The Awkward-and-Magical Edition Saturday, March 23, 2019

Why Apple AirPods Are Suddenly, Seemingly Everywhere, by Jon Wilde, GQ

“I think this was common on the initial reaction to the AirPods—it’s a reaction based on an academic understanding of them, rather than a practical daily understanding of them,” said Ives. “What we tend to focus on are those attributes that are easy to talk about, and just because we talk about them doesn't mean that they're the important attributes. All that means is they're the ones that are easy to talk about.”

His point being, you can read about AirPods and see plenty of reasons not to drop $159 or more: They’re expensive. They’re one-size-fits all (which doesn’t fit all). They don’t sound any better than headphones that cost half the price or less. They look a little weird! We’ve had 17 years with white cords dangling from our ears, and AirPods look like someone’s run up and snipped ’em with scissors. I know I felt sheepish the first time I walked out the door, AirPods dangling from my lobes. I was A Dude Who Bought Those Apple Earbuds.

But AirPods have also altered the expectations of how increasingly complex headphones and intensely complex smartphones should work together, on your behalf. They’ve done what no other Bluetooth headphones ever had: make Bluetooth not suck (assuming you have an iPhone). They connect, immediately. They hiccup less. They require almost none of your attention for annoyances and instead deliver little moments that feel, to get a little Disney World here, delightful. They’re awkward and magical in equal measure.

Why Netflix Won’t Be Part Of Apple TV, by Edmund Lee, New York Times

Without explicitly trying, Apple has built itself into a media colossus.

So what does mean for everyone else?

Mr. Hastings said it best on an October earnings call when he talked about the flurry of new entrants into his area of expertise: “The game is on.”

Beats' Answer To Apple's New AirPods Is Arriving In April, by David Carnoy, CNET

Apple may make what it says is the "world's most popular headphone" -- the AirPods -- but lest anyone forget, it's the owner of another headphone company, Beats, which will have its own true wireless competitor hitting the market shortly. A cord-free version of the Beats PowerBeats wireless sports earphones will be announced in April, according to a person close to the retail channel who has previously provided credible information to CNET.


Find Video Files That Won't Survive The 32-bit Mac Apocalypse, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

In future years we’re going to cling to macOS Mojave. Not because of any particular love for desert desktop images, but because it’s the last version of macOS to run 32-bit applications. If you rely on old software and old files, keep a Mac capable of running Mojave around, or make a Mojave virtual machine in an emulator, or both.

Among the stuff that will break this fall when Mojave’s replacement arrives is QuickTime, not just the app but the QuickTime 7 framework that is essentially the final version of Apple’s versatile, groundbreaking multimedia plug-in technology. A QuickTime Player app may go on into the future, and the concept of a file that’s a “QuickTime Movie” will probably continue, but the old QuickTime—all 32 bits of it—is being swept away.

Firefox Is Now A Better iPad Browser, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

Mozilla today announced a new iOS version of Firefox that has been specifically optimized for Apple’s iPad. Given the launch of the new iPad mini this week, that’s impeccable timing. It’s also an admission that building a browser for tablets is different from building a browser for phones, which is what Mozilla mostly focused on in recent years.


When A Phone App Opens Your Apartment Door, But You Just Want A Key, by Corina Knoll, New York Times

A lawsuit filed in October in Housing Court in Manhattan by the couple and three other tenants of the West 45th Street building demands that the landlord give them access to all the entryways without having to use a smartphone app.

But it also has opened a wider debate over privacy, ageism and renter’s rights that has inspired new legislation in Albany.

A Eulogy For Every Product Google Has Ruthlessly Killed (145 And Counting), by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

“This project was born as an act of criticism toward a culture of software product churn. It was ignited by the announcement that Google would be killing Inbox by Gmail,” says Ogden. “I’ve come to call it ‘a place of reverence.’ Like a graveyard, Killed by Google is a place to show respect for what used to exist, and to provide an opportunity for introspection about what one’s digital future holds.”