The Thread-of-Authenticity Edition Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Apple Enters Show Business With A Black-Carpet Premiere, by John Koblin, New York Times

Asked to describe what will keep their bosses happy, Mr. Erlicht said, “Critically acclaimed quality shows, first and foremost. Ultimately subscribers matter. But Day 1, high-quality, distinctive, critically acclaimed programming will drive everything.”


The executive added that Apple would not get in the way of the show creators they now rely on.

“If we were to start to impose certain things like ‘it has to be this’ or ‘it must only do this,’ we would start to pull at a thread of authenticity and potentially be a place that didn’t celebrate — as deeply and emotionally as we do — creative expression,” Mr. Van Amburg said.

Apple TV Plus Chiefs On Building The Ambitious Video Venture From Scratch, by Cynthia Littleton, Variety

“We spent a lot of time at Cupertino getting to know all of the various division heads who were going to be critical to our success,” Erlicht says. “We spent a good chunk of [the first] few months flying up to Cupertino multiple times a week, figuring out how what we’re doing on the entertainment side fit in with everything else at Apple. We knew we needed to make [Apple TV Plus] feel seamless for the company.”

New Morning Dawns For Apple With ‘The Morning Show’ Premiere, by Cynthia Littleton, Variety

“You told us you would support our ambition, particularly if we were being ambitious. You told us you’d pick us up when we needed the help, stay out of the way when we were cruising and when we landed the plane. you’d be fully behind us the rest of the way home,” Ellenberg said. “You’ve come through on every promise and commitment one-thousand-fold.”

$4.99/month Apple Music Student Subscription Now Bundles Apple TV+ For Free, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a surprise announcement, Apple has announced its first bundle deal for Apple TV+. For subscribers to Apple Music on the student plan, $4.99 per month, Apple will giveaway Apple TV+ at no additional charge.

Tune Out, Beam In

AirPods Pro First Impressions, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Amtrak trains are pretty noisy — especially at what we in the U.S. so adorably consider “high speeds” — but with AirPods Pro the clackety-clack rumble was effectively blocked out.


My corner store has a noisy refrigeration unit. With AirPods Pro on — playing nothing — I couldn’t hear it at all. I couldn’t tell that my dishwasher was running even though I was sitting right across from it in my kitchen. As someone who doesn’t generally write while listening to music, I’m likely to use AirPods Pro, playing nothing, just to tune out the world around me in a noisy space.

Apple’s AirPods Pro Set A Pricey New Standard For Earbuds, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Apple’s works adaptively, similar to what it offers on its over-ear Beats headphones. That means the microphones are constantly listening to your surroundings and adjusting accordingly. It’s not quite a full immersion, like you would get from over-ear headphones, but with a tight seal, it does a pretty terrific job drowning out your surroundings when needed.

For those times you need to be more alert, there’s transparency mode, which uses the on-board mics to beam in ambience. Once again, it’s a good mix, letting in sound without completely overwhelming the music.

AirPods Pro Arrive In Apple Stores With Window Displays And More, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple has also introduced a custom try-on and comparison experience to as few as 10 stores for the AirPods Pro launch. A new black table merchandises boxes of the headphones on color-matched planks, surrounded by black leather try-on mats. iPhones paired with standard AirPods and AirPods Pro are provided to compare the difference in fit, audio quality, and noise cancellation.

More OS Updates

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.1 Update With New Emoji And AirPods Pro Support, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

macOS Catalina 10.15.1 is a fairly significant update, introducing new emoji characters that were added in iOS 13.2 earlier this week, adding support for the AirPods Pro that are launching tomorrow, and bringing Siri privacy controls to the Mac to allow users to opt out of sharing their Siri recordings with Apple.

Apple Releasing watchOS 6.1 To The Public With Apple Watch Series 1 And Series 2 Support, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In addition to support for the older Apple Watch models, watchOS 6.1 includes support for AirPods Pro, as well as performance improvements and bug fixes.

Dark Days

Dark Mode Is Everywhere. But Is It Really Better?, by Lilly Smith, Fast Company

While Budiu qualified that the firm hasn’t conducted its own research on the usability of dark mode, she says they generally don’t recommend dark mode for “normal vision users,” and says positive contrast polarity, a.k.a. good old black-on-white text, is “easier to read and more glanceable,” especially in low light conditions.

Published research in ergonomics seems to back this up. A 2017 study in the journal Applied Ergonomics found that “dark characters on light background lead to better legibility and are strongly recommended independent of observer’s age.” And Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society found in 2013 that “the typically higher luminance of positive polarity displays leads to an improved perception of detail.”


Ready. Set. Write A Book., by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the National Novel Writing Month project, which challenges people to write a 50,000-word novel in November. NaNoWriMo, as it is known, is a nonprofit that supports creative writing and education. Those who sign up for the group’s free annual event get community support, progress tracking and motivational advice to complete a book draft.

If you think you have a novel in you, here is a quick guide to digital tools to help you along your way.

Lake: Coloring Books Gets A Complete Overhaul And It's Better Than Ever, by Lory Gil, iMore

What makes Lake stand out is its dedication to the artists that create the illustrations you get to color. Each artists includes a short bio of their work and inspiration. The "Hey!" discovery tab is also a great place to find out about artists and their whimsical work.


The New Mac Pro Hits The FCC Ahead Of Launch, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Mac Pro has appeared today on the FCC registry site, with its regulatory testing information publicly released. This usually means a product launch is imminent.

iPhone Emulation Company Sued By Apple Says It's Making iPhones Safer, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice

Corellium’s key argument lies on the assumption that Corellium’s customers are looking for bugs with the intention of alerting Apple of their existence.

For now, however, that is only an assumption.

Why Editorial Illustrations Look So Similar These Days, by Anne Quito, Quartz

In 2019, it’s highly possible to make a living as an illustrator without learning how to draw in the classical sense. Virtually anyone can produce professional-looking artwork using illustration software and digital tools. Clumsy drawing gestures snap into perfect shapes, stock digital brushes generate instant texture, and a few mouse clicks can result in a perfectly convincing composition.

Technology is one reason why editorial illustrations are looking flatter, sharper, and arguably more generic. It’s hard to miss the trend.

Everything Is Amazing, But Nothing Is Ours, by Alex Danco

I think there’s a really strong, counter-trend bet to be made here over the next few tech generations. If the world is going to get reorganized into services and dependencies, so be it; but find what’s air gapped, and find what’s ours. People are smart enough to tell what’s solid and what isn’t. Product teams who go out of their way to give us real, tangible objects we feel that we can own will find a great deal of success.

Bottom of the Page

I read the reviews of the AirPods Pro, and I do want them. Then I look at the price tag, and figured that I better 'use up' the reamaining battery life first before moving on to a new pair.


I'm still on the iPhone X, because it is still working fine for me. I'm still on the pre-Force-Touch MacBook Pro, because I am afraid of the new keyboards.

But I did buy my wife the new iPhone 11, and I am hoping I can use my Apple ID account (instead of my wife's) to redeem the one-year Apple TV+ trial. The OCD in me wanted to subscribe to all our family's Apple services from one single account. (So far, we have Apple Music and iCloud storage.) Who knows whether Apple will do a bundle subscription some day?


Thanks for reading.