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.


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.


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.


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.

Bottom of the Page

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.


Thanks for reading.