Tuesday, 20 February 2018
iOS 11 finally added a long-awaited feature for those of us who care about typographic details: smart punctuation. You can turn this on in Settings → General → Keyboards. When enabled, quotes and apostrophes (like "this" and 'this') are automatically turned into their proper counterparts (like “this” and ‘this’), two hyphens in a row (--) are turned into a proper em-dash (—), etc.
I say “finally” because MacOS has had the feature in the standard text editing system for many years, and I can’t think of a good reason why it wasn’t in iOS years ago. I can say it’s not a difficult programming job to solve because I’ve solved it in the more difficult context of smartening punctuation in prose without messing up the necessary dumb quotes inside HTML tags.
In some recent update to iOS (I think 11.2.5, but it might have been an earlier 11.2.x update), smart punctuation stopped working in Messages — and as far as I can tell, only Messages. Why? My best guess: unintended consequences when sending SMS messages.
Here’s a thread on Apple’s help forum addressing the issue. SMS is such an old standard that it was designed with the ASCII character set in mind. An SMS message containing only ASCII characters can contain up to 160 characters. Include even just a single non-ASCII character, though — such as a curly quote or apostrophe, or an emoji — and the entire message must be encoded using a 16-bit alphabet, limiting the message to just 70 characters because the length of the message in bytes remains fixed by the protocol.1
In short: if you stick to dumb quotes, you can put 160 characters in an SMS message. Include just one smart/curly quote, and you only get 70 characters.
I don’t know for sure that this is why iOS 11’s smart punctuation feature no longer works in Messages, but it’s the only explanation that I can think of. (I’ve seen some speculation that this might be a machine learning bug, but machine learning bugs, like the infamous “I → weird-looking A” fiasco from a few months ago, aren’t limited to one app like Messages. And “Smart Punctuation” is a separate setting from “Predictive Text” in the Settings app — you can use either without the other.)
But if I’m right about why, then why does it apply to iMessage messages — a.k.a. blue-bubble messages — too? iMessage messages aren’t limited by the antiquated constraints of SMS in any other way, so why limit them typographically?
This is a story with a happy ending, because it looks like iOS 11.3 will fix this. After installing today’s new 11.3 developer beta on both an iPad and iPhone, smart punctuation is back when writing a (blue) iMessage, and is disabled only when writing a (green) SMS.2
Twitter Abolishes Native Mac Client ★
We’re focusing our efforts on a great Twitter experience that’s
consistent across platforms. So, starting today the Twitter for
Mac app will no longer be available for download, and in 30 days
will no longer be supported.
For the full Twitter experience on Mac, visit Twitter on web.
It’s hard to overstate just how great a native Mac experience Twitter owned when they acqui-hired Tweetie and Loren Brichter. It was pure Twitter and pure forward-thinking Mac UI. Now, Mac users get the same first-party experience that everyone gets on any other platform.
Twitter dumped Tweetie’s codebase years ago, of course, and their Mac app has been garbage ever since they did. It’s all fine, really, so long as they continue to allow third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific to exist. But this “Mac users should just use the website” attitude is exactly what I was talking about here as an existential threat to the future of the Mac.
People choose the Mac because they want the best experience — not the same experience they can get on a $200 Chromebook.
