

Apple has confirmed to MBW that it will no longer be hosting the annual Apple Music Festival at London’s Roundhouse.

[...]

The annual show was first held in 2007 – typically running for a month at a time with concerts every night, and tickets going to competition winners.

Readers Report Apple Unofficially Offering Free Repairs On Devices Damaged In Hurricane Harvey, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Readers in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey are reporting that in at least some cases Apple is offering free repairs to water-damaged devices, as well as those which suffered impact damage during the evacuation. Neither type of damage would normally be covered under warranty.

Tim Cook's National Tour

Apple Is Ready To Play Politics In Iowa, by Victor Luckerson, The Ringer

“I think we have a moral responsibility to help grow the economy, to help grow jobs, to contribute to this country.” That’s not a politician talking. It’s Apple CEO Tim Cook, stumping across the American Heartland in the waning weeks of summer. Cook (probably) has no intention of running for political office, but he’s aware that corporate executives are increasingly expected to do good by people who aren’t their own shareholders. The United States is careening through the Trump years with a partially-staffed government and a lack of coherent administrative vision. Meanwhile, tech giants are steadily amassing greater power, even as individual users and politicians become more skeptical that their growing influence is in the public interest. High-profile leaders like Cook have no choice but to campaign for their companies if they want to maintain the goodwill Silicon Valley has enjoyed since Apple first supplanted Microsoft as the sector’s more empathetic standard-bearer.

So it makes sense that one stop on Cook’s national tour was Des Moines, Iowa, where he announced that Apple was opening a new data center in the nearby suburb of Waukee.The $1.3 billion facility will help ensure online users across North America can continue flaking on appointments via iMessage and answering mundane trivia via Siri. At 400,000 square feet, it’s a massive, expensive reminder that all digital ephemera must ultimately wind its way back to the rows and rows of hulking back servers that keep the internet humming.

Forget Wall Street – Silicon Valley Is The New Political Power In Washington, by Olivia Solon, The Guardian

While the big banks and pharma giants have flexed their economic muscle in the country’s capital for decades, there’s one relative newcomer that has leapfrogged them all: Silicon Valley. Over the last 10 years, America’s five largest tech firms have flooded Washington with lobbying money to the point where they now outspend Wall Street two to one.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon spent $49m on Washington lobbying last year, and there is a well-oiled revolving door of Silicon Valley executives to and from senior government positions.

Tech’s ‘Give Back’ Moment, by John Biggs, TechCrunch

In short, the companies with the most promise for solving the big problems – AI, VR, self-driving vehicles – are avoiding the economical and societal issues associated with these inventions. Countless smaller companies and people have added levels to the towers upon which Apple, Amazon, and Google now build. But the stairs are walled off and there is little hope for those left behind.

Stuff

The New Beats Studio 3 Wireless Headphones Have Better Noise Canceling And Apple’s W1 Chip, by Chris Welch, The Verge

When connected to a W1-supported Apple product, the headphones should reach wireless battery life of 22 hours with noise cancellation on — or up to 40 hours in audio-only “low power” mode. Beats says that audio quality doesn’t change or degrade with noise cancelling disabled.

iOS Cropping, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

Instead of dragging the crop handles at the corners of the image, touch and drag from the middle of an edge. For God knows what reason, cropping this way doesn’t change the position of the other crop handles. I say this is unintuitive because the handles at the corners look like the things you should be grabbing and moving. There are no visual clues that dragging from the middle of an edge is allowed.

Notes

‘Angry Birds’ Maker Rovio Plans I.P.O. In Helsinki, by Chad Bray, New York Times

Rovio helped usher in the rise of smartphone games, building an empire around the “Angry Birds” brand. In the game, released in 2009, users fling birds at elaborate structures built by pigs that have stolen their eggs.

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Probably, the "Postpone to Tomorrow" button in my Todo app is too convienent to click on.

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Thanks for reading.

The All-Platforms Edition Monday, September 4, 2017

The Future Of Microsoft Office On The Mac, by David Sparks, MacSparky

When Steve Ballmer left Microsoft, I believe the company took a very big step toward a business model that includes putting its software on all platforms and away from Ballmer's prior strategy of using Microsoft Office to trap people on Microsoft operating systems.

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider The Janitors At Two Top Companies, Then And Now, by Neil Irwin, New York Times

In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.

The $16.60 per hour Ms. Ramos earns as a janitor at Apple works out to about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as what Ms. Evans earned 35 years ago. But that’s where the similarities end.

Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

Stuff

Apple Pulls Popular Third-Party YouTube App 'ProTube' From The App Store, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Hugely popular third-party YouTube app "ProTube" was quietly removed from the App Store by Apple last week. Apple's decision to pull the app followed several takedown requests from Google that were received by the app's developer.

Develop

You Are Not ‘Behind’, by Zack Kanter

The feeling of being behind is one of the most destructive feelings to harbor and yet almost every high performer I have ever met suffers from it. The question that finally helped me break the cycle was: behind compared to what? Some alternate-reality version of yourself without flaws, a relentless Terminator on the Perfect Course of Life, chasing down and slaying goals and if you stop to catch your breath for one second the cyborg-take-no-prisoners-has-no-bad-days-or-relationship-or-family-issues-and-never-binge-watches-Netflix ‘you’ will just fly by and you will never be able to catch up no matter how hard you try?

I will tell you a secret. There is no other version of yourself, there is only the version sitting here right now. You are not behind (or, for that matter, ahead): you are exactly where you are supposed to be. So take a deep breath and relax.

Notes

Tim Cook Says He Stands Behind The 250 Dreamers Currently Working For Apple, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Cook took to Twitter this morning, to expand on his support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) following news that Trump could end the program next week.

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Will Apple show off a new iTunes (or a suite of iTunes-like apps) for macOS during the upcoming event?

More interestingly, perhaps, will Apple also show off a new iTunes for Windows Store at the same event?

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Thanks for reading.

The Loss-Of-Access Edition Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Subscription App Paradox, by Alan Marsden, Hacker Noon

When you create content through an app, you risk loss of access should you end your subscription, and the longer you use an app, the more you get locked in, making it harder to leave.

The SureFire FirePak Puts 1500 Lumen On The Back Of Your iPhone, by Julie Strietelmeier, The Gadgeteer

If you’re tired of dark grainy videos, shine some light on your subject with a SureFire FirePak illuminator.

Google iOS App Update Brings 'Smart Answers' And 'Trending Searches', by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Following yesterday's update, whenever a user taps on a search box to start a search, a dropdown menu shows "Trending Searches" indicated by a blue jagged arrow icon next to them, contrasting them from gray icons that mark out the user's search history.

Notes

Could A Videogame Strengthen Your Aging Brain?, by Anna Vlasits, Wired

Over the next week, Rocky will return three more times, completing a two-month run of 21 gaming sessions. At the end, researchers will test his physical and cognitive abilities and scan his brain to compare to his baseline MRI before playing. Along with 19 other players and 20 controls, all age 55 to 85, Rocky’s results will suggest whether a brain-training exercise game could ever really have an impact on cognitive function.

But there’s a problem. It’s really difficult to design an experiment to convincingly show that brain training works. And there’s an even bigger problem: It’s also pretty hard to show that it doesn’t work.

A Team Of Women Is Unearthing The Forgotten Legacy Of Harvard’s Women ‘Computers’, by Alex Newman, PRI

More than 40 years before women gained the right to vote, women labored in the Harvard College Observatory as “computers” — astronomy’s version of NASA’s “Hidden Figures” mathematicians.

Between 1885 and 1927, the observatory employed about 80 women who studied glass plate photographs of the stars, many of whom made major discoveries. They found galaxies and nebulas and created methods to measure distance in space. In the late 1800s, they were famous: newspapers wrote about them and they published scientific papers under their own names, only to be virtually forgotten during the next century. But a recent discovery of thousands of pages of their calculations by a modern group of women working in the very same space has spurred new interest in their legacy.

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No matter if you are using subscription-based software or not, you always face the risk of lock-ins, unable to open your own documents.

You will want to make sure you can convert existing documents to formats that you can use. To make sure you can do it at leisure, and not in a panic. This is where subscription-based software need to work harder. Make sure when your customer stops paying money, or when you withdraw a subscription plan, or when your company closes down, your customers will still have ample time to convert their documents to a competing or an open format without any significant loss of data. And you have to demostrate this ability up-front.

Currently, as far as I can tell, many subscription-based software fails this test.

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Thanks for reading.

