The Engineered-to-be-Extreme Edition Friday, December 28, 2018

Why 2019 Could Be An Enormous Year Of Change For The Mac, by Jason Snell, Macworld

But let me go against the grain of Apple’s recent trends. Why make a Mac Pro if it’s just an iMac without a screen? Is a swappable screen, no matter how good, the only real reason to buy a Mac Pro? I can’t see it. So what I’m hoping for is a Mac Pro that zigs when the rest of the Mac zags, with slots for new graphics cards, banks of upgradeable internal storage, and pretty much anything else you can think of. The result will probably be the lowest-selling product by units in the Mac line, and it’s not going to be cheap—and that’s just fine. The Mac Pro will be engineered to be extreme, and priced accordingly. Otherwise, why even bother making it?

What To Expect From Apple In 2019, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Apple announced at WWDC 2018 that it is working on giving developers the ability to creates apps that work on both iOS and macOS.

While that doesn’t necessarily mean a Mac with an Apple-designed CPU will be on sale before the end of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference featured an announcement that such a product was on its way. That would give developers time to update their apps, though at this point architecture transitions are starting to feel like old hat for many Mac developers.

Foxconn To Begin Assembling Top-end Apple iPhones In India In 2019 - Source, by Sankalp Phartiyal, Sudarshan Varadhan, Reuters

Apple Inc will begin assembling its top-end iPhones in India through the local unit of Foxconn as early as 2019, the first time the Taiwanese contract manufacturer will have made the product in the country, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Importantly, Foxconn will be assembling the most expensive models, such as devices in the flagship iPhone X family, the source said, potentially taking Apple’s business in India to a new level.

Money Play

Apple Lost $9 Billion Buying Back Its Own Stock. There’s A Lesson Here., by Jordan Weissmann, Slate

In theory, corporations ought to purchase their stock when it’s undervalued—buy low, sell high (not that companies really sell their own stock these days; instead, they tend to use it as compensation for employees or to make acquisitions). But some CEO’s may be tempted execute buybacks at times that maximize the value of their stock options, whether or not it’s actually a good deal for the company. And more broadly, buybacks tend to be procyclical; they boom when profits and share prices are high, so a bunch of companies end up buying at the top of the market—just like we’ve seen with Apple, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo this year.

Apple's $62.9 Billion Stock Buyback Program Called A Bad Investment In New Report, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Noting that the $62.9 billion that Apple spent repurchasing its own shares is now "worth" just $54 billion had the stock been retained, [Wall Street Journal] claims that the figure represents a loss of $9 billion had they purchased the shares at today's market price of $151.

The report spends very little time noting that those repurchased shares were retired, however, and no longer have any direct monetary value. Instead, the retirement boosts the earnings per share metric that the company must report every quarter.


Christmas Tech: Apps To Help Kickstart Your Fitness, by Ciara O'Brien, Irish Times

Christmas Day is done, and with it (hopefully) the worst of the excesses. Need to blow away the cobwebs? These apps may help.

Look At Famous Paintings As If You Were There, by Mallory Barrett,

The Arts & Culture app uses augmented reality to create virtual art galleries, and as of this writing, the only gallery available is dedicated to classic Vermeer paintings, including the famous "Girl with a Pearl Earring."


Teaching Collections: Shifting Paradigms And Breaking Rules, by Erica Sadun

So why do we always have to lump arrays, sets, and dictionaries into a single lesson on collections?

A new language learner has little interest in traversing dictionaries, although it’s possible, or taking a set’s prefix, which is also allowed. Nor are new learners always prepared to take on optionals, the core return value for dictionary lookups, early in the language learning process.


NPR Wants To Know What Podcast Ads You Skip, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Apple and Spotify have not yet announced support for RAD. Spotify did not respond to a request for comment, and Apple declined to comment. NPR did confirm to The Verge, however, that Apple employees offered their feedback on the RAD protocol, so Apple’s team knows it exists and has had a hand in its development.

How Much Of The Internet Is Fake?, by Max Read, New York Magazine

How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

In the future, when I look back from the high-tech gamer jail in which President PewDiePie will have imprisoned me, I will remember 2018 as the year the internet passed the Inversion, not in some strict numerical sense, since bots already outnumber humans online more years than not, but in the perceptual sense. Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real. The “fakeness” of the post-Inversion internet is less a calculable falsehood and more a particular quality of experience — the uncanny sense that what you encounter online is not “real” but is also undeniably not “fake,” and indeed may be both at once, or in succession, as you turn it over in your head.

Bottom of the Page

The new Mac Mini is probably the Mac Pro that a lot of customers wanted, and this allows Apple to do a Mac Pro for the rest of the Pros.

Hopefully, Apple will update the Mac Mini regularly this time round, now that the mission of the machine has changed.


Thanks for reading.