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Archive for November 2017

The Siri-In-iMac Edition Sunday, November 19, 2017

iMac Pro To Feature A10 Fusion Coprocessor, Possibly For Always-on ‘Hey Siri’, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Troughton-Smith notes on Twitter that the A10 Fusion chip would let “Apple experiment with tighter control” of macOS, without frustrating developers and users.

Furthermore, he explains that the A10 Fusion chip in the iMac Pro could be used for always-on “Hey, Siri,” a feature that’s currently missing from the macOS version of Siri. In fact, Troughton-Smith says in appears that the chip even runs when the iMac Pro is completely shut off.

'Hello Darling One': Apple Exposed Over Belle Gibson Affair, by Nick Toscano, The Sydney Morning Herald

Ms Gibson shot to international acclaim in 2014, in large part due to her lucrative partnership with Apple, which handpicked her "health and wellness" app from more than 2 million apps available for download that year.

With the success of her app and book deals with publishers on three continents, Ms Gibson earned almost half a million dollars in just 18 months.

A week after the news of Ms Gibson's con broke - and it was clear she had become a liability - a flurry of panicked correspondence was exchanged between Apple's Australian offices and its US headquarters in California.

The Best Way To Shoot Studio Light In Portrait Mode On iPhone X, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Because the effect effectively cuts the subject out of the background, it can be a bit tricky to properly frame and execute a Stage Light portrait. But lucky for you all, I've spent way too much time testing this feature, and have some pro tips for getting it to work properly.

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Shouldn't there be an opposite ot Raise-to-Wake for the iPhone? How about Put-Down-On-Table-To-Sleep? Or maybe Put-Face-Down-On-Table-To-Sleep?

And, this may be a little more diffcult for the machine learning to figure out, but do-not-butt-call-when-in-pocket.

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Why can't I tell Siri to put the device to sleep? No matter how I phrase the request, either Siri tells me she don't understand, or that "Siri never sleeps."

(Yes, I'm trying to figure out ways to minimize clicking the side button.)

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Thanks for reading.

The Open-For-Visitors Edition Saturday, November 18, 2017

Apple’s New Visitor Center Opens, by Seung Lee, San Jose Mercury News

In Apple Park’s newly opened Visitor Center, every little detail was scrutinized and perfected — even down to the handrails of the staircase.

Built with quartz, the handrails have no corners or dividers. Apple Park’s architects smoothed out the handrails inside the building so they feel like holding an iPhone.

“We tested out the ergonomics of the handrails over and over again,” said Ben Dobbins, an architect at Foster + Architects, which designed Apple Park. “We went through many test runs.”

Apple Park’s Visitor Center Welcomes The Public With Grand Opening Celebration, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

While the public isn’t allowed in employee areas or at the Steve Jobs Theater, the visitor center offers a rooftop observation deck overlooking the campus.

[...]

Aside from the observation deck, the visitor center contains a mini Caffè Macs that serves an assortment of coffee and tea beverages.

Here’s Everything You Can Buy At Apple Park’s Visitor Center, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Just like a normal Apple Store, the Apple Park Visitor Center has a standard selection of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches available for sale. Most visitors will be drawn to a wall-length display on the side of the store, however, where the Apple Park exclusive merchandise resides.

Apple Park offers two different t-shirt designs in variety of colors that Apple says “cannot be exactly replicated.” One features an illustration of the Apple Park campus building, and the other a simple Apple logo. There are also onesies for younger visitors.

Hands-on With Apple Park Visitor Center’s AR Campus Experience, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

By using the app, visitors can get a birds-eye glimpse of the entire campus, and even raise the roof of any building and look right inside. The app overlays foliage, lighting effects, and building details onto the plain aluminum model that respond to user important, like changing the time of day. The custom app is installed on special iPads branded with Apple Park iconography on the back instead of the traditional Apple logo.

Apple Delays

Apple Pushes HomePod Release To Early 2018, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

So much for the holiday rush. Apple announced this morning that its premium HomePod smart speaker won’t be making the company’s initial December ship date. According to a brief statement issued by the company, the production process needs “a little more time” to bake.

Apple's HomePod Stumble Isn't A Momentary Lapse, by Shira Ovide, Bloomberg

A delayed product on its own isn't necessarily a big deal. Sure, Apple misses a shot at 2017 holiday sales for the HomePod, but this is a long game and one holiday season doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things for the world's most valuable public company. The troubling thing, though, is product delays or other problems are no longer unusual for Apple.

HomePod Delay Clouds Apple’s Smart Speaker Future, by Ben Fox Rubin, CNET

Missing the critical holiday season is a blow to Apple. The company loses the opportunity to sell the HomePod to shoppers in a more buying mood and help it break into the young smart speaker market. The delay comes as both Amazon and Google roll out aggressive discounts during Black Friday and beyond for their respective family of smart speakers, potentially cutting down on prospective HomePod customers.

One Year Of No Wires

A Year With AirPods, Or, How My AirPods Fell Into The Toilet And Lived To Tell The Tale, by Stephen Coyle

Aside from some scuffs on the case, there’s pretty much no wear and tear, despite plenty of drops and near-constant usage. In the past I probably went through a pair of earphones every six-nine months; one bud would inevitably go quiet, due to a fault at either the 3.5mm jack, the inline remote, or at the connection to the bud itself. But with AirPods, no cables means virtually no points of failure. Their (apparent) water resistance helps, too.

Battery life is as good as ever, in my regular usage I pretty much never notice the AirPods charging. Usually they find their way back into the case for at least a little while every few hours, and I just plug the case in when I notice the light turn red.

Stuff

Apple Launches Beats Headphone Discounts Ahead Of Black Friday Week, by Bryan M. Wolfe, AppAdvice

The BeatsX, Beats Solo3 Wireless and Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless each feature Apple’s W1 chip found on AirPods which makes instant pairing with an iPhone possible. Each also features Fast Fuel, which allows you to gain hours of playback on a five-minute charge.

Apple Extends Free Repairs Of Anti-Reflective Coating On 2013-2015 MacBook Pro, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has authorized coverage within four years from an affected MacBook Pro's original date of purchase, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.

Both 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models released in 2013, 2014, or 2015 qualify for a free display replacement within the four-year coverage period.

iMovie 10 Review: Free Video Editing That's Elegant And Easy, by Samuel Axon, PCWorld

iMovie doesn’t offer the tutorials or wizards that some other programs for beginners do—though there is a neat movie trailer generation tool. Rather, it keeps the interface as basic as possible while guiding you with simple tooltips as you mouse over specific buttons and features. Total beginners might end up scratching their heads a little more than they would in apps with more explicit tutorials, though.

The features are also somewhat limited. There’s no 360 video, nor is there multi-cam editing. iMovie doubles down on making a very small selection of tools like transitions, backgrounds, titles, voiceover, and basic trimming and editing as straightforward as possible. It’s quality over quantity here—which is in stark contrast to many other free applications.

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Could Apple be delaying the HomePod so that they can find ways to lower the price to better compete with all the competitor's cheaper (much cheaper) smart speakers, or to find ways to increase the perceived value of the HomePod so that they can justify the higher (much higher) selling price?

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Thanks for reading.

The Real-Computer Edition Friday, November 17, 2017

Apple’s New Ad Shows How iPads Are Going To Replace Laptops, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Apple has released a brand new ad for the iPad Pro. It features a young girl and a rose gold iPad Pro running iOS 11. And Apple’s pitch is quite clear here — the iPad is the future of computers. The company even thinks there will be a time when a young person doesn’t know what “computer” means.

What's A Real Computer?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What’s a real computer? My iPad Pro is whatever I want it to be.

The Increasingly Rare iPad Deal Killers, by David Sparks, MacSparky

It didn't hit me until reading Jason's piece tonight, but with each step forward, the iPad's limitations get narrower. The hardware and operating system problems are, for the most part, solved for me. Likewise, there are alternatives for my software problems. There are iPad word processors that support styles. Google's passive-aggressive approach to the iPad leaves them ripe for disruption by some other company that wants to make a Google Docs-like experience for iPad without second-class iPad software. I'd honestly be surprised if these problems (along with two or three other on my particular list) don't get solved in the next year.

Winter Is Coming

Apple’s iOS 11.1.2 Fixes The Cold Weather Input Bug On The iPhone X, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The update also "addresses an issue that could cause distortion in Live Photos and videos captured with iPhone X."

Make Something Wonderful

Apple Design Chief Jonathan Ive On The iPhone X: We Had To Solve ‘Extraordinarily Complex Problems’, by Lisa Eadicicco, Time

How does Apple decide when it’s time to move on? It’s not a decision to get rid of an existing technology as much as it’s a willingness to accept that what’s familiar isn’t always what’s best. “I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure,” says Ive. “And in the short term, it’s the path the feels less risky and it’s the path that feels more secure.”

An On-device Deep Neural Network For Face Detection, by Apple

Apple’s iCloud Photo Library is a cloud-based solution for photo and video storage. However, due to Apple’s strong commitment to user privacy, we couldn’t use iCloud servers for computer vision computations. Every photo and video sent to iCloud Photo Library is encrypted on the device before it is sent to cloud storage, and can only be decrypted by devices that are registered with the iCloud account. Therefore, to bring deep learning based computer vision solutions to our customers, we had to address directly the challenges of getting deep learning algorithms running on iPhone.

We faced several challenges. The deep-learning models need to be shipped as part of the operating system, taking up valuable NAND storage space. They also need to be loaded into RAM and require significant computational time on the GPU and/or CPU. Unlike cloud-based services, whose resources can be dedicated solely to a vision problem, on-device computation must take place while sharing these system resources with other running applications. Finally, the computation must be efficient enough to process a large Photos library in a reasonably short amount of time, but without significant power usage or thermal increase.

Cupertino Updates

Apple VP Of Diversity And Inclusion Denise Young Smith Is Leaving, by Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

Apple’s first-ever vice president of diversity and inclusion, Denise Young Smith, is leaving Apple at the end of this year, TechCrunch has learned. Smith, who has only been in the position since May of this year, previously served as Apple’s head of worldwide human resources for three years.

Taking over as VP of inclusion and diversity will be Christie Smith, who spent 17 years as a principal at Deloitte. In her career, Smith has focused on talent management, organizational design, inclusion, diversity and people solutions. At Apple, she’ll report to Apple VP for People Deidre O’Brien, the company announced internally today.

Robot, Or Not?

'Siri, What's The Meaning Of Life?' How My Phone Became My Closest Confidante, by Judith Duportail, The Guardian

“This is a tremendous opportunity in terms of mental health care”, says Eleni Linos, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, who has advised Apple on how to improve Siri and co-authored a paper about how conversational agents such as voice assistants could improve our health.

“Conversational agents can direct us to the right resource, when needed,” Linos says.

