Next week is taken, but other than that the next month or so is wide open on the DF RSS feed sponsorship schedule. That includes this current week (which is showing higher than usual traffic, thanks to next week’s Apple event). If you’ve got a product or service you want to promote to DF’s savvy audience, get in touch.
Vesper Sync Shutdown Tonight, Open Source Plans ★
Data is stored on your device. The app will continue to work
even without syncing. You can continue to use the app.
You can still export your data. As many times as you want. The
Export feature works with the data on your device — it has
nothing to do with syncing.
We plan to remove the app from the App Store Sept. 15, but you
can continue to use the app even after that. The Export feature
will continue to work after that.
We will make Vesper for iOS, Vesper for Mac, and Vesper’s
This code will also be provided as historical artifacts: they’re
not intended as active projects. They’re also not intended as
examples of how to write apps these days.
Bragi Hits the Panic Button ★
Chance Miller, writing for 9to5Mac:
Earlier today, Apple officially sent invites to its iPhone 7
announcement event that will be held next week on September 7th.
Shortly after Apple’s announcement, wireless headphone company
Bragi announced that it has its own big news coming next week,
lending some to believe that Apple might be in the picture…
Bragi today revealed that it has a “big announcement” coming next
week on September 5th, just two days before the Apple event. What
has really made people speculate, however, is the fact the
announcement will occur out of Cupertino, which is also where
Apple’s headquarters are located.
That’s stupid. If Bragi had a deal of any sort with Apple, they’d be keeping their mouths shut. And they certainly wouldn’t be announcing anything two days before Apple’s event. And why would Apple need anything from Bragi? Apple just bought a much bigger name in headphones. And why in the world would Bragi schedule an announcement of any sort on Labor Day, a major U.S. holiday?
Here’s what makes sense: Bragi has caught wind of Apple’s imminent wireless AirPods. They’re just like what Gurman reported eight months ago: no-cable ear plugs that come with a smart case for transport and charging. Bragi is trying to jump in front of Apple’s announcement, but the fact that they’re making the announcement in Cupertino on Labor Day makes them look panicked.
Gurman Says No Mac Announcements Next Week ★
Mark Gurman and Jungah Lee, reporting for Bloomberg:
Apple is holding an event on Sept. 7 in San Francisco. The keynote
will focus on upgraded versions of the iPhone, a new Apple Watch
with GPS tracking and new health features, and an iOS 10 software
update for iPhones and iPads, according to people familiar with
the matter. The new Macs are currently expected to be announced at
a later date, the people said.
I’m hearing rumblings that review units will be very limited this year.
While the new iPad features aren’t expected until next year, Apple
is planning to release some of the new Mac products as soon as
October, according to the people. The updated line includes
tweaked MacBook Air devices with multi-functional USB-C port
technology and iMacs with an option for new graphics chips from
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
An update to the MacBook Air of any sort is a bit of a surprise to me. I really thought the Air was sunsetted.
Wired: ‘How to Digitally Erase All Your Stuff When You Quit Your Job’ ★
The article is kind of blah — I’ll bet most DF readers know this stuff already. But the comments from stick-up-the-ass IT professionals are solid gold.
Apple Event: Wednesday September 7 ★
Apple on Monday send out an invitation for a special event to be
held on September 7 at 10:00 am. This year’s event will be held at
the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California.
I made a lucky guess.
The visual style of the invitation strongly suggests bokeh, giving credence to what I first heard two years ago: that Apple is shooting for SLR-quality imaging in the iPhone cameras (or at least, alas, the Plus model).
There has been speculation that new Macs will also be announced at
this event, but I don’t think so. I’ve previously outlined my
reasoning for thinking the company will not introduce Macs in
Only a fool bets against Dalrymple, so I won’t. It makes sense to me, however, that Apple would announce new Macs alongside the new iPhones. The iPhones are already sharing the stage with the new Apple Watch 2 models, and I got the feeling last year that Apple very much wanted to stick with just one fall event. If Dalrymple is right, though, I would guess the new Macs will be introduced in October — not with an event, but with small-scale private media briefings.
The Verge: ‘Facebook Removes Fake Article About Megyn Kelly From Trending Topics’ ★
This headline is charitable at best — the real headline should be “Facebook fires human curators, false headline immediately goes viral”.
Update: Ars Technica nails it: “Facebook Fires Human Editors, Algorithm Immediately Posts Fake News”.
Unique ‘Celebration’ Apple I Sells for $815,000 ★
Apple hardware is overpriced.
Spotify Is Burying Musicians With Apple Music Exclusives ★
Lucas Shaw and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:
Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new
material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs
harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy.
Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have
been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured
playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the
people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those
artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings
of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the
people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.
Update: Spotify is not diddling with search results. Promotion, yes. Search, no.
Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ Amplifies Discord in the Music Business ★
Ben Sisario, reporting for the NYT:
Despite its idiosyncratic format, “Endless” — one long streaming
film, whose songs (different from those on “Blonde”) were not
available separately — fulfilled Mr. Ocean’s contractual
obligations to Def Jam, enabling him to release “Blonde” through
Apple without any involvement from the label, according to three
people with knowledge of Mr. Ocean’s deal who spoke on the
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss
it publicly. The financial arrangement between Mr. Ocean and Apple
is not known. Apple, Def Jam and a representative for Mr. Ocean’s
managers all declined to comment.
Record labels, more and more, are unnecessary middlemen, especially for well-known acts.
Nikkei Asian Review: ‘Intel Aims to Challenge TSMC Over Apple Chip Orders by 2018’ ★
Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei Asian Review:
Intel’s recent pledge to expand its business making chips for
others highlights its ambition to snatch chip orders for Apple’s
popular iPhones from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as
early as 2018, industry experts said.
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue, announced earlier
this month that it will license technology from British mobile
chip designer ARM with the aim of securing more business from
smartphone companies. LG Electronics will become the first
smartphone company to adopt Intel chips following the ARM deal.
Would be a crazy story if Apple switched from Intel to AMD for x86 CPUs for the Mac, but switched to Intel for CPUs for iOS.
Intriguing Rumor: ‘Apple Could Use Custom x86 SoC Made by AMD’ ★
Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits n Chips, back in October:
According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom
x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018.
Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and
professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs
are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.
So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family,
like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the
perfect partner to do this.
Most of the speculation about Apple taking control of its Mac CPU is about switching the instruction set to ARM. That’s possible, of course, but problematic in many ways. (You wouldn’t be able to use Boot Camp to boot into Windows, for example.) This is just an idle rumor from a year ago, but it’s intriguing to think about Apple designing their own SoCs for Mac with the help of AMD.
Steven Levy, Behind the Scenes on Apple’s AI and Machine Learning ★
Lengthy profile on Apple’s AI efforts by Steven Levy, for Backchannel:
Probably the biggest issue in Apple’s adoption of machine learning
is how the company can succeed while sticking to its principles on
user privacy. The company encrypts user information so that no
one, not even Apple’s lawyers, can read it (nor can the FBI, even
with a warrant). And it boasts about not collecting user
information for advertising purposes.
While admirable from a user perspective, Apple’s rigor on this
issue has not been helpful in luring top AI talent to the company.
“Machine learning experts, all they want is data,” says a former
Apple employee now working for an AI-centric company. “But by its
privacy stance, Apple basically puts one hand behind your back.
You can argue whether it’s the right thing to do or not, but it’s
given Apple a reputation for not being real hardcore AI folks.”
This view is hotly contested by Apple’s executives, who say that
it’s possible to get all the data you need for robust machine
learning without keeping profiles of users in the cloud or even
storing instances of their behavior to train neural nets. “There
has been a false narrative, a false trade-off out there,” says
Federighi. “It’s great that we would be known as uniquely
respecting user’s privacy. But for the sake of users everywhere,
we’d like to show the way for the rest of the industry to get on
This is the crux of the whole piece, to my mind. The AI community is largely focused on privacy-invasive data collection and doing the computation in the cloud. Apple’s approach protects privacy by keeping the data (and performing the computation) on the device.
The other interesting angle in the piece is about most researchers wanting to publish their work, whereas Apple is attracting those who are more interested in the products themselves. But Apple is allowing their researchers on differential privacy to publish their work.
Import Your Vesper Notes Into Ulysses ★
A few days ago, the creators of the notes app Vesper
announced to end its development and eventually shut down the
sync server. Being in this industry ourselves, we can understand
that making this move isn’t easy, and we’re sorry for both the
developers and the Vesper users who grew fond of the tool. If
you’re a Vesper user and considering Ulysses as a future
replacement, this post is for you. To ease migrating your notes
from Vesper to Ulysses, we’ve created a small tool which lets you
do exactly that.
Very cool. It even keeps your tags and photo attachments.
Jonathan Poritsky’s Elegy for Vesper ★
But Vesper was innovative in two key ways: tags and photos. No
note taking app before or since has treated photos as well. And I
can find no replacement for the way it handled tags. […]
The brilliance of Vesper’s photo handling was that it didn’t treat
photos as inline elements. They were almost like metadata, an
aspect of your note. The photo itself could be the whole note.
