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Archive for April 2018

The I-Am-Stoned Edition Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Apple Releases iOS 11.3.1 Alongside Security Updates For macOS 10.13.4, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

iOS 11.3.1 is a minor update that fixes iPhone 8s for users whose touchscreens were rendered unresponsive by aftermarket replacement displays.

[...]

The macOS update is designated Security Update 2018-001 for macOS 10.13.4. It adds no new features or functionality; rather, it addresses two notable security vulnerabilities.

Can This New Encryption Method Finally Crack The Crypto War?, by Steven Levy, Wired

It works this way: The vendor—say it’s Apple in this case, but it could be Google or any other tech company—starts by generating a pair of complementary keys. One, called the vendor’s “public key,” is stored in every iPhone and iPad. The other vendor key is its “private key.” That one is stored with Apple, protected with the same maniacal care that Apple uses to protect the secret keys that certify its operating system updates. These safety measures typically involve a tamper-­proof machine (known as an HSM or hardware security module) that lives in a vault in a specially protected building under biometric lock and smartcard key.

That public and private key pair can be used to encrypt and decrypt a secret PIN that each user’s device automatically generates upon activation. Think of it as an extra password to unlock the device. This secret PIN is stored on the device, and it’s protected by encrypting it with the vendor’s public key. Once this is done, no one can decode it and use the PIN to unlock the phone except the vendor, using that highly protected private key.

So, say the FBI needs the contents of an iPhone. First the Feds have to actually get the device and the proper court authorization to access the information it contains—Ozzie’s system does not allow the authorities to remotely snatch information. With the phone in its possession, they could then access, through the lock screen, the encrypted PIN and send it to Apple. Armed with that information, Apple would send highly trusted employees into the vault where they could use the private key to unlock the PIN. Apple could then send that no-longer-secret PIN back to the government, who can use it to unlock the device.

There’s High Hopes For "Am I Stoned" App To Stop Impaired Drivers, by Julia Ries, Healthline

With cannabis use on the rise and more states legalizing the drug either medicinally or recreationally, lawmakers are puzzling over the question of how to determine if someone is impaired by marijuana.

Researchers at the University of Chicago are looking to unlikely technology for the answer: an app.

They’re in the midst of developing a prototype app called “Am I Stoned” in the hopes of creating a framework that would properly detect impairment from marijuana use.

Stuff

Google Gets Serious About To-do Lists; Introduces New Google Tasks Apps For iOS And Android, by Akshay Pathare, Beautiful Pixels

The company is today introducing a major revamp to Google Tasks, along with fresh new standalone apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. These apps were introduced alongside the announcement for the new Gmail UI and features, which will be rolling out to G Suite customers as well as personal Gmail users in the coming weeks.

Microcasting On Micro.blog With Wavelength, by John Voorhees, MacStories

My favorite part about Wavelength is how easy it makes creating a podcast. The app isn’t going to replace a fully-featured iOS audio editor like Ferrite, but that’s not the point. By packaging a podcasting workflow into a single iPhone app, Wavelength makes what can be a fiddly process accessible to more people.

Rogue Amoeba Launches New Podcasting Bundle With Over $50 Savings, Includes Audio Hijack, Fission, And More, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The bundle includes Audio Hijack, Loopback, Farrago, and Fission. These apps will let you record Skype calls, add podcast chapters, add soundbites, and have a dedicated soundboard.

Spotify Enhancing Free Tier With 15 On-demand Playlists, Mode With 75% Less Data Consumption, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Spotify’s free tier currently offers access to shuffled playlists, but on-demand playback is kept behind the Premium paid tier. With the new version of Spotify’s app, over a dozen popular playlists including Discover Weekly will be available for on-demand playback without shuffling.

Notes

Apple To Start Paying Ireland €13bn In Back Taxes, by Arthur Beesley, Financial Times

“This is a very, very significant day now in terms of dealing with this issue,” said Paschal Donohoe, Irish finance minister. Mr Donohoe told reporters he will sign a legal agreement today with Apple to set up the escrow. The full recovery will be completed by the end of September, he said.

Google Is Turning Its Pistol Emoji Into A Squirt Gun, by Ryan Whitwam, Android Police

A few years ago, Apple was the first big emoji designer to stop rendering the "pistol" emoji as a real gun. It went from a revolver to a green squirt gun, and other companies have just started coming around. Twitter and Samsung already made the change, and now it's Google's turn. Say goodbye to the revolver and hello to the super soaker.

Jeff Bezos V The World: Why All Companies Fear 'Death By Amazon, by Olivia Solon, The Guardian

“If you try to measure power by how many executives are up at night because of X company, I think Amazon would win,” said Lina Khan, legal fellow with the Open Markets Program at the thinktank New America.

[...]

“Amazon has all this data available. They track what people are searching for, what they click, what they don’t,” said Greer. “Every time you’re searching for something and don’t click, you’re telling Amazon that there’s a gap.”

Amazon knows where you live, who you live with, your current location (if you use an Amazon smartphone app), what TV shows you watch, what music you listen to and what websites you visit.

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I certainly think that Google ramping up its podcast strategy is a good thing for listeners. More ideas, more approaches, more players certainly is welcoming.

When the whole world (almost) is using Internet Explorer, we get old and crummy web browsers. It's good to have Safari and Firebox and Chrome. I don't think Apple is the only company investing in podcast listening. (Is Soundcloud still around?) But the company is dominant in a small market. Having Google interested can only help bring in good innovations that make my podcast-listening more pleasurable, right?

What I hope, though, is for podcasters and podcast companies to have long memories. Remember Google Reader. Don't fall into the same trap. Or: remember Facebook, and how algorithm changes within Facebook can bring down media companies.

Do embrace what Google can bring to the table, but embrace with eyes wide open.

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Once upon a time, the whole world is listening to music on an iPod. But then we still get iPhones.

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Thanks for reading.

The More-Involved Edition Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Apple Music Moves Jay Liepis To Nashville To Strengthen Country Presence, by Chris Willman, Variety

Apple Music is establishing a beachhead in Nashville. The company announced Monday morning that 13-year Apple veteran Jay Liepis has relocated to Music City to head up a team there that will be “dedicated to being more involved with artists, managers, songwriters and the label community at large.”

That’s welcome news to Nashville’s label chiefs, who over the years have made clear their displeasure that the major music streaming services have been behind in courting country fans as aggressively as they do other listeners. “Thanks be to God!” said Randy Goodman, chairman/CEO of Sony Music Nashville, who believes that Liepis’ move to town will be “game changing.”

An Inside Look With The Editor Of Spike Jonze's Apple Ad, by Ben Bailey, Frame.io

“On top of being an editor, I was sort of Spike’s script supervisor,” Jeff says. “I sat with him at the monitor, and in between setups I was cutting. I was on set the whole time.”

This close-up view of production gave him an intimate perspective that few editors have the opportunity to experience. Jeff had a front row seat to FKA Twigs’ whimsical dance talent, Jonze’s directing prowess, and DP Hoyte van Hoytema’s masterful eye.

Seeing the production move along in real time definitely helped the collaborative process, but it pushed him to adapt his editing under the demands of a narrow schedule. Ambitious projects like the Homepod commercial really put pressure on editors to stay ahead of the curve, especially when time is short. In Jeff’s mind, that requires specific tools that every editor needs to succeed—instincts and emotions.

Apple's Deal For Shazam Draws 'In-depth Investigation' From Europe, by Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the probe on Monday, writing: "The way people listen to music has changed significantly in recent years, with more and more Europeans using music streaming services. Our investigation aims to ensure that music fans will continue to enjoy attractive music streaming offers and won't face less choice as a result of this proposed merger."

Upcoming Engineers

Apple Teaches India’s Kid Coders To Win At The App Store, by Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

India has the world’s largest population of people 25 years old or younger, including an unprecedented number of precocious developers, says Ravi Teja Bommireddipalli, CEO of Robosoft Technologies Pvt. in the coastal town of Udupi. Robosoft’s developers, who create apps for companies such as McDonald’s Corp., also build them for Apple and Google, but they make more money from the App Store. And while a whole previous generation of Indian programmers became globally known for writing code-to-order at outsourcing companies, the next generation prefers to push its creative limits.

Apple Reveals UK Engineering Team And Introduces Them To Children To Inspire Them To Become Engineers, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

Apple has lifted the lid on its elite engineers working in the UK – and introduced them to classes full of children.

It has for the first time fully revealed the team it has working on some of its most important products, designing chips and other important parts of its new iPhones, iPads and more. It did so to support the government's new engineering project – which will see it introduce a whole range of schoolchildren to its work to try and encourage more students to dream of becoming engineers.

Stuff

Apple Sells 5 Different Types Of iPad And It's Hard To Choose — But There's One That's Best For Most People, by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

You now have the iPad (6th generation), iPad (5th generation,) iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch display, iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch display, and the iPad Mini 4 — that's a lot to choose from, even if you just want an iPad to do iPad things with.

The good news is that any iPad can surf the web, send emails, and install apps. The trick is to know exactly how much iPad you need, so you're not paying for specs or features you might not use.

Apple Shares Two New Ads Aimed At Encouraging Android Users To Switch To iPhone, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared two new videos in its "Life's easier on iPhone" series, which are aimed at encouraging Android users to switch over to an iPhone.

Apple Continues Promoting iPad + Apple Pencil In New Ad Series, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple shared four ads on the channel this evening, one of which originally hit the company’s Australian YouTube channel last week and highlights markup with Apple Pencil. Each of the other three ads showcase a specific feature or application.

Apple Has Pushed A Security Update To MRT, The macOS Malware Removal Tool, by Hoakley, The Electric Light Company

As usual, Apple doesn’t provide any information about this, but Patrick Wardle reports that this adds detections for two new items for which Apple give internal code names: OSX.4e36ae6 and OSX.127eaa6. These join the equally cryptic OSX.28a9883 which was added to 1.30.

Develop

Bringing People Back To The Open Web, by Chris Hardie

No matter how much it might be in their long-term self interest, it's not up to the casual Internet user to figure that out. Instead, it's up to the developers, designers, entrepreneurs and technology leaders to create a version of the open web that also happens to be the best version of the web.

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I am addicted to coffee. Actually, 'addicted' may be too strong a word. I know I can quit coffee anytime I want to. :-) But, for now, I do enjoy drinking a cup of coffee in the morning before I start work, and another cup of coffee after lunch, before I re-start work.

But, come to think of it, it's not the coffee thing that I am addicted to. It is the ritual of drinking coffee that I want everyday. I want to find some time -- five minutes, ten minutes -- to sit down alone in my kitchen or in a kopitiam or somewhere and drink a cup of coffee while reading my RSS feeds or listening to a podcast. Being alone is key. I tend to find the time or the location where nobody is likely to disturb me.

Now, come to really think about this: perhaps it's the alone-time that I am craving for. A little me-time. Being addicted to coffee is just an excuse.

Maybe I should switch from coffee to tea. I hear that some judge thinks coffee causes cancer.

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Thanks for reading.

The No-Issues-Were-Found Edition Monday, April 23, 2018

WVU Medicine Teams Up With Apple To Offer Health Records On Mobile App, by JoAnn Snoderly, WVNews

Asked about concerns with privacy and security, Romero said that was initially a concern for WVU Medicine, as well. A legal review was the lengthiest part of ironing out the details of the collaboration, as the institution wanted to ensure patient privacy was protected.

No issues were found during that review, he said.

According to information provided by Apple, data sent to the app is encrypted and goes directly from the provider to the user’s mobile app, never passing through the tech company’s network.

The Best Calculator Apps For The iPhone And iPad, by Jason Cross, Macworld

I know what you’re thinking. “TEN DOLLARS for a calculator app?!” Yes, it’s pricey. Yes, there are plenty of perfectly good, less expensive options. But none of them are as good as PCalc.

There’s a reason this one tops the list in a crowded field. You simply won’t find a better combination of features, speed, polish, and interface elegance. Other calculator apps may do well in one or two of those categories, but PCalc nails them all.

SubRosaSoft Disk Copy Is A Well-rounded Backup/cloning App For macOS, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

SubRosaSoft Disk Copy is a well-rounded and easy-to-use backup and cloning system for macOS 10.9 and higher. The [...] utility can create bootable copies of a startup drive, manage synchronization of volumes, handle incremental bootable copies, and run backups using a schedule.

Namoo — Wonders Of Plant Life’ Uses Immersive Graphics To Teach You About Nature, by Brenda Stolyar, Digital Trends

Namoo — Wonders of Plant Life [...] is an educational app that gives users an in-depth overview of how different plants function. Using vibrant illustrations, 3D simulations, and Apple’s ARKit (for those using an iPhone), the app takes you through nine different chapters about nature.

The 20-year-old Entrepreneur Is A Lie, by Meredith Somers, MIT Management Sloan School

Good ideas come at any age, but it takes experience to turn them into success stories. Steve Jobs was 21 when he helped found Apple, but he was a 43-year-old CEO when the company created the iMac.

