Schrödinger’s Shift Key ★
In iOS 7.1, Apple changed the design of the shift key. This was
the worst thing to happen in the history of software.
Single most surprising thing about iOS 8 to me is that Apple didn’t fix this.
Microsoft Skips ‘Too Good’ Windows 9, Jumps to Windows 10 ★
April Fool’s joke in 2013, actual news story in 2014.
How iOS 8’s Time-Lapse Feature Works ★
Dan Provost, Studio Neat:
On Apple’s website, they claim that in time-lapse mode, “iOS 8
does all the work, snapping photos at dynamically selected
intervals.” When I first read this, I thought they were doing
something super fancy, like monitoring the frame for movement and
only snapping a picture when something changes. On deeper
reflection, this would be a bad idea. Time-lapse videos look best
when they are buttery smooth, and dynamically selecting intervals
in this fashion would create a jittery and jerky video. So what
does Apple mean by “dynamically selected intervals”?
Turns out, what Apple is doing is quite simple, and indeed,
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ‘Endorses’ Apple’s and Google’s Data Encryption ★
Julia Edwards, reporting for Reuters:
Apple’s new iPhone 6, released this month, and Google’s coming
update of the Android smartphone have data encryption so
sophisticated that only the user may unlock it. Even law
enforcement officers with search warrants would not have access.
“It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job
while still adequately protecting personal privacy,” Holder said
in a speech before the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual
Holder said quick access to phone data can help law enforcement
officers find and protect victims, such as those targeted by
kidnappers and sexual predators.
This is no different than law enforcement asking for “quick access” into the locked doors of our homes or offices.
Why Clay Shirky Asked His Students to Put Their Laptops Away ★
Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of the elephant and the rider is
useful here. In Haidt’s telling, the mind is like an elephant (the
emotions) with a rider (the intellect) on top. The rider can see
and plan ahead, but the elephant is far more powerful. Sometimes
the rider and the elephant work together (the ideal in classroom
settings), but if they conflict, the elephant usually wins.
After reading Haidt, I’ve stopped thinking of students as people
who simply make choices about whether to pay attention, and
started thinking of them as people trying to pay attention but
having to compete with various influences, the largest of which is
their own propensity towards involuntary and emotional reaction.
(This is even harder for young people, the elephant so strong, the
rider still a novice.)
Interesting comparison to second-hand smoking, too:
The final realization — the one that firmly tipped me over
into the “No devices in class” camp — was this: screens
generate distraction in a manner akin to second-hand smoke. A
paper with the blunt title Laptop Multitasking Hinders Classroom
Learning for Both Users and Nearby Peers says it all.
On PayPal and Apple Pay ★
Ian Kar, writing for Bank Innovation:
Apple and PayPal started talking early on in Apple’s development
of Apple Pay, as Apple was setting up partnerships with the card
issuing banks and card networks. Since PayPal’s a payments
industry leader, it would have been shortsighted for Apple to not
reach out to PayPal.
But while these talks were going on, PayPal went ahead and
partnered with Samsung on the Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner, a
move that was reportedly forced onto PayPal by eBay CEO John
Donahoe. PayPal’s now-former president David Marcus was
purportedly categorically against the Samsung deal, knowing that
it would jeopardize PayPal’s relationship with Apple. Donahoe won
the day, however.
Apple was said to be absolutely furious that PayPal did the deal
with Samsung, which led Apple to cut PayPal out of the Apple Pay
process entirely. (One source said: “Apple kicked them out of the
door.”) This dust up with Apple was a big reason that David Marcus
ended up leaving PayPal for Facebook.
What It’s Like to Fly in Singapore Airlines Suites Class ★
As Jason Snell points out, keep the idea of $18,000 plane tickets in mind when it comes to the pricing of Apple Watch.
Update: Fireballed, still. Cached version here.
Update 2: It appears that the writer, Derek Low, plagiarized some of the passages and photos from his story.
‘It’s Just a Watch’ ★
New branding campaign from Pebble. I like it. The playful, casual, colorful tone suits Pebble well, and the emphasis on price and battery life plays to Pebble’s strengths.
What gives me pause, though, is the “Breathe, Jony” headline. That seems a little petty. Personal, not playful.
Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones Settle; Terms Undisclosed ★
Here’s to hoping this worked out fairly for everyone involved.
The Bézier Game ★
Clever game to help you master the pen tool in design apps. (Via Mike Davidson.)
Immutable Mean Mutable? What a Country. ★
I’m usually a Mat Honan fan, but his iPhone 6 Plus review was a clunker. Take this:
No matter what Steve Jobs may have said, big phones are better.
It’s a great sign for Apple that it doesn’t revere his public
statements as immutable truths.
That’s from like page one of the book Ways People Get Apple Completely Wrong. Apple never treated Jobs like a deity whose word was The Truth — neither before nor after his death. He was almost infamous for it. Wired itself ran a list of such statements back in 2010.
Nobody said it better than Tim Cook, though:
“He would flip on something so fast that you would forget that he
was the one taking the 180 degree polar [opposite] position the
day before,” Cook told Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. “I saw it
daily. This is a gift, because things do change, and it takes
courage to change. It takes courage to say, ‘I was wrong.’ I think
he had that.”
That’s just one small line, but it crystalizes the way the whole piece just seems confused.
Ariel Adams on Apple Watch ★
Ariel Adams, writing on A Blog to Watch:
I feel that people need to understand that the Apple Watch is not
only a new type of product for Apple, but the first real
“cross-over watch” that wades in both the waters of technology and
horology. For a moment, I’d like people to put aside their
criticisms and complaints, and consider what I believe to be a
future inevitability: the dominance of the smartwatch as a
necessary tool in the everyday lives of everyday people.
Apple as a company doesn’t like the term “smartwatch” and will not
refer to the Apple Watch as such. They didn’t call the iPhone a
smartphone, and as far as they are concerned, it is a “watch”
produced by Apple — hence the name.
Long piece, full of insightful observations.
Big news from my friend (and still, colleague) Brent Simmons:
I start my new job as a developer at the Omni Group today.
You already know them and their wonderful products, and I’ve
expressed my admiration for them here on my blog many times.
They’re assembling a Cocoa all-star team up there. There’s probably more concentrated Cocoa talent at Omni than anywhere other than Apple itself.
Steve Cheney: ‘On the Future of Apple and Google’ ★
System wide network effects are network effects that take hold
when adjacent parts of an overall system are built out — e.g.
smartphones, wearables, sensor networks etc. Each one of these
categories makes the other much more valuable once it’s built out.
These network effects effectively unlock compounded value from the
previous layers. People expect value from new categories like
wearables and sensor networks overnight. But the reality is that
the pieces need to work harmoniously, tied together by software.
And only after the infrastructure is in place can developers go
and create cool new things. Wearables and sensors and connected
devices are interesting — but much more so when tied together
with killer apps. And platform history tells us that only after
infrastructure is laid do developers write software. This was even
true for the internet back in the 90’s. It wasn’t until the web
browser and email and other killer apps came along that you really
understood the value of the internet, even though it had connected
people years earlier.
This is a great piece, thoughtful and thought-provoking. I find it surprising though, that Cheney never once used the word privacy. To me, that’s the fork in the road, the chasm between where Apple and Google are taking us.
Literary Lions Unite in Protest Over Amazon’s E-Book Tactics ★
David Streitfeld, reporting for the NYT:
Now, hundreds of other writers, including some of the world’s most
distinguished, are joining the coalition. Few if any are published
by Hachette. And they have goals far broader than freeing up the
Hachette titles. They want the Justice Department to investigate
Amazon for illegal monopoly tactics.
They also want to highlight the issue being debated endlessly and
furiously on writers’ blogs: What are the rights and
responsibilities of a company that sells half the books in America
and controls the dominant e-book platform?
Andrew Wylie, whose client roster of heavyweights in literature is
probably longer than that of any other literary agent, said he was
asking all his writers whether they wanted to join the group,
Authors United. Among those who have said yes, Mr. Wylie said in a
phone interview from Paris, are Philip Roth, Orhan Pamuk, Salman
Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul and Milan Kundera.
So glad the Department of Justice set all this straight by taking Apple to court.
What’s the Difference Between Lucida Grande, Lucida Sans Unicode, and Lucida Sans? ★
Glad you asked.