The Sweating-On-Contraptions Edition Saturday, September 2, 2017

Inside Apple’s Secret Performance Lab, by Ben Court, Men's Health

Located on a side street in Cupertino—a few miles from Apple’s shiny new headquarters—the single-story building these Apple workers are entering looks like any anonymous suburban office block. Inside, once I clear security and get buzzed past a solid white door, I enter an invite-only secret exercise lab. On a recent morning, about 40 employees are sweating away on different contraptions—rowers, treadmills, cable machines—as 13 exercise physiologists and 29 nurses and medics monitor data. Many of the exercisers are hooked up to a metabolic cart and ECG and are wearing a $40,000 mask apparatus that analyzes their calorie burn, oxygen consumption, and VO2 max. Down one hall there’s a studio for group fitness; behind another white door an endless pool; and over there, three chambers where temperatures can be set to mimic Arctic conditions (subfreezing) to Saharan heat (100°F-plus). At Apple every room has a name, and these climate-controlled chambers are called Higher, Faster, and Stronger.

The labels are appropriate, because the company that transformed the way you enjoy music and video is now sinking its teeth into a meatier challenge: new ways you can optimize your health. “Our lab has collected more data on activity and exercise than any other human performance study in history,” says Jay Blahnik, Apple’s director of fitness for health technologies, in a rare interview. “Over the past five years, we’ve logged 33,000 sessions with over 66,000 hours of data, involving more than 10,000 unique participants.” A typical clinical trial enrolls fewer than a hundred participants.

The iPhone Ecosystem Needs Strength Training Accessories - Especially From Apple, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

For people into running and other cardio activities, there's a plethora of apps and accessories available in the iPhone ecosystem. So why are major accessory makers — including Apple — largely ignoring strength training?

Repairing iPhones

Leaked Document Shows How Apple Decides To Replace Or Repair Your iPhone, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

A 22-page document recently leaked on Dropbox shows how Apple instructs its technicians and authorized service partners to inspect iPhones for repair and determine whether they are eligible for an in-warranty repair (inexpensive) or an out-of-warranty repair (more expensive) – or if it’s a problem Apple can’t fix (you need a new phone).

Your Smartphone Got Wet. Here's What Not To Do First, by Elizabeth Weise, USA Today

“Do not charge it. Do not plug it in to see if it works. If it’s on, electricity will flow, it will touch the water that’s inside and that’s when your fry the (circuit) board,” he said.

This is also true even if your phone is still working after it was dropped in water.

Moving Siri

Apple Acknowledges Siri Leadership Has Officially Moved From Eddy Cue To Craig Federighi, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple's leadership page is only now reflecting Federighi's role as head of Siri, but the transition has been apparent for several months, based on recent interviews and stage appearances at Apple's keynotes.

[...]

Apple's updated leadership page also now lists profiles for recent hires Deirdre O'Brien, Vice President of People, and Isabel Ge Mahe, Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China.

It’s Only Logical That Apple Is Putting Its Software Guy In Charge Of Siri, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

In order to do that Siri needs to understand more than just the user’s commands. It must also collect and analyze data about the context in which a task is requested for things like calendar information and weather conditions. Most importantly, the assistant must understand the needs and habits of the user requesting them. The platform that collects and contains all this data is the operating system.

Stuff

The Case For The 10.5-inch iPad Pro, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I think I’ve decided to stick with the 12.9-inch model, but it’s a close thing. And I think for most people, the 10.5-inch model is the right iPad to buy. It’s easier to carry, its accompanying Smart Keyboard is much lighter, and its screen is big enough to satisfy most people. It’s the one to get.

Develop

2D Game Development Engine 'GameMaker Studio 2' Debuts On macOS, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The new, fully customizable Mac Integrated Development Environment (IDE) includes an object editor for structuring workflow, a tabbed script editor, drag and drop features to enable game creation without going near code, an extensive library of events and actions, and code preview tools for those who want to take their games to the next level using the GameMaker programming language (based on C).

In Silicon Valley, Working 9 To 5 Is For Losers, by Dan Lyons, New York Times

Silicon Valley prides itself on “thinking different.” So maybe it makes sense that just as a lot of industries have begun paying more attention to work-life balance, Silicon Valley is taking the opposite approach — and branding workaholism as a desirable lifestyle choice. An entire cottage industry has sprung up there, selling an internet-centric prosperity gospel that says that there is no higher calling than to start your own company, and that to succeed you must be willing to give up everything.

[...]

Mr. Vaynerchuk is also a judge on Apple’s “Planet of the Apps,” a reality show where app developers compete to win funding from a venture capital firm. A recent promo depicted a contestant alongside this quotation: “I rarely get to see my kids. That’s a risk you have to take.” The show’s promotional tweet added: “For the ultimate reward, he’ll put everything on the line.”

