On iPad Features (or Lack Thereof) at WWDC 2016 ★
In my iOS 10 Wishes story from April, I wrote:
I heard from multiple sources a few weeks ago that some iPad-only
features will be shipped in 10.x updates following the release of
iOS 10 in the Fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if some iPad changes
and feature additions won’t make the cut for WWDC.
I didn’t have high hopes for major iPad-specific features to be
announced at WWDC. Still, I was disappointed to see the iPad
return to the backseat after last year’s revitalization. Every
time Craig Federighi ended a segment with “it works on the iPad,
too”, it felt like the iPad had become an afterthought again.
After WWDC, I strongly believe that Apple has notable iPad-only
features in the pipeline, but they won’t be available until later
in the iOS 10 cycle, possibly in early 2017.
It seems like Apple is shifting to a model where more features roll out in .1, .2, and .3 updates throughout the year, so this makes sense. As for what some of those iPad-specific features might be, Viticci’s own aforelinked wish list is a good start.
Pairing Over Lightning – First Pencil, Next ‘AirPods’? ★
How to pair an Apple Pencil with an iPad Pro:
The first time you use your Apple Pencil, take off its cap and
plug it into the Lightning connector on your iPad Pro. After a few
seconds, you’ll see the Pair button. Tap it.
After you pair your Apple Pencil, it will stay paired until you
restart your iPad, turn on airplane mode, or pair with another
iPad Pro. Just pair your Apple Pencil again when you’re ready
to use it.
There are many pros and cons to using Bluetooth headphones today. One of the cons is the pain of pairing with a device, especially compared to wired headphones. With wired headphones you can switch from using them with your iPhone to your Mac just by unplugging them from the phone and plugging them into your Mac. With Bluetooth headphones you’ve got to go into Settings on the iPhone and unpair, then go to Settings on the Mac to pair again. Then vice-versa when you want to go back.
Spitball: What if Apple is planning on Bluetooth earbuds that include a Lightning jack, like the Pencil? Plug them in to the device you want to pair them with, tap “Pair”, and you’re done. Easy to charge, too. (But again, this only works across iOS and Mac if Macs gain Lightning ports.)
Update: As pointed out by Jason Snell (and others), the new Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad 2 all pair to a Mac by Lightning, too. But those peripherals are Lightning female; the Pencil is Lightning male. Something would have to give for a pair of wireless earbuds that pair by Lightning to work on both iOS devices and Macs. A dongle is of course possible, but would be frequently lost.
Newspaper Front Pages About Brexit From Around the World ★
Feels like The Washington Post really downplayed the magnitude of this story.
Update: The winner: next week’s cover of The New Yorker. Be sure to note the issue date.
New Accessibility Features in iOS, MacOS, tvOS, and WatchOS ★
Jordan Kahn, writing for 9to5Mac last week:
iOS 10 magnifier: In iOS 10 there is a new accessibility feature
called Magnifier that lets you use the camera as a magnifying
glass with a custom UI. The magnifier UI gives you access to the
camera flash, and the ability to lock focus and grab a freeze
frame. You can also adjust color filters to increase contrast for
easier viewing. […]
You can enable it in Settings → General → Accessibility →
Magnifier, and then activate it with a triple tap of the
Tons of great accessibility improvements across all four platforms, but I love this particular one personally.
Why the iPhone Will Not Switch From Lightning to USB-C ★
One of the ideas I’ve seen bandied about regarding the purported removal of the standard headphone jack on this year’s new iPhones is that maybe it’s because the iPhone is switching from Lightning to USB-C. The idea being that switching from one industry-wide standard to another would be more palatable than switching from a standard port to an Apple proprietary one. I say no way.
First, Apple likes having a proprietary port for strategic purposes. They like having control over iOS device peripherals. They like not having to wait for standards bodies to approve new designs and features.
Second, even if Apple wanted to switch to a standard port, they wouldn’t switch to USB-C — it’s significantly thicker than Lightning. Josh Flowers made some excellent renderings in March showing just how much thicker USB-C is than Lightning. That’s the end of the story, right there, if you assume that Apple wants to keep making iPhones thinner and thinner. (And if you don’t assume that, you are wrong.)
