The Even-Higher Edition Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The MacBook Keyboard Fiasco Is Surely Worse Than Apple Thinks, by David Heinemeier Hansson, Signal v Noise

The fact is that many people simply do not contact Apple when their MacBook keyboards fail. They just live with an S key that stutters or a spacebar that intermittently gives double. Or they just start using an external keyboard. Apple never sees these cases, so it never counts in their statistics.

So here’s some anecdata for Apple. I sampled the people at Basecamp. Out of the 42 people using MacBooks at the company, a staggering 26% are dealing with keyboard issues right now!! And that’s just the people dealing with current keyboard issues. If you include all the people who used to have issues, but went through a repair or replacement process, the number would be even higher.

New Book Looks Inside Apple’s Legal Fight With The FBI, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

A new biography of Apple chief executive Tim Cook out this month describes the moment — and the deliberations — after the FBI issued an unprecedented legal order demanding Apple undermines the security of its flagship product.

The new book, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level by Leander Kahney, offers a first-hand view from former staff about how Apple battled against the order, which Cook said would be “too dangerous” to comply with.

Alphabet And Apple Take Divergent Paths In Health, by Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times

Apple and Alphabet, two of the world’s largest technology companies, are taking divergent approaches in their efforts to revolutionise healthcare, as doctors, drug companies and regulators look to Silicon Valley to bring down the cost of clinical trials.

After Apple presented mixed results from a study designed to show that its Apple Watch could be used to detect heart problems, Verily — like Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet — has been opening up about its own effort to bring scientific rigour to the use of wearable devices for diagnosing health problems and testing treatments.

Messy But Good Enough

One Week With Apple News Plus: A Messy But Good-enough Netflix For Magazines, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Putting aside those broader economic compromises, I think it’s safe to say that for those who enjoy magazines, News Plus is a solid deal. If you’re content with just perusing individual issues as they get released, you’ll get your money’s worth if you read upwards of three or more publications per month. Since Apple is offering a free trial for the first month, it’s relatively easy to discover for yourself if this is a service you’ll really want to use in the long run.

But as the first bit of evidence of Apple’s renewed approach to software services, News Plus feels messy and inconsistent enough to cause some real concern about how the company’s similar TV and games offerings will shake out later this year. For the publications that aren’t currently participating in News Plus, I can’t see the initial state of this service convincing them to agree to Apple’s reportedly abysmal terms.

“Are We At A Party Or A Wake?”: Journalists Fear Apple News Is A Trojan Horse, by Joe Pompeo, Vanity Fair

It’s still too early to say whether Apple News+ will prove to be a blessing or a curse for the media business. “It feels to me a bit like Spotify in the early days,” said the editor of a prominent digital publication who is watching News+ closely, “where there’s not much money for publishers, the usage is not enormous, but it could eventually become this major revenue source and maker of brands, and potentially even of individual writers. But I don’t think it has the scale yet to make most publishers real money, given the economics and the product itself.”

But if the scale proves to be as irresistible as Apple believes it will be—the company has more than a billion devices in circulation worldwide and eventually plans to roll out News+ globally—the holdouts may come to see things differently. “I do not rule out that there will be an opportunity with one or more platforms,” the Times’s Levien told me, “in which we say, ‘Oh, this is really good for our business and for getting journalism to play a bigger role in many more peoples lives.’ Thus far, we have not seen something that makes us say that.”


Logitech Debuts New Slim Folio Pro Keyboard Case For 2018 iPad Pro Models, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Slim Folio Pro is a folio-style case for the iPad Pro with a built-in backlit keyboard that's an alternative to the Smart Keyboard offered by Apple.

Logitech's Slim Folio Pro connects to the new iPad Pro models using a Bluetooth connection rather than through the Smart Connector, but the battery lasts for up to three months on a single charge so you shouldn't need to charge it often.

'What Music Should I Play?': In Battle Of Google, Alexa And Siri, Here's Who Answers Best, by Jefferson Graham, USA Today

I've been barking commands at the three main assistants over the weekend, and discovered that Amazon is further ahead in music, followed by, surprise, Apple's maligned Siri. Google, which is usually so smart, is actually kind of dumb when it comes to music and specifics, at least in comparison to competitors.

How To Get The Most Out Of The Apple Watch Heart Rate Features, by Jason Cipriani, CNET

One of the main selling points of the Apple Watch is how it can contribute to helping you live a healthier life by recording workouts, completing challenges or monitoring your heart's health.

For those who are just getting started with an Apple Watch, or those who have had one for a while but never used any of the heart rate features -- here's what you need to know.

How To Draw A Portrait With Apple Pencil, by Graham Bower, Cult of Mac

You only appreciate the true joy of owning one when you draw with it. So, why not follow this handy how-to guide and start sketching lifelike portraits of friends and family? It’s a really fun hobby.


Apple’s New Feature A Step Towards Digital Apartheid, by Hampus Sethfors, Axess Lab

So this feature lets web developers recognise when an assistive technology is active on the user’s device. Sounds great, right? Gives developers a chance to improve the user experience for people with disabilities.

But think a step further and you’ll realise that it’s actually a terrible idea.



Apple Signs California Initiative Promising To Narrow Gender Wage Gap, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple on Monday was announced as one of 13 inaugural corporate signatories to a state-led campaign that seeks to close the gender pay gap in California, an issue that impacts a range of industries across the nation including the high-paying tech sector.

Swiss Court Backs Swatch In 'Think Different' Row With Apple, by Reuters

Swatch had contended Apple’s Think Different was not known well enough in Switzerland to warrant protection.

Bottom of the Page

I do hope Apple TV Channel is flexible enough to support different business models. Free, perhaps ad-supported, channels? Or a movie channel that gives you some credits per month to redeem movies, similiar to an Audible subscription?

Oh, and we all suspect Apple will not be getting the TV app on Android. But, who knows, Apple TV+ may still be available on Android... perhaps as a channel in Amazon's app? Apple and Amazon seems to be doing all sorts of deals nowadays.


If Apple were to add books to its news and magazine bundle, will the new service be known as Apple News++ then?


Thanks for reading.