When Apple added photos to Notes last year, many said it was the
death knell for Vesper. But Notes treats photos differently. They
are inline, part of the note. They are not the note itself. For
me that’s not as attractive. It adds complexity where I’d rather
He’s got a wonderful story at the end, about a particular note he wrote in Vesper. I don’t want to spoil it.
Blackbox is a new shipping company from the creators of Cards
Our mission is to help you sell and ship stuff directly to your
fans for a fraction of the cost and effort of doing it yourself.
Blackbox works like a co-op: if we all go in together, we get the
cheapest pricing, the fastest shipping, and the best service. The
shipping is fast. We pay your sales tax. You can customize the
packaging and the inserts. It’s pretty great.
We think the future will favor independent creators selling their
own products, without publishers or bloodsucking middlemen taking
most of the money. In fact, we’re betting the company on it.
It even has a cool domain name.
The Macaroni in ‘Yankee Doodle’ Is Not What You Think ★
Michael Waters, writing for Atlas Obscura on a bit of British pop culture slang from the 1760s.
Yours Truly on Anil Dash’s ‘Pop Life’ Talkshow ★
I was this week’s guest on Anil Dash’s Pop Life, on Talkshow. It’s like texting in public. It was fun, and there were some excellent questions from the audience. I tell the story about the first time I met Steve Jobs.
Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) ★
My thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Are you running Docker containers in production? Ready to share your story with the industry’s top developers, end users, and vendors?
Cloud native computing uses an open source software stack to deploy applications as microservices, packaging each part into its own container, and dynamically orchestrating those containers to optimize resource utilization. CNCF hosts critical components of that software stack including Kubernetes and Prometheus and serves as a neutral home for collaboration. CNCF is looking for new members, and especially end users of cloud native technologies.
If that describes you, check them out and join today.
Jason Calacanis, 18 months Ago: ‘Apple Will Buy Tesla for $75B in 18 Months’ ★
Jason Calacanis, 14 February 2015:
Apple will buy Tesla for $75b in 18 months — it’s a lock (in my mind).
Let’s use that lock to season the claim chowder on this one. (Yours truly at the time: “If Apple were going to do this they’d have done it years ago.”)
Update: Even more seasoning for the claim chowder — Tesla’s market cap today: $33.4 billion.
Symbolic Leadership ★
I think Gruber is missing the point — attending a game when a
division you are responsible for is down for six hours is a clear
lack of empathy for the customers, and also is a sign that
standards are falling of what used to be an Apple Standard for
building products of delight. Sure, things might have taken as
much time to fix the iCloud, but the message you would have sent
out to rest of the Apple team would have been different.
Let’s unpack this. First, it has nothing to do with “empathy for the customers”. 99.999 percent of the customers whose iCloud accounts were affected by the June 2 outage have no idea who Eddy Cue is, let alone care whether he attended the Warriors game.
As for the message to Apple employees, that’s really the only part of the “Eddy Cue should have skipped the game” argument that makes any sense to me. I disagree with it, but at least it makes sense. But it’s predicated on a lot of assumptions about Apple employee attitudes and morale, and Cue’s leadership and management abilities. Are the engineers and system administrators who were responsible for fixing the outage delicate emotionally fragile children who felt hurt when they found out Eddy Cue went to a basketball game while they were doing their jobs? Or are they mature professionals, who realize that the only thing that mattered was fixing the outage?
And let’s go further. Let’s say Cue did skip the game. How would the employees working on the outage know that he skipped the game? Should Cue have been calling them every 15 minutes to see how it’s going? Should he have made them feel small by screaming at them, telling them that they’re incompetent shitheads? Should he have made them feel guilty by telling them that he was missing Game One of the NBA Finals, because of this outage? Or, should he simply trust them, leave them alone and let them do their jobs — in which case, he might as well have just gone to the fucking game.
If we’re going to talk about symbolic leadership, I like what it says to Apple employees that Cue went to the game. It says having fun and a life outside work is good.
Facebook to Deploy Ad Blocker Blocker Blocker Blocker ★
Josh Constine, writing for TechCrunch:
A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within
hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that
will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days
for Adblock to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of
that time for Facebook to disable it.
Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.
Whack-a-mole all the way down.
One More Thing on Om Malik’s Eddy Cue Rant ★
Philip Elmer-DeWitt (who was on the same episode of TWIT) transcribed Om Malik’s rant:
This is coming from the so-called celebrity influx into the
company, whether it is through the Beats acquisition or Eddy Cue.
I mean, look at Eddy Cue. The guy was hanging out at the playoffs
when iCloud was burning. For six hours. You know, he wouldn’t have
survived a day if Steve was around.