DFW: ‘Roger Federer as Religious Experience’ ★
Worth a re-link. David Foster Wallace in 2006 on then-25-year-old Roger Federer:
The Moments are more intense if you’ve played enough tennis to
understand the impossibility of what you just saw him do. We’ve
all got our examples. Here is one. It’s the finals of the 2005
U.S. Open, Federer serving to Andre Agassi early in the fourth
set. There’s a medium-long exchange of groundstrokes, one with the
distinctive butterfly shape of today’s power-baseline game,
Federer and Agassi yanking each other from side to side, each
trying to set up the baseline winner…until suddenly Agassi hits
a hard heavy cross-court backhand that pulls Federer way out wide
to his ad (=left) side, and Federer gets to it but slices the
stretch backhand short, a couple feet past the service line, which
of course is the sort of thing Agassi dines out on, and as
Federer’s scrambling to reverse and get back to center, Agassi’s
moving in to take the short ball on the rise, and he smacks it
hard right back into the same ad corner, trying to wrong-foot
Federer, which in fact he does — Federer’s still near the corner
but running toward the centerline, and the ball’s heading to a
point behind him now, where he just was, and there’s no time to
turn his body around, and Agassi’s following the shot in to the
net at an angle from the backhand side…and what Federer now does
is somehow instantly reverse thrust and sort of skip backward
three or four steps, impossibly fast, to hit a forehand out of his
backhand corner, all his weight moving backward, and the forehand
is a topspin screamer down the line past Agassi at net, who lunges
for it but the ball’s past him, and it flies straight down the
sideline and lands exactly in the deuce corner of Agassi’s side, a
winner — Federer’s still dancing backward as it lands. And
there’s that familiar little second of shocked silence from the
New York crowd before it erupts, and John McEnroe with his color
man’s headset on TV says (mostly to himself, it sounds like), “How
do you hit a winner from that position?” And he’s right: given
Agassi’s position and world-class quickness, Federer had to send
that ball down a two-inch pipe of space in order to pass him,
which he did, moving backwards, with no setup time and none of his
weight behind the shot. It was impossible. It was like something
out of “The Matrix.” I don’t know what-all sounds were involved,
but my spouse says she hurried in and there was popcorn all over
the couch and I was down on one knee and my eyeballs looked like
Anyway, that’s one example of a Federer Moment, and that was
merely on TV — and the truth is that TV tennis is to live tennis
pretty much as video porn is to the felt reality of human love.
Oh how I wish Wallace were still alive to see Federer reclaim the world’s number one ranking at the heretofore unheard of age of 36.
Lauren Goode vs. Lauren Goode: iPhone X vs. Pixel 2 ★
Such a gimmicky gimmick, yes, but Lauren Goode does this so fucking well. I just love it. Technically it’s pretty darn good, but substantially it’s downright amazing: she makes wonderfully accurate cases for both phones.
How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment ★
Michael Waldman, writing for Politico in 2014:
From 1888, when law review articles first were indexed, through
1959, every single one on the Second Amendment concluded it did
not guarantee an individual right to a gun. The first to argue
otherwise, written by a William and Mary law student named Stuart
R. Hays, appeared in 1960. He began by citing an article in the
NRA’s American Rifleman magazine and argued that the amendment
enforced a “right of revolution,” of which the Southern states
availed themselves during what the author called “The War Between
At first, only a few articles echoed that view. Then, starting in
the late 1970s, a squad of attorneys and professors began to churn
out law review submissions, dozens of them, at a prodigious rate.
Funds — much of them from the NRA — flowed freely. An essay
contest, grants to write book reviews, the creation of “Academics
for the Second Amendment,” all followed. In 2003, the NRA
Foundation provided $1 million to endow the Patrick Henry
professorship in constitutional law and the Second Amendment at
George Mason University Law School.
This fusillade of scholarship and pseudo-scholarship insisted that
the traditional view — shared by courts and historians — was
wrong. There had been a colossal constitutional mistake. Two
centuries of legal consensus, they argued, must be overturned.
We don’t need to repeal the 2nd Amendment — although I think we should, insofar as it is inexplicably ambiguously written and punctuated — we just need to flip the Supreme Court to interpret it as it had been from 1789 through 2008.
‘Paul Ryan: No “Knee Jerk” Reactions on Guns. Ever.’ ★
These mass shootings in the U.S. are like a perverse version of Groundhog Day. Republicans say the exact same things in response, every time, as though it’s the first time.
Democrats need to stop playing nice and start pounding home over and over that the Republicans are a party that is committed to accepting regular school shootings in the name of gun rights.
Every Member of Congress Who Took Money From the NRA and Tweeted ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Parkland ★
103 Republicans, 1 Democrat.
It’s not “Congress” as a whole that refuses to take action.
(Also, it’s not a complete list. My own Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) has taken boatloads of money from pro-gun groups and tweeted this in response to yesterday’s massacre, which I think clearly counts as a “thoughts and prayers” tweet.)
Et Tu, Sonos? ★
Mike Prospero, writing for Tom’s Guide:
When I got home, I saw a large white ring, a telltale indication
that the HomePod’s silicone base had messed up the finish. But, as
I was inspecting the damage, I noticed a series of smaller white
marks near where the HomePod was sitting.
