The Natural-and-Crisp Edition Thursday, July 20, 2023

Beats Studio Pro Headphones Review: Leaning On A Legacy, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Just like Apple, Beats claims the Studio Pros analyze your surroundings tens of thousands of times per second — marketing gobbledygook that no average person could ever possibly verify — but the upgraded microphone array did a good job of cutting down the clamor at my local coffee shop in the middle of a weekday. Transparency mode is also quite good. Even if it’s a step below the $200 more expensive AirPods Max, your surroundings come through sounding natural, crisp, and without any noticeable latency. Battery life still tops out at 40 hours with noise cancellation turned off and around 24 hours if you’ve got it on (or are using transparency mode).


When connected to a source device over USB-C, the Studio Pros support lossless and high-res audio playback up to 24bit / 48kHz from compatible sources like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Qobuz, and others. Curiously, when USB-C playback is active, you lose all access to noise cancellation and transparency modes. This is by design, according to Beats, but I’m still confused as to why or what technical limitation forces you to choose between ANC or richer audio. Either way, if you’re hoping to have a hi-fi listening session on a plane, be prepared for some background cabin hum to bleed through. Even more strange is that noise cancellation and transparency do work over a regular old headphone jack connection, so USB-C is the odd one out.

Apple Slams UK Surveillance-bill Proposals, by Zoe Kleinman, BBC

Apple says it will remove services such as FaceTime and iMessage from the UK rather than weaken security if new proposals are made law and acted upon.


It would not make changes to security features specifically for one country that would weaken a product for all users.

Coming Soon?

Apple Tests ‘Apple GPT,’ Develops Generative AI Tools To Catch OpenAI, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The iPhone maker has built its own framework to create large language models — the AI-based systems at the heart of new offerings like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard — according to people with knowledge of the efforts. With that foundation, known as “Ajax,” Apple also has created a chatbot service that some engineers call “Apple GPT.”


Beyond the state of the technology, Apple is still trying to determine the consumer angle for generative AI. It’s now working on several related initiatives — a cross-company effort between its AI and software engineering groups, as well as the cloud services engineering team that would supply the infrastructure for any significant new features. While the company doesn’t yet have a concrete plan, people familiar with the work believe Apple is aiming to make a significant AI-related announcement next year.

Of Course Apple Has An LLM AI Chatbot In The Works, And Of Course The Bloomberg Report Revealing Its Code Name Mentions How The Story Moved The Company’s Stock Price, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Once you view Bloomberg’s original reporting through this prism — that most of their original reporting is delivered with the goal of moving the stock prices of the companies they’re reporting on, for the purpose of proving the value of a Bloomberg Terminal’s hefty subscription fee to day-trading gamblers — a lot of their seemingly inexplicable stylistic quirks don’t seem so inexplicable any more. They just seem a little gross.


Final Cut Pro For iPad Gets Its First Big New Feature Update, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Available for download via the App Store now, the new update includes the addition of a number of new keyboard shortcuts as well as the usual array of fixed bugs and stability improvements.

The Banned Books Club Is An E-reader App That Can Get You Over The Firewall., by Janet Manley, Literary Hub

To get from one side of the U.S. to the other is to criss-cross a veritable snakes and ladders of state and county-level legislation and policy. If you’re after a particular title by Toni Morrison or Margaret Atwood, you might find that it’s available in Georgia, and effectively banned next door in Florida. A new initiative from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), launched in concert with the Palace Project, hopes to toss a ladder to people living in places where access is restricted.


Unity’s Apple Vision Pro Game Development Tool Opens In Beta, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Unity this morning announced that it has opened the beta version of its development platform for visionOS. PolySpatial, which was announced in conjunction with Vision Pro headset at WWDC, is designed to help developers port and create a 3D experience for Apple’s “spatial computing” platform.

Bottom of the Page

Once upon a time, the rumors were Disney was going to buy Apple. (Turned out NeXT bought Apple, instead.) Now, the rumors are Disney is going to sell to Apple. (And, no, I don't think that will happen.)


Thanks for reading.