Missing the Point on Removal of the iPhone Headphone Jack ★
Steve Streza, “John Gruber Misses the Point Completely About Lightning Headphones”:
John can argue all he wants that this is all somehow in the best
interest of customers by virtue of it being great business for
Apple, but it simply isn’t true. It also won’t be a hill that many
customers will die on at the point of sale. People will not buy
into Lightning headphones, they will put up with it. This
transition will be painful and difficult because of just how
thoroughly entrenched the current solution is, how little the new
solution offers, and how many complications it adds for customers.
Nilay is correct, it is user-hostile, and it is stupid.
I didn’t argue that this change will be good for users. I argued that it could be. We don’t know yet! It might be stupid and user-hostile. It might not be. But if you look at history, these things tend to work out just fine.
Daring Fireball RSS Feed Sponsorships for Summer ★
July and August are pretty much wide open on the sponsorship calendar. If you’ve got a cool product or service to promote to DF’s astute audience, get in touch and let’s fill these spots up.
Apple Discontinues the Thunderbolt Display ★
Apple is discontinuing the Thunderbolt Display, the standard
resolution, external IPS monitor the company has been selling
since 2011. An Apple spokesperson provided us with the following
“We’re discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display,” Apple told
iMore. “It will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail
stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.
There are a number of great third-party options available for
This is a good example of Apple punditry being like Kremlinology. Does this mean Apple is getting out of the standalone display market? Or does it mean, Just wait, we’ve got a retina display coming, but because it isn’t ready to be announced, we won’t talk about it?
I’m guessing the latter, that a 5K display from Apple is coming. But that’s just a guess.
David Sparks on WatchOS 3 ★
David Sparks was brave/foolish enough to put the iOS 10 beta on his daily iPhone, which in turn allowed him to update his Apple Watch to WatchOS 3:
Likewise the watchOS Dock works swimmingly. I’ve pressed the
physical button for the Dock more times in the last week than I
did in the prior year when it was the Friends button. The
background refresh of Dock-based apps is the killer feature here.
I can actually now consider some third party apps that hold time
sensitive data without worrying whether or not they’ll be
I’m quite impressed with Apple’s ability to go back to the drawing
board and improve the user interface of the Apple Watch. I’m even
more impressed, however, that they are squeezing this much better
performance out of the exact same pokey hardware I had a week
ago. I simply didn’t think it was possible.
‘Helvetica’ Director Gary Hustwit Is Kickstartering a Documentary About Dieter Rams ★
Hell yeah, I’m backing this.
The Brexit Ballot Is Simple and Clear ★
Libby Nelson, writing for Vox:
The question is written in plain language: “Should the United
Kingdom remain in the European Union or leave the European Union?”
And while it’s a yes-no question, the options make it perfectly
clear which one you’re choosing and how you should do it. (The
Scottish referendum ballot in 2014 was even clearer: “Should
Scotland be an independent country?”)
This is a very good design — but points off for setting it in Arial.
Is Poor Shift Lever Design to Blame for Death of ‘Star Trek’ Actor Anton Yelchin? ★
Rain Noe, writing for Core77:
Over the weekend Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old actor known for
playing Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies, was killed in what
was referred to as “a freak accident” in his Los Angeles driveway.
But was it really “freak?” It seems to us that lousy design may
have played a role.
Yelchin was found crushed between his car, a 2015 Jeep Grand
Cherokee, and the security gate at the end of his driveway. It
appears that Yelchin had exited his car and walked behind it,
perhaps to close the gate, and apparently believed the
transmission was in “Park.” Instead it appears it was actually in
“Reverse” or “Neutral” and the car rolled down his steep driveway,
This brings us to the design of the 2014-2015 Grand Cherokee’s
That is a horrendous design. Betteridge’s Law be damned, I think the answer to this headline is clearly “Yes”.
Update: Ben Sandofsky shows another bad shifter, from a Chrysler he rented. Chrysler owns Jeep — what the hell is going on over there?
Imagine if Exxon Was Protected From Liability After the Valdez ★
Evan Osnos, author of this week’s New Yorker feature on the U.S. gun industry, in a Reddit AMA:
Anybody — especially people who favor free markets — should
conclude that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was a
big mistake. Imagine if Exxon was protected from liability after
the Valdez? That’s not how markets should work. It will probably
be revised or repealed to make sure that companies are doing safe
work — as with any industry.
Update: The above comment seems to have been deleted from the Reddit thread. But The New Yorker Twitter account even tweeted it as a pull quote.
