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.


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.


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?

Bottom of the Page

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.