MacUpdate’s Biggest App Bundle of the Year ★
My thanks to MacUpdate for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their biggest app bundle of the year. Save 90 percent off the regular combined price for all these apps, and get great software, including: Toast 12 Titanium, Circus Ponies NoteBook 4, Tonality Pro, Scrivener, iStat Menus 5, NetShade 6, SimCity 4 Deluxe, and more. Early buyers also get the productivity-boosting Ember, a 2013 “Best Mac App” pick by Apple.
11 great apps for just $49.99. Time is running out, so check out the offer today.
Consumer Reports iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Bend Test ★
All the phones we tested showed themselves to be pretty tough. The
iPhone 6 Plus, the more robust of the new iPhones in our testing,
started to deform when we reached 90 pounds of force, and came
apart with 110 pounds of force. With those numbers, it slightly
outperformed the HTC One (which is largely regarded as a sturdy,
solid phone), as well as the smaller iPhone 6, yet underperformed
some other smart phones. […]
Below you can see the pictures of the smart phone carnage, but
bear in mind that it took significant force to do this kind of
damage to all these phones. While nothing is (evidently)
indestructible, we expect that any of these phones should stand up
to typical use.
Consumer Reports is the outfit that made Antennagate a thing. If anything, their reputation is such that you’d expect them to fan the flames on this, not extinguish them. They’re saying the iPhone 6 Plus is even more bend-resistant than the regular 6. This should put an end to Bendgate — but it won’t, because in the minds of the deranged, the new iPhones bend like a chocolate bar left out in the sun.
Inside the Building Where Apple Tortures the iPhone 6 ★
Josh Lowensohn, The Verge:
A few blocks away from Apple’s bustling campus in Cupertino is a
rather nondescript building. Inside is absolutely the last place
on earth you’d want to be if you were an iPhone. It’s here where
Apple subjects its newest models to the kinds of things they might
run into in the real world: drops, pressure, twisting, tapping.
Basically all the things that could turn your shiny gadget into a
small pile of metal and glass.
FBI and Police Departments Endorse Apple’s Full Device Encryption ★
The Washington Post:
FBI Director James B. Comey sharply criticized Apple and Google on
Thursday for developing forms of smartphone encryption so secure
that law enforcement officials cannot easily gain access to
information stored on the devices — even when they have valid
I can’t think of a better endorsement of Apple and iOS.
“Apple will become the phone of choice for the pedophile,” said
John J. Escalante, chief of detectives for Chicago’s police
department. “The average pedophile at this point is probably
thinking, I’ve got to get an Apple phone.”
Well, that didn’t take long. An even stronger endorsement. The pedophile card is pretty much the last resort for these law enforcement types who feel entitled to the content of our digital devices. Fear mongering with bogeymen and an appeal to base emotions.
Eternal vs. Ephemeral ★
I could imagine that the Apple iWatch Edition will generate a lot of repeat buyers. A good trade-in program would recycle your precious metal and refund that to you. You could keep the straps. The price for your repeat purchase could be then a fraction of your initial buy. You could constantly renew your statement with the Edition line and stay current. Ephemeral disrupting Eternal.
Even if it’s not upgradeable (being able to replace S1 with an S2), there ought to be a decent trade-in value for the gold alone.
‘Apple Sells Lots of Devices, Pundits See Doom’ ★
Busy week for The Macalope:
This is classic Apple derangement syndrome. Because one YouTube video maker bent one iPhone and could not bend one other Samsung device, no products competing against Apple are bendable. Not worth acknowledging is the fact that people who did some more rigorous testing say you kinda really have to try to bend the iPhone 6 Plus.
Why Now for Apple Watch ★
Good piece by Ben Thompson:
The question, then, is why 2015? After all, there are some key
ingredients missing in the Watch, the most obvious being the lack
of cellular capability. To my mind Apple had three alternatives:
- Release an accessory-like Watch today, then transform it into a
standalone device once it had its own cellular stack
- Wait until the technology was ready and release a fully
functional Watch in two or three years time
- Release a Watch in 2015 that is designed as if it is a fully
functional device, even though for the next few years it needs
an iPhone for full functionality
I am largely in agreement with Thompson about Apple having chosen #3.
The confusion about a standalone Watch that is technically not
standalone may be too much to overcome from a marketing
perspective. I definitely think this is why the presentation was
so muddled: Apple wanted to convey that this was a standalone
device that would one day be the only device we need all of the
time, but they couldn’t actually say that.
That, and the fact that they have chosen to keep much of the Watch’s software secret. I think that’s partly because much of it is unfinished, but mainly out of competitive interests. They expect Apple Watch to be copied just as slavishly as the iPhone was, and don’t want to give their competitors a head start.
Apple Watch as a Standalone Device ★
Amir Efrati, writing for The Information (paywall):
Apple doesn’t want to risk cannibalizing sales of the iPhone with a SIM-equipped watch.
That’s not why Apple Watch doesn’t have a SIM card or standalone Wi-Fi. Modern Apple has never been afraid to release products that cannibalize their own products. The iPad has clearly eaten into MacBook sales. The iPhone turned the iPod from Apple’s flagship product line into a small niche. (A company worried about cannibalization would have made a smartphone that required a tethered iPod for music playback.)
A few years down the line, I expect Apple to have a Watch that can replace your iPhone. The tech just isn’t there yet. Apple is already setting expectations for single-day battery life for the Apple Watch, at best. Adding cellular networking would make that significantly worse — and add physical heft.
Joanna Stern Reviews the BlackBerry Passport ★
BlackBerry says the apps and the store selection are being updated
everyday. But the company’s chief operating officer Marty Beard
admits many BlackBerry users also carry an Android phone or
iPhone. In fact, that number is close to 40% — and includes
billionaire adventurer Richard Branson.
Yet even if I did carry two phones, I wouldn’t pick the Passport.
The bulky, awkward design and the unfamiliar keyboard make it hard
to justify finding space for it in a pocket or bag.
Not good enough to be your second phone? Ouch.
‘Stacking Silly Pundit Tricks to Burn for Warmth’ ★
Look, all you need to do is get an Android phone from HTC for
build quality. Then get an Android phone from Sony because their
cameras are so good. Then get a Galaxy Note from Samsung for the
largest screen. Then get a Nexus from Google to get a decent
software experience. Finally, get a phone from Hauwei because
they’re cheap. Then mash them all together and you’ve got one
phone that’s better than the iPhone!
Afterlight 2.6: Support for iOS 8 Photo Filtering Extensions ★
Joseph Keller, iMore:
You can now use Afterlight’s filters and editing tools without
leaving the iOS Photos app. Simply open the available
extensions when editing a photo, hit More, and turn Afterlight
on. You can use Afterlight’s crop, rotate, color, and filter
tools, among others.
The app has also added manual camera controls for taking pictures
within the app, and has been optimized for the iPhone 6 and
iPhone 6 Plus.
Afterlight is one of my very favorite iOS photography apps, and the first one I use that supports the new iOS 8 photo filtering extensions.
The Verge Reviews the BlackBerry Passport ★
Dan Seifert, The Verge:
Below the screen is what makes the Passport a true BlackBerry: it
has a honest-to-goodness physical keyboard, something no other
modern device offers. It’s a throwback to the keyboards that made
BlackBerry smartphones so popular in years past, and BlackBerry
says it’s essential for efficient productivity on the go. But the
Passport’s three row layout isn’t as good as the older designs.
It’s too wide, making it all but impossible to type the simplest
words with one hand. And for some reason, the spacebar is jammed
up into the third row of letters, splitting the keyboard and
causing all kinds of confusion for my thumbs. I never got used to
it and I remain a far faster and more accurate typist on a good
virtual keyboard. It’s not clear to me why BlackBerry didn’t just
make the Passport slightly longer to accommodate a fourth row of
keys — it’s already a big phone, another quarter-inch wouldn’t
make much of a difference in size but would go a long way to
improving the keyboard.
Man, if the keyboard doesn’t make people happy, I’m not sure what the point of this is.
Weird Verge-ism toward the end (italics added):
Nobody would really argue that iOS is a super productive platform,
but my iPhone offers the tools I need to get my job done, and the
Passport does not.
Apple Releases, Then Pulls, iOS 8.0.1 ★
Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors:
Following the release of iOS 8.0.1 this morning, numerous of users
found that their cellular service was disabled, reporting “No
Service” messages after updating. Affected users also appear to be
experiencing problems with Touch ID, which seems to be completely
Apple has pulled iOS 8.0.1 from the Developer Center and it is
also no longer available via an over-the-air download.
