The Move-the-Cursor Edition Thursday, November 1, 2018

Typing In Hell: A Laptop Lover's Guide To The New MacBook Air And iPad Pro, by Aaron Pressman, Fortune

Typing for a bit, I found the flatter, wider keys somewhat easier to hit accurately but I didn’t always register a letter when I thought I had hit the correct key and sometimes my got my fingers misaligned.


And the limitations of typing and moving the cursor with no trackpad for the iPad create a bit of a quandary for Apple’s marketing pitch. There’s no touch screen on its laptops because, Apple says, people don’t want to interrupt their workflow and have to reach up from the keyboard and trackpad to touch the screen (I agree). And there’s no trackpad for the iPad because it doesn’t fit with the all-touch stance of Apple’s software for the iPad. So then how can Apple pitch the iPad as a true replacement for a laptop if it’s not great for writing and other apps where you’d like to move the cursor around?

New iPad Pro Benchmarks Are Very Close To The 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has claimed that its new iPad Pro models were faster than 92 percent of all laptops sold in the last year and now Geekbench scores reveal this includes the 13-inch MacBook Pros, and a close proximity to the 15-inch MacBook Pro.


It is clear that this test was done using the 1TB version of the iPad Pro which comes with 6GB RAM instead of the 4GB in other models. This is also a comparison of specifications in an artificial test —real-world speeds of the two machines will be different based on the user's workflow but the relative performance should be the same.

Adding USB-C To The iPad Isn’t Enough To Fix Apple’s Messy Port Strategy, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The iPad, on the other hand, lets Apple be a little more experimental and open. It may still run iOS and be subject to the limits of the walled-off App Store, but USB-C adds a new avenue where hardware and software developers can expand what’s possible. Apple is pitching the iPad as a computer, and USB-C gives it a universal, open hardware port (if not totally free of Apple’s control) for the kinds of professional tools that people have come to expect from computers. The added complexity of USB-C may drive people away from iPhones, but it could be a boon for the iPad to entice more power users to make the jump.

Unfortunately, that leaves consumers in a strange limbo, caught between the closed-off Lighting standard on one side and the confusing, inconsistent world of USB-C on the other. And yes, there are going to be some issues.

Waiting For The Mac Pro

Why The New Mac Mini Makes Me Concerned About The Upcoming Mac Pro, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Pardon me if I’m a little concerned about the Mac Pro. A lot is riding on the redesign and while I was once confident that the extra time Apple is taking means it is tweaking, fine-tuning, and refining the design, the Mac mini makes me skeptical. The specs are almost secondary to the Mac Pro update—it needs to deliver a completely new experience to make pro users happy. What if Apple merely tweaks the case and adds a few Thunderbolt 3 ports?

There was a time when Apple would blow us away with new Mac updates and set the trend for the whole industry. That’s certainly the case with the iPhone and iPad. But after the not-so-triumphant return of the Mac mini, I’m not so sure anymore.

He Mac Mini Update Raises The Stakes For Next Year’s Modular Mac Pro, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

But the Mac mini raises the bar. It’s mostly non-modular, and doesn’t offer top-spec options, but by turning it into a significantly more serious machine, Apple needs to work much harder to differentiate the new Mac Pro. Frankly, at this point, the machine needs to wow people. Otherwise we’re going to be asking why the company didn’t simply make the Mac mini more modular and offer better graphics options.

So the Mac mini update makes me more, rather than less, confident in what the 2019 Mac Pro will have to offer.

Lack of Evidence

Apple's Heart Study Is The Biggest Ever, But With A Catch, by Robbie Gonzalez, Wired

Screening comes with risks: Misdiagnosis. Unnecessary tests. Overtreatment. "Those are real problems that need to be sorted out," says cardiologist Mintu Turakhia, the study's lead author and director of Stanford's Center for Digital Health. That's why he and his team will also observe what happens after Apple Watch users receive an alert: Whether they follow up with a healthcare provider, whether a diagnosis is made, and what treatment they receive. "We're interested in the patient journey, but we also want to see whether an alert from the watch helps lead to appropriate care," Turakhia says.