According to a working paper from MIT Sloan professor Pierre Azoulay and PhD student Daniel Kim, the average age of entrepreneurs who’ve started companies and gone on to hire at least one employee, is 42 years old.

“If you knew nothing else, and you had two identical ideas, one proposed by a very young person, one proposed by a middle-aged person, and that’s the only thing you have to go on, you would be better off — if you wanted to predict success — betting on a middle-aged person,” Azoulay said.

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One of the best feature in iTunes (the app) during the iPod era was Smart Playlists. Together with the zero-to-five star rating system, as well as a bunch of Applescripts that I've copied-and-pasted from elsewhere, smart playlists was what I used to listen to my music library and podcast downloads. Yes, I've had to sync up all that play count, last played, and last skipped data every night. But once things are set up, I didn't have to 'manage' my MP3 files.

Time past. The iPods gave way to the iPhones. Rip-mix-burn gave way to streams on Apple Music. And, along the way, Apple seemed to have abandoned smart playlists.

I wish I can use Smart Playlists on all the millions and millions of songs in Apple Music. I wish, for example, I can create a smart playlist that aggregate songs from a few Apple Music playlists that I have not heard before. Or how about a playlist that consists of new songs from artists that are in my music library? Or perhaps a playlist of all songs written by a particular lyricist, or produced by a... well... producer?

And don't get me started on the dumbed-down playlist... er... stations... er... whatever Aple is calling it.... management in the new Apple Podcast app.

In may ways, things were simpler back then. Ah, the good old days. There are too many things that I don't quite understand with the new Apple Music, and I do long for the days when a file is a file is a file.

iPod + iTunes was simple, yet powerful.

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I wish I can have a bell that I can ring and people who are talking to me will have to stop talking immediately and leave.

(Yes, I am watching The Crown.)

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Thanks for reading.

The Imagination-Execution Edition Sunday, April 22, 2018

Bring On Museum Companion Apps — But Only If They're Absolutely Awesome, by Rachel Kraus, Mashable

These apps are certainly full of potential. A seamless and functional museum companion app could enrich the museum-going experience through transportive AR experiences, un-Google-able supplemental information, or other multimedia.

Unfortunately, the apps can be clunky, unimaginative, and redundant. They introduce reliance on our phones in one of the last places where we don't turn to our screens for entertainment. The technology could hinder our ability to appreciate art rather than enhance it.

When it comes to introducing cellphone-based technology into museums, the experiences will live or die on the app-maker's ability to execute a flawless user experience — and on their imaginations.

Wellington Couple First In NZ To Test 'Revolutionary' App For The Blind, by Laura Macdonald, Newshub

Aira connects blind people to a visual interpreter, who helps them with daily tasks, and it's also helping one user pursue a new career.

Learn Basic Javascript For Free With This Google App, by Emily Price, Lifehacker

The app teaches you Javascript through a series of tiny games and puzzles, the idea is that you’re learning but enjoying your time as well.

U.S. Said To Investigate AT&T And Verizon Over Wireless Collusion Claim, by Cecilia Kang, New York Times

In February, the Justice Department issued demands to AT&T, Verizon and the G.S.M.A., a mobile industry standards-setting group, for information on potential collusion to thwart a technology known as eSIM, said two of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details are confidential.

[...]

The investigation was opened about five months ago after at least one device maker and one wireless carrier filed formal complaints with the Justice Department, two of the people said.

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Granted, my experience is limited, but I have not encounter a museum app that I've enjoyed.

And I'm not turning on location service and bluetooth and notifications and whatever for your app.

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Thanks for reading.

The Physical-and-Tangible Edition Saturday, April 21, 2018

Apple Offering Battery Replacement Program For Some 13-inch MacBook Pros, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The company says there is an issue with a small number of MacBook Pros manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017. Affected users can mail in their MacBook Pro, find an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or visit an Apple Retail Store.

This Guy Has Lost 105 Pounds And Counting Thanks To His Apple Watch, by Reegan Von Wildenradt, Men's Health

Richardson said the biggest lesson he’s learned from his journey is the value of taking on a positive mindset. “If your head isn’t in it, it doesn’t matter what you do. You won’t last,” he said. “In the past, I don’t think I was mentally ready. But for some reason, everything clicked on that day, and I haven’t looked back. This is my life now.”

He also says his Apple Watch helped him stayed motivated, and continues to do so. “The watch was a physical, tangible reminder of my goal,” he said. “Obviously it tells time and I get my texts on it. But it was also a lot more. When I looked at it, I saw those rings and was reminded of the purpose of it. It reminded me of what I was doing and why I needed to keep going.”

Stuff

World’s Last Apple Watch Shop At Isetan Shinjuku Closing May 13th, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

If you want to see the world’s only remaining Apple store dedicated to Apple Watch sales, you’ll have to act fast. Signage recently posted at the Isetan department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo indicates that the location will be closing as of May 13th.

Read PDFs On Your Phone With GoodReader, by Nick Douglas, Lifehacker

GoodReader’s designers know that fitting a printed page on a phone screen is a nightmare. So you can zoom in on your page, then swipe or tap to scroll perfectly to the next page, and GoodReader will maintain your zoom level. And once you get your perfect zoom, you can lock the horizontal scroll so you’ll never accidentally swipe your page sideways. I feel tension leaving my shoulders just typing about this.

Two Free Mac Apps Find Huge Files Fast, by Bob LeVitus, Houston Chronicle

If your startup disk is nearly full, try either of these apps to make hunting down large files and folders faster and easier.

Notes

Flickr Bought By SmugMug, Which Vows To Revitalize The Photo Service, by Jessica Guynn, USA Today

SmugMug, an independent, family-run company, will maintain Flickr as a standalone community of amateur and professional photographers and give the long neglected service the focus and resources it deserves, MacAskill said in an exclusive interview.

Facebook And Apple Embody New Tech Divide, by Alex Eule and Jon Swartz, Barrons

The companies are all similar in that they use technology in disruptive ways, but investors have generally overlooked substantial differences in their business models. As changes loom, ignoring those differences is a risky bet.

It’s not just personal sniping between rival CEOs. There are real differences between direct-to-consumer revenue models and ad-driven data models. Or, in a nutshell: Apple versus Facebook.

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On hindsight, there are so many things Apple has done wrongly when it first launched the Apple Watch. But, to Apple's credit, it did changed its strategy very quickly and decisively.

Can it do the same with the missteps in handling the Mac platform?

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Thanks for reading.

The Craft-and-Metaphor Edition Friday, April 20, 2018

The Woman Who Gave The Macintosh A Smile, by Alexandra Lange, New Yorker

Paola Antonelli, the senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, was the first to physically show Kare’s original icon sketches, in the 2015 exhibit “This is for Everyone.” “If the Mac turned out to be such a revolutionary object––a pet instead of a home appliance, a spark for the imagination instead of a mere work tool––it is thanks to Susan’s fonts and icons, which gave it voice, personality, style, and even a sense of humor. Cherry bomb, anyone?” she joked, referring to the icon which greeted crashes in the original operating system. After working for Apple, Kare designed icons for Microsoft, Facebook, and, now, Pinterest, where she is a creative director. The mainstream presence of Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, emoji, and GIFS is a sign that the visual revolutionaries have won: online, we all communicate visually, piecing together sentences from tiny-icon languages.

Kare, who is sixty-four, will be honored for her work on April 20th, by her fellow designers, with the prestigious AIGA medal. In 1982, she was a sculptor and sometime curator when her high-school friend Andy Hertzfeld asked her to create graphics for a new computer that he was working on in California. Kare brought a Grid notebook to her job interview at Apple Computer. On its pages, she had sketched, in pink marker, a series of icons to represent the commands that Hertzfeld’s software would execute. Each square represented a pixel. A pointing finger meant “Paste.” A paintbrush symbolized “MacPaint.” Scissors said “Cut.” Kare told me about this origin moment: “As soon as I started work, Andy Hertzfeld wrote an icon editor and font editor so I could design images and letterforms using the Mac, not paper,” she said. “But I loved the puzzle-like nature of working in sixteen-by-sixteen and thirty-two-by-thirty-twopixel icon grids, and the marriage of craft and metaphor.”

Susan Kare, by Zachary Crockett, AIGA

No great technological revolution can succeed without an artistic sleight of hand. Susan Kare, known as the “woman who gave the Macintosh a smile,” has spent her three-decade career at the apex of human-machine interaction. Through her intuitive, whimsical iconography, she made the graphic user interface accessible to the masses, and ushered in a new generation of pixel art.

In the early 1980s, Kare—then a sculptor and tech-world outsider—pivoted to a graphic designer role at Apple. There, she created some of the most recognizable icons, typefaces, and graphic elements in personal computing: the command symbol (⌘), the system-failure bomb, the paintbrush, and, of course, “Clarus the Dogcow.” With little more than a few dots on a screen, Kare created a canvas of approachable visual metaphors that are instantly recognizable decades later.

The Early Hallmark Cards Of Mac Icon Designer Susan Kare, by Meg Miller, AIGA Eye on Design

“In the early 1980s, [Susan] Kare—then a sculptor and tech-world outsider—pivoted to a graphic designer role at Apple.” So reads an early line in Zachary Crockett’s essay for the AIGA Medal that Kare is a recipient of this year, honoring the designer for her pioneering work in interface design. After being hired for the position of “Macintosh Artist” Kare went on to design the earliest Apple icons—the “Happy Mac,” the error bomb, the trash can—as well as the first proportionally spaced digital font family.

But before that? Kare had just relocated to the Bay Area from New York with a PhD in fine art and no experience in design or tech. She quickly put together a design portfolio of personal works to take around to creative agencies and, in one particular instance, mocked up an entire book of greeting cards to take to an interview at Hallmark. Lucky for us, Hallmark didn’t take her. A high school friend at Apple did. Here’s Kare in her own words about some of her earliest, unpixelated designs.

Donate and Recycle

Apple Adds Earth Day Donations To Trade-in And Recycling Program, by Apple

Ahead of Earth Day, Apple today announced that for every device received at Apple stores and apple.com through the Apple GiveBack program from now through April 30, the company will make a donation to the non-profit Conservation International. As part of its ongoing recycling effort, the company also debuted Daisy, a robot that can more efficiently disassemble iPhone to recover valuable materials.

Apple Has A New iPhone Recycling Robot Named ‘Daisy’, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Daisy was developed in-house by Apple engineers, using some of Liam’s parts — a recycling of sorts. The industrial robot is able to disassemble nine different versions of the iPhone, sorting all of their reusable components in the process. In all, Daisy is capable of taking apart a full 200 iPhones in a given hour, proving a solid alternative to traditional methods that can destroy valuable components in the process.

Greenpeace To Apple: Forget The Robots And Make iPhones Repairable, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Greenpeace quickly released a statement saying, in effect, that Apple should focus its green energies on making iPhones more repairable in the first place, so that they last longer and don’t show up in landfills quite so soon.

Peace and Calm

iPhone X Diary: I’ve Gone On An App And Notifications Diet, And My iPhone Is Now An Oasis Of Calm, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The upshot of all this? My phone feels like a calmer part of my world. It’s not constantly flashing up alerts. I don’t have a long stream of notifications to scroll through on the lockscreen when I take it out of my pocket. I don’t have a mass of apps with those little red dots all demanding I look at them.

It feels like it is now what it should be: a device that’s there to serve me, rather than the other way around.

Stuff

This Ex-NSA Hacker's App Protects Your Mac From 'Evil Maid' Attacks, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

Wardle never found evidence of tampering or malware on that burner machine. But he did keep thinking about so-called "evil maid" attacks, the classic security problem that computers are far more vulnerable to hacking when the attacker can get physical access to them. Like, say, in a hotel room, while the computer's owner is ordering appetizers on the other side of the Moskva River.

Now Wardle's making his own best effort to grapple with that evil maid problem—if not to solve it, at least to make the job much more difficult. This week at the RSA security conference, he's releasing Do Not Disturb, an app for Mac laptops that tries to detect physical access attacks with a dead-simple safeguard: If someone opens the lid of a MacBook running the tool, the app sends a notification to the owner's phone.

There’s An Entire Photo Studio In Your Phone With This AR App, by Hillary Grigonis, Digital Trends

A new app could help photographers experiment with poses, lighting, and setups with nothing but a smartphone. Photo Studio AR is an augmented reality photo studio headed up by a Hollywood visual effects technician that also assisted on Snapchat filters. The app allows photographers to place models, lights, and props inside any scene.

Sleep Cycle Debuts Apple Watch App With Snore Prevention, Silent Alarm, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Using the Apple Watch’s Taptic Engine, Sleep Cycle can give your wrist a subtle (and silent) tap when the iPhone app detects that you’re snoring. The tap is subtle enough that it shouldn’t wake you, Sleep Cycle says, but it should prompt you to change positions which can help you stop snoring.