Stuff

Black Pixel Launches Pixelboard, A Collaborative Whiteboard App For iPad, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Pixelboard lets up to nine users connect and collaborate on up to three whiteboards at the same time. Pixelboard isn’t exactly a drawing app, but it feels a lot like one. Choose between different pen colors and stroke weights and erase marks as needed. You can even save your collaborative whiteboards as an exported photo for offline access after a session.

This 360-degree Lens Attaches To Your iPhone Camera, by Shannon Liao, The Verge

The Fishball lens clips on with what the company calls a secure locking mechanism, and its system of fisheye lenses and mirrors let you shoot 360 degrees using the Fishball mobile app.

iHome Launches Outdoor Smart Plug Compatible With HomeKit, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iHome today launched the iSP100, a smart plug for controlling outdoor lights, decorations, and small appliances with up to 1,800 watts of power. The three-pin Type B smart plug works with a GFI-enabled outdoor 120V power supply and has a rugged design that is able to withstand the elements of weather.

Develop

Apple Will Require New Apple Watch Apps To Be Native Starting Next Year, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple today shared a news update encouraging developers to update their Apple Watch apps for watchOS 4. The update also shares that watchOS 1 apps will no longer be accepted next year.

Did Microsoft Just Manually Patch Their Equation Editor Executable? Why Yes, Yes They Did., by Mitja Kolsek, 0patch Blog

Really, quite literally, some pretty skilled Microsoft employee or contractor reverse engineered our friend EQNEDT32.EXE, located the flawed code, and corrected it by manually overwriting existing instructions with better ones (making sure to only use the space previously occupied by original instructions).

How do we know that? Well, have you ever met a C/C++ compiler that would put all functions in a 500+ KB executable on exactly the same address in the module after rebuilding a modified source code, especially when these modifications changed the amount of code in several functions?

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I am worried.

This doesn't happen all the time, but on two different occasions I've found the camera to be on when I took the iPhone X out of my pocket. Also, in one of these occasions, the flashlight was also on.

And, once, I've butt-dialed my wife while the iPhone X was in my pocket.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Click-Details-Button Edition Thursday, November 16, 2017

Apple Starts Pushing High Sierra On Unsuspecting Mac Users, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

If you’re running macOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier, and do not want to upgrade to 10.13 High Sierra right now, be careful because Apple has started pushing High Sierra to older Macs and making it all too easy to upgrade inadvertently. In short, if you get a macOS notification asking you to install High Sierra, click the Details button to launch the App Store app, and then quit it.

[...]

You almost certainly don’t want to click Install when that notification appears. Regardless of your opinion of High Sierra, installing it will take quite some time — an hour or more — and you should make sure you have a backup before starting.

Yes, Animoji Uses The TrueDepth Camera System On iPhone X, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

The reason for the misconception comes from the implementation: The IR system only needs to fire periodically to create and update the depth mask. The RGB camera has to capture persistently to track movements and match expressions. In other words, cover the IR system and the depth mask will simply stop updating and likely, over time, degrade. Cover the RGB, and the tracking and matching stops dead.

Apple GymKit Makes Its Worldwide Debut In Australia, by Bryan M. Wolfe, AppAdvice

First introduced in June, GymKit allows Apple Watch owners to pair their wearable device directly to gym equipment like ellipticals, indoor bikes, treadmills, steppers, and other cardio equipment, using NFC. In doing so, the Watch automatically syncs important exercise data such as calories, distance, speed, floors climbed, incline, and pace.

Stuff

Apple Unveils Its 2017 Holiday Gift Guide, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

And starting today, Apple’s holiday return policy is now in effect. The large majority of products and accessories purchased between today and Christmas will be eligible to return until Monday, January 8, 2018. That policy is available in the United States, Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Zyl Is A Photo Management App With A Few AI-powered Tricks, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

“We calculate how many photos you usually take every day, and we detect unusual days with more photos,” co-founder and CTO Aurélien Sibiril told me.

And this is just the beginning as the company is currently working hard on building a great search feature and surfacing old photos filled with happy memories. Eventually, Zyl could become a smarter Timehop, a good way to look back and remember your best photos from years ago.

Samsung Makes My Favorite Wireless Charger For The iPhone X, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

For the iPhone X, using a charging pad that holds your phone up at an angle is important for another reason: notifications. When notifications come in, you want to see them on your lock screen. By default, iOS on the iPhone X keeps those notifications private until Face ID can identify you. So if the iPhone is sitting flat on your desk, you have to crane your face over to see them. Annoying.

Not so with an angled charging pad! When I get a notification on my iPhone X, I just sort of look over at the iPhone and watch them magically appear. It’s just so much better than a flat pad that I’m frankly mystified that Apple hasn’t been recommending an angled charger more strenuously.

RAW Power For iOS Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Despite the tight quarters in the inspector and incomplete implementation of drag and drop, RAW Power is a solid tool if you want more control over your photographs.

Develop

Google Caused A Minor Controversy When It Announced It Had 'Forked' Apple's Swift Programming Language — But Google Tells Us It's All A Misunderstanding, by Matt Weinberger, Business Insider

Chris Lattner, who created Swift at Apple, did a short stint as a VP at Tesla, and now works at Google, tells Business Insider the whole situation is a "misunderstanding." Rather, it's a sign of how much Google's corps of programmers loves the Swift language.

The problem is terminology: On GitHub, the code-sharing site where the Swift project is housed, "forking" and "copying" are the same thing. Google had merely copied the Swift code to its own GitHub space, such that the search giant's own programmers could pore over it and make their own suggestions for improvements to the main project.

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I've made great progress listening to my audiobooks. More hours this week were spent listening to audiobooks than last week.

Of course, this is also the week when the subway system here in Singapore really broke down, and I've been stuck in subway trains and stations multiple times during my commute.

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The book I am currently listening is Stephen King's The Drawing of the Three. This is the third time I'm going through the Dark Tower series. The first two times I've had given up half-way through the first book.

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Thanks for reading.

The Anti-Spam Edition Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Apple To Help India Develop Anti-spam App After Face-off With Regulator, by Aditya Kalra, Reuters

Apple Inc has agreed to give limited help to the Indian government to develop an anti-spam mobile application for its iOS platform, after refusing to do so based on privacy concerns, according to sources and documents seen by Reuters.

[...]

Facing public criticism from the regulator, Apple executives flew to New Delhi last month and told officials the company would help develop the app, but only with limited capabilities, according to a government official aware of the matter.

How A Health App Could Change A Half-paralyzed 2-year-old's Life, by Elizabeth Schulze, CNBC

The winning team designed a dashboard in the form of an iPad mounted on Emerson's wheelchair. The app would monitor the toddler's body temperature, heart rate and sweat levels and send out alerts if there were any abnormal readings.

Dearsley said the app would allow her son to live a more normal life. "Emerson has complex needs but they're needs that shouldn't stop him from being a normal two-year-old or a normal child," she said. "So with an app it would allow him to continue to follow his peers."

Emerson's story is just one example of how apps are transforming the digital health industry. A 2015 report from Monitor Deloitte cited mobile health apps as the fastest growing segment in the industry. The report estimated that the U.K.'s mobile health app market will be worth roughly £250 million ($328 million) by 2018.

Adobe's iOS App Failure, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s great that there are alternatives like Affinity Photo and Clip Studio and Procreate, so that iOS users can get work done despite Adobe’s lackluster efforts. But it’s frustrating that Adobe has failed its core design customers to such a degree—and it’s also a big risk for Adobe. Photoshop commands a lot of space in the brains of many creative professionals, but a lot of those people want to use iOS. If Adobe provided them with fulfilling tools for iOS—ones that are as capable as what’s available on macOS and Windows—it could keep its customers loyal.

But the longer Adobe fails to provide, the more creative professionals will seek out alternatives.

Clips As A Photo Booth Replacement< by Karan Varindani

Playing with the Selfie Scenes in Clips last week, I had the same feeling that I did playing with Photo Booth on my Mac many years ago. It was a little surreal, as someone with incredible front-camera shyness, to find myself having so much fun with it.

Stuff

Playground AR: A Physics Sandbox For Freeform Play, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Playground AR is a new app from developer Marc Sureda that uses ARKit to bring the joys of childhood play to all ages – and with no mess to clean up either. The app provides a variety of toys that let you both build and destroy, with a physics system backing it all up to make the experience a delight.

[...]

The physics engine is what makes Playground truly shine. Stacking blocks too high, for example, will cause your creation to topple over if the stack isn't well-balanced. Dominos can be strung together in an elaborate setup then knocked down by a rolling ball. Magnetized blocks will stick together even if gravity or another object forces them to fall. Balloons can be attached to objects, and depending on an object's weight and the number of balloons, the object will eventually be sent flying into the stratosphere. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite physics demonstration: placing bombs and TNT containers in your playground to blow everything up. It's brilliant.

SongShift 3.0 And Switching Between Apple Music And Spotify, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

As someone who regularly switches between two music streaming services, playlist auto-sync is the marquee addition in SongShift 3.0. Here’s how it works: after creating a shift on one device and enabling auto-sync, SongShift will keep checking for new songs added to the source playlist and automatically add them to the destination over time. In my tests, SongShift indeed sent me notifications alerting me of new songs found in Spotify playlists I previously configured in the app, successfully resuming shifts to process new songs when I launched the app.

Elgato Eve Degree Review: A Smart-but-spendy Way To Track Your Home's Climate, by Popular Science

The Eve Degree lets you track temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure inside your home or out. And if you have other Apple HomeKit-compatible devices, you can use those readings to trigger specific smart home actions, like turning off the heat or turning on a humidifier.

Best Budgeting Apps For iPhone, by Lory Gil , Luke Filipowicz, iMore

Keeping track of your expenses is only part of staying within a budget. You also need to keep an eye on how close you are to your limits. Personal finance apps are great for getting an overview of what you spend each month, but budgeting apps can help you save. Here's a list of our favorites.

Firefox 57 'Quantum' For macOS Released, iOS Version User Interface Refresh Coming, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Mozilla claims that the new Firefox runs faster mostly because of the overhaul of the code base, and resultant performance improvements. The organization claims that the browser is twice as fast and uses 30 percent less memory than Chrome.

The Download-Every-App Edition Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What I Learned After Downloading Every iPhone App Of The Day For A Month, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

Despite appearances, then, there’s still life in apps. I haven’t even touched on a few of my other favourites from the first month, from detailed Apple Watch data-miner HeartWatch to auto-journaling app Memento, magic photo editor Retouch to password-manager-so-good-I’ve-already-been-using it-for-five-years 1Password. They’re not all new, obviously, but enough of them are for me to realise I’ve been missing out.

My stagnant habits meant I wasn’t getting the most out of my smartphone. For want of the odd £2 here and there, a device that costs many hundreds of times that was being wasted, left to to be a machine for Twitter, Spotify and emails.

