The Industry-Leading Edition Thursday, November 8, 2018

Apple Walks Ars Through The iPad Pro’s A12X System On A Chip, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple is pushing up against high-end laptop and even desktop performance here, depending on what you're using for comparison. Granted, comparing architectures can be Apples (ahem) and oranges. Apple's CPU efforts are industry-leading on the mobile side of things, but they're not perfect. While Apple focuses on performance, Qualcomm, well, doesn't—partly because it essentially has a monopoly in the Android world and may not feel it even needs to, but partly because it focuses on connectivity. (Qualcomm's modems are industry-leading, even if its CPUs are not.)

There's one intriguing bit of context for all of this that Apple won't acknowledge in its discussions with Ars or anyone else: Macs are still on Intel chips. It's obvious to those who follow the company closely why that status quo isn't providing what Apple needs to move forward in its strategies. Further, a Bloomberg report citing sources close to the company claimed that Apple plans to launch a Mac with custom silicon—and we're talking CPU here, not just the T2 chip—are in the works.

The New iPad Pro For Photographers, by Austin Mann

Using the Apple Pencil means I can make very natural yet precise adjustments to BCCC, with organic, free-flowing movements instead of lasso selections or mouse-controlled brush strokes. This is why world-class retouchers have been using Wacom tablets for years, and now with the new iPad Pro, iOS 12, and new software from Lightroom CC all together, we can easily and quickly make natural edits like these on-the-fly.


It’s really easy to sit just about anywhere (even with a steering wheel in your face) and not just use it, but use it to its full extent.

The Rules Of Magnetic Attraction In Apple Products, by Jason Snell, Macworld

There was a time when magnets were the most terrifying things in computing. Magnets erased floppy disks and tape cassettes and even hard drives. But in the modern era, magnets are our friends. Apple has used them for various important tasks over the years, from the convenient breakaway charging cable of MagSafe to the sensor that knows you’ve closed your MacBook’s lid—and the attraction that helps keep it closed.

In the last few years, Apple has brought the rules of magnetic attraction to the Apple Watch, the iPhone, and now the iPad. How do they work? You don’t need to know to appreciate what magnets do for modern Apple devices. And that goes double for the new iPad Pro, with its 102 magnets—as cited in Apple’s launch video about the product, no less—and all of the magnetic accessories that go along with it.

Inside the Air

How MacBook Air Showcases The Battle Between USB-C And Thunderbolt, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

Apple's inconsistent embrace of Thunderbolt underscores its rocky road as a mainstream port. It's based on a technology born of traditional personal computers, and shows few signs of expanding beyond them. Even in higher-end PCs, there are risks to relying on it. What video editor wants to be left in the lurch when trying to share a big file with a client who can't plug in the Thunderbolt hard drive it's stored on?

Apple Says Battery Can Be Replaced Individually In New MacBook Air With Retina Display, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case, the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad, but Apple will be providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.


The trackpad in the new MacBook Air can also be individually replaced, according to the Service Readiness Guide, obtained from a reliable source.


Apple’s Clips App Gains Six Selfie Scenes, Incredibles 2 Content, Much More, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple’s Clips app for iPhone and iPad has been updated with new creative assets including content from Pixar’s Incredibles 2 movie. The latest update includes six more Selfie Scenes that use the TrueDepth camera on the latest iPhones and iPad Pros, and the new version powers them with the Neutral Engine on the new A12 Bionic Chip.

TwelveSouth PowerPic Combines Wireless iPhone Charging With Photo Frame, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

TwelveSouth on Wednesday released the PowerPic, a 10-watt wireless charger for iPhones that blends into rooms as a photo frame.


Apple Investigating Issue Causing ‘Steep Consumption Declines’ In Podcast Reporting, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Some podcasters are reporting that they are seeing a steep decline in listenership, specifically when using Apple’s Podcast Analytics tool.

In an email to podcast creators today, Apple says that it is aware of the issue and is currently investigating it as “they do not match playback data in Podcast Analytics.”