Update: If you already upgraded and are seeing any of these problems, Rene Ritchie has instructions for getting back to iOS 8.0.0.
Credit Where Credit Is Due: Ming-Chi Kuo Nailed It ★
Sometimes claim chowder comes out tasting good. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo absolutely nailed both new iPhones all the way back in April:
In line with previous rumors, Kuo believes the new 4.7-inch
model will come with a 1334 × 750 Retina display at 326 pixels per
inch, while the 5.5-inch will see a 1920 × 1080 screen at 401 PPI.
Both devices will have the same aspect ratio to the iPhone 5,
meaning apps will not need to be redesigned for the second time
in three years.
The iPhone 6 will include a new A8 processor, 1GB of RAM,
Touch ID, a narrower bezel by 10 to 20 percent, and the phone
to be thinned to 6.5-7.0mm (the current iPhone 5 is 7.6mm
thick). He also expects Apple to finally include NFC chips in
its smart phones.
So far as I can tell, Kuo was the first person anywhere to say 1334 × 750 for the 4.7-inch display, and the pixel math worked out perfectly. I disregarded his 1920 × 1080 dimensions for the 5.5-inch display because the math shows that such a display doesn’t even come close to working out at either @2× or @3×. What I failed to even consider is what Apple actually did: a 2208 × 1242 virtual display size that is scaled on-the-fly to 1920 × 1080. As I wrote in my review of the new iPhones, though it sounds like a recipe for blurriness, in practice, the pixels on the 6 Plus are so small that everything looks perfect. I haven’t seen any complaints from iPhone 6 Plus owners in the wild, either.
Kuo’s last-minute predictions were pretty close to the mark too, although he thought perhaps Apple would delay the release of the 6 Plus because of its supply constraints.
Chipworks Disassembles Apple’s A8 SoC ★
In broad strokes, Chipworks’s analysis backs up what Phil Schiller told us on stage: the A8 is smaller, faster, and more efficient than the A7. And the competition still hasn’t caught up with the A7.
Smaller is the improvement that interests me most, because of that other product Apple announced two weeks ago.
WSJ: ‘iPhone 6 Is the Most Durable iPhone Yet’ ★
Nathan Olivarez-Giles, writing for the WSJ:
The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus may be the largest iPhones Apple has
ever made, but they’re also the toughest, according to
SquareTrade, a gadget insurer that publishes a
Having put the new iPhones through its gauntlet of durability
tests this weekend, SquareTrade found that the iPhone 6 holds up
impressively well in drops, spills and slips — despite the fact
that the new, thinner iPhones are tougher to hold onto given their
smooth edges and bigger screens.
The iPhone 6 Plus fared well, too, managing to beat out
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 as “the most durable phone with a screen
larger than five inches.”
No word on the “sat on it in my ass pocket all day” test.
Get Bent ★
I cannot believe that this “bent iPhone 6 Plus” thing is becoming a thing. Watch this jackass’s video — inexplicably promoted by Time magazine. Should not we be amazed that his phone didn’t snap in half under this pressure? That the glass didn’t fracture? Under pressure like this, bending but not breaking seems like an extraordinary feature. If you feel pressure like this on your iPhone 6 in your pocket, you need looser pants. And if you put your phone in your back pocket and sit on it, I’m not sure what to tell you.
Why SwiftKey Needs ‘Full Access’ ★
This was very confusing to me when I tried out the SwiftKey keyboard for iOS:
Full Access simply means you are giving the keyboard extension
permission to interact with the app (the SwiftKey app on your
homescreen). None of your language insights leave your device
unless you opt in to SwiftKey Cloud, which is a backup and sync
service that also lets SwiftKey learn from your writing on sites
like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Good to know that nothing at all gets sent over the network unless you opt-in.
My one-day impression: for two-thumb tap-typing, SwiftKey feels a lot like the iOS system keyboard. (That’s a compliment.) “Flow”, SwiftKey’s swipe-around-without-lifting-your-finger method, feels really slow for me. Judging from my followers on Twitter, it’s really popular with people who type one-handed on their phones, but personally I almost never do that. And when I do need to type something one-handed, I just use the speech-to-text dictate button. So SwiftKey is not for me, but I can see why one-hand phone typists love it.
‘Derek Jeter Opens the Door’ ★
Nice profile for New York Magazine by Chris Smith, with photos by Christopher Anderson.
How to Be Right a Lot of the Time ★
Jason Fried, relaying advice from Jeff Bezos:
He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who
often changed their minds. He doesn’t think consistency of thought
is a particularly positive trait. It’s perfectly healthy —
encouraged, even — to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted
your idea today.
Manual for iPhone ★
We have a winner for Best App Introduction of the Year.
Things That Were True on 8 September 2014 ★
I’m still catching up on my reading from the last two weeks. Here’s a good prelude to Apple’s event from Jon Bell:
So I’d like to write down a few things that we all know to be true on Monday, September 8, the day before Apple’s big announcement. It’s not that I think Apple’s new product will necessarily change the world, but it’d be interesting to have a way to compare the reality on the ground before and after Apple’s latest foray.
Samsung Exits Laptop Market in Europe ★
Chris Martin, PC Advisor:
“We quickly adapt to market needs and demands. In Europe, we will be discontinuing sales of laptops including Chromebooks for now. This is specific to the region – and is not necessarily reflective of conditions in other markets,” said a Samsung spokesperson.
MacRumors: ‘Some iPhone 6 Plus Owners Accidentally Bending Their iPhones in Pockets’ ★
Maybe this is why Samsung makes their big-ass phones out of plastic.
AnandTech: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Preliminary Benchmarks ★
Here’s how utterly dominant Apple’s position is in mobile semiconductor design: not only are the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the two top scorers in web browser benchmarking, but in third place sits the year-old iPhone 5S.
Also worth noting: the iPhone 6 is seemingly on par with the 6 Plus performance-wise.
(And what’s up with AnandTech not getting review units in advance? You’d think they’d know a guy who could put in a good word for them with Apple.)
‘iPod’s Dirty Secret’ ★
If the name Casey Neistat rings a bell, that’s because he’s the rabble-rouser who made this bullshit video back in 2003 claiming that iPod batteries only lasted 18 months.
From the DF archive: “More Accurate (but, Admittedly, Less Sensational) Alternative Stencil Slogans for the ‘Neistat Brothers’”.
Stu Maschwitz on Casey Neistat’s iPhone 6 ‘Black Market’ Movie ★
Casey Neistat made waves over the weekend with a short film documenting the mercenary nature of the lines outside Apple Stores in New York City for the iPhones 6. And yes, a seemingly overwhelming number of the line-waiters were Asian, many of them non-English speakers. I noticed the same thing in Portland last year, when XOXO was scheduled the same weekend as the iPhone 5S and 5C going on sale. My hotel was across the street from Portland’s downtown Apple Store, the queue stretched all the way around the block and most of the people waiting in line seemed to be non-English-speaking Asians, not the least bit enthused about the iPhone itself.
Things have certainly changed from 2007, when the lines for the original iPhone were like Apple fan club meetings. But so what? The world has changed. Apple only sold about 6 million of the original iPhone in the course of a year. They will sell well over 100 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units before we’re here again with next year’s new models.
Count me with Stu Maschwitz: this film is pointless, and I think more than a little racist. When you can wait in line, pay $1000 for a new 6 Plus, then walk out of the store and resell it immediately for $1500 or more, that’s going to attract people who want to buy them for no reason other than to flip them. And I guarantee you not everyone waiting in line (or as they say in New York, on line) Friday morning to buy new iPhones just to flip them was Asian. And if the going rate in mainland China is over $2,500, as Quartz is reporting, then it makes all the more sense, simply as capitalism at work, that many of the line-waiters are Chinese-Americans looking to turn a profit.
The problems start right with the title: reselling iPhones is not “black market”. “Black market” means illegal, and there is nothing illegal about reselling a legally purchased iPhone. These phones are gray market, at worst. The leaked iPhone 6 units that came out of the supply chain weeks ago — those were black market goods.
Apple Pay Human Interface Guidelines (PDF) ★
A friend sent me this link, with the quip, “So simple the HIG is less than 3 pages.” I pointed out there’s a title page, so let’s be honest and call it 4.
One line that stuck out to me:
Note that the Apple Pay sheet always displays text in all capital letters.