I’m sorry, that’s what gets me worked up about this company. They
have all these wrong priorities. They want to do entertainment
content? Buy damn Netflix and move on from there. Do it properly
if you want to do it. Don’t try to do this stupid penny-ante stuff
which adds no value to the company. Absolutely none.
(DeWitt’s comment: “I couldn’t disagree.”)
I’ll just point out that Eddy Cue started at Apple in 1989, and reported directly to Jobs while creating and running the iTunes Store, App Store, and iLife suite. You’re free to argue that Cue is doing a shitty job, but “he wouldn’t have survived a day if Steve was around” doesn’t hold water.
And the whole thing about Cue attending a Golden State Warriors game — Game One of the NBA Finals — during an iCloud outage is nonsense. If Cue had skipped the game, the iCloud outage would not have been fixed a minute sooner. Not one minute.
Om Malik: Apple Should Buy Netflix ★
I was on Leo Laporte’s TWIT show yesterday and ended up going
on a bit of a rant about Apple and “Planet of the Apps.” My view
on “content” efforts like this is pretty simple. It is
distracting, non-core to Apple and basically avoids the bigger
challenges: how to add data and Internet DNA into a company that
has managed to struggle with services. The App Store needs more
smarts and better search, and it needs to take a contemporary,
data-centric approach to surfacing apps. “Planet of the Apps” is
just an old media-like thinking applied to “apps.” I might be the
only one who feels that way, but the reality is that these kinds
of efforts are really not good for Apple at a time when it is
competing with Google, Amazon and Facebook.
Apple — if it really wants to get into content and wants to make
a strong statement to the Hollywood establishment that has stymied
its television efforts so far — should make a big, bold bet. It
should use its massive stock market capitalization and cash hoard
to buy Netflix.
Om is a good friend, so it pains me to say this, but he’s off his rocker on this one. I’m as skeptical as anyone about this Planet of the Apps show and why Apple is producing it. But I highly doubt it’s a distraction for anyone at Apple. It’s not even shooting in the Bay Area; it’s shooting in L.A.
Buying Netflix, on the other hand, would be a huge distraction. I’m not saying it could never happen or would certainly be a bad idea, but Apple’s services are built to take advantage of its hardware. Netflix is the opposite — it’s a service designed to be available on any device with a screen. With iTunes, Apple already has a library of movies and TV shows. If Apple wants to produce original content, they could start their own production company for a tiny fraction of Netflix’s $42 billion market cap. A fraction.
To me, this reads as Om being bored with Apple, and wanting them to just do something. Saying Apple should buy Netflix is no different than Eric Jackson’s call two years ago for Apple to start making mega-billion acquisitions. As I wrote then:
Conglomeration may well work out well for Facebook. General
Electric has done well with that model for over 100 years. But it
would be a disaster for Apple. Apple makes acquisitions for
integration. Exhibit A: PA Semi — a chump change $278 million
acquisition that laid the groundwork for Apple to become the
leading mobile semiconductor company in the world.
America Votes With Cards Against Humanity ★
Cards Against Humanity:
Today, we’re letting America choose between two new expansion
packs about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
At the end of this promotion, Cards Against Humanity will tally up
the sales of both packs, and depending on which pack gets more
support, we will donate all the money in support of Hillary
Interesting data and semantics analysis by David Robinson, stemming from a casual observation by Todd Vaziri that went hyper-viral.
Couple of openings on the schedule this month,
including this week. If you’ve got a product or service you’d like to promote to DF’s savvy audience, get in touch and we’ll make a deal.
Update: This week’s spot just sold, but next week remains available.
Milton Glaser Analyzes Olympic Logo Design Through the Ages ★
Emily Gosling, AIGA:
There’s been much controversy recently around Olympic logo design,
but let’s not forget the rich and varying narrative the Games’
graphic design has weaved over the decades. Ahead of Rio 2016, who
better to cast their eyes and critical judgement over the good,
the bad, and the ugly of logo design for Olympics past, present,
and future than Milton Glaser? Here he is.
My favorite (and Glaser’s): Tokyo 1964. Perfect.
Joe Posnanski on Alex Rodriguez ★
Nice take by Joe Posnanski on Alex Rodriguez:
And then, impossibly, Rodriguez got better. At 22, he had a
40-homer, 40-stolen base season and was probably the best player
in the league again (the MVP went back to Gonzalez but this time
it didn’t directly affect A-Rod — he finished a distant ninth in
the voting). Two years later, Rodriguez added 100 walks to his
superior shortstop defense, high average, big power — he was
again probably the best player in the league. He finished a
distant third in the MVP voting to Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas,
a couple of sluggers who didn’t even pretend to play defense.
