New Samsung Galaxy Watches Are Still Much Larger Than Apple Watches ★
Samsung is sticking with round faces — you certainly can’t call these ripoffs of Apple Watch. But I think that’s a mistake for a digital watch. At 42 and 46mm, both sizes are much larger (and heavier) than Apple Watches. Because Apple measures its watches vertically, they sound closer in size than they actually are. A 42mm Apple Watch is 36mm wide, and a 38mm Apple Watch is just 33mm wide. Apple remains the only company making smartwatches for women and men with small wrists.
Funding Not Secured: Musk’s Explanations About Taking Tesla Private Do Not Work ★
Linette Lopez, writing for Business Insider:
Elon Musk has written a blog post explaining why he said last week
on Twitter that he might take Tesla private at $420 a share.
“Funding secured,” he declared in the tweet.
But after reading Musk’s new post, the only conclusion to be drawn
is that funding was, in fact, not secured. And that could spell
serious trouble for Musk.
Isn’t it abundantly clear that Musk’s tweet was reckless, and the last week has been Musk and Tesla’s board of directors desperately trying to do damage control?
Apple Removes Group FaceTime From iOS 12 and MacOS 10.14 Mojave Betas, Says It’ll Launch Later This Year ★
Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors:
In release notes for both macOS Mojave and iOS 12, Apple says the
feature has been removed from the initial releases of macOS
Mojave and iOS 12 and “will ship in a future software update
later this fall.”
With the release of iOS 11, Apple also ended up delaying several
features that were initially announced as part of the update until
later in the year, including Apple Pay Cash, AirPlay 2, and
Messages in iCloud, three significant iOS 11 features that did not
come out until months after iOS 11 launched.
Right about now is the time when Apple needs to cut any features that won’t be ready in time for the iPhone launch next month. These delays are disappointing, yes, but I actually prefer this policy of holding off on new features until they’re ready rather than shipping them in a buggy state just because it’s September and time for new iPhones to be released.
‘But the Plans Were on Display…’ ★
From Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of
a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on
the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”
DF reader Brian Ashe sent this, correctly pointing out that it pretty much nails Google’s approach to turning off location tracking.
‘Vomit Fraud’ ★
Interesting story from Fargo, North Dakota:
“Vomit fraud” is a growing problem in many parts of the country.
The Miami Herald reported this summer that multiple Uber
passengers are filing lawsuits after drivers falsely charged
passengers, claiming they had to clean up vomit, urine, blood and
other bodily fluids.
The Marquarts also discovered the police treat the fraud as a
civil matter instead of a criminal one because of the way the ride
services write user agreements, so they don’t investigate. The
Marquarts learned Lyft doesn’t appear overly concerned its drivers
are committing fraud. They also don’t believe drivers who get
caught face any repercussions.
Great detective work in this story, proving the Lyft driver had faked the “vomit”.
AP: Google Tracks Your Location Even When You Disable ‘Location History’ ★
Ryan Nakashima, reporting for the Associated Press:
Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and
has been used by police to determine the location of suspects —
such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served
on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the
company will let you “pause” a setting called Location History.
Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where
you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can
turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off,
the places you go are no longer stored.”
That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some
Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data
The saga of Apple Maps’s launch is long and complicated, but Google’s desire to track our location was at the heart of it. Apple wanted new features like turn-by-turn directions and vector graphic map tiles; in exchange, Google wanted iOS to allow Google to track user location more pervasively.
“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called
‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain
location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems
like a pretty straightforward position to have.”
Google says it is being perfectly clear. […]
To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company
says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not
specifically reference location information. Called “Web and App
Activity” and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of
information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.
Google is saying, with a straight face, that it’s perfectly clear that disabling the feature named “Location History” does not prevent Google from tracking your location history. There’s nothing surprising about this, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t shameful.
Friday, 10 August 2018
I don’t break a lot of news — it’s just not what Daring Fireball is about, or what I’m interested in. But, once in a while, I get my hands on a scoop, like last night’s piece about former Tesla engineering head Doug Field returning to Apple to work with Bob Mansfield in the Titan group. The news was quickly picked up by dozens of other outlets, almost all of whom graciously credited me (or just “Daring Fireball”, which is fine) with (a) breaking the news that Field was back at Apple, and (b) the specific news that Field is working with Mansfield in the Titan group. Apple confirmed to me only that Field was back at Apple. That Field has joined Titan — though unsurprising given his experience working with Mansfield and at Tesla — came from my own unnamed sources.
