The Bells-and-Whistles Edition Monday, August 7, 2023

Apple Admits There Is A Smartphone Slowdown Ahead Of iPhone 15 Debut, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

After reporting sluggish iPhone sales on Thursday, sending Apple stock sliding, the company disclosed that “the smartphone market has been in a decline for the last couple of quarters in the United States.”


Normally, the iPhone 15’s bells and whistles would be similarly enticing. The Pro model includes borders around the display that are one-third thinner, a titanium frame that feels lighter and more premium than the current stainless-steel design, big camera improvements, a USB-C charging port, and a much faster processor.

But the sales prospects of the new iPhone won’t hinge on features alone. Apple will have to work harder to coax shoppers into opening their wallets.


The Beats Go On: Apple Subsidiary Releases Studio Pro Headphones, Studio Buds+ Earbuds, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Some pine for premium headphones with Apple capabilities yet blanch at the AirPod Max’s high price tag. Beats has a huge base of fans, many of whom have bided their time for flagship cans to replace the aging Studio³ model. Now the Studio Pro headphones await, complete with their USB-C wired playback option.

Others crave earbuds that offer the best feature set for the money. Only on the Beats side will you find capabilities like active noise cancellation and transparency mode at mid-level pricing. Style matters to some, too. The translucent Studio Buds+ are a refreshing change from the tiresomely white AirPods.

Callsheet Provides Movie And TV Details With An Uncluttered Native Interface, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Callsheet is designed for those times that you want to know more about the people behind a movie or TV show but find the ads in apps and on websites, like IMDb, frustrating. If that resonates with you, and you’re not interested in tracking what you’ve watched, Callsheet offers a better experience for finding cast and crew information.


Why Thread Is Matter’s Biggest Problem Right Now, by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, The Verge

But the biggest issue is the inability of the major platforms to get their act together and agree on how to implement one of Thread’s biggest benefits: a shared mesh network that any border router from any manufacturer can join to provide you with a robust, fail-safe, local smart home network.

This failure is not purely technical; it’s mostly political. The CSA and the Thread Group have left it up to the platforms and device manufacturers to figure out how to share this powerful new network in your home.

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One last reminder: I'll be taking a sabbatical soon. I'm still deciding, but I'll probably time my break from this website around the launch of the new iPhones.

Meanwhile, you may see this website not being updated on certain days.

Thanks for reading and understanding.