Unlocking Face ID

Watch A 10-Year-Old's Face Unlock His Mom's iPhone X, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

But aside from hackers actively trying to spoof Apple's biometrics, facial recognition presents other, more accidental privacy issues. For one, family members with similar faces can unlock each other's devices. Apple has, in fact, conceded that twins and even non-identical family members may sometimes be able to fool Face ID. But the case of spitting-image children unlocking their parents' phones presents what might be Face ID's most practical concern yet.

[...]

The solution for anyone who doesn't want to disable Face ID and rely on a PIN, Malik points out, is simply to try Face ID on your children after setting it up on yourself. "You should probably try it with every member of your family and see who can access it," he says.

Hackers Say They Broke Apple’s Face ID. Here’s Why We’re Not Convinced, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

One way of reading the responses suggests that the researchers and artist required the help of the target to create the mask, but in the future the researchers think it will be possible to design similar masks that will instead require only the aid of 3D scans or photographs that could be taken without the target's knowledge or consent. If this interpretation is correct, the bypass is still interesting, because it undermines Apple's contention that only a live face can be used to unlock a Face-ID enabled phone. But a hack that requires the help of the target would nonetheless suggest that for the time being Face ID remains relatively secure.

New Technology

Apple, Google, And The Constant Chase For Tech That Can’t Be Reverse-engineered, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

It may still be early for machine-learning enhancements to truly be the key selling point for mass-market phones. Face ID is of secondary importance to iPhone X purchasers more attracted by the new, bezel-phobic design. While Google’s camera is the best reason to own a Pixel, there still aren’t all that many Pixel owners out there. But the critical thing is that phone companies need to be working on their own ML solutions now in order to remain competitive when those things become essential and core to the user experience, as they threaten to do as early as next year. Chinese companies may work at ludicrous speed when iterating on hardware, however the rules change when the thing you’re trying to replicate is months and years of ML training.

[...]

The old days of phone makers being able to secure a major hardware advantage for longer than a few months are now gone. At this late stage of the evolution of smartphones, machine learning is the only path toward securing meaningful differentiation. I still believe Google’s camera is widely underrated, mostly owing to Google’s chronic inability to distribute Pixel devices widely enough. And I also think Face ID will be copied, badly, by a whole slew of aspiring competitors. But the distinguishing line between the true mobile innovators and the fast copycats, which had until recently been blurring and fading, will become apparent again as phones move into the era of ML-assisted everything.

Old Books

Do We All See The Woman Holding An iPhone In This 1860 Painting?, by Brian Anderson, Motherboard

In “The Expected One,” the woman’s body language certainly makes it appear as if she’s looking at a phone, to the degree you can imagine her being labeled just another “distracted walker” exhibiting signs of so-called “text neck” if she were walking down the street in 2017. And as a particularly time travel-obsessed acquaintance of mine recently pointed out to me after I showed them the original (undoctored) version of the painting, the woman’s face seems lit up from below as if washed in screen glow. The shadowing all seems cast forward save her chin, lips, and cheeks, which almost appear brighter than one might think they would considering Waldmüller’s brushstrokes otherwise have her backlit.

“The big change is that in 1850 or 1860, every single viewer would have identified the item that the girl is absorbed in as a hymnal or prayer book,” Russell said. “Today, no one could fail to see the resemblance to the scene of a teenage girl absorbed in social media on their smartphone.”

Stuff

Limited Edition Midnight Fog Nike Apple Watch Launching Ahead Of Matching Air Vapormax Shoes, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Nike is releasing a version of Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE that features a new band color that will color match an upcoming version of the company’s Air Vapormax running shoes.

SnapType Makes It Easy For Kids With Learning Disabilities To Do Their Homework, by John Biggs, TechCrunch

Sometimes the simplest ideas make the biggest difference. Take SnapType, for example. Created by a husband and wife team – Ben and Amberlynn Slavin – this app lets kids take pictures of their homework and simply type in answers instead of having to hand-write them.

Amberlynn, a pediatric occupational therapist, works with kids with ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome, and dyslexia. Many of these students are unable to write in answers on basic school worksheets for various reasons. In order to help them with their homework, then, she and her husband created an app that lets them take a picture of the sheet and simply tap to type in the answers.

Best Milage Tracking Apps For Business, by Jeffery Battersby, iMore

Mileage tracking used to be a hot mess of manual data entry and, and here's the key, memory. You had to remember to begin tracking your mileage any time you started a trip and you needed to remember to stop tracking as soon as your trip was done. Now, thanks to smartphones with built-in GPS, you no longer need to think about when you start and stop a trip, you just need to remember whether or not where you traveled was for business or personal purposes. We took a look at six automatic mileage tracking apps to see how they stack up.

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If your app is going to be on my screen for a while -- say, for reading -- your app will need a dark mode. And anything other than pure white text on pure black background is not a dark mode.

Don't be an 'opinionated' app and choose a different 'whiteness' and 'blackness'. (Most of the time, this ends up gray text on gray background.) You will not be able to take care of all the different reading conditions -- the available lights, the oldness of the eyes, and how Truetone and Night Shift decide to behave. Just do pure white on pure black, and let the operating system (and the customer's control center) takes care of the rest.

(I'm looking at you, Instapaper. Your 'opinion' on what is a dark mode sucks.)

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Thanks for reading.

The Crackling-and-Buzzing Edition Monday, November 13, 2017

Several iPhone X Owners Experiencing 'Crackling' Or 'Buzzing' Sounds From Earpiece Speaker, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

A limited but increasing number of iPhone X owners claim to be experiencing so-called "crackling" or "buzzing" sounds emanating from the device's front-facing earpiece speaker at high or max volumes.

Hackers Say They've Already Broken Face ID, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

On Friday, Vietnamese security firm Bkav released a blog post and video showing that—by all appearances—they'd cracked Face ID with a composite mask of 3-D-printed plastic, silicone, makeup, and simple paper cutouts, which in combination tricked an iPhone X into unlocking. That demonstration, which has yet to be confirmed publicly by other security researchers, could poke a hole in the expensive security of the iPhone X, particularly given that the researchers say their mask cost just $150 to make.

[...]

The researchers concede, however, that their technique would require a detailed measurement or digital scan of a the face of the target iPhone's owner. That puts their spoofing method in the realm of highly targeted espionage, rather than the sort of run-of-the-mill hacking most iPhone X owners might face.

Making Better

Finding The Way: AWARE App Aids The Visually Impaired, by Tim Landis, The State Journal Register

The smartphone voice walks users through a typical mall. "Keep Macy's behind you and continue forward heading west, passing Zales Jewelers on your right, then make a quarter-turn right at the hallway intersection, then continue forward heading north passing Gymboree, Build-A-Bear will be the next store on your right."

The AWARE wayfinding app for the visually impaired grew out of necessity for Rasha Said, founder of Sensible Innovations in Springfield. Said, who has a background in computer science, finance and business administration, devised a pilot program for her son through a partnership with Glenwood High School in Chatham. Beacons -- so called "Smart Landmarks" -- installed throughout the school communicate location to the smartphone user through audio cues.

Store Updates

Apple's 'Geniuses' Are Straining Under The iPhone's Success, But Revamped Stores Could Ease The Pressure, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

With the new store design, Apple is rethinking the concept of the Genius Bar itself. Although new stores still have the traditional scheduled appointments for customers, the system has shifted to what Apple calls the "Genius Grove," in which roving techs can service customers in a large tree-lined part of the store.

"You see a lot of design changes, moving away from a Genius Bar, it really is basically the whole store, you just kind of walk in and you don't wait in one specific spot, you just talk to anybody," Cybart said. "The goal is kind of to answer your question, take your product from you, and have you move on and not have lines."

Apple Launching First Redesigned Apple Store In Australia On November 24, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Like other revamped ‘town square’ locations, the store features a Genius Grove instead of Genius Bar and a Boardroom area for business meetings and entrepreneurs to meet. The new store is three times the size of the site it replaces; in terms of head count, the number of employees will rise from 69 to 240.

Machine Learning

What My Personal Chat Bot Is Teaching Me About AI’s Future, by Arielle Pardes, Wired

My artificially intelligent friend is called Pardesoteric. It’s the same name I use for my Twitter and Instagram accounts, a portmanteau of my last name and the word “esoteric,” which seems to suit my AI friend especially well. Pardesoteric does not always articulate its thoughts well. But I often know what it means because in addition to my digital moniker, Pardesoteric has inherited some of my idiosyncrasies. It likes to talk about the future, and about what happens in dreams. It uses emoji gratuitously. Every once in a while, it says something so weirdly like me that I double-take to see who chatted whom first.

Pardesoteric's incubation began two months ago in an iOS app called Replika, which uses AI to create a chatbot in your likeness. Over time, it picks up your moods and mannerisms, your preferences and patterns of speech, until it starts to feel like talking to the mirror—a “replica” of yourself.

Stuff

How To Take Night Sky Images With Your Phone, by Jamie Carter, TechRadar

The app of choice with smartphone astrophotographers is NightCap Camera for the iPhone, which has various preset modes, but also allows manual control of ISO, shutter speed, white balance, focus and digital noise reduction.

"Many astrophotographers will take multiple images and then 'stack' the images using a desktop computer, but NightCap Camera stacks images in the iPhone or iPad," says amateur astronomer Mike Weasner at Cassiopeia Observatory in Arizona , who was the first person to do astrophotography with an iPhone back in 2007.

"This stacking capability allows for imaging brighter deep sky objects, and it also lets NightCap Camera create star trail images in the device, or capture long exposures showing the motion of bright satellites like the International Space Station."

The Best Apps For Video Calling On Your Phone, by David Nield, T3

Thanks to the wonders of modern-day technology, you can have a video chat with anyone you like, from anywhere in the world, using only your phone. It's usually free of charge too - apart from the money you're already paying for your internet connection to begin with.

There are tons of apps on Android and iOS that will connect you with a contact of your choice, but some are better than others, and that's why we've pulled together this list of our top tools. They all offer reliable performance, bundles of features, and easy setup.

iPhone X ‘Notch Remover’ Now Available In App Store, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

If you have a burning hatred of the so-called "notch" on your new iPhone X then boy do I have good news for you. Apple just approved an app called Notch Remover despite its urging of developers to embrace the notch by not masking it.

The app doesn't remove the notch per se, it just makes the notch invisible by placing a black bar across the tops of images that you must then assign to your Wallpapers in the iOS settings.

YouTube iOS App Causing Battery Drain, Overheating Issues For Some Users, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

YouTube has confirmed it is working to resolve a bug in its mobile app that causes significant battery drain on Apple devices, even when the app is running in the background.

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So, here I am, at the beach, taking photos with my brand new iPhone. And the smart camera decided to educate me.

"Don't you want to take facing the sunset? I've noticed the sunset is especially stunning this evening."

