The Empowering-Device Edition Saturday, May 25, 2019

Smartphones Are Toys First, Tools Second, by David Cain, Raptitude

The smartphone should be, and perhaps still could be, the most personally empowering device ever invented, yet many people are now trying to reduce or eliminate their role in their lives.

I’m one of those people, and I still wonder: why is it such a close tradeoff? Why do these superpowers outweigh the downsides by such a small margin that anyone would consider giving them up? The downsides must be pretty bad.

Apple's Ex-Retail Chief Brushes Off Criticism, Says 'I Know The Facts', by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Ahrendts dismissed the criticisms. “I don’t read any of it, and none of it is based on fact, it’s everyone trying to find stories,” she said. “When I left, retention rates were at an all-time high, up over 20 points in the five years,” and customer loyalty scores “were at historic highs. Again, I know the facts,” Ahrendts said.

Apple Bought A Start-Up That Was Working On Monitoring Asthma In Children, by Christina Farr, Steve Kovach, CNBC

Tueo Health was developing a mobile app that worked with commercial breathing sensors to help manage asthma symptoms in children. The app would send alerts to parents if their child's breathing changed at night.


Apple Releases iOS 12.3.1 Today With Fixes For Messages And VoLTE Bugs, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes, iOS 12.3.1 addresses a handful of bugs related to the Messages app and VoLTE calls.

Apple Confirms ECG App For Smartwatch Coming To Canada But Timing Isn't Known, by The Canadian Press

The company says in a statement to The Canadian Press that it will bring the heart health features of Apple Watch Series 4 to Canada "as quickly as possible" but a spokeswoman declined to provide an estimated time of arrival.


An iOS 13 Wish: A Return Of Vibrant Tapdown States, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The classic iOS look-and-feel made it feel fun just to tap buttons on screen. I miss that. Again, put aside specific techniques like photorealistic textures and depth effects. To me the fundamental weakness in post-iOS-7 look-and-feel is simply that it’s been drained of joy.

Apple Accused Of Selling iTunes Customers' Listening Data, by Robert Burnson, Bloomberg

"For example, any person or entity could rent a list with the names and addresses of all unmarried, college-educated women over the age of 70 with a household income of over $80,000 who purchased country music from Apple via its iTunes Store mobile application," the customers said. "Such a list is available for sale for approximately $136 per thousand customers listed."

When Will Emergency Alerts Finally Come To Netflix?,by Jane C. Hu, Slate

Should streaming companies adopt these messages, it’s not clear what they would look like, which could determine how effective they are at getting people to take action. Currently, the best hope for reaching someone watching a show, listening to music, or playing video games in the moments before a breaking emergency is to send them an alert via their cellphone. (Even so, if users are relaxing at home, their phone might not be close enough for them to see or hear the alert. Others might have opted out of receiving emergency messages on their phone entirely.) The current Wireless Emergency Alert system is limited to 90 characters, which doesn’t exactly allow for nuance or instructions.

Bottom of the Page

When Apple first introduced Screen Time, I dutifully turned it on, enable the Today widget, and set a reminder to check my 'score' every night.

It took me a while to realize this: keeping my 'score' low is not what I desire.

Here's what my iPhone is to me: books, radio, newspapers, magazines, and, well, phone. I do not want to reduce the amount of time spent on my iPhone to read, to listen, or to be in touch with my family.

There has to be a better Screen Time that works for me. But for now, Screen Time is not for me.


Thanks for reading.