Develop

Apple’s Cloud Database FoundationDB Now Open Source, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

FoundationDB was originally founded in 2009 by Dave Rosenthal, Dave Scherer and Nick Lavezzo with the goal of making a NoSQL database that was ACID compliant, a set of properties for databases that are designed to guarantee the integrity of data even when errors occur.

Notes

‘F*ck Them. We Need A Law’: A Legendary Programmer Takes On Silicon Valley, by Noah Kulwin, New York Magazine

"So I think the problem is fundamental. Companies are collecting data about people. We shouldn’t let them do that. The data that is collected will be abused. That’s not an absolute certainty, but it’s a practical, extreme likelihood, which is enough to make collection a problem."

"A database about people can be misused in four ways. First, the organization that collects the data can misuse the data. Second, rogue employees can misuse the data. Third, unrelated parties can steal the data and misuse it. That happens frequently, too. And fourth, the state can collect the data and do really horrible things with it, like put people in prison camps. Which is what happened famously in World War II in the United States. And the data can also enable, as it did in World War II, Nazis to find Jews to kill."

The No-Watering-Down Edition Thursday, April 19, 2018

Users Don't Want iOS To Merge With MacOS, Apple Chief Says, by Peter Wells, WAToday

"We don't believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two ... you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

"So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that's not what it's about. You know it's about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don't think that's what users want."

Text First, Act Later

Drafts 5 Launches With Tagging, Workspaces, Advanced Scripting Functionality, And Much More, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

Drafts struck a chord with users with its quick capture and fast process workflow. Drafts opens to a blank note and a cursor ready for text. After hammering out your idea, you can quickly process that draft with one of its built-in actions or with any of the hundreds (thousands?) of downloadable actions in Drafts’ Action Directory. After awhile, Drafts becomes the starting point for many users’ muscle memory.

Greg Pierce’s jack-of-all-trades app has officially reached version 5, bringing with it a slew of improvements, a range of new designs and features, and an entirely different revenue structure. Thanks to Drafts’ new scripting features, Drafts is sure to be the backbone of many iOS automation processes in the years to come.

Drafts 5: The MacStories Review, by Tim Nahumck, MacStories

The feature set that has been created for Drafts 5 gives new life and intriguing possibilities going forward. With tags, I organize my drafts like I would files on a traditional personal computer and use Workspaces to create different projects I might be working on. With actions and the powerful new scripting features, I save or act upon those drafts to expand the capability of the app.

[...]

When you combine Workspaces and Action Groups to create powerful modules to work within, adding syntax highlighting elements and using focus mode to concentrate on your text, Drafts becomes the ultimate productivity tool. I write, journal, program, manage and create task and calendar entries – and so much more – all within a single app simply by changing my modular environment. I don't need to have a ton of different apps for these different tasks, which saves me money spent on subscriptions. It also eliminates the mental friction of where I need to begin – all my text starts in Drafts.

Big Update For Drafts, by David Sparks, MacSparky

You can do simple things with your text, like send it along to another text editor, send it as a message or email. You can also go deep down the rabbit hole.

One thing I love about Drafts is using it to send an email. This way, I don’t have to go into my email application and get tempted away by the siren song of the inbox. Instead, I write and send the relevant email and then get back to work.

Thirty-two Goodbyes

QuickTime Player 7: Goodbye To Apple’s Brushed-metal Dinosaur, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Will I get by when QuickTime 7 dies? Sure, between HandBrake, alternate players, and dedicated audio and video editing apps, I will still be able to do everything I do with that tool now. But in many cases it will be messier, take more time, and generate output of lower quality.

Is Apple About To Kill The SuperDrive On Macs?, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Apple’s DVD Player is one of these 32-bit apps, even though notes around the software claim it was last modified in the most recent macOS release — despite the version number being unchanged since 2015.

This modification failed to extend to 32-bit support. And that’s bad news because it means an essential software component used by thousands of Mac users to watch video on their machines has no future.

Stuff

Writing On My iPad At Home, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So I replaced the Mini Tactile Pro with the Matias Laptop Pro, a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard with a silver-and-black style that fits in pretty well with my iPad and its stand. Until I find something better—let’s face it, I appear to be collecting mechanical keyboards—this is my preferred writing environment when I’m away from my desk.

A Beginner’s Guide To Taking Great Video On Your Phone, by Terry Sullivan, New York Times

What do such improvements in video quality allow you to capture? In theory, a good video. But that can mean many things: Good on a technical level? Or, perhaps, a clip that’s simply fun to watch? First, let’s explore some of the basic elements that make up good video.

Vulse App Brings Gestural And Touch Effects To Guitar, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Vulse is a neat app for musicians. More specifically, it’s for guitarists. The app has been around for a while, but got a big old update this week that makes it worth a new look. The idea of the app is that you stick your iPhone onto your guitar, just below where you strum the strings, and then use a combination of wild flailing and screen-stroking to apply crazy effects on the fly.

Develop

Why The Solutions To The Digital Attention Crisis Will Emerge From Google > Apple., by Andrew Murray Dunn, Medium

Ultimately, Apple’s business model, design philosophy and culture of perfectionism render the firm ill-positioned to solve the problem anytime soon.

Notes

Why iPhone Notifications Need An Overhaul, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Apple seems to believe that I shouldn’t go in for all that. Notifications are fundamentally distracting, so I think Apple’s solution is to convince us to stop giving them so much attention. Turn them off, let them float by, don’t worry about reaching “notification zero” (so to speak). My colleague Vlad Savov called it “an endless scrolling list of puffy notification clouds” and I think that’s apt. The result of this philosophy, I think, is that the tools Apple provides for dealing with notifications are blunt instruments. But I also think it’s the wrong philosophy. Some notifications are actually super important, but they’re too easy to miss in that endless pile of clouds.

Welcome To The App-i-fication Of Friendship, by Amanda Palleschi, The Outline

Washington City Paper, which reported on the first official MealTribes gathering, described the start-up as “cashing in on millennials’ obsession with the shared economy,” likening it to an “Uber or Air BnB for food and chit chat.” But MealTribes is capitalizing on something else, too: the so-called “loneliness epidemic” we’re all supposedly experiencing as urban millennials, though we’re way too cool to admit it. Like the New York-based, seder-centric OneTable, which bills itself as a supper club for people in their 20s and 30s looking to build a “seder tradition,” MealTribes offers an avenue for what Gold would later describe to me as a more “authentic” way of connecting.

But can a one-off gathering of strangers really translate into friendship? Dating apps, after all, were designed to make it easier to find people to date and hookup with; they’re now blamed with killing dating by giving us too many choices. Will friendship-driven startups face the same fate, destined to become a recipe for fleeting, non-committal connections?

The Betting-Against-Innovation Edition Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Big Phone, by Matt Gemmell

The thing that bugs me about statements like “iPads are toys”, or “iPads are for consumption, not creation”, or “iPads aren’t real computers” is that they implicitly do what’s proven to be the stupidest thing you can possibly be guilty of in the tech industry: betting against innovation.

We will figure out how to create a touch-based interface for that complex app you use. We have audio and video editors, vector drawing apps, CAD tools, photo editors, and all kinds of other stuff right now. We have Office and iWork, and Affinity Photo, and Autodesk Graphic, and Procreate, and countless more. Is your hold-out app really that special? Is that even possible?

Make A Mark

How To Learn To Draw With iPad And Apple Pencil, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Apple's Pencil stands out from the rest of the stylus crowd for a number of reasons: It works in tandem with Apple's display to create low-latency brush strokes, it's lengthier than your average digital pen, and it charges via Lightning connector. But when it comes to drawing or writing with one, there are only a few basic techniques you need to know before you can start mastering your new tool.

The Best Apple Pencil Apps That Aren’t For Drawing, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have anew Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

Hacked One Together

‘I’ve Been Grey For Two Weeks.’ Inside The Movement Trying To Beat Smartphone Addiction, by Phoebe Hurst, Wired

Former Google project manager Tristan Harris advocates turning the colour filters of your phone to greyscale, which makes those red notification badges and technicolour Snapchat filters far less alluring. A 2017 Lifehacker article on the topic proved hugely influential. Kevin Holesh, meanwhile, has launched an app to restrict our apps. Four and a half years ago – back when many of us were still in awe of all the cool stuff we could do on our new iPhones – he created Moment, an app that tracks how long users spend on their iPhone or iPad per day.

“I got the idea for Moment when my now-wife and I moved in together,” Holesh says. “We did the cute couple stuff for a couple of weeks – cooking dinner together, drinking wine on the porch. But then we fell back into our old tech habits, which was us putting Netflix on and sitting on the couch, each on our phones. I’m on my phone a lot during the day for work – or was – and I wanted to have non-screen time in the evenings. I realised there was no app or tool to see how much time I was using my phone, so being an app developer, I hacked one together.”

Stuff

Apple Shares New Ads Boasting The App Store And Portrait Lighting Effects, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The first ad shows off the new Portrait Lighting effects found on the iPhone X, noting how the quality compares to an image taken with a normal camera. Meanwhile, the other focuses on the strength and security of the App Store, illustrating that apps on the App Store are stable and don’t just stop working.

Things 3.5 Brings UI Refinements, Tagging And Automation Improvements, Clipboard Integration, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Things 3.5 is a collection of smaller yet welcome improvements that are worth outlining because they all contribute to making Things more powerful, intuitive, and consistent with its macOS counterpart.

This Ukrainian Mac Product Has A Cult Following — And Could Hint At Apple's Future, by Anita Balakrishnan, CNBC

Setapp is gaining steam at a time when Apple's future is increasingly in subscriptions, education and enterprise, three areas where Setapp thrives. The subscription service also supplements an area where some people think Apple is lacking — MacOS.

Notes

Probable 'iPhone SE 2' Exposed By European Regulatory Agency, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple may be close to announcing a follow-up to the iPhone SE, after the discovery of a regulatory filing reveals details and images for unannounced mobile devices from Apple, effectively confirming new iPhones will be on the way in the near future.

Have Algorithms Destroyed Personal Taste?, by Kyle Chayka, Racked

The Echo Look won’t tell you why it’s making its decisions. And yet it purports to show us our ideal style, just as algorithms like Netflix recommendations, Spotify Discover, and Facebook and YouTube feeds promise us an ideal version of cultural consumption tailored to our personal desires. In fact, this promise is inherent in the technology itself: Algorithms, as I’ll loosely define them, are sets of equations that work through machine learning to customize the delivery of content to individuals, prioritizing what they think we want, and evolving over time based on what we engage with.

Confronting the Echo Look’s opaque statements on my fashion sense, I realize that all of these algorithmic experiences are matters of taste: the question of what we like and why we like it, and what it means that taste is increasingly dictated by black-box robots like the camera on my shelf.

Bottom of the Page

I can see that Apple as a company strongly believes the iPad is the future of computing. I hope Apple agrees that there are still many wants and needs to be filled on this platform, and moves to fill them faster. It's okay to have a MPW first before the Hypercard of iPad.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Space-Gray Edition Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mapping Apple’s Vast Universe Of Space Gray Shades, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Silver aluminum, once the defining look of Apple products, has been met with increasing variety over the last several years by a range of colors and finishes that customers can choose from. One of the earliest and most popular options – space gray – has permeated across almost every product line Apple offers.

Yet, ubiquity has not brought consistency. Each new generation of a product seems to bring with it a slightly different take on space gray. Those with large device collections have noted the discrepancies between shades, and discussions brew online over the term’s exact definition.

Personalized Hey Siri, by Siri Team, Apple

The phrase “Hey Siri” was originally chosen to be as natural as possible; in fact, it was so natural that even before this feature was introduced, users would invoke Siri using the home button and inadvertently prepend their requests with the words, “Hey Siri.” Its brevity and ease of articulation, however, bring to bear additional challenges. In particular, our early offline experiments showed, for a reasonable rate of correctly accepted invocations, an unacceptable number of unintended activations. Unintended activations occur in three scenarios - 1) when the primary user says a similar phrase, 2) when other users say “Hey Siri,” and 3) when other users say a similar phrase. The last one is the most annoying false activation of all. In an effort to reduce such False Accepts (FA), our work aims to personalize each device such that it (for the most part) only wakes up when the primary user says “Hey Siri.” To do so, we leverage techniques from the field of speaker recognition.

Stuff

Apple's International iPad Ads Tout Student-friendly Apple Pencil Support, by AppleInsider

Apple Turkey this week posted a series of short commercials to its regional YouTube page featuring the new 9.7-inch iPad and Apple Pencil, positioning the device pairing as an ideal learning and creativity platform for students.

Notes

Apple Is Planning To Launch A News Subscription Service, by Mark Gurman and Gerry Smith, Bloomberg

An upgraded Apple News app with the subscription offering is expected to launch within the next year, and a slice of the subscription revenue will go to magazine publishers that are part of the program, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private plans. Apple declined to comment.