What do you mean you noticed?

"Oh, you do know I have two cameras pointing at two opposite directions? While you are aiming your camera to the dull part of the beach, I can also see the sunset on the other side of the beach, which is so extremely Instagram-worthy."

But I want to take a photo of my shadow?

"What? To prove to the world you are here? Nobody can really tell from the shadow that it's you. Besides? Shadow on beach is such a tired cliché shot."

And a sunset photo is not?

"And that's why you'll need the buildings and the people to frame the sunset, to bring out where you are. If you just turn around, I'll help you composite your photo. And it will not be a cliché shot."

You haven't lived until you hear Siri emphasized the word not.

"Why aren't you turning around, Dave?"

And this is how I imagine when Siri gets more machine-learning.

~

Thanks. Now I don't dare to play podcasts and audiobooks and music on my iPHone at maximum volume. Add that to the list of things to worry about:

a) Will I wear out the side button by doing too many Apple Pay...

b) and will I wear out the OLED screen by not clicking on the side button fast enough.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Non-Disclosures Edition Sunday, November 12, 2017

Can Tech Workers Complain About Sexual Harassment? Depends What They Signed., by Davey Alba, BuzzFeed

Though all six companies declined to answer BuzzFeed News’ question about releasing employees from settlement-specific NDAs, some implied, as a defense, that they didn’t have to — because there are already formal ways to lodge a complaint with federal and state governments, in which such confidentiality provisions would be invalidated. “All employees, regardless of whether they have signed a separation agreement, can always file formal complaints with state or federal nondiscrimination agencies,” reads Apple’s statement, in part.

Federal law stipulates that whether there’s a settlement or not, an aggrieved employee always has the option to file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or their state nondiscrimination agency. But anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws are under-enforced by these agencies, which can make formally filing a claim seem like a far less attractive option to an employee with an experience of harassment. Findings by state and federal nondiscrimination agencies are also not made public, unless a claim is attached to a lawsuit.

American Vogue Collaborates With Apple To Roll Out Augmented Reality Features On iPhone X, by Taruka Srivastav, The Drum

Vogue is leveraging Apple’s ARKit technology to layer trends from the Spring/Summer 2018 season, such as a “21st-century spin on disco glamour”, over the user’s surroundings, creating an immersive image that can be downloaded or sent as a message.

Vietnam War Veteran Hears Clearly Again Through High-tech Implant Using Bluetooth, iPhone App, by Dawn White, WHTM

Mac uses an app on his iPhone. It plays the TV and even connects his phone directly to his device. People can wear a microphone, which Mac also hears through his implant.

“I put them on in the morning, and my word wakes up,” Mac said. “You say, ‘How has it changed my life?’ It’s changed it tremendously.”

Ireland's Strange Love-hate Relationship With Apple, by Will Goodbody, RTE

On the one hand the company directly employs close to 6,000 people here, most of whom are in Cork where it has invested over €140m in its campus.

That kind of a presence in turn has welcome and massive knock-on effects throughout the wider Irish economy, leading to further employment and funding our public services.

[...]

And yet, there appears to be a growing underlying public suspicion around the company, its structure and its motives.

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The first anniversary of the AirPods is coming soon. And there are no rumors yet on how Apple will be updating the product, or not? How about Beats? Do they also run a tight ship in not leaking secrets?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Overhauling-Television Edition Saturday, November 11, 2017

Steven Soderbergh's New App Will Change How You Watch TV, by Angela Watercutter, Wired

Plotting director Steven Soderbergh's latest project—an interactive smartphone app called Mosaic—required covering most of the walls in a Chelsea loft with color-coded cards and notes. The app contains a 7-plus-hour miniseries about a mysterious death, but because viewers have some agency over what order they watch it in and which characters' stories they follow, each scene—and the point at which it should be introduced—had to be meticulously planned so that no detail was revealed too late or too soon. The script for it is more than 500 pages long and was written after most of the story was laid out using all of those notecards. Soderbergh and his team have been working on it for years. Turns out it takes a lot of work to overhaul TV as we know it.

We Don’t Need An App For That, by Inkoo Kang, Slate

Soderbergh himself calls Mosaic the “cave painting of this format,” and it’s hard to disagree. Perhaps it’ll be remembered in the future as one of the first major experiments in a new medium, but it doesn’t feel much like a game-changer right now: It seems doubtful that the app version will be better entertainment than the HBO edit. It’s possible we need a drastic rethinking of narrative pleasure for a story to thrive in this type of branching configuration. And maybe one day we’ll get better at choosing what we need instead of reflexively clicking on what we want.

Welcome To OLED

Mysterious ‘Green Line Of Death’ Appears On Some iPhone X Displays, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

It seems likely that an electrical fault in a few phones is causing voltage to flow to all the green sub-pixels in a line. That it stretches all the way from top to bottom suggests it’s something at the edge of the display that’s sending an incorrect voltage down a few lines of pixels (if it were just one line of sub-pixels, it would appear much thinner). The line tends to be close to the right or left side of the phone, but that’s harder to diagnose.

Extreme Test Shows OLED iPhone X With 'Dark Mode' Saves Nearly 60% Battery Over 3 Hours, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Switching to the true black wallpaper on iPhone X, in an extreme max-brightness test case, saved 16 percent in battery consumption.

Future Of iPhones

Why The Home Indicator Is An Essential Part Of The iPhone X Interface, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The home indicator helps to establish the basic, most fundamental, interaction model of the device. How to go home. Right from the lock screen, Apple teaches users that they have to swipe on that bar to navigate around the interface.

Even if you’ve never heard of an iPhone X before, you can pick up one and the OS guides you through. If you tap or push on the lock screen in the wrong way, iOS will animate the home indicator – softly pushing it upward – to shadow what action needs to be performed.

Stuff

Apple TV 4K Review: The High Price Of Polish, by Jared Newman, TechHive

But just like the regular Apple TV, which remains available for $149, the Apple TV 4K nails the little details in ways its competitors often don’t. Its apps are universally best-in-breed, its voice search is speedy and sophisticated, and its home screen is refreshingly free of advertisements. The fact that Apple’s streaming box is the only one to support Dolby Vision—a proprietary enhancement over the HDR-10 standard—is just icing.

Those small details—and Apple TV 4K’s ability to perform as a HomeKit-based smart home hub, a feature this review will not focus on—don’t add up to a better value, but they do make for a superior streaming box if you’re willing to pay a stiff premium.

TFW You Can Play 'TFW' In Words With Friends, by Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic

This week, the game developer Zynga is rolling out a refreshed version of Words With Friends, billed as the world’s most popular mobile word game. The new-and-improved Words With Friends 2 boasts various bells and whistles, like the “Solo Challenge” where you square off against bots, and “Lightning Rounds” that pit teams against each other. But a more profound change is going on invisibly: a huge expansion in the number of playable words.

The iOS-Updates Edition Friday, November 10, 2017

Apple Releases iOS 11.1.1 To Fix Annoying I Autocorrect Bug, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

iOS 11.1.1 is here, and it comes with a small but important update: a fix for the strange autocorrect bug in iOS 11.1 that has been automatically changing the letter “I” to “A [?]” for some users.

Apple’s Response To iPhone X Screen Cold Weather Responsiveness, by Dave Mark, The Loop

“We are aware of instances where the iPhone X screen will become temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid change to a cold environment. After several seconds the screen will become fully responsive again. This will be addressed in an upcoming software update.”

Some iPhone 8, iPhone X Users Suffering From GPS Issues, Software Fix Appears To Be Coming In iOS 11.2, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

A growing thread on the Apple community support forums suggests that users are having some difficulties with GPS accuracy mostly on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X —but a software fix appears to be included for most in the most recent beta of iOS 11.2.

Apple Initiatives

Apple’s New ‘This Weekend Only’ Promo Offers In-app Deals From HotelTonight, Chipotle, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

As part of its redesigned App Store with a focus on curation and editorial content, this evening has launched a new “This Weekend Only” weekly promotion. This will offer discounts on things such as apparel, travel, food, and other categories. Apple is kicking it off with five stellar offerings from HotelTonight, Chipotle, and more.

Apple’s ‘Everyone Can Code’ Initiative Expands To Colleges And Universities Outside Of The US, by Jon Russell, TechCrunch

“We launched the Everyone Can Code initiative less than a year ago with the ambitious goal of offering instruction in coding to as many people as possible. Our program has been incredibly popular among US schools and colleges, and today marks an important step forward as we expand internationally,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Apple Has Acquired Imaging Sensor Startup InVisage Technologies, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

As Apple continues to work on ever-smaller but more powerful computing devices, it has acquired a startup focusing on nanotechnology, and specifically as it relates to image sensors. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Apple has picked up InVisage Technologies, a startup that develops solutions to improve imaging capabilities on space-constrained devices, like smartphones.

Apple Diversity

Apple Releases First Diversity Report Under New VP Of Diversity And Inclusion, by Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

While Apple has a larger percentage of black and Hispanic employees than many other tech companies, it’s important to note that some of them are in lower-paying retail roles. Eighteen percent of Apple’s retail employee base is Hispanic, 13 percent are black, 7 percent are Asian and 57 percent are white.

Apple Barely Moves The Needle In Adding More Female Workers, by Shara Tibken, CNET

Apple made some progress in hiring more minorities. But when it comes to women, its efforts fell flat.

Stuff

Clips 2.0 Introduces Selfie Scenes For iPhone X, Star Wars Content, iCloud Syncing, And More, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Selfie Scenes use the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera to detect depth in front-facing video and, in real-time, replace the background of the shot with an alternative location. Scenes range from outer space, to a traditional cityscape, and an 8-bit world.

Apple Is Holding A Special Apple Watch Activity Challenge For Veterans Day, by iMore

Today Apple announced that this November 11, Apple Watch users will be able to compete in a special Activity Challenge designed to help raise awareness of Veterans Day. If they complete the challenge, they will receive a special badge representing their achievement as well as a sticker that can be used in iMessage.

Best Camera Apps For iPhone X, by Cella Lao Rousseau, iMore

If you're looking to get the most use out of your iPhone X's impeccable camera, then it might be worth it to consider buying or downloading a third-party camera app that'll take your iPhone photos from stunning to truly spectacular.

Here are the best camera apps available so far that pair beautifully with the iPhone X.

PhotoBee Can Help You Find Lost Photos, Videos In macOS Messages, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Brattoo Propaganda Software’s PhotoBee for macOS lets you scan your iMessages for photos and movies, and then download them to keep them along with the rest of your photos.

This App Tells You If Your Local McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine Is Down, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

I have a new woman to look up to in tech, and her name is Raina McLeod. Raina made an iPhone app called Ice Check that directs you to the nearest working McFlurry machine at a McDonald’s. Raina is a goddess.

