The Upgrading-Decision Edition Wednesday, October 4, 2017

PDFKit Improves Somewhat In High Sierra, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

My take is that those who rely on PDF support in independent apps are probably better off upgrading to High Sierra than remaining on Sierra, since Apple has fixed some bugs. If you have instead stuck with 10.11 El Capitan, you may wish to delay upgrading to High Sierra until you can verify that the apps you rely on for PDF-related features are fully functional in High Sierra.

iOS 11.0.2 Fixes iPhone 8 Crackling, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

iOS 11.0.2 also addresses a bug that could cause photos to become hidden and fixes another that could prevent you from opening attachments in encrypted email messages.


iPhone 8, Qi Wireless Charging, And The Challenge Of Open, by Ben Bajarin, TechPinions

While Apple’s embracing of the Qi standard means they will certainly get involved and help drive the standard and the technology forward, for now, Apple runs the risk of having third-party solutions not meet their standards of an accessory that will work with iPhones.


Open systems/standards are necessary for many things basic to consumer electronics. Things like ports for example. But I’d argue that wireless charging may not be one of them. In a few years, we may look back and the landscape has changed and the Qi standard has improved. But I, for one, would have been entirely content if Apple would have built a proprietary wireless charging solution, and simply made it the best customer experience by controlling all the variables.

Redesigning History: Apple Was Never Perfect, by The Macalope, Macworld

Apple’s flaws are usually real but generally exaggerated and people tend to draw the wrong conclusions from them.

Stretching The Truth With iPhone X, by Ken Segall

“It’s all screen,” says the headline. Yet, astonishingly, the image focuses almost entirely on the only two parts of the phone that are not screen—the visible edge and the notch.

Kind of amazing, actually. Especially for Apple. In the past, it’s been so very good at shining a powerful light on its products’ best features. Here, that light seems so badly aimed.


How Apple And Amazon Built ‘Moats’ To Stave Off The Competition, by Scott Galloway, CNBC

Google and Samsung are both coming for Apple. But they are more likely to produce a better phone than to replicate the romance, connection, and general awesomeness of Apple's stores. So, every successful firm in the digital age needs to ask: In addition to big, tall walls, where can I build deep moats? That is, old-economy barriers that are expensive and take a long time to dredge (and for competitors to cross). Apple has done this superbly, continually investing in the world's best brand, and in stores.

Apple, Wall Street And Hollywood Are Lost In Translation, by Shira Ovide, Bloomberg

The predicament Apple faces in entertainment is part of the company's awkward transformation. The revolutions Apple produced in computing with the iPhone and in music listening with iTunes are harder to come by. CEO Tim Cook has been promising for five years a revolution in video entertainment but instead has delivered a series of aimless or failed strategies.

The company absolutely has the cash and cachet to deliver some thrilling TV series and movies, and the world will make a big deal about them. But Apple hasn't yet proved that it's more than just another checkbook for Hollywood, nor has it shown investors that its programming strategy will do much for the bottom line.

Orthogonal Pivots, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

Microsoft saw the limits of modularity when new product categories emerged and when new user behaviors were created. They attempted to pivot into being more integrated but those efforts also failed. The efforts continue today with Surface devices, looking forward, will continue with AR/VR and perhaps a pivot of Xbox.

But the long arc of history shows how hard it is to succeed in vertical integration after you build on horizontal foundations. Generations of managers graduated from the modular school of thought, specializing rather than generalizing. Now they are facing an integrated experiential world where progress depends on wrapping the mind around very broad systems problems.

Apple News Lets Publishers Test Serving Ads From Google's DoubleClick, by Garett Sloane, AdAge

A select group of publishers are testing ad insertions into their Apple News pages using DoubleClick For Publishers, according to a number of publishing executives familiar with the trial. Publishers like Condé Nast, Gannett, Time Inc., CNN and other media partners have been in talks with Apple for months about changing the technology behind the ads in the popular news app. Many publishers already use Google's DoubleClick on their own properties and want the ability to just extend campaigns using their own tech.

"Apple is just starting to do more for monetization," said one digital publishing partner, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We're starting to get excited about it, but can only design and develop ad inventory for Apple News once we have the right pipes in place."

