The Inventory-Level Edition Wednesday, May 2, 2018

5 Takeaways From Apple’s Record Second-quarter 2018 Results, by Jason Snell, Macworld

So much doom and gloom about the iPhone X... and yet Cook said that it’s Apple’s best-selling iPhone model, and has been for every single week it’s been on the market. It’s also the best-selling smartphone in China. More than that, Cook pointed out that it’s the first time Apple’s most expensive phone has been its top seller. (Presumably, the iPhone Plus models never sold as well as their smaller equivalents.)

However, there was some truth in the report that Apple was adjusting its component purchases. As Maestri said, “Our inventory level has gone up temporarily... we have decided to make some [component] purchasing decisions given current market conditions, and that should unwind over time.” Seems like a snooze, right? It may be that this is the flip side of the panicked reports that Apple was slashing component purchases... in that Maestri’s reporting some increase in inventory (they’ve made more than they’ve sold), which may mean that Apple’s not selling quite as many iPhone X units as it thought it would. But it’s clearly still selling a lot.

A Refurbished iPad, The CAP Theorem, And A Lesson On Negotiation, by Itamar Turner-Trauring, Code Without Rules

When you’re negotiating, you need to ask for what you want, or you won’t get it. In practice most people won’t ask and won’t complain, and so it’s in Apple’s interest to start with a low offer: most people will get the email canceling the order, grumble a bit, and re-order something else.

Apple Faces Battery Pledge Complaints, by Joe Allen, BBC

Apple demanded that some customers pay 10 times the sum it referred to in its apology.

The company told customers this was because of existing damage to their phones that would impair the replacement of the batteries.

But Watchdog's investigation found that this is not always the case.


An Apple Watch Can Now Be Used To Activate Bike Signals On The Lumos Helmet, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Lumos is adding a smart new feature to its blinking bike helmet today: the ability to be controlled by an Apple Watch. Lumos’ helmet has turn signals on the back that are usually activated by a wireless remote clipped onto a bike’s handlebar. Now, Lumos Helmet owners will be able to automatically trigger those signals by using hand gestures instead, as long as they’re wearing an Apple Watch, too.

Olloclip’s New Camera Lenses For The iPhone X Don’t Require A Special Case, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Olloclip, a mobile accessory company, is launching a set of iPhone X camera lenses today. The Connect X lens system, as the company calls it, includes a new mount that covers both the dual rear-facing cameras and the front-facing camera.


Making Apps Is Harder Than It Needs To Be, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

For most apps (except games, I suppose), a huge percentage of the code might as well be written in a scripting language. We absolutely do not need to be writing everything in Swift, Objective-C, C++, or C.


The Internet Women Made, by Anna Wiener, New Republic

For years, bolstered by an under-resourced, uncritical, or chummily compromised tech press, the tech industry comfortably shaped its own narrative. The industry’s promises, to outsiders and to itself, were idealistic and appealing: The public sphere would be democratized, barriers to education would be lowered, and daily life would become more open, efficient, and free. These narratives got some things right—and they got a lot wrong. As tech continues to make history, it seems crucial to ask what, and whom, these stories leave out.

In her book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, Claire L. Evans has written about women whose contributions to computing—and computer culture—are rarely highlighted in tech-history narratives (to say nothing of today’s tech mythos). Representing various phases in technological development, they are women who had a hand in building technical tools or were early explorers of the cultural applications of nascent digital technologies. They are mathematicians and programmers, academics and early-web personalities.

Bottom of the Page

What I really want to see is for Apple to provide multiple tools for different developers to create different iPhone apps. Sure, Xcode with Swift is fine, but it is probably an overkill for many who just want to use something like Hypercard to create a currency-converter app, or Myst. Or something like iWeb for content-based apps, such as small newsletter publishers or small museums or galleries. (Heck, Apple can even upsell hosting storage for apps like what they did back in the MobileMe days.)

Certainly, there are speculations that Apple is creating some form of a development tool on iOS (probably iPad only). I suspect, given the high profile of the programming language, this tool will also be targeting Swift developers. Perhaps more like Swift playground than Xcode, but Swift nevertheless. It will be a shame if that's all we get.

Maybe Apple can work with third-parties to create additional development tools, so that we can get Hypercards. Or iWebs. Or Visual Basic. (Okay, maybe not Visual Basic.) The scheme can be more like Apple's relationship with Made-for-iOS partners, with Apple dictating what must be included or excluded from the tools. (Support for Metal, yes. Support for cross-platform compilation to Android, no.) But I think this can work, and allows for more higher-quality apps on the iOS platform that doesn't come with shady third-party SDKs or templates.


Thanks for reading.