OLPC’s $100 Laptop Was Going To Save The World. Where Is It Now?, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Then, Negroponte and Annan rose for a photo-op with two OLPC laptops, and reporters urged them to demonstrate the machines’ distinctive cranks. Annan’s crank handle fell off almost immediately. As he quietly reattached it, Negroponte managed half a turn before hitting the flat surface of the table. He awkwardly raised the laptop a few inches, trying to make space for a full rotation. “Maybe afterwards…” he trailed off, before sitting back down to field questions from the crowd.

The moment was brief, but it perfectly foreshadowed how critics would see One Laptop Per Child a few years later: as a flashy, clever, and idealistic project that shattered at its first brush with reality.

The Not-Ready Edition Monday, April 16, 2018

Are External GPUs For Macs Viable In macOS 10.13.4? We Tested To Find Out, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

When software support is complete and everything works as intended, the performance gains we've seen here paint a rosy picture for the future of this technology as a way to augment laptops for games and creative applications. We recorded more playable frame rates in games and significantly improved benchmark scores over what we got with the internal GPU—and that's with one of the fastest discrete GPUs in Apple's laptops.

But even though the potential is vividly clear, the implementation is not yet complete. The experience is hit-and-miss depending on which software you're using. Further, we experienced several crashes and unexpected behaviors, and while Metal performance is greatly improved, the performance gap isn't as big for apps built for OpenGL—and unfortunately, many consumer Mac applications still are.

eGPUs might be publicly supported now, but they're still not ready for primetime. The experience is too unstable, support isn't robust enough, there are too many caveats and limitations, and Boot Camp support will be necessary for eGPUs to be attractive to many consumers.

My Airplay Speakers Have Become Obsolete Because The Company Hasn’t Updated Its App In Four Years, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

So, it turns out that I can never change my Wi-Fi network’s name ever again, or my speakers will stop working. That may sound ridiculous, but let me walk you through the series of bad decisions and technological quirks that have brought me here, and I can (sort of) explain.

Develop

Visualizing An iOS Device In Blender Through Quantum Entanglement, by John Coates, Medium

Okay so now that we’ve got these values, what do we do with them? That’s the tougher part. If we print everything to console then we’re quickly overrun with data. I figured it would be better to have these values visible on screen.

But wait, what if the values were shown on a graph?

Forget the graph! Blender is open source, I bet it’s easy to extend. What if we visualized the values with that?

Notes

Alexa Is A Revelation For The Blind, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

But for Dad, the Echo doesn’t carry information so much as it facilitates independence of connection—to me, to Ron, to the fast-moving facts and responses that smartphone and Google users have had at their fingertips for years, or decades.

It doesn’t really matter whether Alexa provides Dad with useful knowledge or a seamless way to communicate. It does something more fundamental: It allows him to connect with people and ideas in a contemporary way. To live fully means more than sensing with the eyes and ears—it also means engaging with the technologies of the moment, and seeing the world through the triumphs and failures they uniquely offer.

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With GPUs going external and secure-enclaves (together with their sensors) going internal, the idea of a modular Macintosh is very different from what we think modularity is just a few years ago.

If you are expecting the next Mac Pro to be a basic tower computer, I predict you'd have to think again.

~

I am also predicting the Mac Pro will continue to be designed to be placed on, and not under, the desk.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Swollen-Batteries Edition Sunday, April 15, 2018

Apple Now Offering Free Repairs Of 42mm Apple Watch Series 2 Models With Swollen Batteries, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

"Apple has determined that under certain conditions, some Apple Watch Series 2 devices may not power on or they may experience an expanded battery," wrote Apple, in an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday and subsequently obtained by MacRumors.

"Apple will service eligible devices free of charge," according to the document, numbered SN4534 in Apple's internal GSX portal. "Apple will authorize coverage for eligible devices for three years after the original date of purchase."

Does Repairability Of Mac Laptops Matter?, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Apple’s laptop line has become a lot harder and more costly to repair in recent years. On the flip side, I’ve seen my need to repair machines go way down. In my experience, Apple’s laptop hardware (sans the current MacBook Pro keyboards) have become as reliable as iPad hardware. Unless you cause accidental damage, you are likely going to have a functioning laptop for many years.

Smartphone Apps Know Too Much. We Need To Fix Permissions, by Lauren Goode, Wired

But for now, until stricter rules are in place, most of the onus still falls on the smartphone user to try to make sense of privacy permissions. And to know whether to give access to our camera, our photos, our locations, our lives. And to trust that most of the app makers are being transparent around where that data goes. These days, that ask feels infinitely bigger.

Notes

watchOS 4.3.1 Suggests Future Support For Third Party Watch Faces, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

A component of the NanoTimeKit framework, responsible for the watch faces, implements a developer tools server that’s probably designed to communicate with Xcode running on a Mac. One of its methods has a very interesting log message.

Maybe Apple’s HomePod Is Just A Niche Product. And Maybe That’s Okay, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

If all the HomePod does is let Apple make a healthy profit on a piece of high-end hardware, it would be true to the company’s instinctive modus operandi. Apple might be fine with that—even if the HomePod’s impact on the smart-speaker market is less than transformative.

Why I'm Boycotting TurboTax This Year, by Dylan Matthews, Vox

Let me be blunt: You should not pay for TurboTax. If you want to use a free version of TurboTax or H&R Block at Home or Credit Karma Tax or TaxAct, go nuts. But for the love of God, don't give Intuit money.

TurboTax is an evil, parasitic product that exists entirely because taxes are confusing and hard to file. Worse than that, Intuit is one of the loudest voices on Capitol Hill arguing against measures that make it easier to pay taxes. Years ago, the Obama administration proposed a system of automatic tax filing, in which the IRS uses income information it already has to fill out your tax return for you. That would save millions of Americans considerable time and energy every year, but the idea has gone nowhere. The main reason? Lobbying from Intuit and H&R Block.

The Hasn't-Seen-an-Update Edition Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Tale Of Two QuickTimes, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Among the casualties of the impending transition to 64-bit apps is one long-lasting oddity: QuickTime 7 Pro.

What makes this app so unusual are a few factors. For one thing, it’s one of Apple’s own apps. For another, it was first released in 2005, making it almost 13 years old, though it hasn’t seen an update in about 8 years.

How To Check Your Mac For 32-bit Apps Before Apple Drops Support, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Ironically, for most people, the 32-bit list will be dominated by Apple apps. Apple’s DVD player, and InkServer applications still lack native 64-bit support. These are first-party, pre-installed applications that come bundled with every Mac.

Refurbished Parts

Apple Sued An Independent iPhone Repair Shop Owner And Lost, by Jason Koebler, Motherboard

The court decided that Norwegian law “does not prohibit a Norwegian mobile repair person from importing mobile screens from Asian manufacturers that are 100 percent compatible and completely identical to Apple’s own iPhone screens, so long as Apple’s trademark is not applied to the product.”

The court noted that importing refurbished parts with visible Apple logos on them would be in violation of European Union trademark law (it would be legal, the court said, if the refurbishment of these screens had happened in the EU rather than Asia), but, crucially, decided that because the Apple logo would not be visible to customers while the product was in use, Huseby had not actually used Apple’s trademark.

Psst!

Apple Warns Employees To Stop Leaking Information To Media, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. warned employees to stop leaking internal information on future plans and raised the specter of potential legal action and criminal charges, one of the most-aggressive moves by the world’s largest technology company to control information about its activities.

The Cupertino, California-based company said in a lengthy memo posted to its internal blog that it "caught 29 leakers," last year and noted that 12 of those were arrested. "These people not only lose their jobs, they can face extreme difficulty finding employment elsewhere," Apple added. The company declined to comment on Friday.

Company-Wide Apple Memo On ‘The Impact Of Leaks’ Leaks, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Getting fired for leaking — we all knew that happened. But this is the first I’ve heard of leakers being prosecuted criminally and going to jail.

Where Are They?, by Joshua Benton, Twitter

People who are arrested and charged for stealing Apple trade secrets — not sued or penalized for breaking an NDA, arrested — would leave a paper trail and a trail of lawyers who would be happy to seek the spotlight to defend their clients in the media. Where are they?

Resources To Fix It, by Christina Farr, Twitter

I’ve been told by internal employees more than once that once a reporter wrote about an issue they (the employee) cared about (because its good for users, not as much for bottom line), they finally got the resources to fix it.

Stuff

The New Cheap iPad Is All The iPad You Need, by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

So this is a positive review. That’s because it’s refreshing for Apple to release a product that works great and doesn’t compromise your family’s financial future. I wasn’t sure I wanted an iPad, basically, since the iPad came out. I want this one. That’s honestly a rare feeling for me, because there are so many unwantable or too-expensive gadgets in the world. When the next new iPad comes out, I doubt I’ll want it because it will cost too much. But this Apple thing—I’m surprised to admit—it’s a good value.

This Microcasting App Is The Easiest Way To Podcast On iPhone, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Did you ever fancy making a podcast, but as soon as you considered the logistics, your eyes crossed, and you felt suddenly sleepy? But what if creating and publishing a podcast was as easy as squeezing out a Tweet? That’s where Wavelength comes in. Wavelength is a brand new app that lets you record, edit, and publish your short podcast — or microcast — in record time. It can even add your podcast feed to the Apple Podcast Directory, so anyone can easily find and subscribe to your microcast.

It's Time To Pick A Better Smartphone Photo Editing App, by Stan Horaczek, Popular Science

Think of a photo straight out of the camera as raw material. You can bring it into an editing app and finish it with touches like tweaking your exposure, dialing in your colors, and punching up the contrast to make it pop out of your followers' Instagram feeds. Here's a handful of apps that offer lots of options for turning your phone into a digital darkroom.

Develop

Why Entrepreneurs Start Companies Rather Than Join Them, by Steve Blank

It never crossed my mind that I gravitated to startups because I thought more of my abilities than the value a large company would put on them. At least not consciously. But that’s the conclusion of a provocative research paper, Asymmetric Information and Entrepreneurship, that explains a new theory of why some people choose to be entrepreneurs. The authors’ conclusion — Entrepreneurs think they are better than their resumes show and realize they can make more money by going it alone. And in most cases, they are right.

Notes

The iPhone Changed Our Lives. Now Apple Needs To Tackle Addiction, by Tony Fadell, Wired

You should be able to see exactly how you spend your time and, if you wish, moderate your behaviour accordingly. We need a “scale” for our digital weight, like we have for our physical weight.

Bottom of the Page

I don't use QuickTime Pro, so I'm not familiar with the app, but... nobody made a good replacement for QuickTime Pro 7?

~

Thanks for reading.

The iPad-Productivity Edition Friday, April 13, 2018

11 Tips For Working On The iPad, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

After several years of being iPad-only for the majority of my work, I often take some of these features for granted. And admittedly, Apple doesn't always do a great job at teaching users about these lesser known details, which have become especially important after the productivity-focused iPad update in iOS 11. I hope this collection can be useful for those who haven't yet explored the fascinating world of iPad productivity.

Our Biggest Gripes With Apple's 2018 iPad, by AppleInsider

Apple's new 2018 iPad is undoubtedly the budget iPad of choice, thanks to it's powerful A10 Fusion processor and Apple Pencil support, which until now, hasn't been available on any iPad other than the Pro line. However, the low-cost build creates some pretty big issues that might make you reconsider.

The Great Battery Sale of 2018

Apple Stores Relying On In-store Contractors To Catch Up On iPhone Battery Service Backlog, by Greg Barbosa, 9to5Mac

More recently, however, Apple Store employees have shared that the company is hiring external contractors to assist the store teams. Rather than only relying on the store’s technical support staff, the battery replacement program is now be handled by the contractors serving as a temporary additional wave of support. These contractors still undergo training from Apple before working on iPhone battery replacements alongside part-time and full-time Apple Store staff, but the move is a unique solution for Apple due to the unprecedented situation around iPhone battery replacements.

Why Apple Makes It So Hard To Get A New iPhone Battery, by Kevin Reilly, Steve Kovach, Business Insider

We went to an Apple store to see what would happen when we tried to have the battery on an iPhone 6 replaced. Apple recommended that we keep the original battery. Following is a transcript of the video.

Asshole Design

Stop Calling These Dark Design Patterns Or Dark UX. These Are Simply Asshole Designs., by Flavio Lamenza, UX Collective

We are User Experience Designers and our core objective is to create delightful and seamless experiences for the user. Let's be clear here, if you do any of the following below I suggest a new term: "A**hole Design".

Stuff

Eventail 2.2: A Compact And Customizable Calendar Widget, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Eventail tells me everything I need to know from my calendar at a glance: which days are going to be busy and the time of my first appointment.

The MacSparky iPhone Field Guide Is Available Now, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The book is full of short tutorials and app recommendations to help all users get more out of their iPhones. I especially like that many of the screencasts focus on third-party apps, which is a great way for readers to get a feel for them before deciding to download.