Good grief. The guy is developing an app that lets you visualize how a coffee table from a catalog might look in your living room. I suppose that’s cool, but is it really more important than seeing your kids? Is the chance to raise some venture-capital funding really “the ultimate reward”? (Apple pulled the promo after a wave of critical comments on Twitter.)

Finding Your App Name, by GitHawk Blog

After a while it feels pointless. Every good name is taken. Every other idea you have is awful.

Notes

A Look Inside The Underground Steve Jobs Theater Ahead Of Apple’s iPhone 8 Event, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The newly discovered photos show the theater in full-on construction mode, so it’s difficult to tell how the final aesthetics may differ from what the space looked like in June. But for now, it looks like the theater may feature a lot of natural wood finishes. This would be a stark contrast to the carbon fiber roof, 20-foot glass walls, and minimal design of the lobby and bring a warmth to the underground theater.

Watch Tim Cook’s FaceTime Cameo In Auburn University’s New Ad, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Auburn University has just released a new commercial featuring notable alumni including a surprise cameo of a very animated Tim Cook. The Apple CEO also participated in a longer ad where he talks about his experience at the school.

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Just finished reading: Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz.

If you are making a TV show that contains another TV show, which you describe as successful and brilliant, don't show the audience the show-within-the-show. It is very difficult to live up to the standard you are ascribing. Witness: Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip.

On the other hand, not only did Mr Horowitz show you his book-within-the-book in full, he successfully (in my humble opinion) pulled it off, because I did feel like reading the rest of the (non-existence) books by the same fictional author.

If you enjoyed Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes, do give Magpie Murders a try.

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Thanks for reading.

The Visiting-Steve-Jobs Edition Friday, September 1, 2017

Apple Will Hold Its iPhone Event On September 12, by Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica

"Let's meet at our place" is the greeting on Apple's invite to its fall event, which lands on September 12 this year. The presentation will be held in the newly constructed Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's new Cupertino headquarters. The theater was specifically designed to host Apple events, and what better way to christen the new space with what is expected to be a big iPhone debut.

It's Official: Apple Event Sept. 12 At Apple Park, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

This is the first Apple Event invitation to feature an automated ticket workflow. The invitation email features a click-to-RSVP link that leads to an RSVP page that, in turn, generates an Apple Wallet ticket complete with barcode.

Windowing Tasks

Why I Stopped Using Multiple Monitors, by Cory House, Hacker Noon

With a single screen, I eliminate decisions. I don’t waste time deciding where to drag windows or fiddling with where to place a given window. I maximize the app I’m working with to block out all other distractions…and get to work.

Open Internet

Apple Defends The Open Internet In A Letter To The FCC, by Taylor Hatmaker, TechCrunch

In a letter to the FCC, Apple’s U.S. Vice President for Public Policy Cynthia Hogan advocates for the open internet, cautioning against practices that would allow providers to favor some forms of traffic while throttling the speed of others.

“Broadband providers should not block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against lawful websites and services. Far from new, this has been a foundational principle of the FCC’s approach to net neutrality for over a decade. Providers of online goods and services need assurance that they will be able to reliably reach their customers without interference from the underlying broadband provider,” the letter argues.

Apple's Real Reason For Finally Joining The Net Neutrality Fight, by Klint Finley, Wired

The real significance of Apple's filing is what it says about the company's future. The company has long aspired to be more than just a hardware company, and now that Apple is in the streaming video business, net neutrality will become increasingly important to the company's bottom line.

Nazis And White Supremacists Are No Longer Welcome On The Internet. So They’re Building Their Own., by April Glaser, Slate

What’s new about that latest group of bans is that, rather than Facebook, OkCupid, or Airbnb revoking individual and group accounts, the internet’s gatekeepers are now kicking out whole organizations. The Gab removal, for instance, made an entire platform essentially unavailable to Android app users (Apple had already rejected Gab). Though Gab is still accessible through web browsers, a social media startup without an iPhone or Android app has a massive disadvantage. But Gab already had a plan in motion.

Tech Companies Are Cracking Down On Hate Speech, by Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica

There's an obvious tension here with conservatives' traditional skepticism of public utility regulation on the Internet. And we're a long way from Congressional Republicans considering legislation to regulate Google or other technology giants. But ideological movements sometimes change their views over time, and murmurs are out there from the right.

Policing hate speech seems unavoidable, at least for user-facing platforms where hate speech could drive away users and advertisers. But there's a real danger to tech companies that they could come to be seen as partisans in the culture wars rather than ideologically neutral platform providers. So they need to think carefully about how they do it.