A closer inspection revealed that the Sonos One speaker, which
also has small silicone feet, had made these marks on my cabinet.
Looking around the top of the cabinet, I noticed a bunch of little
white marks, all left from the Sonos Ones as I moved them around.
So, they will damage your wood furniture, too.
Strategy Analytics Claims Apple Took Over Half of Worldwide Phone Revenue Last Quarter ★
Evan Niu, The Motley Fool:
Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston points out that
“Apple now accounts for more revenue than the rest of the entire
global smartphone industry combined.” iPhone ASP is flirting with
$800, while the broader industry’s ASP is approximately $300. This
latter metric was up 18% year over year, as both Apple and Samsung
saw success with their respective premium flagships. Samsung’s
Note 8 and Galaxy S8 remain popular, but Samsung is also a large
player in terms of unit volumes at the lower ends of the market.
However, the South Korean conglomerate has seen its position in
low-cost smartphones slip in large markets like China, leading to
its ASP jumping 21% to $254.
Their numbers put iPhone revenue at 51 percent of the market, Samsung’s at 16, and Huawei’s at 7. You don’t hear much these days from the folks who thought the higher price of the iPhone X was a bad idea.
We’ve Reached the Point Where People Are Giving Up on Schools ★
Actual headline in an op-ed from the Miami Herald today: “In the Wake of the Douglas High Massacre, Is Home Schooling a Better Option?” That’s how ridiculous our situation has become. People are starting to question whether the problem is with sending kids to school, not with pervasive access to military weapons.
‘No Way to Prevent This’, Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens ★
The Onion posts the same headline after every mass shooting in the U.S., and every time they do it, it’s more apt than ever.
That’s the shot. Here’s the chaser: “Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack”.
‘The Gun Is Our Moloch’ ★
Garry Wills, writing for The New York Review five years ago, after the Sandy Hook grade school massacre:
The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?
Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.
Our gun laws are insane. We, collectively, have agreed that regular mass shootings, often at schools — schools! — are a reasonable price to pay as a nation for unfettered access to military-grade killing machines for anyone and everyone who wants one.
It’s sick. Everyone outside the U.S. knows this. A majority of Americans knows this and supports stricter gun control.
There are new gun laws being drafted. But you know what most of them are for? For making guns even easier to purchase legally, without background checks.
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
There’s a part of me that loathes posting self-promotional stuff here on Daring Fireball. There’s another part of me that wants to sell ads and keep this thing afloat, and knows that I sell more ads when I periodically mention that there are ads for sale.
Right now there are three ways to sponsor my work:
Weekly sponsorships. I just updated the public-facing schedule, and there are a few openings in the coming weeks. And, this very week remains open (long story short: last-minute cancellation). Given that it’s already Wednesday, the remainder of this week could be yours for a substantial discount. Get in touch.
These weekly sponsorships have been the number one source of revenue for Daring Fireball ever since I started selling them back in 2007. They’ve succeeded, I think, because they make everyone happy. They generate good money. There’s only one sponsor per week and the sponsors are always relevant to at least some sizable portion of the DF audience, so you, the reader, are never annoyed and hopefully often intrigued by them. And, from the sponsors’ perspective, they work. My favorite thing about them is how many sponsors return for subsequent weeks after seeing the results.
Display ads. These are new — my little homegrown replacement for The Deck (R.I.P.). I’ve been selling these since last summer, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned them enough here. Right now I’m selling spots for March for $3,500. I don’t have a landing page to promote them, but if you’re interested, get in touch. (You can also buy both a weekly sponsorship and a display ad and get a discount.)
Sponsoring The Talk Show. This is something I seldom mention here on Daring Fireball, but I think sponsoring The Talk Show would be a great opportunity for a lot of the same services and products that sponsor the website. I love the regular sponsors of the show — and the fact that so many of them return repeatedly speaks well to the results they see. But I would love to get some more variety into the list of sponsors for the show. I don’t sell these myself, but if you have a product or service you think would be of interest to The Talk Show’s audience, get in touch with Jessie Char at Neat.fm. We still have a few openings for the remainder of Q1, and first-time sponsors are eligible for a rate below the listed price of $4,000 per spot. ★
Nick Heer: ‘Reports of Google’s Newfound Design Prowess Have Been Greatly Exaggerated’ ★
Nick Heer on the new YouTube app for Apple TV:
None of these elements behaves as you might expect, primarily
because the YouTube app doesn’t interpret swipes and scrolls
like any other app. There’s no audible blip whenever you
select something, and swiping around manages to be both sluggish
The frustratingly slow scrolling is especially pronounced on the
aforementioned horizontal navigation element because swiping just
a little too far to the left will open the modal main menu panel
that covers a third of the screen.
