The Big-Bet Edition Monday, June 4, 2018

Apple’s AR Bet Still Has A Lot To Prove, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

Behind a lot of that talk is belief in the tech’s utility down the road, but until Apple is ready to experimenting with AR tech in core iOS features, all of the chatter around AR having plenty of utility today feels a bit half-hearted.


Augmented reality is a truly exciting technology and Apple’s efforts to lead the pack in building developer support has built up a lot of initial enthusiasm from that crowd, but to keep that excitement Apple’s going to need to start proving out some of those use cases for users on their own and put its big bet deeper into users’ daily digital lives.

WWDC 2018 Conference Swag Includes Levi's Jacket And New Apple-Themed Pins, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

This year Apple has added several new pins to the mix, including an Animoji bear, a "mind-blown" emoji, a peace sign emoji a dog cow, and a California pin, amongst others.

Apple Music Embeddable Web Player Widget Now Lets Users Log In And Listen To Full Songs In The Browser, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Apple Music service has always provided an online tool to generate widgets, that can be used by artists to promote their music on their own websites and blogs. An eagle-eyed Reddit user has spotted that this widget has recently received an interface upgrade … and the ability to log in to your Apple Music account. Once signed in, you can play full songs, albums and playlists from within the web browser, no longer limited to just 30-90 second previews.


'A Pain In The Ass For Users': Subscription Publishers Wrestle With Delivering Exclusive Audio, by Max Willens, Digiday

The New York Times and Slate (and, yes, Digiday) offer either early or exclusive podcast access to their subscribers, but there is no easy way to deliver that kind of content through Apple and Google, the two dominant podcast platforms.

Workarounds are labor-intensive, expensive or leaky. And while only a handful of publishers have this problem — less than 5 percent of the 44,000 podcasts hosted by Liberated Syndication, better known as Libsyn, offer a premium tier, said Rob Walch, the company’s vp of podcaster relations — the lack of a simple solution also means some publishers have dropped exclusive podcasts out of their subscription offerings or may hesitate to include them in the future.

VCs Like What They Are Hearing Out Of The Podcasting Sector, by Jason Rowley, TechCrunch

And although many podcasters make money, typically through sponsorships, the podcasting industry (such as it is) hasn’t received much in the way of venture funding until quite recently. 2017 was a pivotal year for venture investment in the industry.


Edmonton Queer History App Launches In Time For Pride, by Stephen Cook, Edmonton Journal

Edmonton’s Queer History App uses a map and a phone’s GPS to highlight key historical locations as users traverse the city.

“It gives people an opportunity to have this added digital layer to the world around them,” said project lead Jason Harley, an associate professor of educational psychology, as he sat near the gazebo in Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park on Saturday.


Microsoft Is Said To Have Agreed To Acquire Coding Site GitHub, by Dina Bass and Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp. has agreed to acquire GitHub Inc., the code repository company popular with many software developers, and could announce the deal as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.


The Secret History Of Mac Gaming: How SimCity Led To Seaman, by Rowan Kaiser, VentureBeat

On Commodore 64, “Micropolis” had been a full-screen game controlled entirely with a keyboard and its palette of tools was laid out at the bottom of the screen. On Mac, it became a windowed application with mouse control, a MacPaint-inspired tool palette and menu system, and a separate window for the mini-map. It was, in essence, an interactive paint program — a MacPaint for city building. As the player painted her city on the canvas, its population would fall and rise and its visual appearance would evolve before her eyes. Its roads would come to life with traffic, its busiest districts patrolled by a helicopter, and its residents would build (or sometimes abandon) homes and businesses.

Apple Stands Up To The Thought Police, by Washington Post

We have been critical of Mr. Cook in the past for Apple’s decisions in China, which has made no secret of its invasive surveillance practices and intentions. [...] In this case, Mr. Cook has quietly stood on principle and refused to give in to Russia’s demands. This is an important development in the still-unsettled battle over freedom in the digital world. Telegram is an extremely significant test case. If Apple backs up Mr. Durov and resists pressure, as it appears to be doing, others may be encouraged to stand tall as well.

Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access To Data On Users And Friends, by Garbriel J.X. Dance, New York Times

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals, most of which remain in effect, allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.


An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

Bottom of the Page

As usual, I'll be asleep when Tim Cook and company deliver the latest keynote, showing off the latest digital health and AR and new Macbook keyboard and additional free iCloud storage and iOS apps on Mac and Xcode on iPad and HomePod by Beats by Dr Dre and whatever else I am dreaming about.

My local time at the start of the keynote: 1am.

By the time Platforms State of the Union ends, it will be 7am here. Which means I'll have plenty to read during my morning commute.

So, see you all tomorrow. Have a wonderful keynote.


At the start of every work day, I'll turn down the volume of the iPhone speaker as well as turning on the mute-switch. At the end of every work day, I'll turn up the volume of the iPhone speaker, as well as turning off the mute-switch.

And every time I perform those two tasks, I feel like an idiot. Here, in my hands, is one of the fastest and most powerful pocket computer on the Earth, and it cannot even automate these two simple tasks for me.


I certainly didn't plan for this, but this morning, I suddenly realize that I am started reading The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter as well as started watching The Frankenstein Chronicles over the same weekend.


Thanks for reading.