Develop

Giving Tweetbot A More Accessible Design, by Steven Aquino

Somewhere along the way, however, I moved away from Tweetbot and gravitated towards Twitter’s official first-party app. I don’t exactly know why I made the change, but I soon came to realize that the official client is actually well done in its own right. Despite its proclivity for inserting ads and promoted tweets into the timeline, among other annoyances, I can appreciate the niceties the official app offers such as the Search tab, Moments, threaded replies, and—best of all—the dedicated GIF button.

And one other thing: Accessibility.

Notes

Hands-on With Apple’s New Schoolwork App On iPad, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

At its education-focused event in Chicago last month, Apple showcased a new app called Schoolwork. Essentially, Schoolwork is Apple’s take on a classroom management app, allowing teachers to assign tasks to students and for students view those assignments and submit their work.

[...]

These images, provided to us by someone in the Schoolwork beta, show various parts of the application from both the teacher side and student side.

Cops Around The Country Can Now Unlock iPhones, Records Show, by Joseph Cox, Motherboard

Police forces and federal agencies around the country have bought relatively cheap tools to unlock up-to-date iPhones and bypass their encryption, according to a Motherboard investigation based on several caches of internal agency documents, online records, and conversations with law enforcement officials. Many of the documents were obtained by Motherboard using public records requests.

The news highlights the going dark debate, in which law enforcement officials say they cannot access evidence against criminals. But easy access to iPhone hacking tools also hamstrings the FBI’s argument for introducing backdoors into consumer devices so authorities can more readily access their contents.

Peter Grünberg, Winner Of An ‘iPod Nobel,’ Dies At 78, by Dennis Overbye, New York Times

Dr. Grünberg shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007 with Albert Fert of the Université Paris-Sud in Orsay. They had independently made the same discovery — of an effect known as giant magnetoresistance, in which tiny changes in a magnetic field can result in huge changes in electrical resistance.

The effect is at the heart of modern gadgets that record music, video or other data as dense magnetic patchworks of ones and zeros — that is to say, electronic tablets and smartphones, the GPS devices in our pockets and handbags.

Bottom of the Page

How to beef up the HomePod while waiting for Siri to improve:

1) iTunes DJ - Party every night right in your home
2) Commission U2 for an exclusive album for HomePod customers
3) Fix problems with classical music
4) The Return of Ping - Audio Edition
5) Karaoke mode.

~

Thanks for reading.

The 64-Bit Edition Thursday, April 12, 2018

Apple Activates Warning For Users Of 32-bit Apps In High Sierra, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple’s long transition away from 32-bit software takes another step beginning April 12. When the clock strikes the witching hour (local time), Macs running macOS 10.13.4 will display a warning the first time any app that isn’t 64-bit compliant is opened.

The warning, which reads “[App name] is not optimized for your Mac,” will only appear once per app, and will direct users to an Apple knowledge base article to learn more about the situation.

32-bit App Compatibility With macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, by Apple

Apple began the transition to 64-bit hardware and software technology for Mac over a decade ago, and is working with developers to transition their apps to 64-bit. At our Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017, Apple informed developers that macOS High Sierra would be the last version of macOS to run 32-bit apps without compromise.

While developers optimize their apps for 64-bit compatibility, Apple is notifying customers when they are using an app based on 32-bit technology. This is done via a one-time alert that appears when you launch a 32-bit app.

Below you will find more information about the alert and what the 64-bit transition means for you.

Replacement Parts

Even Genuine Replacement Apple Displays Can Mess With iPhones, by Aaron Souppouris, Engadget

Following the news that the latest iOS update can break phones with non-official replacement screens, repairers are encountering a different, more subtle problem: If you put a genuine Apple replacement display into an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X, it'll no longer be able to adjust its brightness automatically. If Apple or one of its authorized partners were to put the same display in the same phone, though? No problem.

Ten Weeks Of HomePods

Apple's Stumbling HomePod Isn't The Hot Seller Company Wanted, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day. Apple declined to comment.

Channel Checks, Sales Data On HomePod Likely As Wrong As It Was About Apple Watch In 2015, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Bloomberg didn't even mention that Inventec was only one of the two suppliers building HomePod. Yet an order cut from one of a pair of competing suppliers can mean any number of a variety of things. Similarly, the idea that "some [Apple Store] locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day" is equally meaningless.

Apple has repeatedly challenged analysts and reporters for sensationalizing rumors of channel checks and trying to extrapolate simplistic conclusions from rumors of channel data involving a specific vendor.

Six Reasons For HomePod Optimism Despite Reports Of Disappointing Sales, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

I wouldn’t be worried about what may be a modest start for HomePod. It’s still going to sell in the millions this year, and likely has a future measured in the tens of millions per year as the product line develops.

Stuff

Numbers 4 For iOS Review: Better Tools For Importing, Sorting, And Viewing Organized Data, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Numbers for iOS now matches the macOS version in most important ways, making it a much better complement and standalone app. It still has a long way to go to meet features in competing iOS and Web app spreadsheets, but as a baseline for most people, Numbers now encompasses more people’s needs for importing, sorting, and viewing organized data.

Apple's Siri Learns New Jokes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple appears to have recently updated Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and HomePod with a slew of new jokes to tell. Based on reports on Twitter and from MacRumors readers, the new jokes started rolling out earlier this month.

Disney Kicks Off Its Streaming Future Today With ESPN+, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Here’s the most important thing to know: ESPN+ is no replacement for ESPN the cable channel. It’s not supposed to be. The company has made it a point to constantly underline that ESPN+ is meant to complement and augment the network that’s home to SportsCenter and a regular schedule of live games from the major pro leagues.

Notes

New Apple Music Head Named As Service Surpasses 40 Million Subscribers, by Shirley Halperin, Variety

Apple Music is thinking globally as the streaming service officially surpasses 40 million paid subscribers. Today, the company announced the promotion of Oliver Schusser to lead Apple Music Worldwide. His new title is vice president of Apple Music & International Content. Schusser has led efforts outside the U.S. related to the App Store, iTunes’ movies and TV portals, iBooks, Apple Podcasts, and more. He has worked closely with Apple svp of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, who hired Schusser some 14 years ago and also announced his promotion to staff earlier this morning.

Regarding Mark Zuckerberg’s Unused Talking Points On Tim Cook And Apple, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

To be fair, these are only prepared notes. Zuckerberg didn’t say them, and we don’t know if he would have if questioned about Cook’s remarks. So it’s not fair to treat them as though they’re actually quotes from Zuckerberg. But what a pile of horseshit they would have been if he had.

The Making Of Dark Castle : An Excerpt From The Secret History Of Mac Gaming, by Richard Moss, Gamasutra

Eric Zocher began to investigate. He looked through his Inside Macintosh manual and found a four-voice synthesizer that would play square waves and simple waveforms. It could make beeps and boops and other sounds just like other home computers of the time. Just like Charlie Jackson wanted. But Zocher had no idea how to figure out what amplitudes and frequencies of square waves could combine to make something sound like an explosion, let alone a voice. He thought he'd try recording some sounds that he'd like to recreate with square waves, then get them onto a minicomputer at the university and look for a way to programmatically approximate the waveforms that correspond to the recorded sounds.

As he researched further, however, he realized the Mac could already play the recorded sounds. It had another built-in sound driver — one that could play sampled digital sounds, one at a time, if you could somehow get the samples onto the Mac. It's just that nobody had tried.

The Bring-Your-Own-Data Edition Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Tale Of Two Hospitals That Adopted Apple’s Health Record App, by Lucas Mearian, Computerworld

After touting the electronic medical record (EMR) feature in its iOS 11.3 release, Apple said that – as of last week – 39 hospitals have signed up to test the software, which will allow patients and healthcare providers to interact on iPhones and iPads. Officials at two of those institutions, Johns Hopkins and Penn Medicine, see promise in how the field is evolving.

The push to easily and securely share health data is likely to continue growing over the next few years. By 2020, one in four patients is expected to be participating in a "BYOD" – bring your own data – healthcare scenario, according to research by IDC.

FTC Says 'Warranty Void If Removed' Stickers Are Bullshit, Warns Manufacturers They're Breaking The Law, by Matthew Gault, Motherboard

The Federal Trade Commission put six companies on notice today, telling them in a warning letter that their warranty practices violate federal law. If you buy a car with a warranty, take it a repair shop to fix it, then have to return the car to the manufacturer, the car company isn’t legally allowed to deny the return because you took your car to another shop. The same is true of any consumer device that costs more than $15, though many manufacturers want you to think otherwise.

[...]

We asked the FTC for more information about the companies that it sent the letter to, but it would not say. It’s a safe bet that Sony and Microsoft are two of them, though—the Playstation 4 and Xbox One video game consoles both come with stickers that claim opening the device voids the warranty. Apple’s slick design precludes such stickers, but Apple Geniuses are trained to look for the signs of consumer meddling and will sometimes decline warranty service if it’s been repaired by an owner or third party (we’ve heard mixed things on this; customers have had many different experiences at Apple Stores. In any case, Apple does discourage people from having third parties fix their devices.)

Stuff

New iPad 2018 Vs Chromebook: Apple’s Best Chance Is Inventive Apps, by Matt Swider, TechRadar

A strong suite of decent apps and a seamless ecosystem have always been Apple’s strong suit, especially on tablets, and we’re starting to see that again with constant upgrades to ARKit and ClassKit apps, which are either designed for, or compatible with, education from the tablet.

We tested out several iOS 11 apps that are attempting to make learning both entertaining and fulfilling, often using augmented reality (AR) or the compatible Apple Pencil, seeing whether the new slew of apps could offer a better learning experience than a pen and paper (spoiler: they did).

The Best Note-taking Apps For The iPad And Apple Pencil, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

If you want a head start on writing on an iPad with an Apple Pencil, then there’s no better place to start than Apple’s own Notes app. It’s not exactly packed with features: You can’t even adjust the stroke width for the included pen, highlighter, and pencil tools. In fact, true to Apple form, customization feels forbidden. All you can really do is choose between blank, lined, or gridded paper and write in black, blue, green, yellow, or red.

But Notes sometimes makes up for that lack of variety through convenience. Apple built Notes compatibility into the design of the iPad itself, so you can scribble a new handwritten note at any time by simply tapping the Apple Pencil on your iPad’s locked home screen. The selection tool is also impressive; more so than any other app I’ve used, Notes precisely selects the line of script you want to select, even when it’s piled on top of another jumble of squiggles. It’s kind of magical.

The Best Text Editor For macOS, by K.Q. Dreger, The Sweet Setup

Despite some performance misgivings for more intense workloads, Atom’s price, functionality, and approachability when it comes to package management and settings make it our choice for the best text editor for macOS for most people. Backed by GitHub, Atom has a long life ahead, and the open source nature of the project mean that anyone can help make it better.

Keynote 4 For iOS Review: Modest Upgrade Features Apple Pencil Support, New Image Gallery, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Keynote 4 for iOS lacks the polish I’d expect from a release version, especially with effectively no changes unique to the app, but all incorporating options are available across apps and between platforms. Apple needs to give more attention to Keynote, fix the missing image gallery features that it already added to the Mac version, and provide more general polish. It also needs to push Keynote forward with better and richer interactivity, something that should be expected this many years into its development.

Vimeo Launches macOS App For Easy Video Sharing, Final Cut Pro Integration, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Most notably, the app integrates with Final Cut Pro to simplify the workflow of creating a film and pushing it up to Vimeo.

App Guides Parkinson's Disease Patients Through 'Freezing', by Mike Williams-Rice, Futurity

Engineering students at Rice University designed an iPhone app to help patients with Parkinson’s disease overcome a symptom known as “freezing,” in which the legs temporarily refuse to follow the brain’s command to lift and move forward.

For many of these patients, visual, audio, or vibratory cues can help them overcome freezing. The app may be the most comprehensive way to provide those cues, the students say.

Develop

Apple Watch Beta Includes Warning For Old Apps, Suggests watchOS 5 Will Drop Support, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

The latest watchOS beta, 4.3.1, introduces a new alert when launching original watchOS 1 WatchKit applications, hinting that such apps may be dropped entirely in watchOS 5.

Apple App Accelerator Turns A Year Old, Teaches Success To Developers Young And Old, by Anuj Bhatia, Indian Express

One app that stood out was Froggipedia which lets students learn the anatomy of frogs on the iPad without having to dissect the real amphibian. “We started two months back on the app [Froggipedia] with the help of Apple App Accelerator team. They helped us design the beautiful and intuitive user interface, enable seamless integration of ARKit, ensure the pressure sensitivity of Apple Pencil was put to good use and how to do the unity development,” Capt KJS Brar, CEO, Designmate, told indianexpress.com. The app created by three-decade-old Ahmedabad-based animation house Designmate was first demonstrated at Apple’s education-focused event in Chicago last month.

Notes

Mark Zuckerberg Was Ready To Pounce On Apple's Data Practices At Senate Hearing, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Following today's testimony, a photo showing two pages of Zuckerberg's printed notes circulated around the web, revealing the CEO was prepared to delve into areas that went untouched during the hearing. Notably, the Facebook chief was ready to defend Facebook's business model in light of disparaging statements made by Apple CEO Tim Cook last month.