The slow scrolling is also apparent in the main menu panel. The
scrolling “friction”, for lack of a better term, is such that
swiping down just a little is unlikely to have any effect, and
swiping down just a little bit more will move the selector down
two menu items. It can be very difficult to get it to move one
menu item at a time.
It’s a terrible, terrible Apple TV app. Much like Amazon’s new Prime Video app, it looks and feels like it was designed and implemented by people who’ve never even used an Apple TV.
Facebook Is Pushing Its Data-Tracking Onavo VPN Within Its Main Mobile App ★
Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:
Onavo Protect, the VPN client from the data-security app maker
acquired by Facebook back in 2013, has now popped up in the
Facebook iOS app itself, under the banner “Protect” in the
navigation menu. Clicking through on “Protect” will redirect
Facebook users to the “Onavo Protect — VPN Security” app’s
listing on the App Store.
This is spyware. If you use Onavo, Facebook can and will track you everywhere you go on the Internet.
Kottke on the State of Blogging ★
Jason Kottke, in a fascinating interview with Laura Hazard Owen for the Nieman Journalism Lab:
Melancholy, I think, is the exact right word. Personally, I think
I felt a lot worse about it maybe three, four years ago. I was
like, crap, what am I going to do here? I can see where this is
going, I can see that more and more people are going to go to
Facebook, and to mobile, and to all of these social apps and stuff
like that, and there’s going to be less and less of a space in
there for blogs like mine. I can’t churn out 60 things a day and
play that social game where you use the shotgun approach to spit
stuff out there and see what sticks. I’ve got to do four, five,
six things that are good, really good. Since then, though, I’ve
sort of come to terms with that. I’m like: Okay, if I can just
keep going it, just keep doing it, it will work itself out
somehow. I don’t know why I think that, but I kind of do.
The membership thing was actually really helpful in that regard,
because within a pretty short amount of time, there was a lot of
signal that people really appreciate what it is I do, enough that
they’re willing to pay for it. It was kind of like, holy shit,
we’re all in this together. I knew before that there were people
who really into the site and who really like it, and that’s always
been great to know and to get that feedback in the inbox and via
Twitter and stuff like that. But to actually have those people
pony up some dough changed my whole mindset about how I feel about
I have many thoughts on the rise and decline of blogging — many of them stirred up recently, with Dean Allen’s death. Dean’s passing felt like the punctuation mark ending an era. There are a lot of great blogs still going, but as old ones drop off, there aren’t many new ones taking their places. It ain’t like it used to be.
David Pogue Conducts Blind Test of HomePod Against Competitors ★
Of course, I knew what the results would be. I’d heard them myself
in the Apple demo; I’d read the other reviews; and I’d done the
dress rehearsal the night before. Every time, the HomePod won the
At the end of my own listening test, then, I handed out signs that
said “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D,” and asked the panelists to hold up
their winners’ signs on the count of three. I knew what they would
say: “B,” “B,” “B,” “B,” and “B” (that was the HomePod’s letter).
That’s not what happened.
Interesting results. I wonder about Pogue’s claim that the curtain he hid the speakers behind didn’t affect the sound, though.
HomePod Can Damage Wood Furniture ★
Jon Chase, in Wirecutter’s review of HomePod:
An unhappy discovery after we placed a HomePod on an oiled
butcher-block countertop and later on a wooden side table was that
it left a defined white ring in the surface. Other reviewers and
owners (such as Pocket-lint, and folks on Twitter) have
reported the same issue, which an Apple representative has
confirmed. Apple says “the marks can improve over several days
after the speaker is removed from the wood surface,” and if they
don’t fade on their own, you can basically just go refinish the
furniture — the exact advice Apple gave in an email to Wirecutter
was to “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested
oiling method.” This really undermines the design aspect of the
HomePod — especially if you were thinking of displaying it on
some prized piece of furniture — and it will surely be a sore
point for many potential buyers. In other testing, we have seen no
visible damage when using it on glass, granite countertop, nice
MDF, polyurethane-sealed wood, and cheap IKEA bookcases. We also
tested the HomePod in the same place a Sonos One regularly lives
— and the Sonos hasn’t caused damage in months of use.