Money Problem

Apple And Qualcomm’s Billion-Dollar War Over An $18 Part, by Max Chafkin, Bloomberg

But Apple can be as coldly calculating as it is dazzling. There will be lots of romantic stories about 10 years’ worth of iPhones published in the coming weeks. This is not one of those stories. This is a story about the power dynamics in one of the world’s largest industries.

It’s based in part on court documents filed as part of a dispute over one of the most expensive and, arguably, most important parts of the phone: the wireless modem. The story starts two summers ago, at a conference in Idaho, where a senior Apple executive, probably Cook, and a senior Samsung Electronics Co. executive, most likely Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, shared a quiet word.

Europe Hits Ireland Over $15B In Unpaid Apple Taxes; Luxembourg Liable For $294M In Amazon Taxes, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

The EC says that Ireland has failed to collect up to €13 billion in taxes from iphone maker Apple — roughly $15 billion in today’s currency, and it is therefore now referring the case to the European Court of Justice. And Luxembourg gave e-commerce giant Amazon (which bases its European HQ there) illegal tax benefits worth €250 million — or $294 million in today’s currency. Both are considered illegal state aid in the eyes of the Commission, and it is demanding that the states recover the money from the two companies in question.


Augmented Reality Teddy Bear Teaches Kids About Being A Doctor, by Jon Fingas, Engadget

The teddy by itself is the same sort of fluffy companion you likely had as a child, but an augmented reality app for iOS turns the bear into something much more. If you want to play doctor, you can look at Parker's insides to cure a stomach bug or ease a sore throat. You can create magic forests and sea gardens using the AR camera. And importantly you're rewarded for being kind: the more you take care of Parker, the more the bear uses AR to 'transform' the world around you.

Philips Hue Switches And Sensors Now Work In iOS's Home App...mostly, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Smart home devices are still a morass of different apps and standards, so when I get a chance to consolidate, I jump at it. Thus, this morning’s update to the Philips Hue iOS app and firmware, which lets you configure your Hue switches and sensors from iOS’s own Home app, seemed like a great opportunity to simplify my setup.

But, as it so often turns out, the results were kind of mixed.

Adobe Introduces Photoshop And Premiere Elements 2018 With A Focus On Memory Curation, Content Intelligence, And More, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Most individuals shoot all of their photos and videos with smartphones, and Adobe realizes this. The convenience of having a camera with you at all times has made it easy to be inundated with content. Without conscious effort, photos and videos get lost in the shuffle, never to be viewed again.

It’s more important than ever before to be able to quickly make creations from your media and share them with friends and family who care. New in Elements Organizer 2018 are tools specifically designed around this goal.

'Stranger Things: The Game' Releasing Today, Is Appropriately Retro, by Tasos Lazarides, TouchArcade

This completely free game (no IAPs no anything) is pretty unforgiving, as were games back in the 80s, so it comes with two difficulty modes: Classic, for those used to dying a lot, and Normal, for those who want to explore the game at their own pace without fearing (spoilers) that they'll meet Barb's fate.


Accessibility, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

It’s personal to me now, by the way, at age 49: I use the Dynamic Type feature on my iOS devices to bump up the font size. Though I run into layout bugs from time to time, I’m still utterly grateful that the feature exists and that so many developers have adopted it (or done the equivalent in their apps).

Without that feature I’d be an iOS programmer who has a hard time actually using an iPhone. Which would be dumb.

My App Story, by John Voorhees, MacStories

I had no idea what I was getting myself into, which was good. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. If you rewind even further, I’d spent the better part of the preceding five years helping my oldest son find the resources he needed to become an iOS developer. In the process, I’d learned a little myself, but hadn’t gotten beyond the most rudimentary of projects.

I got to working evenings and weekends in fits and starts studying the iTunes Search API, figuring out a way to bend it to my will, and learning Objective C. By WWDC in 2014, I had a mess of spaghetti code that, to my surprise, worked.

Bottom of the Page

If only there is an Accessibility option in macOS and iOS that changes all gray-text-on-gray-background to black-text-on-white-background.


Thanks for reading.