The Come-Together Edition Friday, May 31, 2019

Thousands Of Stories, One WWDC, by Apple

On June 3, more than 5,000 people from 86 countries will come together in San Jose for Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Among them will be Erika Hairston, a first-time attendee, and David Niemeijer, who will be marking his 17th consecutive visit.

Hairston, a 23-year-old Yale grad working in San Francisco, just launched her first app, Zimela, to promote diversity in tech. Niemeijer, a 50-year-old father of two in Amsterdam, is CEO of AssistiveWare, a company he founded 20 years ago that designs communication aids for people with disabilities.

Though they are at two different points in their journeys, Hairston’s and Niemeijer’s paths have much in common.

Marzipan: A Chance To Revitalize The Mac App Ecosystem, by John Voorhees, MacStories

At bottom, the problem is that Apple is at risk of losing control of the Mac's future. Web services are a bigger part of the productivity app market than ever before, and few seem interested in building traditional Mac apps. Exacerbating the problem is the rather thin competition in some app categories and limited migration of iOS apps to the Mac. Instead of letting third parties with little stake in the Mac's success control the direction of the Mac experience through a patchwork of inferior apps, I'm eager to see a solution from Apple that leverages the strength of iOS.

Does Apple’s Boss Have A Plan B In China?, by The Economist

Given his reputation as a logistical mastermind, it is worth asking why he has ignored the first rule of supply-chain management: the risk of keeping too many important eggs in one basket. In Mr Cook’s case, that basket is China. The trade bust-up is getting uglier. If it leads to an anti-American backlash in China, it could spell trouble for Apple—and for Mr Cook personally.


Whereas Huawei claims to have a Plan B to survive its blacklisting by America, and Samsung, a rival smartphone-maker from South Korea, is shifting supply chains from China, Apple appears to have no clear alternative to assembly in China. Few other places possess the expertise to produce the high-end components that Apple needs. The existing network would take years to unscramble.

Health Matters

Using Augmented Reality, Altoida Is Identifying The Likely Onset Of Neurodegenerative Diseases, by Jonathan Shieber, TechCrunch

Altoida uses an iPad or a tablet accelerometer, a gyroscope, and touch screen sensors to detect what the company calls “micro-errors” as patients complete a series of AR and VR challenges. It’s basically a game of hide-and-seek where patients put virtual objects in different physical spaces in a clinical environment and then try to collect them.

Right now, the company’s technology is only available as a clinically supervised test in a doctor’s office, but the company is beginning to look at bringing its diagnostic tools into the home.


Apple Increases iPhone Cellular Download Limit From 150 MB To 200 MB, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

One important gotcha when testing iOS’s cellular download limits is that the limit is tested against the thinned, compressed file size.

Apple Releases AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.9.1, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

According to a support document, the update addresses a number of security issues on the affected models.

Smart Battery Cases For iPhone XS, XS Max, And XR In Short Supply And Won't Ship Until July, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There's no word on why the Smart Battery Cases are temporarily unavailable from Apple, but there could have been a manufacturing delay or issue that has caused available supply to dry up.

Macs Have Evolved, But It Took Third Parties To Innovate The Clipboard, by Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle

I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t tackled this issue and added a Clipboard history over the course of three decades. On the other hand, for as long as I can remember there have been numerous third-party utilities that include a modern, multi-item Clipboard history. I don’t like to use a Mac without one.

Castro Podcast Player For iOS Adds Support For Creating And Sharing Podcast Clips, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In Castro, you can access clip sharing by opening the player screen and then tapping and holding the red button to record a clip. You can also tap the red button once to automatically record a 30-second clip, and then use the built-in editor to clean up your recording.

How To Make Music On An iPad Pro, by Mark Kavanagh,

Making tunes and crafting beats is accessible for all on iOS thanks to a large selection of free and fun apps for beginners.

But there is plenty on an iPad to appeal to professionals too.


Apps Purged By Apple Say It Holds The Key They Need To Get Back In, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Because Apple has demonstrated that it can enable people to track the time they spend on their phones — as well as what their children are doing — without invading privacy, the developers said Apple should give them an A.P.I. that would allow them to do the same.

The companies said they had wanted such an A.P.I. for years but were forced to use workarounds.

How A Caseless iPhone Became A Status Symbol, by Maria Teresa Hart, Vox

Kuang believes companies are simply responding to our own desires for something that’s increasingly more slender, more delicate. “They are not designing in a vacuum,” he says. “I can guarantee there have been versions and concepts that were more durable.” But they didn’t make it to market, he insists, because models that aren’t “stone-cold beautiful” are far harder to sell.

In several ways, the arc of cellphone design has curved toward the increasingly fragile. Kahney reflects on the first iPhone: “That was definitely a tough device. But over the years, they’ve tried to make it slimmer and sleeker and sexier.” He notes that the iPhone X “was like a slippery bar of soap. Of course, the first day I had it, it went flying out of my hands and onto the concrete.”

How Qualcomm Shook Down The Cell Phone Industry For Almost 20 Years, by Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica

The story of Qualcomm's battle with Apple and Intel illustrates how Qualcomm has used its patent portfolio to buttress its chip monopoly.

10,000 Steps A Day? How Many You Really Need To Boost Longevity, by Allison Aubrey, NPR

In fact, women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared to women who took 2,700 steps. The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps. In other words, women who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity.

Bottom of the Page

The different ways my iPhone misunderstands me:

Confusing between 3D Touch and Tap-and-hold;
Turning on the flashlight or the camera when I'm just putting my phone into my pocket;
Turning on the flashlight or the camera when I'm just taking my phone out of my pocket;
Confusing between going home and going to app switcher;
Cannot decide the previous app is on the left or on the right in the app switcher.


Thanks for reading.