The Alternative-Vision Edition Friday, February 28, 2020

Apple HomeKit Is The Best Smart Home Platform, by David Priest, CNET

The competition for best smart home platform doesn't have a clear winner at this point, and Apple's lack of a budget speaker is frustrating to say the very least. But while Amazon and Google steal headlines with their speakers and displays, along with their bonkers numbers of partnerships, Apple's HomeKit platform has cast an alternative vision of the smart home: one less concerned with the cutting edge or the race for countertop real estate, and more concerned with reliability and security.

I don't know about you, but more and more I feel myself being tempted by Apple.

Don't Feel Bad For The iPad, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

The iPad’s primary problem is that it is viewed by some as needing to be a laptop replacement in order to have any value. This unrealistic viewpoint has resulted in a type of expectational debt being placed on the device. The iPad is expected to become more like the Mac and macOS over time. This is problematic as the iPad is not a laptop replacement.

Mystery Powerbeats Headphones Score FCC Approval, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Documentation filed with the FCC required to get approval to release this wireless product references “Power Beats Wireless.” And it gives the device model number A2015.

Line drawings reveal the general design of the upcoming headphones. They won’t be truly wireless like last year’s Powerbeats Pro because a cable will connect the two earpieces.


Tim Cook Announces EdFarm And Apple To Use AR For Transformative Educational Tools, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

It sounds like EdFarm will be leveraging ARKit along with Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curriculum to offer education, schools, and communities with engaging resources.

Tot Review: Collect And Edit Bits Of Text, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

On a superficial analysis, Tot may not seem that different from the plethora of lightweight Markdown or rich text editors available on the App Store. What sets The Iconfactory’s latest app apart, however, is the combination of embracing constraints and adopting system technologies with a thoughtful, balanced design.

Unread 2 Review: The Elegant RSS Client Leaps Into Modernity, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Unread 2, on one hand, brings a lot of change and propels the beloved RSS client into the present. It does this, however, with almost no design changes. Unread 2 looks and feels just like Unread 1, but with more power and a roster of modern features under the hood.

'Crossy Road Castle' Now Available On Apple Arcade, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Crossy Road is an endless Frogger-style game where the goal is to get various animals and characters across the road, but Crossy Road Castle, which was announced back in October, is a cross between an endless runner and a platformer.


How Work Stole Our Weekends, by Zoe Williams, The Guardians

We need to rediscover what we treasured in those regular 48 hours of untenanted time. We need to reanimate that strong separation between work and not work, which doesn’t end with turning your bloody phone off, but may well start there. We need to remove a significant proportion of our lives from the market before our own 21st-century equivalents of the committees for the establishment of the five-day week will spring up.


Apple Pulls Pandemic-themed Game Plague Inc. From App Store In China, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

The creators of Plague Inc. say it is unclear whether their pandemic-themed game was removed because of China’s ongoing battle to contain the coronavirus known as COVID-19.

In a statement released Thursday on its website, U.K.-based Ndemic Creations said Plague Inc. was pulled because it “includes content that is illegal in China.”

Why Are Artists Breaking Up Their Albums Into Separate Releases?, by Marc Hogan, Pitchfork

This year, artists as musically varied as indie singer-songwriter Moses Sumney, pop-punk bandleader Hayley Williams, and country duo Maddie & Tae are dropping their new albums in two or more multi-song installments, each spaced out over months. With streaming more dominant than ever, putting out an album in parts could be a savvy way for artists to pursue their creative ambitions while catering to a commercial environment that’s defined by the neverending scroll.

Managers and labels who’ve taken the multi-part plunge tend to insist that it all begins with their artists’ visions. But some also acknowledge that serialized albums reflect the commercial reality of the Spotify era. “All of this comes down to streaming,” one indie label campaign manager tells me.

Bottom of the Page

Getting Siri to learn the different songs and artists around the world must be difficult, eh? 'Cause HomePods are still not available two years after the first release...

In comparison with the other pod: the iPod mini was available about two-plus years after the first iPod, and the even-cheaper iPod shuffle was available about three-plus years after the first iPod.


Thanks for reading.