I haven’t seen anything like this, but I haven’t placed a HomePod on stained wood, either. Anyone who runs into this should be outraged. I honestly don’t see how this could happen. Apple has been making products that go on shelves and tables for years — AirPort base stations, Apple TV, various docks — and I’ve never seen a report of damage to a surface. I guess the difference with HomePod is that the base factors into the acoustics, but still, this seems like an issue that should have been caught during the period where HomePod was being widely tested at home by many Apple employees.
Update: Federico Viticci:
Like many recent Apple PR debacles, this HomePod ring problem
could have been easily avoided by simply… telling people
Explain how things work. Even the obvious ones. Be proactive.
Don’t wait until people discover issues to spin the narrative back
in your control.
There Are No Competitive Smartwatch Chips From Qualcomm ★
Ron Amadeo, writing for Ars Technica:
Ars Technica would like to wish a very special second birthday to
the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC. While most flagship SoCs
have a life cycle of about one year on the top of the market, over
the weekend the Wear 2100 will celebrate two years as the least
awful smartwatch SoC you can use in an Android Wear device. It’s
positively ancient at this point.
Seriously though, Qualcomm has seemingly abandoned the smartwatch
market. The Wear 2100 SoC was announced in February 2016, Qualcomm
skipped out on an upgrade for February 2017, and it doesn’t seem
like we’re getting a new smartwatch chip any time soon.
At this point, Apple and Samsung are the only two names in the game. And you don’t hear any stories about Samsung watches selling well, so I’m not sure how much in the game they are, either.
Claim Chowder on Yours Truly Regarding a June Claim Chowder Regarding Whether the HomePod Has a ‘Touchscreen’ ★
Yours truly in June, after first seeing HomePod:
HomePod has a touchscreen on top.
Clearly, we now know that’s wrong. Paul Kafasis called me out on this during the most recent episode of The Talk Show, and it’s clear that I was wrong. It certainly is a touch panel, and it does light up and animate, but whatever you want call the part that lights up and animates, it’s not a screen in the sense of being a display that can render arbitrary pixels. The “+” and “-” buttons are hardware touch buttons, and the Siri animation is the only thing that can be shown in the middle.
Steven Sinofsky on Apple’s Software Problem ★
Terrific Twitter thread by Steven Sinofsky:
What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance
between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a
discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and
growth. You don’t just show up and say you want all three and get
What happens to a growing project over time is that processes and
approaches need to re-thought. It just means that how things once
scaled — tools like deciding features, priorities, est.
schedules, integration test, etc — are no longer scaling as well.
That happens. […]
What I think it happening at Apple now is not more dramatic than
that. What they had been doing got to a point where it needs an
adjustment. Reality is that for many at Apple it feels dramatic
b/c it might be first time they have gone through a substantial
Inside Apple’s HomePod Audio Lab ★
The noise and vibration lab was set up years ago to work on
unwanted noise from Macs. At the time, this lab was very focused
on fan and hard drive noise, but over the years it has expanded
into electronic noise as well.
“Reducing fan and hard drive noise” is such a fun origin story for a lab that is more relevant to the company (and seemingly better-funded — see below for the insane specs for their newer anechoic chambers, which Apple claims were designed and built just for HomePod) today than ever. This is the same lab that tests and helps design the ever-improving speakers in iPhones and iPads — neither of which product has ever had a fan or hard drive.
The last chamber I saw was designed to listen specifically for
electronic noise. For example, you don’t want HomePod to make any
kind of noise when it’s plugged in, but not in use. If it was
sitting on your night table, you wouldn’t want a hum or buzz
coming from it.
