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.


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.