I wonder what the deal is with that? I’m guessing it’s a legacy shit sandwich from the existing credit card processing infrastructure.
‘Not a Hobby’ ★
While I use my Apple TV every single day, my opinion is the reason
Apple calls it a hobby is because it’s a derived product. It’s a
bit of iTunes, a little bit of iOS, there’s some hardware there,
too, but it’s hardware you shove into a corner and never see. With
all respect to the Apple TV team, there was nothing “Apple hard”
in Apple TV’s design – that important innovative work has been
The Apple Watch is not a hobby.
Definitely not a hobby.
iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy S5 ★
Side-by-side comparison from The Onion.
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iPhone 6 Slow Motion Wine Pour ★
Watch this beautiful footage, then think about how far we’ve come, so fast. The original iPhone’s camera didn’t even shoot video at all.
Six Colors ★
And speaking of Jason Snell, this week he launched his new post-Macworld home: the perfectly named Six Colors. So good. Instant RSS subscription.
The whole Macworld thing is still a bit of a shock, but I think it’ll all work out for the best in the end. This gets Jason back to what he does best: writing.
‘Orson Welles of the Genre’ ★
Also speaking of podcasts, Horace Dediu, Jason Snell, and yours truly were the guests on the latest episode of Moisés Chiullan’s Electric Shadow, talking about Apple and their use of cinema and cinematic techniques.
The Rebound ★
Speaking of nerdy tech podcasts, there’s a good new one: The Rebound, starring my pal John Moltz.
‘Twenty-One Thousand Words’ ★
New episode of The Talk Show, with special guest Rene Ritchie.
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Swatch Inventor on Apple Watch: ‘I Would Definitely Wear It’ ★
Elmar Mock, inventor of the Swatch:
The Apple Watch is by far the most attractive of the smartwatches.
I would definitely wear it. Don’t forget that the early
smartphones did not immediately replace conventional mobile
phones. When the iPhone first launched, Blackberry was sure that
consumers would notice the lack of a keyboard and Nokia was
convinced that the big screen would put users off…
The True Cost of a Subsidized iPhone 6 ★
Those contract prices include a $450 subsidy by the carriers, who
are not in the business of giving money away. And they make sure
they recover that subsidy. In some cases, they end up charging you
hundreds of dollars more than you would lay out if you simply
bought it outright.
After you add that device to your shopping cart, you then have to
select a monthly plan and agree to pay the price of that plan for
And guess what? For the three carriers that dominate the U.S.
mobile market, the monthly prices for contract plans are
significantly higher than those you will pay if you buy the phone
outright or finance the full retail price.
The FTC ought to step in and force the carriers to clearly tell you the true price you’ll pay for your phone over the course of your two-year contract. And kudos to T-Mobile for being the only U.S. carrier with honest pricing.
Remember Flash Player? ★
[Posted this 30 minutes ago thinking it was a new story, but it’s from 2011. ZDNet’s “Related Story” widget fooled me, sorry about that. Still interesting to me re: the Lynch angle.]
Good to know the guy who was responsible for Flash Player at Adobe is now in charge of the software for Apple Watch. The optimist’s angle is that Kevin Lynch was just doing his part as a team player. But his evangelism for Flash Player for mobile devices looks downright silly in hindsight.
The Line for iPhones 6 at Flagship Fifth Avenue Apple Store Stretched 12 Blocks ★
Good time to take a look back at Henry Blodget’s 2011 prognostication: “Android Clobbering Everyone, iPhone Dead in the Water”.
Android L to Offer Full Device Encryption, on by Default ★
Craig Timberg, the Washington Post:
The next generation of Google’s Android operating system, due for
release next month, will encrypt data by default for the first
time, the company said Thursday, raising yet another barrier to
police gaining access to the troves of personal data typically
kept on smartphones.
Android has offered optional encryption on some devices since
2011, but security experts say few users have known how to turn on
the feature. Now Google is designing the activation procedures for
new Android devices so that encryption happens automatically; only
somebody who enters a device’s password will be able to see the
pictures, videos and communications stored on those smartphones.
Good news for everyone, but seriously — how many years until a majority of Android users are running Android L or higher? Five?
Android Browser Flaw a ‘Privacy Disaster’ for Half of Android Users ★
Peter Bright, writing for Ars Technica:
A bug quietly reported on September 1 appears to have grave
implications for Android users. Android Browser, the open source,
WebKit-based browser that used to be part of the Android Open
Source Platform (AOSP), has a flaw that enables malicious sites to
can in turn read cookies and password fields, submit forms, grab
keyboard input, or do practically anything else. […]
Google’s own numbers paint an even worse picture. According to the
online advertising giant, only 24.5 percent of Android users are
using version 4.4. The majority of Android users are using
versions that include the broken component, and many of these
users are using 4.1.x or below, so they’re not even using versions
of Android that use Chrome as the default browser. […]
Just how this fix will be made useful is unclear. While Chrome is
updated through the Play Store, the AOSP Browser is generally
updated only through operating system updates. Timely availability
of Android updates remains a sticking point for the operating
system, so even if Google develops a fix, it may well be
unavailable to those who actually need it.
It’ll all work out in five or six years when most Android users are running 4.4 or higher.
Vesper 2.004 ★
There are a number of technical details that Brent can
clarify, but the bottom line is that UITextView on iOS 7 had a
number of significant technical problems. iOS 8 brings fixes for
most of them, which allowed us to work around the rest fairly
reliably. If you find any lingering problems, please let us know.
Also, while not technically a feature, we did use 2.004 as an
opportunity to provide support for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6
Plus. When you get your new phone, Vesper should look great.
First thing I did with my iPhone 6 review units was install Vesper, and I can testify that it looks good. For marketing purposes, Apple is (rightly) focused on what’s new in iOS 8. But under the hood, Apple fixed a lot of bugs and tweaked a slew of details. The TextKit improvements are near and dear to my heart because of Vesper, but there are improvements like that all over iOS 8.
‘I’ll Walk From Here’ ★
Speaking of Derek Jeter and his impending retirement, if this new spot from Gatorade doesn’t make you feel something, you’re not hooked up right.
342,000 Swings Later, Derek Jeter Calls It a Career ★
Fascinating data visualization from the New York Times. As Kottke wrote, “This is like Powers of Ten, but with Derek Jeter bat swings.”
(Web dev nerds: be sure to check it out on your phone, too. It runs smoother and looks better on my iPhone than it does my aging MacBook Pro.)
Apple Says iOS 8 Update Keeps Data Private, Even From the Police ★
Brian X. Chen, writing for the NYT:
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and
therefore cannot access this data,” the company said on the new
webpage. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to
government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices
in their possession running iOS 8.”
Christopher Soghoian, a principal technologist for the American
the revelations of the government surveillance programs revealed
in documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden. “The public has said
they want companies to put their privacy first, and Apple has
listened,” Mr. Soghoian said.
Austin Mann’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Camera Review in Iceland ★
Amazing, jaw-dropping review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras. Hats off to Mann (and his partners at The Verge) for this. Informative, amazing, and gorgeous.
Larry Ellison Steps Down as Oracle’s CEO ★
Ashlee Vance, reporting for Businessweek:
Larry Ellison has agreed to step down as the chief executive
officer at Oracle, ending one of the most entertaining and
profitable runs for a leader in business history.
Oracle announced Ellison’s departure via a press release delivered
on Thursday afternoon after the close of the U.S. financial
markets. The company said that Ellison will remain Chairman of
Oracle’s board and take on the role of chief technology officer.
Mark Hurd and Safra Catz, both presidents at Oracle, will each
inherit the CEO title. Catz will remain as chief financial officer
He goes out on top, on his own terms, with Oracle stock at an all-time high.
Sign of the Impending Culture Clash ★
Phil Nickinson, writing for Android Central:
Sure, the Horween Leather on the Moto 360 is mighty fine, but
watches are all about customization, particularly when it comes to
the straps. But because of the size and shape of the Moto 360,
we’ve had to be a little careful of shoving just any old strap in
there. A good many have turned out to just be too thick to fit in
the curved plastic casing.
Meanwhile, a good many of us are waiting for the official steel
bracelets to be made available (at a hefty a la carte price of
$79.99). But it turns out that you might already have an
alternative on hand, or can get one for a mere $20.
$80 for a steel watch band is a “hefty price”. That’s adorable.