Answer These 10 Questions To Understand If You’re A Good Manager, by Cate Huston, Quartz

Without success metrics beyond the team’s improvement, though, it can be be easy to feel like you’re just riding a wave of good people doing good work without contributing anything yourself.

Some managers deal with this feeling by seeing their success metric as being available to their teams 24/7 (unsustainable), or by counting lines of code (which would be like editors focusing on the number of words they wrote themselves—absurd). Some embrace the performance of management without understanding the underlying motivations. They “perform good manager” in one-on-one meetings, team stand-up meetings, and feedback cycles, but it doesn’t really make them feel accomplished, and it’s hard to put a finger on why.

To that end, I’ve compiled a list of signs that I look for in managers on my teams that suggest they’re doing a good job.


A Sense Of Wonder: How Within Is Evolving Storytelling In Augmented Reality, by Janko Roettgers, Variety

The future of storytelling is happening all around us — we just have to look through the right lens to see it. That’s the idea behind “Wonderscope,” an augmented reality app for children that Los Angeles-based immersive media start-up Within is set to release in November.

“Wonderscope” uses mobile AR to superimpose characters, scenes and stories onto an iPad’s camera view of a user’s living room carpet or a kid’s bedspread. “A device that everyone carries around in their pocket every day suddenly has this new magical ability,” explains Within CEO Chris Milk. “It’s like a lens for invisible magical things that you couldn’t see with your naked eye.”

‘Wireless Charging’ Is A Scam — But That’s About To Change, by Owen Williams, Medium

“Wireless charging” features built into recent devices, like the iPhone XS, certainly make it sound like our present-day consumer tech is cordless. That’s not quite true, of course. A fancy charging pad still needs to be plugged into something — a wall outlet, say — meaning there’s a lot to trip over even after upgrading to the latest and greatest smartphones.

And so, the inevitable question arises: When will we finally ditch the wires altogether? It really depends on who you ask, and how far into the future you’re thinking.

Where The Streets Have No Change: How Buskers Are Surviving In Cashless Times, by Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

The project to enable buskers to accept contactless payments, still in its infancy, was launched by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and Campbell was one of a select few performers to be given a contactless card reader (by the Swedish financial technology company iZettle). But only a tiny proportion of her earnings comes that way. (Buskers, like everyone else, I learn, are reluctant to divulge exactly what they earn, but Campbell makes enough to live and pay rent in London.) For a while, she had been thinking about how the move towards a cashless society would affect her career, and noticed that more people were saying they didn’t have any cash on them. Her music is on iTunes and Spotify, and she has a website where you can donate by various means.

Is contactless in the spirit of busking, I wonder? “There is a romantic thing about dropping a coin into a hat. That’s what people think they’re going to miss,” Campbell says. “But if people don’t have cash any more, that’s never going to be something people will get to do ever again. There’s only two options here – we either don’t have buskers or we drop a coin into a hat in a different way. We have to romanticise the tap on the screens somehow.” And she laughs.

Bottom of the Page

Reading all the iPad Pro reviews, it seems like having an Apple Pencil that is always charged is a big deal to many people. I don't use the Pencil, so I cannot appreciate this improvement.

What I can appreciate is an always-charged Apple TV remote.

Now, how can Apple make the remote to be always-charged? Well, I certainly don't want to have to place the remote on the Apple TV itself to wirelessly / magentically charge it. Because the Apple TV is all the way there, and my sofa and coffee table is all the way here. And a remote dock (similar to an iPhone dock?) seems like too much of a solution to such a small problem. (Besides, I am not going to pay Apple-like prices to solve this problem.)

After thinking for half-a-day (yes, I am semi-bored today), I think I have a solution: solar-powered Apple TV remote. After all, the remote is sitting right there on my coffee table the entire day...

Do you think Mr Jony Ive will approve add solar cells onto his clean and minimalist remote?


Old habits die hard.

I started watching Jeopardy! game show on television again, this past few days. Every time the show inched towards yet another commercial break, I started to have the urge to go to the kitchen to drink some water, or to pick up the phone and check up on my RSS feeds.

Then I realized I was watching on Netflix, which has no commercials.


Thanks for reading.