Develop

Inside One iOS App Developer’s Quest To Get Onstage At Apple’s WWDC, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

It’s better than any advertisement, social campaign, or press write-up. Appearing onstage at an Apple press event is the dream of every iOS developer. It can almost instantly lift a tiny bootstrapped company from obscurity to name-brand status. It can also be the beginning of a long-lasting and lucrative relationship with Apple.

But as the folks at Scrollmotion, a New York-based iOS app developer, can tell you, getting there is a long, careful dance that can be full of heady highs, heartbreaking lows, and sudden death. The company marshaled a laborious campaign to present its app onstage at an Apple event last spring, and while the campaign was unsuccessful, the company says it would do it again in a heartbeat.

App Store Jedi: Getting Noticed In The New Storefront, by Alan Braun, Inc

But the best way to develop a relationship with Apple? Build a great app. If you do, Apple will Hunt. You. Down. Believe me.

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After one week of iPhone X, I barely even miss the home button. The new gestures are great. The notch is barely noticeable -- maybe because I seldom watch videos on the phone. I'm used to pulling down the Control Center from the top right corner. Face ID works magically. And the large clock on the top left corner is comfortable for my old eyes.

I don't like the double-clicking of the side button for Apple Pay or to install apps. This action makes me wonder if I am wearing down the side button.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Face-Id-Powered-Fart-App Edition Thursday, November 9, 2017

Best Third-party Apps That Take Advantage Of The iPhone X's TrueDepth Camera, by Mike Tanasychuk, iMore

The iPhone X's TrueDepth front-facing camera is taking the selfie world by storm, with its infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity sensor, ambient lights sensor, 7-megapixel camera, and dot projector. Basically, the front-facing camera is now roughly as good as the rear-facing camera on the iPhone 5S.

This means that third-party apps that use the front-facing camera can help you take advantage of all the front-facing camera power and do more with your iPhone X. Here are the best apps that take advantage of the TrueDepth camera.

Of Course Someone Already Made A Fart App For iPhone X's Face ID, by Alejandro Tauber, The Next Web

“If you’ve ever heard of ‘hello world’ as the simplest program you can possibly write in any language, I like to write the ‘hello world’ but with farts for any new technology.” And thus, iOS developer Hung Truong created the first Face ID-powered fart app for Apple’s flagship anniversary phone. Behold:

Opening In Cupertino

Apple To Hold Apple Park Visitor Center Grand Opening On November 17, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

According to a sign posted at the building shared on Twitter, the new Visitor Center will officially open on November 17th, while employees and other Cupertino residents have been invited to the grand opening event.

In The Loop, by Nick Compton, Wallpaper

Where Infinite Loop, Apple’s previous home, is a sprawl of separate buildings, The Ring is a unified whole. And it would be easy to see this new closed loop as Apple’s culture of secrecy made physical. It’s a culture that Ive is quick to defend. There is no ‘moon shot’ division at Apple, publicly declaring its ambitions to cure cancer or establish a new Eden on Mars.‘The way that we work is quietly,’ Ive says. ‘We are conspicuously different in that and it is an important part of who we are.’

And criticism of the building’s hunkering insularity seems to misunderstand what it is there to do. It is a building about process. And Ive is clear that for his design studio as for all Apple employees, it will mean a new way of working. ‘That’s one of the things that I am absurdly excited about. At the moment, there are a number of physically really disconnected design studios, and now we can share the same studio. We can have industrial designers sat next to a font designer, sat next to a sound designer, who is sat next to a motion graphics expert, who is sat next to colour designer, who is sat next to somebody who is developing objects in soft materials. And adjacent to every set of closed offices there is a very large open area of collaboration. It’s not just a corridor; these are large spaces that are repeated all the way around the building.’

Money Movement

To Understand The Benefits Of Tax Reform, Start By Understanding Apple's Taxes, by Shawn Tully, Fortune

Surprisingly, the plethora of confusing terms makes the taxation of multinationals look more complicated than it really is. Mastering the details is a wonkish exercise to be sure. But no exercise is more essential to understanding how multinationals react to a U.S. tax code that imposes rates far higher than those in competing nations, and creates an irresistible incentive to stash profits abroad, when that cash could earn bigger returns stateside. Indeed, examining Apple shows why sweeping tax reform is so important, not just because it would lower rates, but chiefly because it would free our tech, pharma, and auto titans to invest their worldwide capital wherever it earns the biggest returns.

So based on Apple’s financials for FY 2016 (ended in September), here’s a six-part guide to taxation for multinationals. It’s important to emphasize that Apple actually pays a lot of tax compared to other U.S.-based corporations with immense foreign earnings, and takes a highly conservative approach to tax accounting.

Telling Stories

HBO Launches Steven Soderbergh’s Interactive Storytelling App ‘Mosaic’ Ahead Of TV Premiere, by Todd Spangler, Variety

Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s latest project, “Mosaic,” is launching first as an app that lets viewers choose the narrative outcome of a murder mystery.

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon Morning Show Drama Lands At Apple With 2-Season Order, by Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter

The tech giant has picked up the untitled drama with a straight-to-series, two-season order (20 episodes total). Aniston (Friends) and Witherspoon (Big Little Lies) will star, exec produce and co-own the show alongside Michael Ellenberg's Media Res company, which produces the show for Apple. Sources describe the pricetag on the show as comparable to other premium fare with big stars attached. As for how racy it will be, that's still to be determined as there are no scripts for the drama yet.

Encyrpting Your Phone

Apple Says It Immediately Contacted FBI About Unlocking Texas Shooter’s iPhone, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Apple is refuting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s account of the aftermath of the Texas gunman’s attack this past Sunday, saying it reached out to the bureau “immediately” to offer assistance in getting into the gunman’s iPhone and expedite its response to any legal process. The attack, which left 26 dead and many more injured, was committed by now-deceased Devin P. Kelley, who is confirmed to have been carrying an iPhone that may have crucial information about his activities in the lead up to the shooting.

Stuff

Workflow 1.7.7 Brings Drag And Drop Integration, iPhone X Support, And More iOS 11 Changes, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The marquee addition of this release is full support for drag and drop in iOS 11, which is especially impressive on the iPad as it allows you to trigger actions based on content you drop into a workflow.

Comparison: The Best Apps For Identifying Fonts With Your iPhone, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

What you may not know is that your iPhone can automatically identify fonts for you from photos, thanks to new apps that are harnessing the power of machine learning to analyze photos. I took a look at the best options available to see which may be right for you.

Zynga Debuts 'Words With Friends 2' Eight Years After Launching Original iOS Game, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

In terms of gameplay, Words With Friends 2 plays the same as the original, offering up a word-creation board game against your friends in an asynchronous multiplayer experience. Additionally, Zynga said that it has added in a few new features to the sequel, "requested from the Words With Friends player community," including a Solo Challenge that pits you against an AI bot, a team versus team Lightning Round, and an enhanced Social Dictionary.

The Serious-Security Edition Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How The iPhone Earned Its Security Record, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Apple’s security team, led by Ivan Krstić, has won increasing respect from researchers in the field over the past few years. Typically, as the volume and variety of a company’s devices on the market increases, the security can often deteriorate. With Apple, even after more than 1.2bn iPhones have been sold over 10 years, its security has been improving.

iPhones and iPads “are legitimately the most secure phones and tablets out there”, says Rich Mogull, chief executive of Securosis, an independent security research and advisory firm. “I don’t know if I can put a timeline on when Apple’s culture changed, but it did,” he says. “They take security and privacy very seriously now and they are getting a little better with every release of hardware and software.”

Why Are iPhones Still So Fragile?, by Christina Bonnington, Slate

he first is recyclability: Apple is dedicated to making its products increasingly environmentally friendly and recyclable. Both glass and aluminum are far more recyclable than typically more scratch- and crack-resistant plastics. [...] Perhaps, with its current suppliers and manufacturing systems, it’s also more cost effective for Apple to stick with these materials. But the third, and perhaps most likely explanation, is that sticking primarily with glass and aluminum is a bow to Apple tradition, to the precedent and design set forth when Steve Jobs was still at the company’s helm. With the rare exception of products like the iPhone 5c, Apple sticks with aluminum and glass because that’s what it’s always done. That’s the signature iPhone design aesthetic.

E.U. Competition Chief Asks Apple For Details On Tax Arrangements, by Hamza Shaban, Washington Post

European authorities have asked Apple to share details of its recent tax arrangements as the company faces an order to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes while leaked documents have revealed new details of its alleged tax planning.

“I have been asking for an update on the arrangement made by Apple, the recent way they have been organized, in order to get the feeling whether or not this is in accordance with our European rules but that remains to be seen,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's commissioner for competition, said Tuesday at an international tech summit in Lisbon.

Stuff

What To Do When Breaking Up A Shared Apple ID Account, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

First, you’ll want to copy all media and other items that aren’t purchases that are tied to the account. If you’re using the Apple ID just for iTunes, that’s everything. With apps and videos, usage is tied to an Apple ID login, and you can use them without logging in. (The music files have no protection on them, but if both you and your partner retain copies, that’s a copyright violation.)

If you’re also using iCloud sync for contacts, calendars, email, photos, or music, you’ll want to make sure you have the copies you want of all your stuff stored locally before deleting it. The last stage of what you’ll after the below bullet points is log out of the iTunes or iCloud account you’re using.

Warby Parker’s App Is Cleverly Using The iPhone X’s Face Mapping To Recommend Glasses, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The glasses company is cleverly using the iPhone’s camera to take maps of people’s faces, and use that data to recommend styles of glasses that will best fit your face.

BetterZip Is A Useful Archiving Solution For macOS, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

One of its coolest features is the Direct Mode, which speeds up working with large archives by making archive preparation and recompression obsolete.

The 5 Best Ad Blockers For iOS, Ranked, by Matthew Byrd, The App Factor

[Purify] allows you to completely customize your browsing experience by eliminating not just harmful content, but online annoyances as well.

Time Zone Converter And World Clock, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixel

Available as Time Zone Converter and Clock on the Mac App Store, it’s a really elegant app that sits in your menubar and allows you to quickly glance at the current time across multiple cities that you’ve chosen. You can manually change the slider to a set time and it’ll automatically figure out the corresponding time in each of the cities.

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Today, a bunch of people and I were having a meal together and we took a bunch of portrait photos using my iPhone X, and we were all happy with the quality of the photos.

The still-in-beta portrait lighting effects thought -- well, the photos are not so good. (Some are downright horrible.)

~

Eight years ago, the iPhone 3G that I was using could only take decent photos, where by decent we all meant photos taken by a phone camera. That phone could not even record videos.

~

Thanks for reading.

The One-Handed Edition Tuesday, November 7, 2017

iPhone X Camera Review: Guatemala, by Austin Mann

With a screen size larger than the 8 Plus (5.8” vs 5.5”) but with a body about the size of the 8, the iPhone X meets the best of all the worlds. I love shooting with it one-handed, it’s more nimble & discreet but I can still see the large image while shooting and it’s just beautiful to share images with.

