The Virtually-Zero Edition Saturday, October 20, 2018

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Calling For Bloomberg To Retract Its Chinese Spy Chip Story, by John Paczkowski, Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. "They need to do that right thing and retract it."


“We turned the company upside down,” Cook said. “Email searches, data center records, financial records, shipment records. We really forensically whipped through the company to dig very deep and each time we came back to the same conclusion: This did not happen. There’s no truth to this.”

Asked if a scenario like the one Bloomberg described could occur without him knowing about it, Cook replied, “The likelihood of that is virtually zero.”

Why Your Brand-new Smartphone Will Scratch Just As Easily As Your Old One, by Shannon, Liao, The Verge

To achieve this strength, Corning has had to transform glass, which is naturally fragile. By soaking glass in a chemical salt bath, the company also introduces compressive stress into the inside of the glass. That internal stress helps counteract any drops and falls the glass might face in the future once incorporated inside a smartphone. Over the years, as smartphone makers demand thinner glass to incorporate into sleeker phone designs, Corning has had to introduce more and more internal stress to keep up the resilience. It works well in theory and has produced plenty of more drop-resistant generations, but in exchange, the internal stress makes the glass easier to scratch.

A Few Thoughts On The iPhone XS Max, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

A month later, I think I’ve determined I actually prefer the ‘X’ — and now the ‘XS’ — size. This wasn’t the case when “downgrading” from a ‘Plus’ phone to the “regular” iPhone in generations past — I found the smaller versions to be almost comically small when switching between the two. With the ‘Max’ to the ‘X’ or ‘XS’, to be honest, I just like the latter form factor more — I find it to be a more natural size that feels better in the hand.

Obviously, your mileage may vary, but I think part of my feeling is due to the fact that unlike when the ‘Plus’ models hit, it doesn’t seem like developers have really done anything to tailor their apps for the larger screen of the ‘Max’. Apple did, but not in the same way as they did with the ‘Plus’, where the entire OS changed in landscape mode, for example (it doesn’t here). And as a result, many apps just look sort of chunky now. I thought reading would be a huge advantage on this screen, but it looks weird reading sort of chunky text.


Apple Watch Series 4 Review: Bigger, Faster, Even More Health Conscious, by Scott Stein, CNET

Speed is probably more key on a watch than on a phone, if you're counting on quick glances and instant info, I can't think of a better wearable.


More than the watch's really nice refined design, I truly appreciate the way it handles speakerphone functions. A louder speaker truly helps with quick Siri requests (which I really do, on my wrist, when setting timers or alarms or quick tasks). A new raise-to-speak function in WatchOS 5 means I can lift and talk really closely into the watch and not have to say "Hey Siri," and it usually works. But for phone calls at home, when my phone's lost somewhere and my sister or mom calls, I can talk with the whole family via my wrist and it works perfectly -- it's no different than a speakerphone call on the phone.

Microsoft’s New Expense Tracker Spend Hits The App Store, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The new app, simply called “Spend,” arrived on the App Store on Thursday, offering automatic expense tracking for work reimbursement purposes or for taxes.


Smart Home Makers Hoard Your Data, But Won’t Say If The Police Come For It, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

As the smart home revolution began to thrive, police saw new opportunities to obtain data where they hadn’t before. Police sought Echo data from Amazon to help solve a murder. Fitbit data was used to charge a 90-year old man with the murder of his stepdaughter. And recently, Nest was compelled to turn over surveillance footage that led to gang members pleading guilty to identity theft.

Yet, Nest — a division of Google — is the only major smart home device maker that has published how many data demands they receive.