Stuff

Sandisk iXpand Base Backs Up iPhone Photos While Recharging, by Michael Zhang, Petapixel

The iXpand Base is a palm-sized platform that’s topped with soft rubber to set your phone on while it’s connected. When you plug in a Lightning to USB cable to connect the device with your phone, it automatically backs up your photos, videos, and contacts while fast charging the battery at 15W.

Weather Atlas: Weather Mapping For A Modern Day, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Weather Atlas distinguishes itself by combining extensive weather mapping with basic weather data and presenting both in a beautiful, modern design.

With atWork On Your iPhone, Tracking Your Work Hours Is Simple And Comprehensive, by AppAdvice

You will need to spend some time setting up the app, customizing it to the type of work you do and the projects and tasks you complete. If you are a freelancer, you can also specify various clients you work for.

Once you have done the initial legwork of setting up your clients, projects, tasks, and pay rates, it’s time to start tracking those hours worked.

Dropbox Dropping Support For Older Operating Systems, by Michael E. Cohen, TidBITS

Dropbox has begun notifying users of its service to inform them that as of 16 January 2018 it will automatically sign out any computers running certain older operating systems. The Mac systems include those running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard through 10.8 Mountain Lion; Windows Vista systems will also lose desktop support on that date. Not that it matters much, but you won’t be able to download or install the Dropbox desktop app on those systems after 3 November 2017.

The Star Wars Jedi Challenge Is AR-awesome And All I Want Is More, by Derek Kessler, iMore

The Jedi Challenge is a multi-part system built around your phone (iPhone or Android, Lenovo's not picky). Your phone serves as the processing unit and display, oriented facing down over your eyes and reflected into your eyes off an angled transparent pane. The headset in which your phone is slotted is more than just a holder for the phone — it has a pair of fisheye cameras on either temple which pick up the light on the end of the lightsaber hilt (styled after the Skywalker family blade, naturally) and light on the floor slightly larger than a golf ball. The lightsaber also has motion tracking built in and communicates to the headset via Bluetooth, and the headset relays all of this positional data to your phone via a wired connection (cables are included to connect to Micro-USB, USB-C, and Lightning-equipped phones).

Develop

Apple Updates iTunes Affiliate Program With New iTunes Store Credit Payment Option, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple on Thursday announced a change to its iTunes Affiliate program, allowing members to receive commissions in the form of iTunes Store Credit instead of direct bank account deposits.

Why I Hate Your Single Page App, by Stefan Tilkov, Free Code Camp

Maybe your single page app is different, but the ones that I know break most of my browser’s features, such as the back and forward buttons, page refresh, bookmarking, sending a link, or opening a link in a new window or tab. They offer no way to link to something that I look at. (Oh, I know there are exceptions to this rule, but they typically require effort — a lot more than many developers are prepared to invest). They are bloated and slow to load, even though the actual information they display and the interaction they offer is very simple.

Am I just an old, grumpy guy? Yes, but that’s beside the point. My point is that from an architectural perspective, most single page apps are the result of making the wrong choices and missing important opportunities.

Notes

Apple's Localization Problem, by Andrew Marinov

It seems that Apple has a lot of ground to make up and the best way to start would be at the core. Apple’s not as popular as Android in developing countries and Europe and a lot of that can be attributed to the lack of language support and feature exclusivity for a lot of its main features.

Apple Eyes Iconic Studio As Base For Hollywood Production Push, by Matthew Garrahan, Financial Times

The iPhone maker is in discussions to move its original content division to The Culver Studios, whose former owners include RKO, Howard Hughes and Cecil B DeMille.

Apple’s interest in a studio which has been central to Hollywood moviemaking for close to a century, comes amid an intensifying Silicon Valley battle for the best movie scripts and television projects.

Apple, Google & Other Tech Companies Urge Trump Not To Deport ‘The Dreamers’, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple is one of around 300 businesses signing an open letter to President Trump urging him not to deport those young adults nick-named ‘the Dreamers’ – first brought to the U.S. illegally as children, but now registered, working and paying taxes.

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Whatever Apple's reason may be, I'm just glad that Apple is for an open internet.

And I hope that Apple will continue to work on its sandboxing and security technology on all its operating systems, so that, one fine day, we will not need Apple to maintain a walled garden just to ensure we have our security and privacy.

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Thanks for reading.