Geaves said that the extent you have to isolate this chamber
is even more important because you are listening for really
The chamber itself sits on 28 tons of concrete. The panels are one
foot thick which is another 27 tons of material, and there are 80
isolating mounts between the actual chamber and the concrete slab
it sits on.
The chamber is designed to be -2 dBA, which is lower than the
threshold of human hearing. This basically provides complete
I was on the same tour of this lab that Dalrymple was, and at this moment Geaves had us remain silent for 10 seconds or so, just to appreciate what true silence sounds like. It was… unnerving.
Designing Farrago ★
Neale Van Fleet on designing Rogue Amoeba’s new soundboard app Farrago:
Despite a key element of the app being up in the air, work was
progressing in many other areas. Eventually, I knew we needed to
figure out a way to solve the problem of how tiles would look. To
break out of my rut, I decided to bring in outside viewpoints.
I reached out to my social network here in Montreal, and sought
out the sort of people who might use a soundboard app —
podcasters, radio folks, theatre techs, and more. I bribed several
of them with free lunches, during which I showed them mockups and
got their responses.
The feedback I got was immediate and consistent: Prospective users
didn’t want to rely on a mouse or trackpad to play clips at all!
They wanted to use their Mac’s physical keyboard to play sounds.
Though I’d been focused on providing access to many controls right
on the tile face, it turned out that mouse-based controls should
I love looking at an app progress from a pencil sketch all the way through to the end result.
An Audiophile’s Review of HomePod ★
Reddit user “WinterCharm”:
TL;DR: I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than
the KEF X300A. If you’re new to the Audiophile world, KEF is a
very well respected and much loved speaker company. I actually
deleted my very first measurements and re-checked everything
because they were so good, I thought I’d made an error. Apple has
managed to extract peak performance from a pint sized speaker, a
feat that deserves a standing ovation. The HomePod is 100% an
audiophile grade speaker.
Monday, 12 February 2018
Peter Ammon, former AppKit engineer at Apple, in a comment in a Hacker News thread regarding a report positing that the ability of Mac apps — even sandboxed ones — to capture screenshots of the entire screen is a security problem:
IMO the app sandbox was a grievous strategic mistake for the Mac.
Cocoa-based Mac apps are rapidly being eaten by web apps and
Electron pseudo-desktop apps. For Mac apps to survive, they must
capitalize on their strengths: superior performance, better system
integration, better dev experience, more features, and higher
But the app sandbox strikes at all of those. In return it offers
security inferior to a web app, as this post illustrates. The
price is far too high and the benefits too little.
IMO Apple should drop the Mac app sandbox altogether (though
continue to sandbox system services, which is totally sensible,
and maybe retain something geared towards browsers.) The code
signing requirements and dev cert revocation, which has been
successfully used to remotely disable malware, will be sufficient
security: the Mac community is good at sussing out bad actors. But
force Mac devs to castrate their apps even more, and there won’t
be anything left to protect.
In a follow-up comment, Ammon enumerates why truly native Cocoa apps are both worth creating and better to use.
I’m with Ammon: I think the Mac’s (relatively) recent move to cryptographically signed applications — with certificates that can be revoked by Apple — has been a win all around for security. But I don’t think the Mac sandbox has. The sandboxed nature of all iOS apps works because that’s how iOS was designed from the ground up. That’s why iOS is a better platform than the Mac for non-expert users in most ways. But the Mac was not designed with sandboxing in mind, and in many ways sandboxing works against what keeps the Mac relevant alongside iOS. As I wrote seven years ago: “It’s the heaviness of the Mac that allows iOS to remain light.”
The whole point of the Mac is to be a great platform for native Mac apps. Sandboxing doesn’t help Mac apps do more. If the Mac devolves into a platform where people just use web browsers and cross-platform Electron apps, it might as well not exist, because the only remaining thing that would distinguish it from other desktop OSes is iCloud integration.
Mac apps have been able to “see” the entire display ever since the Mac debuted. The Mac needs the power to allow the user to shoot themselves in the foot. Or perhaps better said, the Mac needs the power for apps to shoot the user in the foot. On the Mac, you need to trust any software you install, particularly from outside the App Store. A Mac where all apps are guaranteed “safe” is no longer a Mac. Further restricting sandboxed Mac apps would be solving a problem the platform doesn’t have. The real problems facing the Mac are the number of developers creating non-native “Mac” apps and the number of users who don’t have a problem with them. ★
IDC: Apple Watch Outsold the Entire Swiss Watch Industry in Holiday Quarter ★
Kif Leswing, writing for Business Insider:
The company best known for making iPhones outsold Rolex, Omega,
and even Swatch last quarter — combined.