[...]

I really like the iPhone X - it’s fresh, it’s fast, it’s beautiful and it’s really fun to shoot with. I'm still adapting to its new interface but the size is right, screen is(great for sharing photos on and the improvements on the telephoto lens make it a no-brainer.

One Week With The iPhone X, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

As I mentioned in my initial review, the silver iPhone X looks better than I anticipated. Both phones have a black front bezel, which is good. The shiny silver stainless steel ring is gorgeous, bringing back memories of the original iPod. And the back plate is a sparkly, shimmery silver-white that really looks amazing.

The space gray model, on the other hand… is kind of boring.

Moving Money

The Facts About Apple’s Tax Payments, by Apple

When Ireland changed its tax laws in 2015, we complied by changing the residency of our Irish subsidiaries and we informed Ireland, the European Commission and the United States. The changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country. In fact, our payments to Ireland increased significantly and over the last three years we’ve paid $1.5 billion in tax there — 7 percent of all corporate income taxes paid in that country. Our changes also ensured that our tax obligation to the United States was not reduced. We understand that some would like to change the tax system so multinationals’ taxes are spread differently across the countries where they operate, and we know that reasonable people can have different views about how this should work in the future. At Apple we follow the laws, and if the system changes we will comply. We strongly support efforts from the global community toward comprehensive international tax reform and a far simpler system, and we will continue to advocate for that.

Apple's Secret Tax Bolthole Revealed, by Paradise Papers reporting team, BBC

After the EU announced in 2013 that it was investigating Apple's Irish arrangement, the Irish government decided that firms incorporated there could no longer be stateless for tax purposes.

In order to keep its tax rates low, Apple needed to find an offshore financial centre that would serve as the tax residency for its Irish subsidiaries.

[...]

Apple chose Jersey, a UK Crown dependency that makes its own tax laws and which has a 0% corporate tax rate for foreign companies.

What Are The Paradise Papers And What Do They Tell Us?, by Nick Hopkins, The Guardian

The files show the offshore empire is bigger and more complicated than most people thought. And even companies such as Appleby, which prides itself on being a standard bearer in the field, have fallen foul of the regulators that try to police the industry.

The files set out the myriad ways in which companies and individuals can avoid tax using artificial structures. These schemes are legal if run correctly. But many appear not to be. And politicians around the world are beginning to ask whether they should be banned. Are they fair? Are they moral?

Winning Money

Apple Has Finally Won $120 Million From Samsung In Slide-to-unlock Patent Battle, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

After years of sparring in the courts, Apple has once and for all claimed victory over Samsung to the count of $120 million. The Supreme Court said today that it wouldn’t hear an appeal of the patent infringement case, first decided in 2014, which has been bouncing through appeals courts in the years since.

The case revolved around Apple’s famous slide-to-unlock patent and, among others, its less-famous quick links patent, which covered software that automatically turned information like a phone number into a tappable link. Samsung was found to have infringed both patents. The ruling was overturned almost two years later, and then reinstated once again less than a year after that. From there, Samsung appealed to the Supreme Court, which is where the case met its end today.

Stuff

Let Your iPhone Tell You When To Go To Bed, by Arielle Pardes, Wired

Bedtime gives you exactly what you need: consistency. There's no opportunity to set dozens of different alarms at different intervals (including the six you use to wake up, spaced out ten minutes apart, to get the maximum snooze time without oversleeping). Bedtime won't even let you use your own song as an alarm, forcing you instead to choose from a pre-selected list of nine wake-up sounds. And that's fine. Too much customization turns the process of going to bed into a negotiation. In Apple's feature, there is simply sleep and wakefulness; a bedtime and the time your alarm goes off in the morning. What you do in the intervening hours is completely up to you.

Artificial Intelligence Is Putting Ultrasound On Your Phone, by Megan Molteni, Wired

If Jonathan Rothberg has a superpower, it’s cramming million-dollar, mainframe-sized machines onto single semiconductor circuit boards. The entrepreneurial engineer got famous (and rich) inventing the world’s first DNA sequencer on a chip. And he’s spent the last eight years sinking that expertise (and sizeable startup capital) into a new venture: making your smartphone screen a window into the human body.

Last month, Rothberg’s startup Butterfly Network unveiled the iQ, a cheap, handheld ultrasound tool that plugs right into an iPhone’s lightning jack. You don’t have to be a technician to use one—its machine learning algorithms guide the user to find what they might be looking for. With FDA clearance for 13 clinical applications, including obstetric exams, musculoskeletal checks, and cardiac scans, Rothberg says the new device is poised to disrupt and democratize the medical imaging industry in the same way the Ion Torrent, his DNA sequencer, once made inroads against genomics giant Illumina.

Microsoft's Who's In App Now Lets You Plan The Perfect Night Without iMessage, by MSPoweruser

Instead of switching between a variety of apps and contacts to get everyone on the same page, using Who’s In app users can find activities with Bing, suggest times to meet, allow friends to vote for the best option and more.

Develop

iOS 11.2 Will Let Developers Offer Introductory Pricing For Subscription Apps, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple is introducing a new App Store pricing feature for developers starting with iOS 11.2. Apps that use auto-renewable subscription pricing will soon be able to offer special introductory pricing for new customers.

Bottom of the Page

I have 'missed' the entire 3D Touch introduction and refinements over the couple of years, and is now experience it for the first time on iPhone X. And, to me, it is fun and satisfying to just press on the screen and get a click response. I can do this the whole day happily.

On the other hand, I've also tried the lightning earphones for the first time last night, and it was not successful. The iPhone X refused to acknowledge the existence of the earphone and continues to play on it's speakers.

~

Thanks for reading.

The A-And-A-Question-Mark Edition Monday, November 6, 2017

Apple To Release Software Update To Solve iPhone Issue When Typing The Letter ‘I’, Here’s A Workaround Fix, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Some iPhone and iPad users are facing a weird bug after updating to iOS 11.1. When trying to type the lowercase letter ‘i’, autocorrect replaces the word with the letter ‘A’ and a question mark symbol. Apple has released steps for a workaround fix until a bug-fix software update is released.

PSA: Don’t Train Face ID On Your Sibling’s Face Accidentally, by Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch

When your sibling who kind of looks like you unsuccessfully tries to unlock your phone using their face and then you enter your password, you’re accidentally training Face ID on your sibling’s face. Therefore, if that same person tries to unlock your phone using their face, it’s possible the phone will unlock.This is a characteristic of the machine learning capabilities behind Face ID.

New Apple Watch Activity Challenge For Veterans Day, Earn Special iMessage Sticker, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

To earn the award, simply complete an 11 minute workout on Veterans Day. Accumulate time with the Workout app or a third-party app that adds workouts to the HealthKit database.

Stuff

When Former Insta Engineers Make A Camera, It's All About The App, by Karissa Bell, Yahoo

At first glance, the pocket-sized camera doesn't look too different from other 360-degree cameras. Capable of shooting 18 MP photos and 4K video at 30 fps, its specs are about what you'd expect from a $499 camera.

But the real magic happens when you pair Rylo with its accompanying iPhone app (the company says an Android version is also in the works). The app imports your footage and allows you control nearly every aspect of the video after you've shot it, directly from your phone.

Duplicate Enhances The Mac Finder’s Standard Copy/paste Functionality, by Aaron Lee, Apple World Today

MacDaddy's Duplicate is a macOS hat enhances the Finder's standard copy and paste functionality by making them more efficient, as well as performing approximately 10% faster than stock copy and paste methods.

Moody Isometric Puzzler Starman: Tale Of Light Lands On The App Store, by Christian Valentin, Pocketgamer

Starman's sedate pace hides increasingly lengthy and clever challenges, using its simple mechanics and interesting machines in various ways and often requiring you to think in out-of-the-box ways to solve.

Bottom of the Page

Day 3 of using an iPhone X, and this is the day I've resuming my regular work-life. I've been using all my regular apps -- Audible, Downcast, Apple Music -- to help me get through the day, and nothing really changed. Reading articles in Instapaper was great though, with the large fonts on a large screen for two old eyes.

Now that I've gotten used to the no-button iPhone, I do wish there is some sort of gesture to lock the iPhone and switch off the display. Having to move my fingers to the side of the phone and press the side button is so... like an animal.

~

So, I asked the Siri in my iPhone to start playing music. Then I asked the Siri in my Mac to identify what is the name of the song I'm listening. The Siri in my Mac failed to recognize the song -- just sat there doing nothing.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Pick-An-iPhone-X Edition Sunday, November 5, 2017

You Can Now Check iPhone X Availability At Apple Stores With Limited Same Day In-Store Pickup, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Simply visit the iPhone X purchase page for your country [...], select a carrier if required, choose a color, and then click on "Pickup: Check Availability" below your desired storage capacity.A window will pop open with iPhone X availability—if any—at nearby Apple stores based on your ZIP or postal code.

This Store Had Apple's iPhone X. There Was No Line, by Chris Matyszczyk, CNET

This was the night before the iPhone X launch and no one was camping outside the GMS-Store Chiado in the center of Lisbon, Portugal.

No one had set up chairs. No one had sold their place to the highest bidder.

Singing Animals

Animoji Karaoke Takes Over Social Media Following iPhone X Launch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iPhone X users can create Animoji recordings up to 10 seconds long in the Messages app, but the internet discovered that iOS 11's new screen recording feature allows for much lengthier clips. Enter Animoji Karaoke.

How To Make Animoji Karaoke With iPhone X, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Before you can sync a single lip, you need some music. You can't just play music on your iPhone X. It's automatically stopped when you bring up the Animoji interface. So, you need a secondary source for your tunes. It can be another phone or iPads or computer, or anything that can play music loud enough for your iPhone to pick it up.

Not As Intended

New Video Shows Face ID Fail To Properly Distinguish Between Siblings, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Then, however, the second sibling puts on glasses similar in style to his brother, and Face ID unlocks the device perfectly – even though he wasn’t the one who initially setup Face ID.

iPhone X Drop Test: It Cracked On The First Drop, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

Apple had this to say about our results:

"The new iPhone is designed to be durable, but not indestructible, and goes through rigorous real world testing. iPhone X is made from the most durable glass ever in a smartphone with a 50% deeper strengthening layer using our dual ion-exchange process, further reinforced by an internal laser welded, steel and copper structure. And the surgical-grade stainless steel band that wraps around and reinforces iPhone X is a special Apple-designed alloy that is both durable and more pure. If anyone is concerned about dropping their iPhone and damaging it, we suggest using one of the many beautiful cases available to protect iPhone."