The first entry in a section titled "Tim Cook on biz model," apparently prepared in case Cook's comments were broached, Zuckerberg first refers to a quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. An abridged version of Bezos' remarks, made in reference to a recent Amazon Kindle release, the notes read, "Companies that work hard to charge you more and companies that work hard to charge you less." The missive is an apparent defense of Facebook's revenue model, which goes against the grain of traditional payments for products and services. Zuckerberg recited the same passage to Vox in an interview earlier this month.

The Six Most Interesting Things On The Notes Mark Zuckerberg Accidentally Left For Anyone To See, by April Glaser, Slate

There are talking points about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent critique of Facebook’s ad-targeting business model, many of which sounded a little like fighting words—like “Lots of stories about apps misusing Apple data, never seen Apple notify people” and “Important to hold everyone to the same standard.” Ouch!

The Sweat-the-Details Edition Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Apple Now Runs On 100% Green Energy, And Here’s How It Got There, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

The achievement is the culmination of a furious effort over the past six years that involved financing, building, or locating new renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind farms, near the company’s facilities Apple says it now has 25 operational renewable energy projects–with 15 more now in construction–in 11 countries.

[...]

According to Jackson, it would have been easy enough for Apple to trumpet its landmark achievement in renewable energy earlier. “If you look at our trajectory, for the last couple of years we’ve been close to 100%,” she says. “It’s just four percent more, but it’s four percent done the right way. So this announcement feels like a classic Apple product release. Like our products, we sweat the details, we have pretty strict standards, and we prefer to wait and meet our standards than to rush and make a claim.”

The New iOS Update Killed Touch Functionality On iPhone 8s Repaired With Aftermarket Screens, by Matthew Gault, Motherboard

According to Oberdick, every iPhone screen is powered by a small microchip, and that chip is what the repair community believes to be causing the issue. For the past six months, shops have been able to replace busted iPhone 8 screens with no problem, but something in the update killed touch functionality. According to several people I spoke to, third-party screen suppliers have already worked out the issue, but fixing the busted phones means re-opening up the phone and upgrading the chip.

Stuff

Darkroom Releases Version 3.5, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

Darkroom scans photos you’ve shot in Portrait Mode and allows you to apply edits to the foreground and background separately. This is especially handy if you’re looking to bring an image’s entire focus onto your subject. Darkroom’s Depth Editing is a good example of a feature that could only happen thanks to Apple’s Portrait Mode — a DSLR or mirrorless camera separates a foreground or background simply based on physics and the construction of a lens.

Microsoft Office And The Files App Finally Play Nice Together, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Now, iOS users can go straight to the Files app, locate the appropriate document, and open it directly with only a tap or two.

Develop

Will Apple Redefine Mobile Advertising With SKAdNetwork?, by Eric Benjamin Seufert, Mobile Dev Memo

The SKAdNetwork APIs launched with very little fanfare, and it's not clear as of yet what the impact on the mobile advertising ecosystem will be. Apple certainly has the power to incentivize use of the SKAdNetwork APIs over the use of third-party attribution systems, but it seems likely that they will tread lightly with respect to Google and Facebook. Ad networks will require some sort of certification from Apple in order to attribute their installs via SKAdNetwork, and it's possible that some ad networks (especially those that are known to peddle fraudulent traffic) may not be certified.

The Specially-Tanned Edition Monday, April 9, 2018

Apple Announces Special Edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 And 8 Plus, Order From Tomorrow, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced a brand new (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, available later this week. The product features a special red back design and a black bezel.

The iPhone X Gets A RED Leather Folio, by Shannon Liao, The Verge

It’s a $99 leather phone case that was “specially tanned and finished” in Europe. The case has an outer flap to cover and protect the screen.

Stuff

Pages 4 For iOS Review: Update Adds Powerful Support For Book And Complex Document Creation, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Welcome additions and some long-overdue ones combine to make Pages 4 for iOS a major upgrade, with document and book workflow, editing, and management features that push it far beyond the previous release, making it a much more viable alternative to other apps and the desktop version of Pages for macOS. But keep an eye on what’s the best use of a touch-based interaction and editing to make the best use of this app.

This App Lets You Create A Digital Time Capsule For Aging Relatives, by Eillie Anzilotti, Fast Company

The curated GreyMatters timelines help people with dementia to access memories, but they also provide caregivers with a way to structure their interactions that alleviates some of the stress of not knowing what to do or what to say in the moment.

Notes

How An Apple Watch May Have Saved A Scranton Woman's Life, by Luke Ranker, Topeka Capital-Journal

Physicians at the clinic confirmed the high heartbeat, but couldn't determine the problem, so the couple went to Stormont Vail Health's emergency room where nurses quickly dubbed her "The Apple Watch Patient."

Blood tests there determined Hendershot had moderate to severe hyperthyroidism, said Alan Wynne, an endocrinologist at the Cotton O'Neil Diabetes and Endocrinology center at Stormont Vail, who treated Hendershot.

Saudi Arabia Agrees To Gender Mixing For Local Apple Staff, by Simeon Kerr, Financial Times

Apple has spearheaded a push by foreign consumer brands to ensure male and female employees will be allowed to work side-by-side in Saudi Arabia, removing a key obstacle to foreign investment in the kingdom.

The iPhone maker has received assurances from authorities that they would not face prosecution for genders mixing in the workplace.

This could pave the way for Apple and others to open their first offices or shops in Saudi Arabia, as well as being another incremental step forward for women’s rights in the rapidly changing kingdom.

Bottom of the Page

I have too many devices that I need to charge at night.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Evolving-Platform Edition Sunday, April 8, 2018

Popular Apps Are Leaving The Apple Watch. Is That A Bad Sign?, by Christina Bonnington, Slate

That some big-name apps have removed their Apple Watch apps isn’t a sign that the Apple Watch is failing as a platform: It’s a sign that the platform is evolving. [...] It doesn’t make sense for every app to be on every platform, but some apps are clearly succeeding: fitness trackers, sleep monitors, apps that let you remotely operate the camera, and apps that use your heart rate and activity data to detect health issues like arrhythmia. Apps on the Apple Watch aren’t for wasting time—they’re for bettering yourself, making your day more productive, and reducing the time spent staring at your smartphone screen.

Apple iMac Pro Review: A Crazy Amount Of Power, by Brian Westover, Tom's Guide

Without a doubt, the iMac Pro is the most powerful Mac ever offered by Apple. It's impressive across the board, from the brilliant 5K display to the powerful hardware inside. If you need a professional workstation for demanding video, rendering or 3D work, this is absolutely the Mac you want to get.

Where The iPad Still Excels Over Chromebooks Regardless Of Price, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

When teachers need a targeted app to work with their lesson plans, the iPad will likely win out in most situations. If they need students to do research on a given topic and put together a report or presentation, Chromebooks are going to be easier to use.

Does YouTube's New Dark Theme Save iPhone X Battery Life?, by AppleInsider

YouTube's dark theme is confirmed to save substantial power. We can only imagine how much better the feature would perform if the mode presented the UI as black instead of dark grey.

The Dots Do Matter: How To Scam A Gmail User, by Jim Fisher

We teach people about “phishing” due to emails from dodgy email addresses, but we don’t teach people anything about phishing due to emails to dodgy addresses.

The Blocking-Cookies Edition Saturday, April 7, 2018

Full Transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook With Recode’s Kara Swisher And MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, by Meghann Farnsworth, Recode

"I wanted to know what’s something that we as individuals could do starting today to protect our own privacy and then start fighting for the privacy of each other?"

"It’s a great question. One, I would make sure I understood the privacy policy of every app and website that you frequent. Every one of those. And I think that ... The problem would be is they’re 20 pages long and written by lawyers and that is one of the problems in and of itself, they’re not written in plain English because they don’t want people to understand them. But I do think it’s important that people try to understand what it is that you’re giving up, and I think in many cases you might elect to do something different than you’re doing, maybe go to another business or whatever that has a policy that is more in line with your values. So I think that’s the most important thing is to become deeply aware. I would also — if you’re very concerned about privacy — I’d go into private browsing mode. We placed that in Safari, and so that will prevent some things from happening, not everything. I would think about blocking cookies, these little things that follow you everywhere you’re going and so forth. I would be, if you have kids or if you’re a guardian, I would be extremely careful as to what they’re doing, because I think that the preying on kids is the worst thing in the world that can occur and it is something that I deeply worry about. Yeah."

Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls #MeToo, DACA And Parkland Student Activists ‘Heroes’, by Zameena Mejia, CNBC

While paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death, Cook said that the student survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Fla., the activists of the #MeToo movement and those defending Dreamers and DACA are working effectively for change.

"These heroes know that patience is an indulgence that we cannot afford," Cook said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook 'Deeply Offended' By 'DACA Situation', by Catherine Clifford, CNBC

Apple CEO Tim Cook has doubled down on his objection to repealing DACA, an immigration policy which temporarily protects certain young, otherwise undocumented immigrants from deportation.

[...]

"The DACA situation is not an immigration issue. It's a moral issue. This is a moral issue," Cook says.

Apple Says Repeal Of EPA Carbon Plan Would Threaten Investments, by Timothy Gardner, Reuters

Repealing the plan would jeopardize the country’s position in the race for investments in clean energy, particularly its competition with China, Apple said. It was the first public comment by a company on the proposed repeal of the plan, which has never been implemented because of legal challenges.

“Repealing the Clean Power Plan will subject consumers like Apple and our large manufacturing partners to increased investment uncertainty,” the California-based company said in a filing to the agency.

Plenty of iPad

2018 iPad Review: Content Creation With Compromises, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

I tried using the Apple Pencil on both this iPad and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro side by side. I could tell the difference in three ways. First, the low-end iPad is louder and just feels a little bit worse to draw and write on. It's because of that air gap in the display, and it's because the display isn't laminated the same way. Tapping the Pencil down on this iPad is very noticeably louder than doing so on the Pro, and something about the screen just doesn't feel quite right to draw on, by comparison.

[...]

Second, I could sense that the low-end iPad was just a little bit slower to respond to my Pencil's position than the Pro when drawing lines on both of them simultaneously. This is probably because of the difference in screen refresh rate—at peak performance, the Pro comes in at 120Hz and the low-end iPad comes in at 60Hz.

iPad 2018 Review: Practicality Over Luxury, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’d wager that for most people, the $329 sixth-generation iPad is plenty of iPad at a pretty great price. For everyone who demands more, there are other options. As a fan of the iPad, I’m glad Apple has decided to offer both kinds, because not everyone needs to spend $600 or more on an iPad. For $329, you can get an iPad with the power and one of the banner features of the 2016 iPad Pro. That’s pretty great.

iWork 4.0 For iPad Review, by Jeffery Battersby, Laptop Magazine

There's a lot to like about the latest iteration of iWork, especially on an iPad that supports an Apple Pencil. The trio of apps works nearly flawlessly, although you may find that you're limited in environments where Microsoft Office or G Suite apps rule. [...]

iWork's collaboration features are excellent, and the addition of new features specifically for the Apple Pencil brings interesting new uses. However, those options may be limited depending on how good you are at drawing and creating your own content using a pencil.

When Should You Replace The Tip Of Your Apple Pencil?, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

But though the Pencil needs no regular sharpening like its namesake, its plastic nib can wear down and get damaged over time. Having recently replaced a Pencil nib, I wanted to quickly run through the decision and replacement process for everyone else curious about the life cycle of their stylus.

新宿

Apple Lights Up Shinjuku, by Apple

Apple Shinjuku opened this morning in Tokyo, welcoming thousands of customers to experience Apple’s latest retail design for the first time in Japan.

Gallery: Line Of Nearly 500 Customers Estimated At Grand Opening Of Apple’s Shinjuku Retail Store, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Located in one of Tokyo’s most distinguished shopping districts, Apple Shinjuku occupies a highly visible first floor space in the Shinjuku Marui Main Building, where a 37-meter glass facade with curved edges illuminates the street outside. Several hours before Saturday’s 10 a.m. opening in Tokyo, Apple fans lined the sidewalk outside the store, which has been landscaped with Longstock Holly trees sourced locally by Apple.

Develop

Twitter Postpones Platform Change That Would Cut Off Third-party Apps, by Chris Welch and Dieter Bohn, The Verge

In response to the furor on Twitter, the company has announced it is “delaying the scheduled June 19th deprecation date.” In a thread, the developer relations account further said the company it “will provide at least 90 days notice from when the Account Activity API becomes generally available” and that “more specifics on timing [are] to come.”

Notes

Apple May Be Overthinking The New Mac Pro, by Chris Davies, Slashgear

In short, Apple’s more advanced ecosystem of modularity is fine, just as long as the more mundane type of modularity is there too. That still means being able to add graphics cards, and extra storage, and other new components, without being tied into an expensive or otherwise limited form-factor or connectivity type. Apple made that mistake in 2013, and has been hearing about it for five years now. Here’s hoping the message sunk in.