Update: Allow me to elaborate. $80 is not a “hefty price” for a steel watch bracelet. It’s normal, for watches in the $200-300 range, which is exactly the range where the Moto 270 sits. Pebble’s $19 steel watch bracelet is the equivalent of $.99 prices for apps. $500 for a watch bracelet is “hefty”, I agree. $2,500 for a bracelet is extravagant, I’d agree. But $80 is squarely within the mainstream, the mass market.
(Via Rene Ritchie).
‘I Have a Great Way of Saying the Government Has Ordered a Pizza’ ★
Geoffrey Fowler and Joanna Stern:
Now the latest version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 8, adds a
layer of smarts on top of autocorrect called QuickType, predictive
typing of a sort previously found on Android. Not only does it
suggest spelling, it also suggests words you might want to type
next. If you keep following its train of robotic thought,
QuickType will form entire sentences on your behalf.
The result is so goofy that it is brilliant. For the last week, we
— your WSJ personal technology columnists — have been conducting
serious tests of the new iPhones and iOS 8, while also holding
nonsensical auto-generated conversations with each other.
Tim Cook on Apple and Privacy ★
A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that
when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re
the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience
shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.
Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great
products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or
web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize”
the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we
don’t read your email or your messages to get information to
market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our
devices better. Plain and simple. […]
Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked
with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor
in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed
access to our servers. And we never will.
That Tim Cook and Steve Jobs are very different people has been a common refrain for three years, and it came up again this week in his interview with Charlie Rose. But one trait they share is the ability to write in simple, straightforward words. I say clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s leadership are serious about this — both as a moral issue and as a competitive advantage to tout over Google. They should have called this “Thoughts on Privacy”, because it reads an awful lot like Jobs’s “Thoughts on Music” and “Thoughts on Flash”.
Apple Pulls iOS 8 HealthKit Apps From the App Store ★
We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps
available on iOS 8 today. We’re working quickly to have the bug
fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by
the end of the month.
These iOS releases are usually rough, because the software release dates are set in stone by the iPhone hardware release dates.
changes were made predominantly to cover new features that will be
released with iOS 8 or to provide additional information on
current data use such as date of birth and third party user data
provided by our users (for example when sending products or gift
certificates). None of the changes are retroactive.
We added language to cover Spotlight Suggestions, Analytics,
Family Sharing and AppleID for users under the age of 13 or
equivalent age in their countries. Finally, we added a description
of technologies used by location-based services, including GPS,
Bluetooth, IP address, and crowd-source wi-fi hotspot and cell
Most privacy policies are written in opaque legalese. Apple’s isn’t. It’s straightforward and readable. They really want you to read it, and understand the privacy implications of using their products and services.
One More Thing ★
Going through my notes, I realized that I neglected to write about pricing and storage tiers in my iPhones 6 review. I really wanted to, and blame exhaustion for omitting it. I just went back and added it, but assuming most of you have already read my review, I’ll quote the new section here for your convenience:
Pricing decisions are sometimes subjective, but to me it feels
just right that the 6 Plus costs $100 more than the regular 6 at
each storage tier. The superior display quality, optical image
stabilizer, and larger battery seem like a fair deal for $100.
This also means this is the first year ever in which I’m not
buying myself the most expensive iPhone.
I’m glad to see Apple double the middle and high storage tiers,
from 32/64 to 64/128. I like to store my entire music library on
my iPhone, but with “only” 64 GB of total storage, that meant I
kept running out of space as I shot videos and took photos. (I
love panoramic photos, but they’re very large.)
But I don’t understand why the entry level storage tier remained
at a meager 16 GB. That seems downright punitive given how big
panoramic photos and slo-mo HD videos are, and it sticks out like
a sore thumb when you look at the three storage tiers together:
32/64/128 looks natural; 16/64/128 looks like a mistake. The
original iPhone, seven years and eight product generations ago,
had an 8 GB storage tier. The entry-level iPhones 6 are 85 times
faster than that original iPhone, but have only twice the storage
capacity. That’s just wrong. This is the single-most disappointing
aspect of the new phones.
(Don’t even get me started on the 8 GB iPhone 5C.)
Using the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on a Trip to Disneyland ★
Matthew Panzarino reviews the iPhones 6:
Last week I decided to test the most secretive, hotly anticipated
smartphones on earth in a place where there was no danger of them
being recognized or damaged or both: Disneyland.
Both my wife and I are Disneyphiles of sorts, and visit a dozen
times a year or more. I have an appreciation for it because my
daughter loves to go, but also because of how carefully the place
is planned, constructed and run. Disneyland is the Apple of theme
parks. What better place to test the new models?
I’ve had a ton of experience using phones to navigate, communicate
and photograph in the park. It’s tens of thousands of people
packed into the same square mile, all using devices to do the
exact same thing you are. The network is crushed, it’s bright and
hot and you’re juggling kids and strollers and other vacationers.
It’s an ideal real-world test for smartphone batteries, screens,
usability and cameras.
What a great conceit for a review. Panzarino’s is probably my favorite iPhone 6 review so far. I’m really impressed by the digital image stabilization on his video footage shot with the iPhone 6 (on Big Thunder Mountain — a good test). Maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I don’t think the optical image stabilization in the 6 Plus makes that much of a difference.
Room to Spare ★
The original iPhone fits entirely within the display, just the display, of the iPhone 6 Plus. One of these iPhones, I love to death.
Apple, U2, and Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth ★
Peter Cohen, writing for iMore:
Let me say at the outset that I’m pretty ambivalent about U2
myself. They’ve never been one of those bands that I’ve absolutely
had to have the latest album from. In fact, Songs of Innocence is
the only U2 record I have in my iTunes library.
But the inordinate amount of actual anger directed at Apple and U2
over this is so disproportional to the actual event, I’ve started
to wonder about the mental state of some of those complaining.
It’s really been off the charts.
If you fall into that camp, let me speak very plainly: I have no
sympathy for you. I have trouble thinking of a more
self-indulgent, “first world problem” than saying “I hate this
free new album I’ve been given.”
‘Why Amazon Has No Profits (and Why It Works)’ ★
When you buy Amazon stock (the main currency with which Amazon
employees are paid, incidentally), you are buying a bet that he
can convert a huge portion of all commerce to flow through the
Amazon machine. The question to ask isn’t whether Amazon is some
profitless ponzi scheme, but whether you believe Bezos can capture
the future. That, and how long are you willing to wait?
U2’s Forgettable Fire ★
Sasha Frere-Jones’s track-by-track review of U2’s Songs of Innocence:
“California (Blah Blah Blah)”: The track sounds like seventeen
different bands averaged out in Yelp and turned into an Active
Rock Smoothie. Nowhere near as good as “Drunk In Love.”
Starting to get the feeling this promotion hasn’t worked out exactly the way U2 and Apple thought it would.
Bob Lefsetz on U2 and Apple ★
This looked like nothing so much as what it was, old farts using
their connections to shove material down the throats of those who
don’t want it. It’s what we hate so much about today’s
environment, rich people who think they know better and are
entitled to their behavior.
Not quite as scathing as Lewis Wallace calling it “a pity-fuck for a band that’s lost its edge”, but close.
Panasonic CM1: Hybrid Camera/Smartphone ★
The most interesting Android phone I’ve seen in years: it’s more like a point-and-shoot camera with a phone than a phone with a camera.
New Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Commercial Mocks Apple for Being Late to Big-Ass Phone Game ★
Weird ad. The time for Samsung to try to make hay out of this was last year, when Apple didn’t have a plus-sized iPhone. “We have something they don’t have” is a good marketing message. “We were first”, not so much. They’re just amplifying the already incredible public awareness that big new iPhones are available.
Dropbox 2014 Transparency Report ★
They also published their “Government Data Requests Principles”. Sounds like they’re doing right by their users.
Apple Support Document: ‘Remove iTunes Gift Album “Songs of Innocence” From Your iTunes Music Library and Purchases’ ★
Chris Ware’s ‘The Last Saturday’ ★
A brand new graphic novella by the award-winning cartoonist Chris
Ware, tracing the lives of six individuals from Sandy Port,
Michigan, published in weekly episodes.
Great work from Ware, as always, and an interesting presentation from The Guardian. (Via Coudal.)
Markus Persson: ‘I’m Leaving Mojang’ ★
Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson:
I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what
it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be
responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to
Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you
for a long time, and that will never change.
