The Temptation-of-Distraction Edition Saturday, December 30, 2017

U.S. Traffic Fatalities Are On The Rise. But The Reason Why Is Controversial., by Robert Rosenberger, Slate

Well-written state laws against bad driving habits and federal guidelines about the design of in-car infotainment systems and personal electronics can send crucial signals about the dangers of these distractions. It’s unlikely that we’ll make the needed cultural shifts against these dangerous diversions if these behaviors remain legal and these ever-changing technologies remain unregulated. As more infotainment systems come to cars and our vehicles do more, but not all, of the driving for us, the temptation of distraction will only get worse in the near future.

Even before Trump, laws, guidelines, and devices weren’t keeping up. Now, even patchy progress may be undone by an administration dead set on deregulation and an industry hungry for our attention—even if it comes at the cost of its citizens’ and users’ lives.

Apple iPhone Slowdown Tests Consumer Loyalty, by Financial Times

But the rise of subscription-based streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix is changing that equation.

Without downloads to tether them, customers will find it easier to change devices and ecosystems. If customers start to believe that Apple is taking them for granted, or to the cleaners, the iPhone’s pre-eminence will not last much longer.

iFixit Drops Its iPhone Battery Replacement To $29, Matching Apple’s Apology Price, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

iFixit has never been particularly fond of Apple’s repair policies. The company’s gadgets regularly rack up poor repairability scores on the site. The site’s taking another jab at the tech giant today, dropping the price of its battery replacement kits to $29 — matching the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements being offered up as consolation for its iPhone slowdown policies.

No, Your iPad Isn't Affected By #iPhoneSlow. Here's Why!, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

It's possible that a very old iPad with very poor battery health could have trouble dealing with spikes but, since Apple hasn't added them to the power management system, they'd shut down the same way iPhone 5s and previous iPhones would.

Could Apple add iPads to the same power management system?

Theoretically, but iPads have significantly bigger batteries than iPhones. That means they can better handle instantaneous performance peaks over a much, much longer portion of their battery life.

These 36 Companies Live And Die By Apple, by Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

As the most valuable franchise in the world, Apple own more U.S. Treasury securities than many major countries, was the fourth-largest purchaser of solar power in 2016 as measured by megawatts, is the top retailer per square foot and even had a 140-acre wetland built in Oregon, in part to cool an Apple data center.

Then there's the massive supply chain. Apple's products are so intricate and require so many outside contributions that 36 publicly traded companies count on the iPhone maker for at least 10 percent of their revenue, according to FactSet.