Can the Light on Modern Mac FaceTime Cameras Be Bypassed by Malware? ★
The previous bit about using tape to cover your laptop camera got me wondering about the indicator light that shows when Mac FaceTime cameras are in use. Back in 2013, security researchers at Johns Hopkins University showed how this could be overridden:
Marcus Thomas, former assistant director of the FBI’s Operational
Technology Division in Quantico, said in a recent story in
The Washington Post that the FBI has been able to covertly
activate a computer’s camera — without triggering the light that
lets users know it is recording — for several years.
Now research from Johns Hopkins University provides the first
public confirmation that it’s possible to do just that, and
demonstrates how. While the research focused on MacBook and iMac
models released before 2008, the authors say similar techniques
could work on more recent computers from a wide variety of
vendors. In other words, if a laptop has a built-in camera, it’s
possible someone — whether the federal government or a malicious
19 year old — could access it to spy on the user at any time.
I’m curious whether this remains true for recent Mac FaceTime cameras. Does the same technique still work?
LeBron James Played Steve Jobs’s Commencement Address to Inspire the Cavs During NBA Finals ★
Ramona Shelburne, writing for ESPN:
LeBron had spent the weekend watching old Muhammad Ali fights, in
awe at the champ’s perseverance. His longtime friend and adviser,
Nike executive Lynn Merritt, had suggested he study the way Ali
carried himself in those epic 12- and 15-round fights. The way Ali
took punches, knowing his opponent would eventually tire. The way
he taunted opponents, flaunting his superior skill and talents,
knowing he would get into their heads. His teammates needed
something else, though. Something they could connect to that would
make them believe this series was not over. And so LeBron gathered
everyone in the Cavaliers locker room before Game 3 and played a
portion of Steve Jobs’ commencement address to Stanford University
Script Debugger 6 ★
Great update to one of my all-time favorite apps. Major new features include code-folding, auto-completion, robust support for AppleScriptObjC (including inspection of Objective-C object values), and a whole lot more. If you write AppleScript, you owe it to yourself to try Script Debugger.
On Covering Your Laptop Camera With Tape ★
Katie Rogers, in a piece for the NYT headlined “Mark Zuckerberg Covers His Laptop Camera. You Should Consider It, Too.”:
On Tuesday, observers were reminded that Mr. Zuckerberg, 32, is
not just a normal guy who enjoys running and quiet dinners with
friends. In a photo posted to his Facebook account, he celebrated
the growing user base of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. An
eagle-eyed Twitter user named Chris Olson noticed that in the
image’s background, his laptop camera and microphone jack appeared
to be covered with tape.
Other publications, including Gizmodo, used the tweet to raise the
question: Was this paranoia, or just good practice?
I think this is nonsense. Malware that can surreptitiously engage your camera can do all sort of other nefarious things. If you can’t trust your camera, you can’t trust your keyboard either. Follow best practices to avoid malware in the first place — don’t install Flash Player, and don’t install software from sketchy sources — and you’ll almost certainly be fine.
(If you look at the photo, Zuckerberg wasn’t even careful applying the tape — it partially covers his display. That would drive me nuts.)
Update: Covering the microphone with tape is downright pointless. Tape blocks light, yes, but not sound waves. Try it.
Long-Term Goals, Short-Term Annoyances ★
Neven Mrgan sums it up in a tweet:
Removing the iPhone headphone jack is a fine long-term goal.
Complaining about the short-term annoyances is also fine. These
Removing the analog headphone jack is inevitable, and the transition is inevitably irritating. This is what makes Apple different. They will initiate a painful transition for a long-term gain. Other companies will avoid inducing pain at all costs — and you wind up using VGA until the mid-2010s.
Adam Leventhal: ‘APFS in Detail’ ★
DTrace co-creator Adam Leventhal has written a detailed analysis of APFS:
I’m not sure Apple absolutely had to replace HFS+, but likely they
had passed an inflection point where continuing to maintain and
evolve the 30+ year old software was more expensive than building
something new. APFS is a product born of that assessment.
Based on what Apple has shown I’d surmise that its core design
- satisfying all consumers (laptop, phone, watch, etc.)
- encryption as a first-class citizen
- snapshots for modernized backup.
Those are great goals that will benefit all Apple users, and based
on the WWDC demos APFS seems to be on track (though the macOS
Sierra beta isn’t quite as far along).
It’s a shame that APFS lacks checksums for user data and doesn’t
provide for data redundancy. Data integrity should be job one for
a file system, and I believe that that’s true for a watch or phone
as much as it is for a server.