It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.
Mojang: ‘Yes, We’re Being Bought by Microsoft’ ★
Mojang makes it official:
As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and
the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t
want the responsibility of owning a company of such global
significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work
on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became
too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang.
He’ll continue to do cool stuff though. Don’t worry about that.
There are only a handful of potential buyers with the resources to
grow Minecraft on a scale that it deserves. We’ve worked closely
with Microsoft since 2012, and have been impressed by their
continued dedication to our game and its development. We’re
confident that Minecraft will continue to grow in an awesome way.
Record Pre-Orders for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ★
Apple today announced a record number of first day pre-orders of
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone
history, with over four million in the first 24 hours. Demand for
the new iPhones exceeds the initial pre-order supply and while a
significant amount will be delivered to customers beginning on
Friday and throughout September, many iPhone pre-orders are
scheduled to be delivered in October.
My thanks to Pixate for once again sponsoring the DF RSS feed. With Pixate, mobile designers can craft sophisticated animations and interactions for any form factor. You can already start designing for new displays like those on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and they’re already working on support for the Apple Watch. And here’s the thing: Pixate generates 100 percent native iOS (and Android) prototypes. Native code, not web views.
They have a special deal just for DF readers: Sign up now to get on the waiting list and you’ll get a free month when Pixate launches.
Why Apple Pay Could Be the Mobile-Payment System You’ll Actually Use ★
Rich Mogull, writing for Macworld:
But aside from the technical differences, Apple is in a unique
position due to its business model. It doesn’t want or need to
track transactions. It doesn’t want or need to be the payment
processor. It isn’t restricted by carrier agreements, since it
fully controls the hardware. Google, although first to the market
by a matter of years, is still hamstrung by device manufacturers
and carriers. Softcard is hamstrung by the usual greed and idiocy
of mobile phone providers. PayPal has no footprint on devices.
This is a long-term investment by Apple, and possibly one of the
most important since it first built the iTunes Store. Apple is
putting its muscle behind improving the user experience of making
payments, and using that to sell more devices. It won’t make
much directly from Apple Pay now. But as more people use supported
devices and push more merchants to support the user experience,
odds are that those small per-transaction fees will grow into a
significant source of revenue.
Letter of Recommendation ★
Chris Breen sings the praises of his former colleagues at Macworld. An awful lot of talented writers just hit the market.
Larger iPhone 6 Plus Sells Out, ‘Record Number’ of iPhone Pre-Orders ★
I spent over an hour trying to order from the online Apple Store (4.7-inch, space gray, 128 GB) to no avail. The closest I got was a properly configured phone but a disabled “Add to Cart” button.
Gave up, went to the Verizon website, and successfully ordered there. I think. Verizon’s website is almost spectacularly convoluted and ugly as sin.
You’d think after eight years Apple would be able to deal with this. No surprise demand is high — the iPhones 6 are amazing, and bigger displays have been long-awaited — but the online store crapping itself so utterly is just embarrassing.
PC Guys Aren’t Going to Just Walk In… ★
Apple faces a mountain of challenges as it seeks to break into mobile payments with Apple Pay, a PayPal executive told CNBC on Thursday.
“Payments is a tough ecosystem and you know, other players, other major consumer Internet companies have tried to enter in the space and have found, you know, limited success,” said Bill Ready, CEO of Braintree, the parent company of mobile payment services providers PayPal and Venmo. “And a big part of that is it is a very difficult space.”
You can smell the claim chowder brewing.
As in the Revolutionary User Interface story, the symmetry in approach to the launch is telling, but what I want to note is that the three things which the iPhone was defined as being are no longer things that it is most used for.
Yes, the iPhone is still a wide-screen iPod which gets plenty of use but I don’t think anyone thinks that is a defining feature. It’s also a phone, but the Phone is just an app which, for me at least, is not frequently used. I communicate with my iPhone but the go-to app is iMessage or FaceTime or Skype or maybe Email or Twitter. Phone is something I use so rarely that the interface sometimes baffles me. And yes, it’s an Internet appliance. Browsing is something I do quite a bit but many of the browsing jobs-to-be-done are done better by apps. News, shopping Facebook and maps are “things which were once done in a browser.”
So I wonder whether the tentpole product-defining anchors used to introduce the Apple Watch will be faintly amusing a few years from now.
Timekeeping and fitness tracking, I don’t know. Those could fade in importance after we get a rich ecosystem of apps. But communication seems key to the Apple Watch concept — it’s the only feature other than the home screen with a dedicated hardware button.
Facebook and Politics ★
Derek Willis, writing for the NYT:
The “Custom Managed Audiences” tool works like this: A
campaign or group uses its own list of potential voters (or buys
one from a state authority or private vendor) and uploads it to
Facebook. The company then matches the names to its user base
through databases managed by companies, such as Acxiom, that
specialize in collecting information about individuals. This
process effectively combines the electoral information it already
knows about voters with their Facebook profiles: likes, group
memberships, issues or even favorites. The process anonymizes the
users’ personal identifiers but retains enough information to
enable campaigns to target well-defined groups.
Eddy Cue on stage on Tuesday: “We’re not in the business of collecting your data.”
Can you even imagine what Facebook Pay would be like?
Apple Watch ‘Too Feminine and Looks Like It Was Designed by Students’, Says LVMH Executive ★
Jean-Claude Biver, who heads the French group’s luxury watch
division, said the US tech giant had made “some fundamental
mistakes” designing the Apple Watch.
“This watch has no sex appeal. It’s too feminine and looks too
much like the smartwatches already on the market,” Mr Biver said
in an interview with daily Die Welt.
“To be totally honest, it looks like it was designed by a student
in their first trimester,” added Mr Biver, who heads up the brands
Tag Heuer, Zenith and Hublot.
“PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Displays Demystified ★
Great visual explanation from PaintCode regarding the new iPhone displays, particularly the clever downsampling used for the Plus.
Tim Cook Interview With USA Today ★
Marco della Cava, USA Today:
Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both feature larger screens
reminiscent of competitors’ devices. By design, says Cook. “It’s
an incredible opportunity for us to switch people from Android to
iOS. So yes, this is epic. It is epic,” he says.
That’s an honest take. There’s no use pretending that Apple isn’t last to the big-screen phone game. But now they’re here, and if you bought an Android phone just to get a big screen, now you have a reason to consider switching to iPhone.
How to Hide the Free U2 Album From Your iTunes Library ★
Good tip from Kirk McElhearn. Me, I like U2. But I didn’t know you could manage your Recent Purchases list like this.
A Watch Guy’s Thoughts on the Apple Watch After Seeing It in the Metal ★
Benjamin Clymer, Hodinkee:
I’m not even sure we can call it a watch. Okay, it goes on the
wrist, and it happens to tell the time, but that’s about where the
similarities between Apple’s just announced watch and the
hand-assembled, often painstakingly finished mechanical watches we
write about, and obsess over, end. I was lucky enough to be
invited to Cupertino to witness the announcement of the Apple
Watch firsthand, and though I do not believe it poses any threat
to haute horology manufactures, I do think the Apple Watch will be
a big problem for low-priced quartz watches, and even some
entry-level mechanical watches. In years to come, it could pose a
larger threat to higher end brands, too. The reason? Apple got
more details right on their watch than the vast majority of
Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those
details add up to a really impressive piece of design. It
offers so much more functionality than other digitals it’s
almost embarrassing. But it’s not perfect, by any means. Read on
to hear my thoughts on the Apple Watch, from the perspective of a
I’ve been a huge fan of Clymer and Hodinkee for years; his take on the Apple Watch is the best I’ve seen regarding the watch as a watch. Astute.
Valleywag: ‘Macworld Staff Mostly Canned After Biggest Apple News Day of the Year’ ★
The economic reality of running a print publication dedicated to Apple news is a total disaster, of course — blogs run a monopoly on that, and have for years. But squeezing one last grueling day of marathon iPhone coverage out of a team on the verge of firing is not cool.
Seems like a real dick move on IDG’s part.
Speculation on Apple’s Live Event Stream Failure ★
Apple’s live stream of the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Watch
was a disaster today right from the start, with many users like
myself having problems trying to watch the event. While at first I
assumed it must be a capacity issue pertaining to Akamai, a deeper
look at the code on Apple’s page and some other elements from
the event shows that decisions made by Apple pertaining to their
website, and problems with how they setup storage on Amazon’s S3
service, contributed the biggest problems to the event.