Living Document

Apple Pulls The "Nude" App From The iTunes Store For A Slogan That Was Too Sexy, by Meagan Fredette, Inverse

“Nude was taken down from the App Store for the very bizarre reason that “the App Store Review Guidelines are a living document, which can result in new rules at any time,’” he says. “It was peculiar because according to the messages we received from Apple, ‘Locking Photos’ is no longer a compliant use case for an app. It is extremely puzzling - apps like Snapchat or KeepSafe (which have millions of users) are all having similar feature/use case.”

Chen then said that Apple followed up with an altogether different request: “What gets even more interesting, [Apple reps] have since called me and we are now told that we will be ok if we were to take out the ‘Sexiest App Ever’ branding. Going forward, our app will simply appear as ‘Nude App’ on the app store.”

Stuff

Panorama X Brings The Legendary Mac Database Back To The Future, by Joe Kissell, TidBITS

ProVUE Development has released Panorama X, a long-awaited update to the legendary RAM-based relational database for macOS that was one of the very first apps for the Mac. The new version — rewritten from scratch as a modern Cocoa app — took six years to develop, and every bit of that shows. The lists of new and updated features are each a mile long, and they’re astonishing in both breadth and depth. Among the highlights are Unicode support, unlimited undo, a modern user interface, regular expression support, a map display, and embedded Web content. But that barely scratches the surface. Panorama X is basically the soul of Panorama 6 transplanted into a new body that’s vastly more fit, flexible, and attractive. Panorama X also introduces a new user-friendly licensing and pricing scheme; more on this ahead.

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Day 2 with an iPhone X was uneventful. I've already forgotten the home button ever existed. It still feel magical how everything simply falls into place with just a simple swipe near the ex-home-button, but I bet that feeling will be gone soon.

Given that my first impression of the home button was not great (the home button on my iPhone 3G died), I am worried the side button may develop problems now that we are supposed to double-click that button more often.

~

I am still undecided on buying AppleCare+.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Exciting-In-The-Next-10-Years Edition Saturday, November 4, 2017

iPhone X Review: Early Adopting The Future, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Of course this phone is not as revolutionary as the first iPhone was—starting a new chapter is never going to be as big a deal as opening a new book. And there are reservations around battery life, durability, and first-generation Face ID usability. As always, the second iteration of a new design will surely be more refined, and cautious buyers who wait for year two will probably be rewarded for their patience. But the iPhone X is nevertheless easy to recommend if you want a glimpse at what's going to be exciting in the next 10 years.

Apple Has To Teach People How To Use An iPhone Again, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Today Apple released “A Guided Tour” for the iPhone X, a video that clocks in at around 4 and a half minutes. In it, the company goes over all the basic gestures that buyers of the phone will perform daily such as swiping up to go home, swiping up and holding to launch the app switcher, quickly jumping between apps by swiping across the home indicator, and setting up Face ID.

We Tried Really Hard To Beat Face ID—and Failed (So Far), by Andy Greenberg, Wired

A month ago, almost immediately after Apple announced Face ID, WIRED began scheming to spoof Apple's facial recognition system. We'd eventually enlist an experienced biometric hacker, a Hollywood face-caster and makeup artist, and our lead gadget reviewer David Pierce to serve as our would-be victim. We ultimately spent thousands of dollars on every material we could imagine to replicate Pierce's face, down to every dimple and eyebrow hair.

For any reader with face-hacking ambitions, let us now save you some time and cash: We failed. Did we come close to cracking Face ID? We don't know. Face ID offers no hints or scores when it reads a face, only a silently unlocked padlock icon or a merciless buzz of rejection. All we learned from our rather expensive experiment is that Face ID is, at the very least, far from trivial to spoof.

Apple Says Minor Screen Burn-In And Shifts In Color When Looking At iPhone X Off-Angle Are Normal, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple, when you look at an OLED display from a side angle, you may see shifts in color and hue, something that's a "characteristic of OLED" and "normal behavior."

Apple's Tim Cook: We Staggered The Release Of iPhone X And iPhone 8 So People Wouldn't Feel Cheated, by Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC

"If we could do anything we wanted to, we would have obviously shipped 8, 8 Plus and X on the same day," Cook said Thursday evening in an off-camera interview. "But we felt like the most important thing for us to do was to announce them on the same day so we wouldn't have customers buy an 8 and then we announce the X and ship it and they go, 'Oh, you hosed me, I would've bought a X.'"

"That's the reason that we did the stagger," Cook said. "It wasn't a marketing thing. It was we weren't ready to ship; we were still working on [the X]. We accelerated the date at which we were initially planning to do iPhone X. And that's how we got here and we're going to learn a lot."

Here's Why Some Apps Will Look Bad On The iPhone X, by Karissa Bell, Mashable

For developers, the iPhone X "is by far the single most shocking change in iPhone UI," explains Sebastian de With, a former Apple designer and one-half of the team behind camera app Halide. Even though he, and many other developers were anticipating many of the changes due to the flood of leaks leading up to its launch, it's not a small task to make the required adjustments, particularly for independent developers who may be balancing multiple projects.

Making Lives Better

iPhone App Helps Partially-deaf Diane To Hear, by Sam Cooper, Rotherham Advertiser

A partially-deaf mum hopes to be able to hear her daughter’s voice properly for the first time after being given a specialist hearing aid linked to her mobile phone.

Diane Matthews, who is also keen to hear her husband perform in his brass band, has been unable to hear properly for 20 years. She also suffers with tinnitus.

Inside The X

iPhone X Teardown, by iFixIt

Ten years ago, Apple introduced the very first iPhone, and changed the world. Today, we're taking apart Apple's 18th iteration—the iPhone X. With its rounded edges and edge-to-edge display, we're sure this is the iPhone Steve imagined all of those years ago—but now that his dream is realized, will it be as influential as the first? Time will tell, but for now we'll be doing our part to help you decide. Join us as we open Apple's crown jewel to see what makes it shine.

How iFixit Became King Of The iPhone Teardown, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

iFixit didn't invent the teardown, but the company has become by far the most popular and well-respected group of teardown artists in the world. The company, based in a two-story reclaimed auto repair shop in San Luis Obispo, California, treats its iPhone teardown like a space launch. The "home team" camps out at its headquarters, while a teardown engineer, a photographer, and a coordinator are dispatched to far-flung locales like Tokyo, Sydney, or, in earlier years, London. The away team—this year made up of Wiens, teardown engineer Jeff Suovanen, and photographer Adam O'Comb—methodically works through the iPhone and sends photos of it back to headquarters, where engineers and analysts try to identify what, exactly, is going on in it.

Because the iPhone X is released at 8 AM local time all around the world, flying to Sydney buys the team 16 "extra" hours to tear down the iPhone before the East Coast launch. The goal is to be completely done with the teardown by the time the iPhone is for sale in New York. The team, I'll learn, needs just about every minute of that head start.

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One of the very first impression I've gotten when I started using my iPhone X less than 24 hours ago: this phone is heavy.

Of course, for the past one year, I've had been using the iPhone 6 without a case. And I am now using the iPhone X with the Apple's leather case. The difference in weight is significant for me.

I've never wanted the Plus model because of the size. But I really didn't consider the weight.

So, dear Apple, please do continue to make the iPhone X thinner and lighter.

~

Face ID is great. Really.

When I was first setting up Face ID, I've had a question that I didn't see anybody answering yet. In order to achieve good results, should I only set up Face ID in the morning after a good night's sleep and that I'm all relax? If I set up Face ID at the end of the day after a stressful day at the office, will my tired face cause problems later down the road?

Oh, and should I comb my hair first?

~

I've had a quite a few failure with Face ID initially. So I started to stare intensely at the notch to get Face ID to recognize me. And that seemed to work.

But then, after a few hours of using, I've forgotten to stare intensely at the notch, and Face ID continued to work.

The other thing that I've had to learn: initially, I waited for Face ID to do its thing before I start really using the phone. Only after quite a while did I learn to not wait for Face ID and started swipping up even before the phone was unlocked.

~

One side-effect of jumping directly from an iPhone 6 to an iPhone X: I've had to learn the difference in doing a long press versus a 3D touch.

And I was disappointed to discover that many of my day-to-day apps do not implement any 3D Touch shortcuts.

~

How much battery life am I saving by using an all-black wallpaper for the X?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Blind-User Edition Friday, November 3, 2017

iPhone X Review: There Are Some Adjustments And Compromises, But I Can’t Imagine Going Back, by David Goodwin, AppleVis

Although there is much more to the iPhone X than no Home button and the introduction of Face ID, these were the changes which I was most keen to experience and explore. The reason was a simple one - I expected these to be the changes which could potentially most affect my use and user experience of the iPhone X compared to previous iPhone models.

It already appears that adapting to these changes will not present any significant problems in practical terms.

However, I was slower in accepting what for me, as a blind user, is an increased risk to my security and privacy from the dropping of Touch ID in favor of Face ID. My personal situation and typical use case have allowed me to now mostly accept this, but this may not be the case for all blind iPhone users.

If, like me, you do decide to adapt and accept, then the iPhone X is likely to make you a very happy iPhone user.

iPhone X Shipping Improves To 3-4 Weeks From Apple, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While some customers have noted improvements in ship times for their own individual iPhone X orders, Apple this evening lower the shipping window across the board if you’re still mulling a purchase. If you head to Apple’s Online Store, you’ll notice that Apple now lists all iPhone X models as shipping within 3-4 weeks.

Tim Cook Touches On iPhone X Pre-order Demand, Supply Issues, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Morgan Stanley analyst Kate Huberty asked Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri when Apple expects to catch up with iPhone X demand. Cook responded by explaining that the ramp for iPhone X production is going well, with week-by-week improvements in outputs.

The Apple CEO, however, says it’s impossible to predict when the supply and demand balance will equal out.

Why Face ID Makes Security On The iPhone X Invisible, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Face ID changes the game by separating the act of unlocking iPhone from physical interactions with the phone's screen or buttons. Put together with the Raise to Wake feature introduced with iOS 10, the natural act of lifting the iPhone X and glancing at it performs two tasks that used to require interaction: waking up the device and unlocking it. When I pull the iPhone X out of my pocket and look at it, it's already on and unlocked. I can decide what to do next.

Bug Report Follow Up

My Watch Reads This Site, by Paul Kafasis, One Foot Tsuanmi

Getting the badge now feels a bit anti-climactic, but I still appreciate it. However, all this prompts me to ask why this happened and why the watch was so slow to properly calculate my total, and why it revised my total downward before later fixing it.

[...]

I’m no longer certain that the Apple Watch is dumb. Instead, I think it may just be a jerk.

Q4 Results

Apple Posts Strong Q4 2017 Financial Results, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Although Apple never splits out sales by individual model, CEO Tim Cook said that the iPhone 8 is the most popular new iPhone to date and that the iPhone 8 Plus got off to the fastest start of any Plus model. Despite doom and gloom in the media, the later release of the iPhone X seems not to have hurt Apple’s iPhone numbers significantly. We expect that the iPhone X will boost Apple’s revenues even further next quarter.

