The Ground-Floor-of-Considerations Edition Wednesday, May 13, 2020

For Apple, Accessibility Awareness Happens All Year Long, by Steven Aquino, Forbes

There is a codified way of doing business at Apple, and accessibility plays a big role. Accessibility is part and parcel of the design process for new products and initiatives within Apple Park. It’s my understanding, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter, accessibility is on the ground floor of considerations when Apple starts development of any product.

While it’s certainly right to laud Apple for recognizing Accessibility Awareness Month, the truth is recognizing accessibility is a continuous project for the company that extends beyond one month or one day. Accessibility awareness is a 365-day affair at Apple. From emoji and WWDC to media events and diversity reports, the company tries hard to ensure people with disabilities are properly represented in just about everything associated with Apple.

Apple's Logic Pro X 10.5 Update Adds Live Loops, New Beat-making Tools, by Carrie Mihalcik, CNET

Apple on Tuesday unveiled Logic Pro X 10.5, a major update to the music-making software that adds new workflow, drum beat and sampling tools. Apple touted the update as the most significant release for the music recording and production platform since the launch of Logic Pro X.


One of the new features in the 10.5 update is Live Loops, a new way for musicians to quickly sketch out arrangements. "Loops, samples, and recordings can be organized into a new musical grid, where musicians can spontaneously perform and capture different arrangement ideas into the timeline," Apple said.

Apple Plans To Add Audio Versions Of Publisher Articles To Apple News+, by Max Willens, Digiday

Over the past several months, Apple has been asking the publishers participating in its year-old premium program for permission to produce audio versions of the stories distributed there, according to sources at four different publishers that have heard the pitch.

Apple will handle production costs, and compensate publishers in the same way it compensates them for the written content available on Apple News+, two sources said; Apple metes out 50% of subscriber revenue to publishers based on how much time those subscribers spend with publishers’ content in a 30-day period.


2020 13-inch MacBook Pro Review: The Standard macOS Workhorse, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

While the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is in most respects very similar to its 2019 predecessor, this update rounds out an overhaul of the MacBook lineup that Apple has had underway for several months.

The result is an effective workhorse machine that fills a gap in the lineup for the kinds of professional and hobbyist users who need strong CPU performance, but for whom graphics are secondary—people like developers and the like.

Directive: A Terrific Way To Manage Recurring Maintenance Tasks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Directive is a task manager designed to remind you of recurring maintenance: things like home and auto maintenance, as well as personal care tasks. These are the kind of to-dos people often want to track the completion of and associate with some additional reference details.

Twobird Combines Email, Notes, Reminders And Collaboration, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

One of the highlights of the app is that it strips away needed elements found in other email apps like repeated signatures and complex formatting.

Sleep Cycle Debuts New Standalone Apple Watch App With Intelligent Wake, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Sleep Cycle is a sleep tracker that analyzes your sleep patterns and uses an intelligent alarm clock to wake you up while you’re in a light sleep. The app syncs all of its data directly to the Health app on iPhone as well.


Apple Coding Challenge Could Kickstart Top Tech Career – And It's Free To Take Part, by Sean Keach, The Sun

Esther said she hopes the challenge will inspire more people to take up coding – and careers in programming.

And she wants Apple's challenges to be accessible, dispelling the myth that coding is just for geeky guys.

“It used to be like, do you want to be a nurse or do this dorky thing called the tech industry? Now it’s for everyone," Esther, who has worked at Apple for 15 years, told us.

My Mac App Store Debate, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

This is supposed to be fun. It’s work that I love doing for a great cause. And I just keep thinking that dealing with the iOS App Store is enough to ask of me, and there’s no requirement that I go through this with the Mac App Store too. The personal cost is just too high.


Apple Plans To Return More Staff To Offices In Break From Rivals, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant plans to bring back employees in phases to its offices, including the main Apple Park campus in Silicon Valley, over a few months, according to people familiar with the plan. The first phase, which includes staff members who can’t work remotely or are facing challenges working from home, has already begun in some regions globally. It will expand to major offices across late May and early June, Apple has told staff.


Apple’s approach to returning to its offices differs greatly from that of other well-known technology companies. It underscores Apple’s longtime focus on in-person meetings and hands-on product development, and the company’s reliance on hardware as its central business.

Apple-Google Virus-Tracking Rules Put Apps In A Privacy Bind, by Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg

The persistent obstacles to a tech fix for contact tracing underscore that there isn’t a clear-cut way to stop the virus while keeping privacy intact, said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington in Seattle who specializes in privacy and technology.

“There’s a role for technology to help with manual contact tracing, but there’s no way to do that that I’ve seen without privacy trade-offs,” Calo said. “You can’t get out of a pandemic with a clever app.”

Bottom of the Page

It doesn't make sense to me for Apple to get into the reading-of-news business. That's what BBC World Service and NPR News and all the other newsradio are doing. Reading of news articles is not going to compete well with BBC.

Now, reading of long-form magazine articles -- that makes more sense to me.

Which brings me to what I believe is a fundamental mistake of Apple News+. Newspaper articles and magazine articles do not mix well in a single subscription offering.


Thanks for reading.