That’s according to Apple Watch sales estimates from industry
researcher Canalys and IDC, and publicly released shipment
statistics from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
Canalys estimates that Apple sold 8 million Apple Watches in the
last quarter of 2017.
This doesn’t really prove anything other than that Apple Watch is selling pretty well, but you can see that with your own eyes just by looking for them on people’s wrists out in the world. I see Apple Watches every day, worn by people from all walks of life. These stats from 2016 claim the average price of a Swiss watch was $739. Last fall Horace Dediu pegged the average selling price of an Apple Watch at $330, which sounds about right to my ears — most people buy the base aluminum models, and if they “upgrade”, it’s by buying an extra band or two.
Apple doesn’t reveal official sales figures for the Apple Watch,
making comparisons like this one difficult.
Instead, it bundles Apple Watch sales into an “other products”
category — which led some people, including yours truly, to brand
the device a “flop,” as it seemed like Apple was glossing over
And for awhile, especially in 2016, it did look like sales growth
stalled. But based on data points provided by Apple officials on
earnings call earlier this month, it’s possible for analysts to
calculate a strong estimate of units and revenue.
I can get being bearish on Apple Watch sales back in 2015, when you just didn’t see many of them in the wild, and when Apple’s “Other” category didn’t seem to have a large bump. But the fact that Apple has reported Apple Watch sales in the “Other” category is something Tim Cook announced in September 2014, more than six months before the product went on sale, and he was very clear that the reason was the competitive value of the information. Apple could have sold 10 times more watches than expected and they still would have reported them under “Other”.
Mark Gurman on Apple’s OS Development Strategy ★
Mark Gurman, in a solo-bylined piece for Bloomberg:
These features were delayed after Apple Inc. concluded it needed
its own major upgrade in the way the company develops and
introduces new products. Instead of keeping engineers on a
relentless annual schedule and cramming features into a single
update, Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates
for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people
familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its
software annually, but internally engineers will have more
discretion to push back features that aren’t as polished to the
This is the best story from Gurman in a while (see below), but I’m not so sure the above is a new strategy so much as a tacit admission of what’s actually been going on the last few years. Take iMessage in the Cloud — it was supposed to ship with iOS 11 (and I think MacOS 10.13) in the fall, but still hasn’t shipped. It’s in the iOS 11.3 beta, but even if 11.3 ships this month, it’ll be nearly 6 months late. It sounds to me like Apple is just being realistic, acknowledging that some projects can’t be finished in a year. I don’t expect any fewer new features than usual in the iOS 12 demo at WWDC — but perhaps more of them will actually ship in the fall, rather than being delayed until point updates (like iMessages in the Cloud, Apple Pay Cash, and AirPlay 2 last year — two of which still haven’t shipped).
[Update: What I mean by the above is that Apple always has more features in a new version of iOS or MacOS than they have time to demo on stage. They always have those slides with all the new stuff they didn’t have time to mention. I think they’ll still have 8-10 tentpole new features for iOS and MacOS to announce and demo at WWDC this year. From the outside, I don’t think it’ll seem like anything has changed from the last few years. But some of the features that in previous years might have been squeezed in with an aggressive schedule for inclusion this year are being postponed until next year.]
The other takeaway from Gurman’s report is that it sounds like Apple senior management is aware that they’ve taken a hit on public perception of Apple software quality in recent years.
But the feature-packed upgrades place huge demands on Apple’s
It’s good to see beleaguered back in the Apple news story vernacular.
Some actual scoops about what is forthcoming:
Also in the works for this year: a redesigned version of
Apple’s stock-tracking app and updated version of Do Not
Disturb that will give users more options to automatically
reject phone calls or silence notifications. Apple is also
working to more deeply integrate Siri into the iPhone’s search
view, redesign the interface used to import photos into an iPad
on the go and make it possible for several people at once to
play augmented reality games.