The Smart-Home-Space Edition Wednesday, January 9, 2019

HomeKit Was A Surprise Winner Of CES 2019. Now Siri Needs To Get A Whole Lot Better, by Michael Simon, Macworld

While Google Assistant and Alexa controlled their fair share of the CES spotlight, they did little to overshadow Siri. In fact, Apple’s HomeKit was one of the surprise winners of this year’s show, as Sony, LG, GE, Vizio, Belkin, Arlo, Ikea, TP-Link and several others all rolled out products and updates featuring HomeKit integration, an abrupt turnaround from previous shows that all but ignored the iPhone maker’s smart home ambitions.

It’s safe to say that Apple can officially count itself as a major player in the smart home space. When the new HomeKit-enabled products start hitting the market later this year, consumers won’t need to buy specific HomeKit-enabled hardware, an earlier requirement that inhibited Apple’s smart home growth. With a few exceptions, customers will soon have the option to use one of three AI assistants each time they make a request to control something in their home, and that means one thing: Siri needs to seriously step its game.

Apple's Wearables Revenue Is Already Exceeding Peak iPod Sales, Tim Cook Says, by Elizabeth Gurdus, CNBC

"On a trailing basis, ... the revenue for wearables is already 50 percent more than iPod was at its peak," Cook told CNBC in an interview with "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

He added that the Watch and the AirPods have each generated between four and six times more in sales than the iPod had generated in the same amount of time since its launch.

Tim Cook To Apple Naysayers: 'The Ecosystem Has Never Been Stronger', by Elizabeth Gurdus, CNBC

"I'm never surprised by the market, to be honest with you, because I think the market is quite emotional in the short term," Cook said when asked about Wall Street's reaction to the news. "We sort of look through all of that. We think about the long term. And so when I look at the long-term health of the company, it has never been better. The product pipeline has never been better. The ecosystem has never been stronger. The services are on a tear."

Apple Reports

AAPL Proxy Statement Tidbits: How Much Each Executive Earned In 2018, The Costs Of Flying Private, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that its median employee compensation for 2018 was $55,426. The ratio of Cook’s income to the median income is 283 to 1.

Apple To Hold Annual Shareholders Meeting On March 1st At Steve Jobs Theater, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Filed with the SEC, the document confirms that Apple will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on March 1st, 2019 at Steve Jobs Theater.


The Best App For Taking Handwritten Notes On An iPad, by Drew Coffman, The Sweet Setup

It’s clear that with the right combination of app and Pencil, the iPad is now an exceptional note-taking tool for those who prefer to write by hand. There are several apps that are more than up to the task, but we think Notability is the best possible app for most people and their workflows.

Earthquake Warning App ShakeAlertLA Debuts In Los Angeles, by Amanda Kolson Hurley, Wired

The new app depends on hundreds of sensors that collect data around geologic faults. When the sensors detect strong enough seismic activity, a notification is pushed out to users’ phones. The farther that app users are from the quake’s epicenter, the more advance warning they are likely to receive. Those very close to the epicenter may not be alerted until the shaking has already begun.


There Is A Free Lunch, After All. It’s At The Office., by Priya Krishna, New York Times

What was once an extra is now a necessity, as companies give their employees free ice cream and beer, Pop-Tarts and prime rib — often with an agenda attached.


Disruption For Thee, But Not For Me, by Cory Doctorow, Locus

Every single one of these co-ops would disrupt a digital monopolist who came to power preaching the gospel of disruption. Every single one of those digital monopolists would switch to the aggrieved bleats of a bewildered incumbent apex predator snarling and twisted impotently as its flesh was rent by a thousand tiny bites from swarms of fast-moving, highly evolved successors.

But we never get to bring those lumbering relics down, not so long as felony contempt-of-business-model is still in play in America. Until then, disruption will always be for thee and never for me.

I Gave A Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone, by Joseph Cox, Motherboard

Your mobile phone is constantly communicating with nearby cell phone towers, so your telecom provider knows where to route calls and texts. From this, telecom companies also work out the phone’s approximate location based on its proximity to those towers.

Although many users may be unaware of the practice, telecom companies in the United States sell access to their customers’ location data to other companies, called location aggregators, who then sell it to specific clients and industries. Last year, one location aggregator called LocationSmart faced harsh criticism for selling data that ultimately ended up in the hands of Securus, a company which provided phone tracking to low level enforcement without requiring a warrant. LocationSmart also exposed the very data it was selling through a buggy website panel, meaning anyone could geolocate nearly any phone in the United States at a click of a mouse.

Bottom of the Page

Okay, after attending an exhibition on minimalism, I find that I still don't quite enjoy this art movement.

Somehow, I'm not able to feel anything.


It might just be me, though.


Thanks for reading.