The biggest unknown surrounding AF screening is a simple one: Do its benefits outweigh its costs? "The current evidence is insufficient to say one way or the other," says Seth Landefeld, chair of the department of medicine at University of Alabama Birmingham and a member of the US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention. That lack of evidence is why the USPSTF recommends against screening asymptomatic adults.

Town Squares

Stockholm Says No To Apple 'Town Square' In Its Oldest Park, by Richard Orange, The Guardian

To many in the city, it seems astonishing that the company could ever have thought Kungsträdgården – the King’s Garden – an appropriate place for a store, however outstanding its design. The park looks over the water to the Royal Palace, connecting the city to the monarchy in the same way that the Mall in London links to Buckingham Palace. It is one of the city’s oldest parks, the venue for public events from Pride parades to election debates, political protests to winter ice-skating.


In Stockholm and Melbourne, what disturbed many about Apple’s plans was the way the designs, both by Foster + Partners, reached out over the adjoining public space. The Stockholm store’s design gives it the feel of a futuristic Renaissance palace, with the entire park as its formal garden.

“Apple’s store places itself on a podium on the park’s central axis and dominates the setting, seen from the park,” Nyréns wrote in its response to the consultation. “The building, with its location and size, stakes a claim to be the park’s main building.”


Apple Watches Owners Asked To Return Devices For Repair After Update Glitch, by Leo Kelion, BBC

The problem appears to have baffled the firm's repair staff, and there appears to be no way at present for owners to restore the products themselves.

Several have said they have been told they need to send in the devices for a fix.

This Gadget Adds Two USB 3.0 Ports To Apple’s Power Adapter, by Matt Burns, TechCrunch

This is clever. Made by HyperDrive, the USB-C Hub slips onto an Apple USB-C power adapter and adds two USB 3.0 ports. That’s all. I love it and it addresses a major shortcoming of Apple’s current notebook lineup.


Brexit: UK Government's Battle With Apple Over EU Citizens App, by Brian Wheeler, BBC

As things stand, people with Apple devices will not be able to scan their passports and will either have to borrow an Android phone to complete their application or post their passport to the UK Visa and Immigration Service instead, meaning the process is likely to take longer.


But they were hoping Apple would release an update to its operating system to allow users of the firm's devices to scan their passports in the same way that people with Android phones.

The US tech giant has so far declined to do so, despite representations from UK government ministers, including a trip to the firm's Silicon Valley HQ by Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Helium Implicated In Weird iPhone Malfunctions, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

The iPhone user guide warns that proximity to helium can impair functionality and that to recover, devices should be left to air out for a week or so in an environment far away from the rogue helium. Harritaco discovered that, during installation of the MRI machine, some 120 litres of liquid helium leaked and vented into the environment. This created a relatively high helium concentration, and any Apple hardware exposed to that helium stopped working.

To test this hypothesis, harritaco conducted some experiments in which an iPhone was put in a sealed bag of helium; after a few minutes, it stopped working.

What An Apple Event Looks Like, And Why It Matters, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox

This is the teaser trailer for Apple’s latest computer. Halfway through it, the sliver of metal untangles itself from the hovering silk and falls, Mad Men style, through empty white space, and then the silk is just an image on the laptop’s screen, and then the screen is shut and this is just an ad. “Lightness strikes again,” we are told. “The new MacBook Air.”

It’s the standard breathy-then-thumping sizzle reel for a new Apple product, the kind of thing that typically screens first at elaborate events held at the company’s Cupertino, California, campus. We know what to expect from these events at this point — their grandiosity and grand language is de rigueur and fodder for memes, and the meat of the announcement is almost always spoiled on tech sites the week before, hinted at or leaked or just really easy to guess.

Bottom of the Page

Do we have to wait another year before Apple figures out what to do with the MacBook. the MacBook Escape. and the iPad mini? Or will we see yet another Apple event around the early part of 2019, just like the days of Macworld Expos?

AirPods. AirPower. Mac Pro. Apple TV (the streaming content portion). Sure sounds like there are enough stuff to woo.


Thanks for reading.