The lack of respect — the lack of love — obviously rankled him.
At free-agency time, Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras made it clear
that they had every intention of shaking up the world, every
desire to let America know that this Alex Rodriguez guy was not a
great player, he was THE great player, the consummate player, the
ideal player, better than anyone.
And they signed a deal with Texas that dropped jaws all over the
country. Through the years, baseball players have set records with
big deals, but this one was on a whole other level. Even now, 15
years later, A-Rod’s 10-year, $252 million deal in 2001 ranks as
the third-largest in baseball history. And one of the two deals
ahead of it was the one A-Rod himself signed later as an extension
with the Yankees.
A-Rod was the second-best hitter I’ve watched in my lifetime. The best, of course, was Barry Bonds, whose name is also inextricably linked to PEDs.
The Collatz Conjecture ★
Fun little math problem, explained by Professor David Eisenbud in a video by Brady Haran. (I’m learning Swift, and wrote a little playground to mess around with this. Update: Here’s my code in plain text, too. And Charles Parnot posted a more elegant solution.)
‘Do I Hope Nobody Gets in My Way? They Better Not.’ ★
Also in Fast Company, Mark Sullivan interviews Apple Music marketing chief Bozoma Saint John:
Q: What can you tell me about what you have learned about race and
gender in corporate America? Some women and minorities have
described the feeling of having to be twice as good to get
where they want to go.
A: I always find that question quite funny, because I don’t have
another experience. The experience I have is this. This body,
this is it. I don’t have anything else to compare it to.
Frankly, I think it is unfair to me, if I did it to myself, to
say, “I wonder how this experience has been different to mine?”
It would undercut my own successes and my own passion and my
own journey. I really don’t do that. This experience is what I
have. Do I work hard? Hell, yeah. Am I passionate about what I
do? Yes. Do I hope I have a future in this? Absolutely. Do I
hope nobody gets in my way? They better not.
Derek Jeter on Ichiro Suzuki ★
Derek Jeter, commemorating Ichiro joining the 3,000-hit club:
Most of all, I’ve admired Ichiro because he’s a model of
consistency. In my mind, the most underrated characteristic for
anyone is consistency. It’s something that gets overlooked until
it’s gone. I think baseball was always more than just a game to
him. This was what he was born to do. And most impressive of all,
the guy’s 42 years old and I can’t remember him ever being on the
disabled list. He has taken great care of himself. He seems to
approach baseball like a craft that can never be perfected. I
don’t think he has a concept of “time off” from the game. It’s his
life’s work. That starts with working hard all the time, even when
no one’s looking.
He really has been remarkably consistent. What he’s doing this year is simply extraordinary for a 42-year-old. He looks like he could play for years. (And of course, much like Jeter did, Ichiro picked up his 3,000th hit in spectacular fashion.)
‘Playing the Long Game Inside Tim Cook’s Apple’ ★
Excellent, must-read cover story for Fast Company by Rick Tetzeli (co-author of last year’s also excellent Becoming Steve Jobs biography). It’s about as accurate and insightful as a “state of Apple” profile could be. I wish I had written it.
What Apple has accomplished with Maps is an example of the kind of
grind-it-out innovation that’s happening all the time at the
company. You don’t hear a lot about it, perhaps because it doesn’t
support the enthralling myth that innovation comes in blinding
flashes that lead to hitherto unimaginable products. When critics
ding Apple for its failure to introduce “breakthrough” devices and
services, they are missing three key facts about technology:
First, that breakthrough moments are unpredictable outcomes of
ongoing, incremental innovation; second, that ongoing,
behind-the-scenes innovation brings significant benefits, even if
it fails to create singular disruptions; and, third, that new
technologies only connect broadly when a mainstream audience is
ready and has a compelling need. “The world thinks we delivered [a
breakthrough] every year while Steve was here,” says Cue. “Those
products were developed over a long period of time.”
That one paragraph goes a long way to explaining what Apple really does. Tetzeli also makes a compelling argument that Apple is better positioned on artificial intelligence than any of its competitors, because they’re the only company that’s with you everywhere — from your desk to your wrist to your car.
