The Press-Play Edition Tuesday, July 14, 2020

How Many Tech Titans Does It Take To Change A Light Switch?, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Ever since the iPhone’s touchscreen slew the BlackBerry’s keyboard more than a decade ago, software has made buttons infinitely malleable.

However, that can also make them more ambiguous. Tactile, single-purpose buttons are blunt but effective instruments. Everyone knew how to press play on an iPod or VCR, sometimes without even having to look. Once designers leave that obviousness behind, they risk confusing people.

Apple Pessimistic On Full 2020 Return To U.S. Offices, Pushes Retail To Work Remote, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is pushing retail staff to work remotely as the virus forces the company to shut some of its stores again, according to a video message sent to employees. It is also shipping Covid-19 test kits to employees’ homes, and told staff in a memo that a full return to U.S. offices won’t occur before the end of the year.

In a video shared with Apple retail employees over the weekend, Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, pressed employees working at stores that have closed again to begin working from home to serve customers buying or seeking support for products online or over the phone.


Apple Highlights Hardware And Apps In ‘The Whole Work-From-Home Thing’, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The new video follows the same group of colleagues as they attempt to design an all-new box while working from home. The story follows the quartet as they work around the clock on a tight deadline while juggling personal obligations and coping with working remotely.

The pace is frenetic. Over the course of the multi-day ordeal, the group turns to their Macs, iPads, and iPhones to come up with ideas and design the box. They also rely on a wide array of apps, including third-party apps like MindNode and Adobe InDesign.

Ulysses Gets Redesigned Dashboard With Style And Grammar Checker, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The grammar and style check is an integration of the LanguageTool Plus service, and can analyze texts and provide informed suggestions in categories such as capitalization, punctuation, semantics, redundancy, typography, and style.


Why Older People Really Eschew Technology. (It’s Not Because They Don’t Understand It.), by Joelle Renstrom, Slate

There’s a widespread idea that seniors are technologically illiterate or dislike devices, but that’s not necessarily the case. Instead, older adults adopt tech they find useful and resist tech they don’t. In normal times, that can be problematic when it comes to filing online forms or accessing test results. But in the pandemic, when internet connectivity drives social engagement and medical care, this misconception could be deadly. Roughly 27 percent of Americans over 65 are not online, and understanding why is key to changing that. If companies designed devices and software with value for seniors, not as many older people would find themselves on the other side of the digital divide. During a pandemic, that could save lives.

Apple Pays Samsung An Estimated $950 Million For Missing OLED Panel Purchase Targets, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Samsung last week shared guidance on revenue and operating profit for the second quarter of 2020, which included a one-time gain related to its display business. The one-time payment is believed to be from Apple, caused by Apple purchasing fewer than expected OLED panels for smartphones during the second quarter of the year.

Bottom of the Page

A few years ago, my wife made an obseration about my outlook: As I grew older, I've had become more pessimistic. And now, in these stranges times, it is probably expected that I am waking up pessmistic more than optimistic.

There was a study recently that claimed that middle-age misery peaks at around age 47. Perhaps this warrants a revision today. I'm on the other side of the peak -- and it is not getting better.


Thanks for reading.