I hope to see data integrity features added to APFS later, but that’s not the top priority for APFS. The top priorities for APFS are encryption/privacy, and energy efficiency. Redundancy and checksums make perfect sense for a machine plugged into the wall; they create a trade-off for devices that run on batteries. I think we’ll see these features eventually in APFS, but I’m not surprised they didn’t make the first cut.
See also: “Introducing Apple File System”, Session 701 at WWDC 2016.
Thoughts and Prayers: The Game ★
Brilliant. (Careful with your audio, though — starts loud.)
Update: Turns out this is one of a series of satirical games that were rejected by Apple’s App Store.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act ★
From Evan Osnos’s excellent “Making a Killer” feature for The New Yorker, on the business and politics of selling guns in the U.S.:
With the help of Congress, the industry has avoided further
lawsuits. In 2005, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
immunized gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers from civil
liability for damages caused by their products. Mike Fifer, the
C.E.O. of the U.S. gunmaker Sturm, Ruger, said at an N.R.A.
convention in 2011 that the law is “probably the only reason we
have a U.S. firearms industry anymore.”
This passage jumped out at me. Rescinding this law should be a top priority for gun control advocates. You don’t have to go state by state. There is no Second Amendment angle. Rescind this law and let the victims of gun violence sue the manufacturers and sellers of guns. Personally, I’m all for mandatory background checks, banning high-capacity military rifles, repealing concealed carry laws, and more. But rescinding this one law shielding gun manufacturers and sellers from civil liability seems like the most politically viable first step. Why do I not hear more about this?
(Any movement on gun control is politically unviable so long as Republicans hold either house of Congress, but Democrats held both houses and the presidency as recently as 2011.)
Typeset in the Future: ‘Blade Runner’ ★
Dave Addey does it again.
Tim Cook to Host Paul Ryan Fundraiser Next Week ★
Tony Romm, reporting for Politico:
Apple CEO Tim Cook will host a fundraiser with House Speaker Paul
Ryan next week as the iPhone maker tries to strengthen its
relationships with key Republicans — despite its decision to pull
support for the GOP convention because of its distaste for Donald
Cook is hosting the fundraiser on his own accord, as Apple does
not have a corporate political action committee like Facebook,
Google and other tech giants in Silicon Valley. Still, the move
reflects Apple’s desire to court Republican and Democratic
officeholders alike, even at a time when it has serious
reservations about Trump, the GOP’s presumptive presidential
Trump isn’t merely “distasteful”. He’s radioactive. This is an interesting way to stay above the partisan fray.
20 Years of Iconfactory ★
Nice retrospective, including the archived websites of each of their major web designs. Man, icon design has changed a lot in 20 years.
See also: Exify, Iconfactory’s new iOS app providing a “collection of tools for people who take their iPhone photography seriously”. I’ve been beta-testing it — it’s great.
National Pancreatic Cancer Advocacy Day ★
My wife Michelle Petruzzi was diagnosed with, and died from,
sporadic pancreatic cancer entirely within the past six months.
She was thirty-six and probably the healthiest person I knew.
She was active in many volunteer efforts in our community, she
ran operations for a non-profit encouraging girls in tech, and
she was a kind and generous soul. You can read more in the
If you live in the US, you can help other people affected by
pancreatic cancer by making one or two quick phone calls this
Tuesday, June 21. Read on, or you can get the summary details
and make a difference in just a few minutes.
All cancer sucks, but for those of us in the Apple world, pancreatic cancer really hits home — in a famous way, with Steve Jobs, and now in a very personal way with Michelle. I know Justin, and I was happy to see him this week in San Francisco so I could offer my condolences and warm thoughts in person. But I also told him: if I can ever help you do something in Michelle’s honor, just say the word. And lo, he already has something I can help draw attention to.
It’s so easy:
- Sign up at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Takes about 15 seconds — all they want is your name and email.
- Look for their email on Tuesday, which will tell you who to call and what to say. That’s it.
These coordinated phone calls really make a difference in U.S. politics. And increasing efforts at early detection of pancreatic cancer will save lives.
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The Talk Show: Live From WWDC 2016, With Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi ★
- MailChimp: Send better email.
- Microsoft: Tools and services for any developer, any app, any OS. Really.
- Meh.com: A new deal every day at midnight Eastern.