I spoke to Tetzeli while he was working on this piece, and I’m quoted a few times. This one begs for an explanation:
Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has come to seem quite fallible to
many people. Its recent products have seemed far less than
perfect, at least compared to the collective memory of its
astonishing iPod–iPhone–iPad run from 2001 to 2010. There are the
public embarrassments, like its 2012 introduction of Maps, or
those 2014 videos of reviewers bending, and breaking, an iPhone 6
Plus. Apple Pay hasn’t become the standard for a cashless society,
and the Apple Watch “is not the watch we expect from Apple,”
according to John Gruber, editor of Daring Fireball, the
preeminent Apple-centric website. Then there are the design flaws:
Apple Music has been saddled with too many features, as if it were
something designed by, God forbid, Microsoft; the lens on the back
of the iPhone 6 extrudes; the new Apple TV has an illogical
interface and confusing remote control.
If I recall correctly, the context of that remark was related to the Sport/steel/Edition tiering of the Apple Watch product lineup — particularly the $10,000-and-up Edition models. But it could have just as easily been about the slowness of the software. In hindsight — especially now that we’ve seen the zippy WatchOS 3 — Apple Watch was released before it was ready, which is un-Apple-like.
Ming-Chi Kuo: ‘Apple Watch 2’ With GPS, Barometer, Better Waterproofing ★
Mikey Campbell, writing for AppleInsider:
Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note to investors on
Sunday, obtained by AppleInsider, detailed Apple’s wearable
timeline for the coming six months.
Kuo believes Apple is planning to launch two new Apple Watch
versions in the second half of 2016, both of which offer moderate
improvements over their predecessor. The first unit will be an
iterative upgrade on the original Apple Watch and is expected to
sport the same aesthetics, but with improved intervals like a TSMC
processor built on the 16nm process. Waterproofing should also be
A second version, dubbed “Apple Watch 2,” is also expected to
share the same general design as current models, but will include
a GPS radio and barometer for improved geolocation capabilities. A
higher capacity battery will be included to power the advanced
components, but its size will prohibit Apple’s usual generational
I can see Apple keeping the original Apple Watch models around (Sport edition only?) at lower prices. That’s what Apple does with old generations — keep them around at lower prices. But it doesn’t make any sense to me that they would both introduce a second generation model and upgrade the first generation model. Especially if they look the same.
Google Photos ‘Free Up Space’ Commercial ★
Do you smell smoke? That’s the aroma of a sick burn wafting out of Cupertino. This Google Photos commercial is running during the Olympics, and it absolutely nails Apple right where they deserve to be nailed. This commercial is going to turn millions of people with 16 GB iPhones into Google Photos users. Running out of space is a real problem that real people face — and once storage gets tight, it will remain tight until you get a new phone.
Update: In addition to 16 GB iPhones, Apple’s other problem is the meager 5 GB limit for the free tier of iCloud. I think the $1/month 50 GB plan is a great deal. It ought to be a no-brainer for anyone who can afford an iPhone in the first place. But there are a lot of people who simply won’t budge from “free”, even if it means putting up with the daily annoyance of warnings about storage limits being hit. I realize Apple is building up its “services” as a profit center, but 5 GB just isn’t enough for the free tier.
MacUpdate’s Summer Mac App Bundle ★
My thanks to MacUpdate for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their Summer Mac App Bundle. It includes brand new releases of Toast 15 Titanium, Folx 5 Pro, Myriad 4, and free upgrades for the soon-to-be-released WALTR 2 and Disk Drill Pro 3.
For visual artists, the bundle includes Corel Aftershot and Next Flipbook Maker. Nerdy utilities include iStat Menus and DaisyDisk. (Daisy Disk is my personal favorite for analyzing disk usage on the Mac. It’s a beautiful app.)
As always with MacUpdate’s bundles, it’s a great value. The retail value for all these apps is over $500 — with this bundle, you get them all for just $49.99. Act now: there are only four days left in the promotion.
Title Case vs. Sentence Case in UI Labeling ★
If you’re an Apple user, you’ll notice a lot of title case
throughout their products. That’s because Apple’s design
guidelines recommend title case for many UI elements, including
alert titles, menu items, and buttons.
If you’re a Google user, you’ll see a lot more sentence case
throughout their products. And that’s because Google’s design
guidelines recommend sentence case for almost everything.
A subtle but telling difference between Apple and Google. Culturally, Apple is fussier; Google is more casual.
Hampton Creek Ran Undercover Project to Buy Up Its Own Vegan Mayo ★
Outstanding reporting by Olivia Zaleski for Bloomberg:
In late 2014, fledgling entrepreneur Josh Tetrick persuaded
investors to plow $90 million into his vegan food startup Hampton
Creek Inc. Tetrick had impressed leading Silicon Valley venture
capital firms by getting his eggless Just Mayo product into
Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, and other top U.S. supermarkets within
about three years of starting his company.