Apple Hires Former Amazon Devices CTO For Software Role, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

McCormack previously led software for HP Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, he was an executive in Google’s Advanced Technology and Products group. He spent several years at Amazon.com Inc. as chief technology officer of the devices group and a vice president of software for Kindle gadgets.

Bottom of the Page

iOS has a low-power mode, for when you are running low on battery.

Maybe it should also have a low-data mode, for when you are running close to monthly mobile data limit.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Twenty-Nineteen Edition Friday, April 6, 2018

Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro Will Be Shaped By Workflows, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

After an initial recap in what they’d done over the past year, including MacBooks and the iMac Pro, I was given the day’s first piece of news: the long-awaited Mac Pro update will not arrive before 2019. [...] “We know that there’s a lot of customers today that are making purchase decisions on the iMac Pro and whether or not they should wait for the Mac Pro,” says Boger.

[...]

“We’ve been focusing on visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production as well,” says Ternus. “And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS is it in the drivers is it in the application is it in the silicon and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”

Matthew Panzarino Goes Behind-the-Scenes With Apple’s Pro Workflow Team, by John Gruber, Daring ireball

But this Pro Workflows Group idea is fascinating — and I’m surprised its existence never leaked.

Apple’s Final Cut Pro Adds Built-in Closed Caption Tools And Introduces A New ProRes RAW Video Format, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

With the new update, Final Cut Pro now lets users import and edit closed captions for their videos without needing a separate application for it. Apple’s implementation lets captions work with the existing magnetic timeline in Final Cut, and users are able to connect captions to audio or video clips.

[...]

The other major update is the introduction (and support for) the new ProRes RAW format, which Apple views as a sort of bridge between the company’s existing ProRes formats and full RAW.

Stuff

Tired Of Safari? Try These Mobile Browsers Instead, by Josie Colt, Wired

You probably have a cozy relationship with your phone's default web browser. And that's fine! But when it comes to surfing the mobile web, you can do so much better. Try one of these mobile browsing alternatives for iOS and Android. In many cases, these alt-browsers offer better privacy options, data-saving features, and desktop syncing abilities than your phone's native browser. Try putting one of these apps on your home screen to take your browsing to the next level.

Scanbot Introduces Version 7, by Bradley Chambers, The Sweet Setup

The first feature I am excited about is the ability to merge PDFs. This is a task I use PDFpen for often on macOS, and now I can easily do it on my iPhone or iPad.

iPhone Music App Comes Up With Endless, Catchy Song Ideas, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Are you a musician struggling to come up with song ideas? Are you a non-musician who just wants to come up with a neat melody for that cat video? Then you should check out Fortamento, a melody generation app for iPhone which is both incredibly easy, and surprisingly deep.

Limit Kitchen Counter Clutter While Charging Your iPhone, by Luke Filipowicz, iMore

There are a lot of ways to manage your charging more efficiently, which can help you eliminate the stress of a disorganized space. Here are some of my favorite products that can help with kitchen tech clutter.

App From Japan Uses Apple's iPhone X To Transform Your Face & Voice Into The Cutest Anime Character, by Adario Strange, Next Reality

Apple's iPhone X now has the power to turn anyone into a Japanese anime character, thanks to a new app that harnesses the device's TrueDepth camera.

Bottom of the Page

What kind of procrastinator are you?

Are you a perfectionist? You are never satisfied with a so-so status-quo design, something that you think a Dell or a Lenovo can also do, and you must come up with something that is so perfect. You are tired of boxy designs, and that cube thing and that cylinder thing didn't work, but there must be some other perfect shapes out there that you must try out.

Are you a leaner? Do you always just need a little more research? You just need to hire some more people to figure out the answers to all the known unknowns as well as any unknown unknowns that you may missed that last time round. Do a few more round of focus-groups to figure out both the right answers and also the right questions. Just don't call them focus groups.

Or...

Maybe, that new chip is just not yet ready, and you need to put up some smokescreen for the time being?

~

Apple Computer founded in 1976. Apple II on sale in 1977.
Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC in 1979. Macintosh on sale in 1984.
Steve Jobs ousted from Apple in 1985. NeXT Computer on sale in 1988.
Apple bought NeXT in 1996. iMac on sale in 1998.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Gesture-Dilemma Edition Thursday, April 5, 2018

Apple Has An iPad Gesture Dilemma, by Tom Warren, The Verge

The iPad doesn’t need to replace a laptop to fit into the broader aspect of personal computing — it has already done so by just being a great tablet — but it feels like the iPad and iOS are at a significant inflection point, and Apple’s decisions over small things like gestures will provide early hints at the iPad’s future. The iPad is changing, albeit slowly and with some inconveniences for iPhone users, and it’s now up to Apple to really show us what both devices are capable of.

Window Management For macOS In 2018, by Chris Bowler, The Sweet Setup

What if you are working on a large display and want your code editor on one side of the screen, and your Git client and a browser window on the other side? And what if you want to add a fourth application with one window across the bottom quarter of your screen? You have to set up this arrangement manually. Now, imagine you want to use this setup every day.

Maybe that sounds complex, but even just taking one window and making it fill the entire screen without going into full screen mode is annoyingly hard. It becomes easy to see why some people have recognized the lack of control in macOS and have filled in the gaps.

How To Prevent Your Mac From Overusing Mobile Hotspot With TripMode 2, by Rohan Naravane, Beautiful Pixels

TripMode 2 is a Mac app that acts as a gatekeeper — only allowing apps you choose to use internet off a mobile hotspot. For instance, you can only grant access to a web browser and a chat client, and everything else will behave as if the Mac isn’t connected to the internet.

Stuff

Apple Shows iPad Users How To Annotate Screenshots With Apple Pencil & More In New Tutorials, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Coinciding with last week’s release of a new $329 iPad, Apple today has shared a pair of new iPad-focused tutorials on YouTube. Each video focuses on a specific iPad feature.

iOS 11.3 Makes Updating Foreign Apps Easier Than Ever, by Killian Bell, Cult of Mac

You may be prompted to enter your password for your foreign account, but unlike before, the App Store won’t switch regions.

Apple Opens New Store In Tokyo’s Shinjuku District Saturday, by Apple

Apple Shinjuku connects seamlessly to the street outside with an expansive 37 meter glass storefront lined with local Longstock Holly trees and features new store design elements including the Forum, with a dynamic 6K video wall, and Avenues, with interactive displays for visitors to get hands-on with third-party products and accessories.

Notes

AirPods And The Three Stages Of Apple Criticism, by Jonathan Kim, Medium

Coming from someone who had previously ridiculed the AirPods, Savov’s change of heart is a valuable perspective for those who had written off AirPods based on their first impressions.

Still, it’s worth wondering how Savov, a professional reviewer from a respected tech publication, could have gotten AirPods so wrong. But when looking at Savov’s three AirPods articles [...]  I see an excellent illustration of a pattern I’ve seen often from tech reviewers, people on Twitter, and especially those who criticize Apple in the comments sections of posts about Apple.

Bottom of the Page

One of the problem I've encountered with the iPhone X: things get turned on while the phone is in my pants' pocket. Many a time I've taken the iPhone X out from my pocket and realized either the camera is turned on, or the flashlight is turned on. There were also occasions when the phone tells me it has locked itself up and I've to wait for a minute before trying my passcode again.

Now, I think I have solved this problem. Actually, solved may be too strong a word. I think I have mitigated this problem.

Here's what I've done:

1) Turn off "Raise to Wake". (Settings > Display & Brightness > Raise to Wake)

2) Turn off "Tap to Wake". (Settings > General > Accessibility > Tap to Wake)

3) For each app's notification, turn off "Show on Lock Screen". (Settings > Notifications > App > Show on Lock Screen)

Now, the screen doesn't turn on until I tell it to turn on by pressing the side button. The screen will not turn on automatically inside my pocket, and (this is my working theory for now) somehow accidentally register taps and swipes without my explicit intentions.

(Of course, every time I click the side button to wake up the screen, I am thinking: this got be wearing down the side button and bring me days closer when I have to bring the phone back to Apple for repairs.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Reports-To-Tim Edition Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Apple Hires Google’s A.I. Chief, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Apple said on Tuesday that Mr. Giannandrea will run Apple’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy,” and become one of 16 executives who report directly to Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook.

[...]

“Our technology must be infused with the values we all hold dear,” Mr. Cook said in an email to staff members obtained by The New York Times. “John shares our commitment to privacy and our thoughtful approach as we make computers even smarter and more personal.”

Apple Hires Google's Chief Of Search And AI To Head Up Machine Learning Efforts, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

But what’s less contentious is that there is a broad perception of Apple falling behind. That’s significant because such a perception can lead to, say, customers not even bothering with said features.

So having a single person to head up machine learning efforts and reporting to Tim Cook is a powerful message that the company is taking action on that perception.

Gender Pay Gap

Apple UK Gender Pay Gap Report 2017, by Deirdre O’Brien, Vice President, People, Apple Inc

Apple believes strongly that equal work deserves equal pay. Every year, we examine the compensation employees receive and make adjustments where necessary to ensure we maintain pay equity. And we have achieved this in every country — women at our company earn the same as men when you factor in similar roles, markets and performance. As part of our commitment to eliminating pay disparities from the first day at Apple, later this year we’ll also stop asking candidates about their salary history.

This year, a new law in the UK requires us to publish the average total pay received by men relative to that received by women. The difference, known as the gender pay gap, is created by an imbalance in representation — specifically, a higher proportion of men in senior roles. For Apple, the mean pay gap in the UK is 5 per cent lower for women and the median pay gap is 2 per cent in favour of women.

Apple Reveals How Much The People Behind Your iPhone Are Paid, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

For Apple, median difference in pay between men and women at the company is 2 per cent in favour of women, Apple reported. But there is still a gap in the mean average, with men paid 5 per cent more than women on that measure.

[...]

But the company still had some important differences in how men and women are rewarded. As well as having a 5 per cent gap in mean hourly pay, there was a large gap in the bonuses that men and women receive, with a 22 per cent mean average difference between the bonuses paid to women and men.

Apple said that the gender pay gap between men and women in its company was driven by the difference in their representation in the workforce. It employs much less women than men, especially at its higher levels – only 29 per cent of its highest paid staff are female.

Angry About Your Company’s Gender Pay Gap? Here’s What To Do Next, by Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian

Remember, this isn’t about equal pay for equal work – a large gender pay gap doesn’t necessarily mean your bosses are breaking the law and a small gap doesn’t mean there isn’t pay discrimination. The government’s pay gap website shows what the average difference in earnings is across each organisation. Particularly telling is the section where companies reveal what percentage of the best- and worst-paid members of staff are women – this should give a clear insight into how committed the organisation is towards promoting women.

“Bonuses and performance-related pay are red flags – in firms where it is predominantly men in the senior management roles, big bonuses traditionally go to men,” says Scarlet Harris, women’s policy officer at the TUC. “Men are deciding who gets the bonus and they decide what achievement and good performance looks like in a company; an old boy network can guide those decisions, as well as prejudices about who is the right person to award the bonus to. This could also be influenced by presenteeism; if a woman has caring issues they might be brilliant at their job but leaving to pick up children.”

Intel-Less

The Fifth Age Of Macintosh: What Happens If Apple Dumps Intel?, by Andy Ihnatko, Fast Company

The next major step could be a revolutionary spin on the Mac that goes way beyond merely keeping pace with modern computing and makes the Mac into an influential platform once more. We can even dare to hope that by building its own CPUs, consolidating the Mac’s hardware design further, and incorporating iPad manufacturing methods, Apple can finally produce a great Mac that sells for way under $900.

Or, it could be equally significant as The Last Version Of MacOS That Apple Ever Ships.

Why The Next Mac Processor Transition Won’t Be Like The Last Two, by Jason Snell, Macworld

What if these two stories are intimately connected? Right now Apple has two separate (but related) operating systems with large bases of users; the less work Apple has to do to differentiate them (while maintaining the quality of the products) the better. The act of modifying iOS apps to run on macOS also serves the purpose of teaching iOS developers how to build apps that run on multiple device styles—not just phones and tablets but laptops and desktops.

It’s true that today’s iOS can’t do everything that macOS can do, but after several more years of development, will that be true? What if the Apple laptops and desktops of the future run Apple-designed ARM processors, are capable of running iOS apps, and have all the features (and support for older Mac-only apps) that most Mac users require?

For Apple, Quitting Intel Won't Come Easy, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Segmenting its lineup seems like the likeliest path; Gurman describes a "multi-step transition." But that would also create potential headaches of its own, both for developers and consumers. Apple is reportedly working on a platform that allows developers to write the same app for both MacOS and iOS, but that sort of hybrid invites complications, especially if some devices switch to ARM and others remain on Intel.

[...]