This Reuters story by Stephen Nellis, however, presents itself as original reporting:
Doug Field, who stepped down as the senior vice president of
engineering at Telsa Inc last month, is returning to Apple Inc,
Apple told Reuters on Thursday.
Field will be working with Apple executive Bob Mansfield, who has
been heading up Apple’s self-driving car program, Project Titan.
Field and Mansfield previously worked together on engineering
Apple’s line of Mac computers.
My piece was published at 11:13p EDT; Nellis’s Reuters story was published 12:39a. Note too that the “Apple told Reuters on Thursday” attribution is only in the first paragraph. There is no attribution for the information in the second paragraph. Apple would not confirm that to me, just two hours prior, and though it’s certainly possible that Nellis had his own independent sources for that information — hundreds of employees within Apple were aware of Field’s return — there is no “according to sources familiar with the situation” attribution.
Also, Field’s previous employer was Tesla, not Telsa.
Update: The second paragraph of Nellis’s story now reads:
Field will be working with Apple executive Bob Mansfield, who has
been heading up Apple’s self-driving car program, Project Titan,
according to Daring Fireball, a technology news website that
earlier reported Field’s move.
There’s always an update when I point these things out, but I genuinely thank Reuters and Nellis for fixing this. ★
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Here’s some interesting hiring news I’ve heard through the little birdie grapevine:1 Doug Field — who left Tesla in May after overseeing Model 3 production — has returned to Apple, working in Bob Mansfield’s project Titan group. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed with me only that Field has returned to Apple, but no one should find it surprising that he’s working on Titan.
Field previously worked at Apple as a VP of Mac hardware engineering before leaving for Tesla in 2013. So he spent years working closely (and successfully) with Mansfield on Mac hardware, and spent the last few years as senior VP of engineering at the world’s premier electric carmaker. That makes Field a seemingly perfect fit for Titan.
I wouldn’t read too much into any single hire, and the employee exchange program between Apple and Tesla continues to flow in both directions. But I think it’s an interesting hire, primarily because it suggests to me that Apple still has an interest in making actual vehicles, despite reports that the company has scaled back the project to merely make autonomous systems for inclusion in vehicles made by other companies. That rumor never really made sense to me anyway — Apple’s modus operandi has always been to make the whole widget. Apple makes products, not components. Field returning to Apple also suggests to me that under Mansfield’s leadership, the Titan project has regained its footing after its infamously rocky start.
And you have to love the idea of any project being led by guys named Bob and Doug, eh. ★
Apple Defends Its Decision to Allow Infowars in the App Store ★
John Paczkowski, writing for BuzzFeed:
On Apple’s podcast platform, Infowars was presented with an easily
reviewed episode list — a concrete thing that could be used to
support a determination that its content was/wasn’t in violation
of the company’s policies. The Infowars app is different. It
streams video broadcasts, which means they are ephemeral in the
app and on Apple’s platform. That the same episodes are readily
available on the Infowars site doesn’t matter. In order for Apple
to act on a violation, there needs to be evidence that one
occurred on its platform. Simply put: If Jones has violated the
company’s rules, it has yet to catch him in the act.
This distinction could explain why Apple was so quick to remove
almost all of Infowars’ podcasts in the first place. Given that
the company didn’t host the podcasts to begin with, the removal
was technically not a content purge and something more akin to
removing a link. In other words, Apple’s enforcement, which caused
tech’s biggest platforms to follow suit, was something of a
content moderation sleight of hand — a cosmetic change rather
than an actual deletion.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this the last few days. I suspect that Paczkowski has it right, that Apple is more willing to remove a podcast because iTunes doesn’t host podcasts — it’s just a directory. Whereas if they remove the app there’s no way around it. I think this distinction is weak sauce though — iTunes isn’t technically a gatekeeper to podcasts, but the truth is that the iTunes podcast directory is the de facto standard index of podcasts. Getting de-listed from iTunes is a huge deal.
The web is the world’s open platform. The fact that the App Store is a closed platform that Apple controls is a feature, not a bug. If Apple removed the app, Infowars’s website would still work in Safari. It really doesn’t make sense to me that Apple would de-list the podcasts but not remove the app that contains the exact same content. And as Paczkowski reports, in the aftermath of this highly-publicized kerfuffle, Infowars’s iOS app has risen from 47th to 3rd in the “News” category. To me it would make more sense to have kept both the podcast and the app than to remove one but not the other.