What Tetrick and his team neglected to mention is that the startup
undertook a large-scale operation to buy back its own mayo, which
made the product appear more popular than it really was. At least
eight months before the funding round closed, Hampton Creek
executives quietly launched a campaign to purchase mass quantities
of Just Mayo from stores, according to five former workers and
more than 250 receipts, expense reports, cash advances and e-mails
reviewed by Bloomberg. In addition to buying up hundreds of jars
of the product across the U.S., contractors were told to call
store managers pretending they were customers and ask about Just
Mayo. Strong demand for a product typically prompts retailers to
order more and stock it in additional stores.
That is fraud. (And it should have been unnecessary: Just Mayo apparently tastes great.)
Also, don’t miss the wonderful animated illustration by Steph Davidson accompanying the article.
Glenn Fleishman Examines What’s New in Apple’s Emoji ★
Emoji week continues on Daring Fireball. Glenn Fleishman, writing for Macworld:
As part of this update, Apple has also redrawn most faces and
figures, among other changes. For the quasi-figurative
smiley-style emoji, the changes are very slight. In most cases,
you need to zoom way in to see them, although the subtle effects
remain noticeable on a Retina or 4K display. Smileys now have a
slightly different light source, with a more intense “hottest”
point at the top, some lines are thinner, and the 3D effect is
slightly more pronounced.
The way I’d describe it is that the old Pac-Man-style faces had an Aqua-like high-gloss texture. The new ones are no longer glossy.
Here’s my beef: Why isn’t Apple yet supporting the tumbler glass?
Top 10 Least-Loved Emojis ★
I love emoji. But some emojis are more equal than others. I’d
wager that there are 100 really popular emojis, and maybe 300
moderately popular ones. Every now and then, while flipping
through my iPad emoji keyboard, I would find a symbol that would
make me do a double-take and ask myself, “Why is this an emoji?”
There are now around a thousand base emojis and tens of thousands
of variations. One day, in a dark mood, I wondered: What are the
least-loved emojis? I checked out the live stats on
emojitracker.com and asked Jeremy Burge of Emojipedia for
his site’s least-favorite emojis. The result is this list: The
world’s least-loved emojis.
Speculating on Apple Watch 2 ★
By the time Apple unveils the Apple Watch 2, it will probably be
nearly 24 months since the original made its debut. Think about
that for a second. What can Apple do in 24 months when it controls
the whole stack? Answer: A LOT.
Look past how an iPhone looks and think about what happens in 24
months. Virtually everything changes. RAM, processor, screen
technology, cameras, sensors, even materials. Compare an iPhone 5s
to an iPhone 6s and it’s a night and day difference in terms of
performance and technology. This is the type of leap I’m expecting
this fall with the Watch.
I don’t think the industrial design is going to change
drastically, but I do think it will change. I wouldn’t be
surprised to see the Watch get a tad thinner. I also think Apple
may do some interesting new finishes with the Sport model, which
has clearly become the go-to Watch for most of us. Everything will
be improved, I think, from the Taptic Engine to the display cover.
I get why there’s so much speculation about the new iPhones — it’s the most successful consumer product in the world. But I find it curious that there’s so little speculation about the second generation Apple Watch lineup. And no supply chain leaks either.
Joanna Stern and I talked about this at length on the latest episode of my podcast, and she predicts an increased focus on health and fitness features — if only because Apple has learned that those are a major reason people are buying Apple Watches today.
Facebook to Reduce Rank of Clickbait Headlines in News Feed ★
We’ve heard from people that they specifically want to see fewer
stories with clickbait headlines or link titles. These are
headlines that intentionally leave out crucial information, or
mislead people, forcing people to click to find out the answer.
For example: “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw
THIS… I Was SHOCKED!”; “He Put Garlic In His Shoes Before Going To
Bed And What Happens Next Is Hard To Believe”; or “The Dog Barked
At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.”
To address this feedback from our community, we’re making an
update to News Feed ranking to further reduce clickbait headlines
in the coming weeks. With this update, people will see fewer
clickbait stories and more of the stories they want to see higher
up in their feeds.
I’ll bet this will decrease engagement in the short term. But it’s the right thing to do in the long run. It’s fundamentally a boy-who-cried-“wolf” scam.
ESPN.com Has Finally Replaced espn.go.com ★
Joshua Benton, writing for NiemanLab:
It isn’t quite our-long-national-nightmare-is-over level, but one
of the significant daily reminders of the early web just
disappeared. ESPN’s website, which had been hosted at espn.go.com
since 1998, is finally now just at espn.com.
This is the sort of thing where finally is truly apt in the headline.
Update: Disney itself now uses disney.com, but abc.com still redirects to abc.go.com.
