The New-Experience Edition Saturday, March 14, 2020

Apple Announces WWDC 2020 Will Be Held Online Only, by John Voorhees, MacStories

In a move that comes as no surprise, given the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus around the world, Apple announced today that WWDC, which has been held at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center for the past few years, will be held online this year. In a press release issued by the company today, Phil Schiller said:

“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience. The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead.”

Apple To Close All Retail Stores Outside Of China Until March 27th, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today announced that it is closing all of its retail locations outside of Greater China until March 27 due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus, which means Apple Stores worldwide will be shuttered for the next two weeks.

Tim Cook’s Trick For Making iPhones Is Now At Risk From The Pandemic, by Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge

Before he was Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook’s job as COO was to implement just-in-time manufacturing. Cook was familiar with the practice because it had been part of his first job at IBM. Steve Jobs knew he needed someone to reform Apple’s manufacturing, and hired Cook from Compaq to do it.

Cook “closed factories and warehouses around the world and instead established relationships with contract manufacturers,” according to a 2008 article in Fortune Magazine. Cook called inventory “fundamentally evil,” and so reduced the amount of time inventory was on the company balance sheet “from months to days.” In 2012, an article in The Atlantic praised Apple for turning over its inventory once every five days. Apple’s ability to launch, manufacture, and ship millions of iPhones around the world every year like clockwork with little remaining inventory is a miracle of globalized just-in-time manufacturing — but the entire JIT system is being tested by the coronavirus.

Privacy Matters

TikTok And Other Popular iOS Apps Are Spying On Your iPhone Clipboard, by Matt Binder, Mashable

App developers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry recently published their research uncovering a major vulnerability with the cut-copy-paste feature on Apple iOS devices. The two developers found that Apple provides apps with the ability to read data stored in the system’s clipboard, officially called Pasteboard on iOS devices. Furthermore, they discovered that dozens of popular iPhone and iPad apps access this data every time a user opens them.

“We have investigated many popular apps in the App Store and found that they frequently access the pasteboard without the user being aware,” the developers wrote. “Our investigation confirms that many popular apps read the text content of the pasteboard.”


Are Apps Becoming A Real Alternative To Music Lessons?, by Jeff Link, Built In

Playground Sessions, like Flowkey, Simply Piano and a growing list of music learning apps, allows you to learn how to play by practicing popular and classical songs arranged by internal teams of composers.

Pokémon Go Temporarily Won’t Make You Leave The House Due To Coronavirus, by Patricia Hernandez, Polygon

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, entire businesses and industries are shifting to accommodate increased social distancing. In the case of Pokémon Go, a game that typically requires you to go out into the real world and congregate around points of interest, Niantic will temporarily change various mechanics to help increase the safety of its players.

GoNoodle Launches Motion-sensing Activity Games For Kids, by Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

GoNoodle is launching something it calls “movement games” on smartphones and tablets for kids. The GoNoodle Games app uses the cameras and motion sensors of the devices to detect whether kids are moving and exercising as they should in a game.


Bill Gates Steps Down From Microsoft's Board, by Steven Levy, Wired

When Gates left his software architect job at Microsoft in 2008, he told me that the subjects he tackled at the foundation were more vital than the ones he made about software. He mentioned one decision in particular: he had to choose between two kinds of malaria vaccines to support. “One of those paths saves millions of lives, compared to the other path,” he told me. “I've never had a Microsoft decision that had exactly that character.”

Now he’ll have even fewer Microsoft decisions. Bill’s brain has other work to do.