(Via Shawn King.)
Update: A lot of readers are saying Rayburn’s speculation is way off-base, so take it with a large grain of salt. The comments on his post explain much of what he got wrong/doesn’t understand.
Update 2: Another analysis of the stream problems, from Simon Fredsted.
Jason Snell Leaves Macworld, Staff Laid Off ★
Unfortunately, many of my colleagues lost their jobs today. If
there’s anything I can do to help them, I will. I have had time to
plan for this day, but they haven’t. You probably know some of
them. Please join with me in giving them sympathy and support.
I’ve known Jason and many of the staffers at Macworld for years. I just saw them yesterday. This is hard for me to believe, and very sad.
Macworld is not closing, but the print magazine is closing, and it sounds like a lot of the familiar bylines will be gone.
Update: Re-reading Snell’s announcement, I have to say, it’s a masterpiece of tone and restraint.
ABC News Teases Report of Inside Access to ‘Historic’ Apple Announcement ★
That sure as shit can’t be a reference to bigger iPhones, and it doesn’t sound like a watch that counts your steps and shows you notifications as they come in.
The Hidden Structure of the Apple Keynote ★
Loved this piece by Dan Frommer at Quartz:
One of Apple’s most successful products — which rarely gets recognized as such — is made not of aluminum and glass, but of words and pictures. The Apple keynote is the tool the company uses a few times a year to unveil its other products to millions of people.
To understand their hidden structure, Quartz reviewed more than a dozen Apple keynotes, logging and analyzing key elements. Here’s what we found.
iOS Simulator Shows Possibility of iPad-Like Landscape Apps on 5.5-Inch iPhone ★
Sounds exactly right to me. The thing is, Apple practically telegraphed this sort of thing in Session 216 at WWDC this year (“Building Adaptive Apps with UIKit”). The key to understanding it is that it’s not running an iPad app layout on an iPhone, but rather running an iPad-like layout. It’s not like with the iPad Air and Mini where you have the same layout at different scales. It’s an adaptive layout, where the scale remains the same as a regular iPhone, but the extra space on the big iPhone, in landscape, is used to show multiple columns.
Recode: ‘CVS and Walgreens Expected to Accept Apple iPhone Mobile Payments’ ★
I’d call them “Apple mobile payments”, not “Apple iPhone mobile payments”. Otherwise, this sounds, uh, right on target.
The Talk Show: ‘Very Few Outhouses Anymore’ ★
Speaking of podcasts, here’s one to occupy your time and mind while waiting for tomorrow’s much-anticipated Apple special event. Special guest Jason Snell joins me to discuss wearables, big-ass iPhones, what people tend to get wrong when expecting the next big thing, and more.
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- Igloo: The intranet you’ll actually like.
Just The Tip ★
The second season of my favorite podcast, and the only one which has ever addressed the issue of yours truly’s taste in men’s swimwear, is in full swing. I recommend subscribing.
Amazon Cuts Price of Fire Phone to 99 Cents ★
If they were willing to go this low, why not start at this price six weeks ago, when people actually cared? My guess: this thing is such a dud that they’re just trying to dump inventory now.
Charlie Rose Interview With Jony Ive and Marc Newson ★
Worth another look given today’s news.
Timepieces Designed by Marc Newson ★
Food for thought.
My thanks to Pixate for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Pixate is a mobile development tool that allows designers to visually define sophisticated animations and interactions that come to life in real-time on iOS and Android devices as 100 percent native prototypes. Native UI code, not web views.
Pixate is in private preview release currently, and working for great design teams from companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Twitter. They’ve got a special offer for DF readers: sign up now to get on the waiting list and you’ll get a free month of service when it launches.
Marc Newson to Join Apple on Jony Ive’s Design Team ★
Anyone else starting to get the feeling that Tuesday’s event might not be just about iPhones?
Is Switzerland Fucked? ★
Nick Bilton, writing for the NYT:
While we don’t have much of an idea what the coveted iWatch will
look like, I was able to glean one small detail from people at
Apple who work on the company’s wearables.
According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s
design chief, in bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was
shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble —
though he chose a much bolder term for “trouble” to express how he
thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament
when Apple’s watch comes out.
Sure sounds like a watch, in particular, not a wearable, in general.
Yours truly, back in June:
If Apple is indeed making a wearable device that goes on your
wrist, it should look like something you’d want to wear before you
even see what it does.
(Betteridge’s Law holds, of course, that Switzerland is not in fact fucked.)
‘The Problem With Apple’s Juice’ ★
Jessica Lessin, writing for The Information (paywall, alas)
In the build-up to the new Apple Watch, it is easy to get seduced
by the rumored features. Curved screen! Wireless charging! Jony
Ive thinks it’s slick!
But — and I hate to burst everyone’s bubble here — the appeal of
the world’s most highly anticipated wearable computer is going to
come down to something a lot more mundane: battery life.
And I have some bad news. I think it is going to be disappointing.
People who have talked to Apple about the watch said that Apple
employees have set low expectations. Maybe it’s Apple sandbagging.
Maybe the battery life really is bad. We’ll learn more on Tuesday
at the big unveiling and, eventually, when it ships next year.
If true, and it’s really a “watch”, that’s a problem. If it’s something more like a wearable iPod Nano, maybe not so much. But Lessin is saying it’s a watch.
[Retracted] ‘Just Photoshop in the Missing 90 Degrees’ ★
Motorola’s promotional image of the Moto 270 shows the entire display filled in down at the 6 o’clock marker. That’s one way to solve the problem.
Ends up it only renders this way in Safari. Load the same page in Chrome, and when the animation finishes, it includes the flat tire.
Tim Cook Says Apple to Add Security Alerts for iCloud Users ★
Daisuke Wakabayashi, writing for the WSJ:
In his first interview on the subject, Apple Chief Executive Tim
Cook said celebrities’ iCloud accounts were compromised when
hackers correctly answered security questions to obtain their
passwords, or when they were victimized by a phishing scam to
obtain user IDs and passwords.
He said none of the Apple IDs and passwords leaked from the
To make such leaks less likely, Mr. Cook said Apple will alert
users via email and push notifications when someone tries to
change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device,
or when a device logs into an account for the first time.
Until now, users got an email when someone tried to change a
password or log in for the first time from an unknown Apple
device; there were no notifications for restoring iCloud data.
That Cook would take time this week, in the run-up to Tuesday’s event, to address this says to me he’s taking it pretty damn seriously.
Joanna Stern Reviews the Moto 270 ★
And the problem for women like me, with thin wrists, is that the
watch may sound small — 1.8 inches in diameter and just a
half-inch thick — but it almost looks like I grabbed a clock off
the wall and strapped it to my arm.
Of course, size wasn’t an issue for everyone who tried it on. It
looked decent on my father’s medium-size wrist, and just right on
my co-worker’s extra-large one.
Motorola says it is working on smaller versions, but that makes me
concerned about battery life: Even this big, honking model had to
be charged twice a day. Most days, after charging it overnight, I
had to put it back on its wireless charging cradle by 4 p.m. If
only the large black circle could also work as a sundial so I
could still tell the time when the battery dies.
So it’s way too big for at least half the population and has to be charged twice a day.
Side Note to Those of You Seeing Wacky Fonts on DF Using Chrome on Windows ★
It’s a bug in Chrome that hit when they switched to a new font renderer on Windows. Hopefully they’ll fix it soon.
The Moto 270 Goes on Sale Today ★
Congratulations to Motorola and Google for beating my joke by four days.
Update: Maybe they won’t beat my joke. I said “shipping”, and they’re quoting pick-up at Best Buy in “3-5 days”.
AppleInsider: Aerial Footage of Apple’s Mysterious White Box Next to Tuesday’s Event Site ★
Hats off to AppleInsider for getting some impressive flyover drone footage of Apple’s intriguing (and I presume temporary) structure for next week’s event. The theory that it’s a large hands-on area for after the keynote is my guess as well, but who knows? This event is uncharted territory. (Via Jim Dalrymple.)
Beautiful piece by Craig Mod:
Thoughtful decisions concerned with details marginal or
marginalized conspire to affect greatness. (Hairline spacing
after em dashes in online editing software — for example.) The
creative process around these decisions being equal parts
humility and diligence. The humility to try again and again, and
the diligence to suffer your folly enough times to find the right
A book with proper margins says a number of things. It says, we
care about the page. It says, we care about the words. We care so
much that we’re going to ensure the words and the page fall into
harmony. We’re not going to squish the text to save money. Oh, no,
we will not not rush and tuck words too far into the gutter.