And in the meantime, Mac developers have little incentive to put significant work into their applications between now and 2020. And potential Mac buyers have every reason to sit on the sidelines until then. Which means that significant change will likely be preceded by a crippling stasis.

Stuff

New Apple Pay Ads Promote The Faster Way To Splash Your Cash, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

Titled “Groceries,” “Coffee,” Kicks,” and “Grooming,” the ads are part of Apple’s continued drive to get users to adopt is mobile payments service.

Tearing Down The New iPad Offers Little Comfort To Concerned Educators, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

As expected, the iPad's glass display is highly vulnerable to damage from drops and other beatings it might receive in a classroom—or in everyday personal use, for that matter. [...] Apart from screen damage, the most likely point of failure seems to be the Lightning port, and unfortunately, iFixit says it looks like that would be a real nightmare to replace should something happen.

AgileBits Introduces 1Password Business For Larger Teams, by Tory Foulk, iMore

With 1Password Business, you can make sure you keep up with GDPR, HIPAA, SOC2, and other compliance regulations by better controlling who has access to what using very meticulous permissions, custom groups, device restrictions, and travel restrictions. And, when you need to share a password with a certain group of employees for a specific situation, you can do that as well.

iPad App Lets You Play A Violin With Apple Pencil, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

The Apple Pencil, now compatible with pretty much all new iPads, is not just good for drawing and writing. Because if its bevvy of sensors — tilt, pressure, acceleration, and orientation — the Apple Pencil is also a pretty good musical instrument. Pen2Bow is a new iPad app which turns the Pencil into a violin bow, letting you use all of these natural gestures to play a virtual violin.

Notes

Why We Need Emoji Representing People With Disabilities, by Alessandra Potenza, The Verge

"There are different ways of looking at disability that aren’t based in tragedy. People who create media that’s not necessarily super inclusive; it’s not that they aren’t well meaning, it’s just that they don’t have a very holistic and wide-ranging view of what disability means. Those problems can be in part rectified with hiring more actual disabled people both behind and in front of the camera, as creators and as performers. I would say, changing the voices in the room can make disability inclusion more of a priority from the beginning. Emojis in their own small way are an illustration of that and there’s certainly room to move forward after this. But I think it’s a great effort to start."

Bottom of the Page

Today, I digged out a piece of old code that I've written months ago to see if I can 're-purpose' this for a new thing that I am doing -- and I kept wondering and wondering: how did that piece of code even work in the first place?

Half an hour later: I realize that piece of old code is written for a different requirement, and isn't suppose to be doing what I thought it was supposed to be doing.

Ah, the joy of getting old and senile.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Tim-Cook-Doctrine Edition Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Apple Plans To Use Its Own Chips In Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel, by Ian King and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices -- including Macs, iPhones, and iPads -- work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

[...]

The company has also previously released Macs with ARM-based co-processors, which run an iOS-like operating system, for specific functions like security. The latest MacBook Pro and iMac Pro include the co-processors. Apple plans to add that chip to a new version of its Mac Pro, to be released by next year, and new Mac laptops this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Apple Is Exploring Macs Running Its Own CPUs, But That Dream Is A Long Way Off, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple's products are built on an ideological foundation that says superior user experiences, better performance, and faster innovation and iteration of new features are possible when the company has control of all aspects of both the hardware and software it's shipping with its products. Dependence on Intel runs counter to that ideology, but it has been a necessary compromise to keep Macs competitive and to make it easy to entice developers to make software for them.

[...]

When Apple has switched architectures in the past, it has done so gradually, taking great pains to ease the transition for users and developers. Even the transition from 64-bit to 32-bit apps on iOS and macOS have been approached conservatively. The company will have to take a similarly cautious approach if it plans to move away from Intel.

Tim Cook Leads Apple With A Ruthless Doctrine — And No One Is Safe From It, Not Even The Company That Put The 'Silicon' In 'Silicon Valley', by Kif Leswing, Business Insider

Yet the news that Apple could one day build its own silicon microprocessors isn't a huge surprise, and it's even less surprising if you remember what Apple analysts and observers call the "Tim Cook Doctrine:" eventually, Apple is going to own all of the core technology that goes into its products.

Apple CEO Tim Cook first laid out the credo in a 2009 quarterly earnings call, and he has repeated it in various versions in the years since.

Apple Is Moving On From Intel Because Intel Isn’t Moving Anywhere, by Vlad Savov, The Verge

The whole technology world is moving to developing and designing for mobile applications first, and Intel’s desktop roots keep holding it back from being competitive in that expanding market.

Apple’s moving on because Intel’s standing still.

Apple Reportedly Killing Laptops With Intel Inside, The Hackintosh, Dreams, by Alex Cranz, Gizmodo

If Apple stops using Intel processors, its a good bet that it will stop using the x86 architecture (using the architecture requires paying a license fee) and eventually support for x86 architecture in macOS would end—killing with it the hackintosh as we know it.

Watch Development

Instagram Removes Watch App, by Benjamin Mayo

In a move that surprises almost no one, Instagram opted to ditch its Watch app entirely rather than dedicated it engineering resources to ‘modernise’ it. I expect this will be the path many developers pick, continuing the exodus of Watch apps from the store, a trend that we’ve seen for the better part of a year at this point.

I don’t want to repeat all my arguments about why WatchKit sucks; the archives exist for a reason. Simply, I love (and use) good Watch apps and WatchKit prevents developers from making good watch apps. I don’t blame these companies from abandoning watch ecosystem at the moment. If Apple doesn’t provide something better, these apps are never coming back.

Why Apple Watch Apps Are Dying Off In Droves, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Apple Watch sells very well, but apparently not strongly enough for some companies. A deadline requiring developers to base their apps on newer versions of watchOS just passed, and some businesses choose to pull their software rather than update it.

[...]

Perhaps users are satisfied with the software that comes bundled with the Apple Watch and don’t see a need to install additional apps. Or perhaps developers accustomed to expansive smartphone screens find it difficult to make compelling offerings on a tiny wearable.

Stuff

Apple iPad (2018) Review: The Best Tablet Under $500, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

This is a very good tablet. The best, in fact, under $500. It’s too bad that nothing else comes close, because maybe that competition would have inspired Apple to make something a little better.

Daisy Disk 4.5, by David Sparks, MacSparky

DaisyDisk is a smart little utility to help you manage your Mac’s drive space. [...] It uses a series of colorful concentric circles representing your drive space which is both pleasing to look at and easy to understand.

Cloudflare Launches 1.1.1.1 DNS Service That Will Speed Up Your Internet, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Cloudflare is launching its own consumer DNS service today, on April Fools’ Day, that promises to speed up your internet connection and help keep it private. The service is using https://1.1.1.1, and it’s not a joke but an actual DNS resolver that anyone can use. Cloudflare claims it will be “the Internet’s fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service.” While OpenDNS and Google DNS both exist, Cloudflare is focusing heavily on the privacy aspect of its own DNS service with a promise to wipe all logs of DNS queries within 24 hours.

Develop

ClassKit: Everything You Need To Know, by Mikah Sargent, iMore

To understand ClassKit, you need to know about Schoolwork, Apple's new app for education. Schoolwork gives teachers a tool to distribute and collect assignments, track student progress, and collaborate with students. The app gives students a place to turn in assignments, track their own progress, and collaborate with their teachers. ClassKit is a framework that lets developers create apps that work with Schoolwork.

Notes

The End Of Windows, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Nadella’s most impressive bit of jujitsu was how he killed Windows Phone; while the platform had obviously been dead in the water for years, Nadella didn’t imperiously axe the program. Instead, by isolating Windows, he let the division’s leadership come to that conclusion on their own.

[...]

Nadella did the same thing with Windows proper: when Windows 10 launched Myerson claimed that the operating system would be on 1 billion devices by mid-2018; the company had to walk that back a year later, not because Nadella said so, but because the market did.

The Special-Education Edition Monday, April 2, 2018

What Apple’s Education Announcements Mean For Accessibility, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

There is enormous potential for Apple to dig deeper and expand the toolset they offer to educators and students. To accommodate for special education is, in my view, akin to accommodating disabled users by offering accessibility features on each of Apple’s software platforms.

Special education is special for a reason. It involves ways of teaching and learning that are unique, and the people who work and learn in these environments deserve the same consideration.

On A Tight Tech-buying Budget, One Reporter Compares Chromebooks And iPads, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Pioneer Press

I haven’t had the new iPad long enough to definitively answer the crucial question: Would I spend $350 of my own cash on an Apple tablet or a Google Chromebook such as the Acer Spin 11?

But it is hard to imagine I’d go Chromebook with the choices laid out before me — The iPad is just too dang appealing.

Quiet By Design: Naomi Campbell Interviews Jony Ive, by Naomi Campbell, Vogue

"You and I might see the same things, but what they mean to us is based on so many historical and cultural references. There isn’t this universal truth to a single object. I was interested in how you go from what you see to what you perceive, what something might mean to you."

They Tried To Boycott Facebook, Apple And Google. They Failed., by Jack Nicas, New York Times

As the reach and influence of Silicon Valley’s tech giants have increased, so have the calls to boycott their products and services. The problem is that pulling off a boycott is not exactly easy: The tech companies’ products are so pervasive that they are difficult to avoid.

Stuff

Effortless Is A Mac Productivity Tool That Helps You Ward Off The Evils Of Procrastination, by Mahit Huilgol, TechPP

Time tracking is a crucial aspect of freelancing, and with Effortless you can view the total time spent on working.

Hyperspektiv Is A Photo App That Produces Glitchy, Psychedelic Images, by Thuy Ong, The Verge

The app adds random distortion effects, such as colorful glitches and floaty mirroring to a kaleidoscope twist.

Notes

Zuckerberg Slams Apple CEO Tim Cook's Comments On Facebook As 'Extremely Glib', by Alex Lockie, Business Insider

Zuckerberg contended that Facebook's mission of connecting the world meant it had to provide service to those who couldn't pay, and he said advertising naturally lent itself to the business model but Facebook still cared about people and their rights.

[...]

"If you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something people can afford," Zuckerberg said.

Retailers Race Against Amazon To Automate Stores, by Nick Wingfield, New York Times

A global race to automate stores is underway among several of the world’s top retailers and small tech start-ups, which are motivated to shave labor costs and minimize shoppers’ frustrations, like waiting for cashiers. They are also trying to prevent Amazon from dominating the physical retail world as it does online shopping.

Companies are testing robots that help keep shelves stocked, as well as apps that let shoppers ring up items with a smartphone. High-tech systems like the one used by Amazon Go completely automate the checkout process. China, which has its own ambitious e-commerce companies, is emerging as an especially fertile place for these retail experiments.

The Memories-of-an-Experience Edition Sunday, April 1, 2018

What Constant Smartphone Photography Is Doing To Our Memories, by Brian Resnick, Vox

As with many topics in psychology, there are currently more questions than answers on this. But in many cases, scientists are finding that constant photo taking actually diminishes our ability to recall our experiences, diverts our attention, and takes us out of the moment. Constantly sharing photos may even be changing how we recall events in our own lives.

At the same time, new research suggests that cameras can also be used to enhance our memories of certain experiences.

This research is in its early stages, but it also provides clues as to how we can best use smartphones: to enhance both our memories of an experience and our enjoyment of them.

Ikea’s Plan To Transcend The Big Blue Box Store, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

People visited Ikea stores 936 million times last year, but they visited Ikea online 2.3 billion times. Meanwhile, the company debuted new ways to shop using AR and VR, partnered with the visual AI startup GrokStyle, and acquired the gig economy company TaskRabbit. In short, Ikea is acting more like a tech company than a furniture maker. And within the next few years, the way you think about shopping at Ikea will probably change entirely, as the company is aggressively pursuing a new, digital identity through its evolving wave of experimental apps.

Apple's Business Manager Provides Web-based IT Management, Launches This Spring, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

A web-based portal that lets administrators configure device settings, create accounts, and buy and distribute apps and books, Business Manager is currently in beta, but Apple says the new platform will launch in earnest in late spring.

Stuff

Editing A Novel – Which Software Makes The Final Cut?, by Cat Ellis, TechRadar

I wrote my whole first draft – the block of clay to be carved, squished and beaten into a sculpture – using the distraction-free word processor FocusWriter. The result was a 90,000-word plain text document that’s full of ideas, but giant and unwieldy. I wanted a more holistic view – a way to see and tune chapters without losing sight of the overall structure (such as it is).

Scrivener isn’t cheap, but its organizing tools and various pinboards meant it seemed like the best software for the job. It’s a shame that the most recent version is only available for Mac, but Windows users can’t be choosers.

Notes

The Spirit Of Silicon Valley: Apple Celebrates 42nd Birthday, by CNET

The consumer electronics giant's history features all the tropes of the Valley mythos. Tick them off. First headquartered in someone's home? Check. Success followed by near bankruptcy? Check. Internal struggles? Check. And (of course) a renaissance leading to dominance? Check. Apple also weathered the death of Steve Jobs, its charismatic co-founder, as the company reached new heights.