Update: I wonder if this is less about Infowars specifically and more about Apple being reluctant to draw attention to their total control of the App Store. Google’s recent lashing from EU regulators hinged largely on the Play Store. I know Apple loves having control over the App Store, but in today’s climate — polarized politics combined with increasing regulatory scrutiny of tech giants — I suspect they don’t want to draw attention to that control.
Kara Swisher: ‘Rules Won’t Save Twitter. Values Will.’ ★
Kara Swisher, in her new column at The New York Times:
I am down with Mr. Dorsey on the part about different viewpoints
being expressed in a civil and even moderately testy way. There’s
some value, after all, in force-reading all those opinions on
whether a Colorado baker should make gay people cake or not. But
the loosey-goosey way that he and Twitter’s rolling series of
leaders have run the platform over the years (you can read all
about that in Nick Bilton’s telenovela of a book, Hatching
Twitter) has turned it from what could have been an unprecedented
discussion and news platform into the last big refuge of the
So it’s somewhat odd for Mr. Dorsey to be lecturing the rest of us
about principles at this moment of high agitation, brought on in
no small part by the twitchy, meaner-than-ever screamfest of
While principles and rules will help in an open platform, it is
values that Mr. Dorsey should really be talking about. By values,
I mean a code that requires making hard choices — curating your
offerings, which was something Apple got made fun of for doing,
back when it launched the App Store, by the open-is-best crowd.
I agree with every word of this, and it’s exactly why I think Apple’s decision to remove Infowars’s podcasts from the iTunes directory but allow their app to remain in the App Store doesn’t hold water.
Apple Orders New Comedy Series From Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney ★
Joe Otterson, reporting for Variety:
Apple has given a straight-to-series order to a half-hour scripted
comedy from Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day, Variety has learned.
The series is set in a video game development studio, with
McElhenney also attached to star in addition to writing and
executive producing alongside Day. The series marks the duo’s
first collaboration as writers since “It’s Always Sunny in
Philadelphia.” McElhenney co-created “It’s Always Sunny” with
both he and Day starring and serving as executive producers on
It’s Always Sunny is one of my favorite shows. What I find particularly interesting about this deal is that if this new show is anything like It’s Always Sunny, Apple is not shying away from R-rated original content.
Thursday, 12 July 2018
Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new
pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The
new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel
Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70
percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for
up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large
data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track
audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing.
Already the most popular notebook for developers around the world,
the new MacBook Pro can compile code faster and run multiple
virtual machines and test environments easier than before.
Additional updates include support for up to 32GB of memory, a
True Tone display and an improved third-generation keyboard for
My top take-aways:
Today’s updates are indisputably aimed at genuine “pro” users. Only the high-end machines with the Touch Bar have been updated — the non-Touch-Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro (a.k.a. the MacBook Escape) and the just-plain MacBook are unchanged. Features like supporting 4 TB of SSD storage and 32 GB of RAM are not consumer features.
Only the new 15-inch MacBook Pro has the option of 32 GB of RAM. This makes sense — it’s a different Intel architecture that requires a bigger power supply and battery. The new 13-inch models still use LPDDR3 RAM; the new 15-inch models use DDR4 RAM.
These are the first Macs with True Tone displays. That’s not reason enough to upgrade for most people, but I’m so glad to see True Tone make its way to the Mac.
The big question on many people’s minds is the keyboards: Do they resolve the reliability issues that have surfaced ever since Apple switched to butterfly mechanisms? All Apple is saying is that the new keyboards were engineered to be quieter. But I think only time will tell whether the keyboards were also engineered to be more reliable. Maybe, as Apple says, the only problem they sought to solve was the noise. But, if they also sought to improve the reliability of the keyboards — to fix the problem where keys get stuck, among other problems — I think they would only admit to fixing the noise problem. Marketing-wise, I don’t think they would admit to a reliability problem in the existing butterfly keyboards (especially since they’re still selling second-generation keyboards in all non-TouchBar models), and legal-wise (given the fact that they’re facing multiple lawsuits regarding keyboard reliability) I don’t think they should admit to it. So whether they’ve attempted to address reliability problems along with the noise or not, I think they’d say the exact same thing today: only that they’ve made the keyboards quieter. I have no inside dope on this (yet?), but to me the reason for optimism is that they’re calling these keyboards “third-generation”, not just a quieter version of the second-generation butterfly-switch keyboards.
Apple held a hands-on event at their New York townhouse this week. I couldn’t make it, but Brian Heater at TechCrunch, Rene Ritchie at iMore, and Dieter Bohn at The Verge were there and all have good write-ups. ★