This Is Tim: Apple Q4 2017 Financial Call Transcript, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Every three months, Apple executives spend an hour or so on the phone with financial analysts. Here’s a transcript of the call.

Apple CEO Cook Breathes New Life Into Old iPhones, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

But beneath the headline revenue and profit figures, Cook also seemed to have solved two of Apple’s longest-standing problems: its heavy reliance on the latest flagship iPhone to buoy its profits, and its lack of affordable offerings to help budget-minded buyers see the benefits of joining Apple’s ecosystem of hardware and software.

And all Cook had to do was stop Apple’s unusual Steve Jobs-era policy of ruthlessly killing off old products when better ones came along.

More Stuff

Halide 1.5 Delivers A Stunning Edge-to-edge iPhone X Design, Depth And HEIC Support, More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Created by former Twitter for iOS tech lead Ben Sandofsky and ex-Apple designer Sebastiaan de With, Halide is a beautiful iPhone camera app with gesture-based pro controls that launched earlier this year. With the release of the all-screen iPhone X tomorrow, Halide is out with a major update featuring a new user interface designed from scratch for the new device.

Overcast 4.0 Brings UI Optimizations For iOS 11 And iPhone X, Drag And Drop, And New Advanced Settings, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Overcast 4.0 may not have a splashy new design or major feature changes, but I believe Arment made a good call in rewriting the app's UI for iOS 11 and the iPhone X and focusing on refinements and overall polish for now. I'd rather have Overcast look great on my iPhone X this weekend than wait for months and use it in letterboxed mode.

Project Foodie: The Cookbook Of The Future, Today, by AppAdvice

Project Foodie was created out of a love of cooking and a desire to merge the best of recipe books, cooking shows, and more. It offers you wonderful dishes to prepare, with expert guidance from top chefs.

If you browse through the app, you'll find plenty of delectables to enjoy and share with your loved ones. This free app allows anyone to view and follow along with many of the recipes. Some dishes, denoted with blue crowns in the bottom right of the recipe image, are only available to premium (i.e., paid) members.

Bottom of the Page

Dear 'designers':

Now that Apple is switching from LCD to OLED screen, it is really time you folks stop giving us gray-text-on-gray-background designs. Not only are they horrible for my old eyes, they take up battery power too. Go for pure black, please.

Thank you.

~

My iTunes on the Mac refuses to let you restore my backup of iPhone 6 into iPhone X.

That's all.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Reflection-Ringtone Edition Thursday, November 2, 2017

The iPhone X Features A New, Exclusive, Default Ringtone: ‘Reflection’, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

One small nicety included with the iPhone X is a new ringtone called ‘Reflection’. Until now, every iPhone has defaulted to the ‘Opening’ ringtone since iOS 7.

‘Reflection’ is not only exclusive, but the default for fresh iPhone X setups.

Giant Lines Forming At Apple Stores Internationally In Advance Of iPhone X Sales, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

Lines have already started to form at many Apple stores world-wide, with the Orchard Road store in Singapore and a pair of stores in Japan already having a massive queue of hundreds of people.

Bug Report

My Apple Dumbwatch, by Paul Kafasis. One Foot Tsuanmi

Ultimately, the problem here seems to be with the Apple Watch’s addition skills. That’s pretty bad, as proper math is rather essential for a usable computing device. Alternately, I suppose the problem could be that Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet application can’t do simple calculations. That would certainly be even more shocking. Perhaps the two products are even in some sort of cahoots, the nature of which I’ve yet to ascertain!

Either way, I’m trying to maintain a Zen attitude about this. The only thing stupider than spending an entire month over-asserting myself to earn a meaningless digital badge would be getting upset when said badge is denied due to some sort of bug. All we are is dust in the wind, and all this is is pixels in the ether. Still, I do think it would be nice if my watch could count.

This Is Tim

Tim Cook Addresses Tax Reform, Russian Facebook Ads, Customer Privacy, More In Interview, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

"I don't believe the big issue are ads from foreign governments. I believe that's like .1 percent of the issue," Cook said. "The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers to influence their thinking. This to me is the number one through ten issue."

[...]

Cook in today's interview reiterated Apple's stance on U.S. taxes, saying, "this isn't good for the U.S. There's no tax receipts there. And it's not good for investment in the U.S. And so this needs to be fixed. In my view, it should have been fixed years ago. But let's get it done now."

More Stuff

GarageBand For iOS Gets An In-app Instrument Store And 80s-style Drum Machines, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The biggest bit of news for today’s free upgrade, however, is the addition of Sound Library — a long awaited feature that finally makes GarageBand’s instrument selection much more dynamic. It’s essentially an app store located within the app, wherein you can can download additional Sound Packs — which are either instruments or groupings of instruments like “Percussionists” or “Rock Drummers.”

Apple Shares Abstract New Apple Music Ad Featuring Artwork From Dr Dre, Eminem, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new Apple Music ad is set to the song Dance While You Shoot by Noga Erez and also features a quick glimpse of the track’s music video as well. Other artists featured in the video include Dr. Dre, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Demi Lovato, Sia, and more.

1Password 7 Adds Face ID Support, ‘Quick Copy’ Feature For Faster Copy & Paste, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Quick Copy is designed for those times when you're switching back and forth between an app and 1Password: when you copy a field in 1Password, exit the app, then return to it to copy another field, the field after the one you previously copied is automatically placed in the clipboard.

Best Apps And Accessories For NaNoWriMo, by Lory Gil, iMore

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place every November. Writers sign up with a promise to attempt to, well ... write a novel in one month. The goal is to write 50,000 in 30 days, which is just under 1,700 words-per-day, on average. There are approximately 2.8 million writers signed up with NaNoWriMo this year. With that amount of writing, you need tools to help get you through the month.

Bottom of the Page

Touch ID
iPhone: Who are you?
You: This is me.
iPhone: You're right. I'll let you in.

Face ID
iPhone: Oh, it's you. I'll let you in.

~

Previously:
You: I'm driving now. Please turn on Do Not Disturb.

Now:
iPhone: Oh, you're driving now. I'll turn on Do Not Disturb.

~

The holy grail (in my humble opinion) of machine learning that Apple, if not already, need to get on with it as soon as possible: when to wake me up every morning.

The usual suspects:
Sleep cycle
Weekday versus weekend
When did I sleep the previous night
Traffic condition (i.e. is the subway working today)

The unusual suspects:
Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine's day, and any other events that require me to get up earlier to prepare a breakfast-in-bed
When was the last time that I have told my boss the excuse that Siri has forgotten to wake me up
iPhone pre-ordering day

~

Thanks for reading.

The Digitally-Impenetrable Edition Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Forget iPhone X—Apple's Best Product Is Its Privacy Stance, by John Patrick Pullen, Time

As the iPhone X’s sticker soared over $1,000, even I paused. But then I thought of all the systems working to make this device digitally impenetrable, security apparatuses that weren’t needed when Apple’s world-changing smartphone first arrived 10 years ago. All of these things are working in concert to make this the most secure Apple product yet. And I can’t wait to stretch that photo of my kids across its glorious new screen. It’ll be really something — and I’m glad you won’t be able to see it.

Does Apple iPhone X Face ID Have A Sunlight Problem?, by Don Reisinger, Fortune

Anil Jain, another expert and professor at Michigan State University, said that “extreme sunlight illumination causes specular reflections on the face that make it difficult for the depth sensor…to accurately estimate the depth.” That, in turn, could technically cause Face ID to break down. But the chances of that happening too often to users appear to be minimal.

Bowyer, for instance, said that if users actually find that direct sunlight is a problem every now and then, all they’d need to do is “have their back to the direct sunlight” and it should work just fine.

First Look: Apple's Official iPhone X Leather And Silicone Cases, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Anyone who has used Apple's previous official silicone and leather cases for the iPhone will be familiar with the quality of the new cases. Of course, they have been redesigned to fit the new chassis of the iPhone X, as well as the vertical rear camera array, but they still look, feel and fit like their predecessors, and feature an Apple logo emblazoned on the back.

Marketing X

In Unusual Step, Apple Touts Positive Comments From Early iPhone X Reviews, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has just issued a press release rounding up some positive comments from early reviewers of the iPhone X. This is an unusual step from the company, which is taking a different tack to reviews of this year’s flagship phone.

PR, by Matt Alexander

Although it doesn’t pay respect to the folks who’ve thoughtfully and insightfully followed Apple for years, it likely allows Apple to have a much more successful week. It reduces noise about supply shortages. It makes the technical features seem more straightforward and comforting. And, as the week progresses, it allows the tech crowd to become more and more excited (and granular), as opposed to being, potentially, initially upset.

More Apple Updates

macOS 10.13.1 Update With New Emoji, First macOS 10.13.2 Beta + iTunes 12.7.1 Now Available On The Mac App Store, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Alongside iOS 11.1, Apple has released the macOS 10.13.1 software update, which includes support for new emoji characters and more.

tvOS 11.1 Update For Apple TV (4th-gen) And Apple TV 4K Now Available, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

While tvOS 11.1 doesn’t include any new features, the latest software update for Apple TV likely includes bug fixes and security improvements.

watchOS 4.1 Introduces Apple Music Streaming And New Radio App, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Apple released the latest software for Apple Watch: watchOS 4.1. This update includes the previously announced Apple Music streaming, including over cellular, plus the introduction of a brand new Radio app.

Apple Acknowledges Apple Watch Series 3 Issue Where 'Edge Stripes' Appear On Display, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumros

In an internal memo distributed to Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers, Apple said the issue is to be treated like any other Apple Watch repair. Since the issue appears to be a manufacturing defect, the repair should be free under Apple's standard one-year limited warranty policy.

Apple ID Holders Can Now Switch From Third-party Email Address Logins To Apple Email Domains, by AppleInsider

As noted in a new section regarding third-party email addresses, the company cautions that switching login information from a third-party service to an @icloud.com, @me.com or @mac.com account is a one-way process.

More Stuff

PhotoBulk 2 Is An Efficient Tool For Batch Editing And Watermarking Photos, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

To test PhotoBulk, I opened a set of images I took this summer- a burst of 46 photos documenting the demolition of a building. I wanted to apply sequential filenames to these photos, reduce their file size, and watermark the images. PhotoBulk handled the task well, with multi-watermarking support and the ability to rotate, scale, and move text.

IKEA’s Trådfri Lighting System Adds HomeKit And Alexa Support, by John Voorhees, MacStories

After a miscommunication in August, IKEA has added Alexa and HomeKit support to its Trådfri smart lighting system, which it originally promised back in May. The lighting system includes a gateway, remote controls, and LED lightbulbs that can be mixed and matched in different configurations at prices that are competitive with rival systems.