A book with proper margins says, We respect you, Dear Reader, and
also you, Dear Author, and you, too, Dear Book.
Matthew Panzarino: ‘Apple Should Be More Transparent About Security’ ★
Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:
The question I’ve been asking myself over the months since the SSL
vulnerability debacle has been ‘why?’ Why is a company who is
generally very well-rounded operationally, and like it or not,
produces extremely well-liked and complex devices so bad at
communicating about security?
The answer I’ve come up with, and this is just a personal theory,
is that Apple thinks about security communications in the same way
that it thinks about product communications. In other words, it
plays its cards incredibly close to the chest at all times by
default. These tactics have served it well in the consumer
products arena, creating a frenzy of attention around the releases
of new devices and services. And that’s great; I don’t mind a
little mystery around products as a consumer, even though my job
as a reporter is to figure out what Apple could do next and decide
whether that’s important enough to talk about publicly.
But in security, this kind of ivory tower comms strategy is a
losing game, especially as smartphones become an increasingly
information-rich repository of our personal lives.
Good piece, and I largely agree. Apple’s messaging on security- and privacy- related issues ought to come across as honest and straightforward, but instead it often comes across as evasive.
On the Potential of iOS and Mac App Extensions ★
With official, system-wide extensions on the way, the potential
for Mac and especially iOS apps to work together expands
immeasurably. Actually, it explodes in an invigorating display of
colors, delightful sounds, and hope. Apps like 1Password can fill
information directly into Safari forms and all the other apps that
add support. We can archive webpages in Evernote and Stache.
Afterlight — really, any photo app — can edit photos right in
the Camera Roll. Even better, I’m just barely scratching the
surface of this potential.
Part of the genius of these extensions is the way they’re bundled with the apps. So if you have the app installed, you’ll see its extension in other apps automatically. And if you don’t, you won’t. And if you want to get rid of an app, you don’t have to do anything extra to remove its extensions — they get removed when the app gets removed.
Feld & Volk ★
I’d never heard of these guys until they made the news last week with their purported video showing an assembled new iPhone, but they run a fascinating/ridiculous business. They take new iPhones and customize them with gaudy, exotic replacement parts (e.g. solid gold volume buttons and silence switch), then resell them for almost $10,000. Think: Vertu but for iOS.
Samsung Gear S ★
Samsung’s sixth — sixth! — smartwatch announced in the last year. (No shipping date or price on this device, either.) The curved screen helps, but it still looks like a small phone strapped to your wrist, not a watch. Like something you’d wear while working out, not something you’d wear all the time. One cool new feature: you can put a SIM card in it, letting it work as a standalone communicator rather than a tethered companion to a standalone phone.
Judging from the videos I’ve seen (see also: The Verge), Tizen, which the Gear S is running, is a bit of a turd in terms of animation fluidity and touch responsiveness.
The Galaxy Note Edge ★
Lots of new phones and watches are being pre-announced this week, for some reason. Here’s David Pierce at The Verge on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge (which doesn’t even have pricing or a release date, which tells you all you need to know about how Samsung wanted to present this ahead of next week’s you-know-whats):
It’s an odd idea, turning this vertical rail into essentially an
always-on secondary display. Is it best-suited as a ticker? A
notification center? A quick-launch taskbar? Samsung doesn’t seem
entirely sure, and in a few minutes of using the Galaxy Note Edge
it was clear that while well-implemented and useful the whole idea
isn’t necessarily fully formed.
Still, by releasing the Note Edge broadly — it’s coming to AT&T,
Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — and giving both users and
developers a chance to figure out what they want, Samsung could
find itself with a truly unique smartphone feature that no other
manufacturer can copy.
Yes, let the people spending hundreds of dollars for these things figure out what the (oddly right-handed-biased) curved side screen is useful for.
(Somewhere inside Xiaomi, there are people laughing heartily at that “feature that no other manufacturer can copy” line.)
Notes on the Celebrity Data Theft ★
Comprehensive piece by Nik Cubrilovic on the celebrity photo theft:
After this story broke I spent some time immersed in the crazy,
obsessive subculture of celebrity nudes and revenge porn trying to
work out what they were doing, how they were doing it and what
could be learned from it.
What we see in the public with these hacking incidents seems to
only be scratching the surface. There are entire communities
and trading networks where the data that is stolen remains
private and is rarely shared with the public. The networks are
broken down horizontally with specific people carrying out
specific roles, loosely organized across a large number of
sites (both clearnet and darknet) with most organization and
communication taking place in private (email, IM).
The goal is to steal private media from a targets phone by
accessing cloud based backup services that are integrated into
iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devices. To access the cloud
based backup requires the users ID, password or an
The deepest and most reasonable piece on the situation I’ve seen.
Rich Mogull on the iCloud Celebrity Photo Leak ★
Rich Mogull, writing for TidBITS:
But Apple, like all major cloud providers, needs to step up its
game, especially since it wants to store our photos, biometric
information, and possibly even payment information in the cloud.
These kinds of attacks are only going to increase, and online
services need to make it easier for users to implement a higher
level of security, without destroying the user experience. It’s
the kind of challenge well-suited to Apple’s strengths, now it’s
time for them to move up to the next level.
But what is the next level? I’m not sure two-factor is it, or at least not as
currently implemented by Apple.
Apple Releases OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 7 ★
This is a pretty strong sign that Yosemite isn’t going to ship until October — the same schedule Mavericks was on last year. Yosemite seems like it’s in good shape, but it’s not that close to feeling like a GM release. Craig Hockenberry and I talked about this on The Talk Show this week — Craig thought Yosemite would have to ship alongside iOS 8 because of all the new “Continuity” features that require new versions of both OSes.
But that was true for iCloud Keychain last year, and it didn’t ship until iOS 7.0.3, after the October 22 event for the new iPads. I think we’ll see the same thing with Continuity this year — iOS 8.0 will ship with the new iPhones in late September, but the Continuity features won’t appear until an OS update in October.
S’Long, Jeet ★
Roger Angell, eloquent as always, on Derek Jeter’s final days in uniform:
Jeter has just about wound up his Mariano Tour — the all-points
ceremonies around home plate in every away park on the Yankees’
schedule, where he accepts gifts, and perhaps a farewell check for
his Turn 2 charity, and lifts his cap to the cheering,
phone-flashing multitudes. He does this with style and grace — no
one is better at it — and without the weepiness of some
predecessors. His ease, his daily joy in his work, has lightened
the sadness of this farewell, and the cheering everywhere has been
sustained and genuine.
Far From Silicon Valley, Tech Industry Finds an Oracle | Reuters ★
From Noel Randewich’s July 2012 profile of Anand Shimpi for Reuters:
To make sure his reviews are ready in time for product launches,
Shimpi pulls all-nighters and lays out his testing gear in hotel
rooms during his frequent travels.
“If you put in an honest seven days of work - I’m not saying eight
hours a day or less, I’m saying if you don’t sleep for a couple of
nights, and that’s all you live and breathe and do - I think it’s
possible to deliver a good review within that seven-day period,”
“Anything less and you start making sacrifices.”
The first thing I do after publishing a review of a major new product is load up other reviews and see what they have to say; what they noticed that I overlooked. Shimpi’s iPhone and iPad reviews were usually the first ones I’d read. I even sat next to Anand during last year’s iPhone announcement.
I sure am curious to see what he’s going to be doing for Apple. It’s certainly Apple-like, but intriguing nonetheless, that he didn’t even mention Apple by name in his announcement that he was retiring from AnandTech. Also worth noting: former AnandTech writer Brian Klug left to join Apple earlier this year.
Apple Issues Statement on Celebrity iCloud Account Hacking ★
Apple press release:
We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft
of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we
were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to
discover the source. Our customers’ privacy and security are of
utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of
investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts
were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names,
passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all
too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated
has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including
iCloud or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law
enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.
“A practice that has become all too common on the Internet” is a weird excuse. It’s certainly true, but it suggests that we still have a major problem. If the system works by design in a such a way that accounts can be easily hijacked via bad passwords or guessable security questions, that’s a problem.
(And on the other hand, make things too secure and people will be annoyed, or worse, locked out of their accounts.)