The Getting-Rid-of-Lines Edition Tuesday, May 7, 2019

How The Apple Store Lost Its Luster, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Before her arrival, the Apple Store excelled at three key tasks: selling products, helping customers trouble-shoot their devices and teaching them how to get the most out of their gadgets. “Steve Jobs was really keen on stepping into the store and knowing what to do,” recalls a former Apple retail executive, who requested anonymity to speak freely. Mission shoppers who wanted to pick up a pair of headphones or an iPhone could get in and out quickly; those who wanted to learn more about their purchase could spend an hour getting trained by a Creative. If someone brought in a busted iPhone, a Genius would sort it out.

Over time, according to several current and former employees, Ahrendts upset that finely tuned balance. “You don’t feel like there is much engagement at the front of the store, there isn't a push to people,” says the former executive. “The store should be a place where you see upgrades happening.”

The overhaul of the Genius Bar has been especially controversial. Customers looking for technical advice or repairs must now check in with an employee, who types their request into an iPad. Then when a Genius is free, he or she must find the customer wherever they happen to be in the store. Ahrendts was determined to get rid of lineups, but now the stores are often crowded with people waiting for their iPhones to be fixed or batteries swapped out.

AirPods Are A Tragedy, by Caroline Haskins, Vice

Even if you only own AirPods for a few years, the earth owns them forever. When you die, your bones will decompose in less than a century, but the plastic shell of AirPods won’t decompose for at least a millennia. Thousands of years in the future, if human life or sentient beings exist on earth, maybe archaeologists will find AirPods in the forgotten corners of homes. They’ll probably wonder why they were ever made, and why so many people bought them. But we can also ask ourselves those same questions right now.

Why did we make technology that will live for 18 months, die, and never rot?

Elizabeth Warren Wants To Break Up Big Tech. Tim Cook Says Keep Apple Out Of It., by Emily Stewart, Vox

“We don’t get wrapped up in a pretzel about saying, ‘No, that doesn’t go on our platform. No, that app doesn’t work, and therefore it’s not going in the App Store,’” Cook said. “I know that that has opened us up for criticism. But it’s a part of being a shop owner or whatever. You know … if you own a shop on the corner, you decide what goes in your store.”


'Warren Buffett's Paper Wizard' Is Apple's First iPhone Game Since 2008, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Warren Buffett's Paper Wizard, a free download on the App Store, tasks players with flinging newspapers to collect points. The game gradually increases in difficulty as players make their way from Omaha to Apple's hometown of Cupertino, California, with unique obstacles such as vehicles and birds.

Hands-on And First Impressions With Beats Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Powerbeats Pro should fit ears that don’t take kindly to AirPods for two reasons: four changeable ear tips plus adjustable earhooks. Ear tips are also great for isolating sound and delivering richer audio to your ears, but earhooks can be problematic in some cases: the hook can interfere with glasses or shades and hats if it’s too bulky. In my limited testing with Powerbeats Pro so far, the ear hook design passes both tests for me (which is a relief since discomfort would be a dealbreaker!).

Review: The Upright Go Is The Most Annoying Gadget I’ve Ever Used, And I Recommend It, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Being alerted when you’re slouching is great, but nobody is going to go full cyborg and wear the Upright Go all the time. The idea of it is to retrain your body so that you stop slouching with or without the alerts.

I found that it did indeed achieve this within the space of a couple of weeks. I now become aware when I slouch, and correct that. Whether that’s a permanent change remains to be seen, but I’m pretty optimistic. At worst, I think using it every few months will do the trick.

Microsoft’s Edge Browser For Mac Leaks, Available To Download Early, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft just teased its Edge browser for macOS yesterday, but now, download links have appeared online a little early. Twitter user WalkingCat discovered official Microsoft download links to both the daily Chromium-powered Canary builds of Edge for Mac and the weekly Dev builds. Microsoft has been working to support Mac keyboard shortcuts, and it has been experimenting with button placement so its browser looks and feels like a Mac app.


Responsibility, Foundation, And Speed Biggest Lessons Learned By Angela Ahrendts During Apple Tenure, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Ahrendts also learned to "move faster than you could ever fathom," due to the expectations of consumers and employees to see how much technology changes everything. "They expect your leadership to be just like that because that's the world they are living in today. So you can't wait."

The third was to "never forget that you have a greater responsibility," greater than operating stores and selling hardware. "You have a much greater responsibility," insists Ahrendts. "And maybe that's what Steve meant when he talked about enriching lives and, when he talked about liberal arts and technology and the impact it could have on humanity."

Bottom of the Page

Will macOS, someday, be like iOS and only have one HTML rendering engine for all apps?

Is Microsoft wasting all its time with its new web browser on the Mac?


Thanks for reading.