Rich Mogull on Apple’s Security Bounty Program ★
A bug bounty program, like any corporate program, should be about
achieving specific objectives. In some situations finding as many
bugs as possible makes sense, but not always, and certainly not
necessarily for a company like Apple.
Apple’s program sets clear objectives. Find exploitable bugs in
key areas they consider a priority. Since proving exploitability
with a repeatable proof of concept is far more labor intensive
than merely finding a vulnerability, pay the researchers a fair
value for their work. In the process, learn how to tune a bug
bounty program and derive the most value out of it. High quality
exploits discovered and engineered by researchers and developers
Apple believes have the skills and motivations they feel will most
help advance product security.
It’s the Apple way. Focus on quality, not quantity. Start
carefully, on their own schedule, and iterate over time. If you
know Apple, this is no different than how they release manage
nearly all of their products and services.
Sources at Apple mentioned that if someone outside the program
discovered an exploit in one of these classes, they could then be
added to the program. It isn’t completely closed.
I was told the same thing.
Apple Announces Security Bounty Program ★
Russell Brandon, reporting for The Verge:
The new program will begin as invite-only, including only a few
dozen researchers. Still, Apple says the program will become more
open as it grows, and if a non-member approaches Apple with a
significant bug, they’ll be invited into the program to work it
through. The invite system is unusual for a bounty program, but
Apple explained it as necessary to weed out spurious submissions
and make sure trusted researchers had adequate support from the
For now, the new program is also limited to five distinct
categories of bugs. The most valuable category — worth up to
$200,000 — is vulnerabilities that compromise the secure boot
firmware components, cutting at the heart of Apple’s hardware
protections. Notably, those vulnerabilities are also particularly
useful for jailbreaks. Smaller rewards are available for the
extraction of data from the Secure Enclave, extraction of
arbitrary code, escaping a sandboxed process, and obtaining
unauthorized access to iCloud account data.
The bounty program was announced by Apple head of security engineering, Ivan Krstic, during his presentation today at Black Hat in Las Vegas. Both the bounty program and the mere fact that Krstic was speaking at Black Hat are signs of Apple’s thawing relationship with the security industry.
Peter Kafka: ‘Apple’s New TV Plan Is a TV Guide’ ★
Peter Kafka, writing for Recode:
Apple has started talking to TV programmers and other video
companies about creating a digital TV guide that would work on
both Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices, like iPhones. The
idea is to let users see what kind of programming is available in
video apps made by the likes of HBO, Netflix and ESPN, without
having to open up each app individually, and to play shows and
movies with a single click.
That is: Apple’s guide would tell you what’s on TV. Except now TV
is apps. […]
But TV industry executives I’ve talked to view Apple’s plans as a
mixed bag. They like the idea of making their individual shows
easier to find, but they worry that moving consumers’ focus from
their individual apps to a universal guide will reduce their power
to promote their other shows.
The mindset of many TV executives is centered entirely around the special snowflake that is the channel they work for. In the real world, actual people just want to watch entertaining shows.
Joanna Stern on the Chip Card Shitshow Here in the U.S. ★
After pulling out the stopwatch for over 50 transactions at
various retailers in recent days, I can confirm that it takes
twice as long to pay with a chip card than with a card swipe or
mobile payment — on average, 13 seconds versus 6 seconds.
Think about it this way: If you made two purchases every day for a
year with a chip card instead of a swipe or smartphone, you’d
spend 85 extra minutes at the checkout counter. That’s nearly an
hour and a half of your time, to give someone your money.
And that doesn’t count the time playing swipe-or-chip roulette.
Consider yourself lucky when you encounter a “NO CHIP!” sign or a
duct-tape blockade over the slot.
Nice follow-up to last week’s episode of The Talk Show. And I love the embedded audio in her lede — words alone cannot describe just how bad that sound is for a successful transaction.
Samsung Uses Apple Watch Design Figures in Patent Filing ★
In a patent application that surfaced today at the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office titled “Wearable Device,” they discuss their new
“exchangeable” strap mechanisms. What struck me was that a great
number of their form factor patent figures were actually Apple
Watch designs showing that indeed they set out to copy Apple’s
design — even if they changed the method enough not to get sued.
But it’s clear that the Samsung engineers were either inspired by
Apple’s ingenuity or that their bosses handed them pictures of
what they wanted their engineers to copy. It’s undeniable as
you’ll see in the 12 patent figures presented below.
The illustrations aren’t just similar to Apple Watch. They’re exact illustrations of Apple Watch and several of its distinctive bands. In a Samsung patent filing. See for yourself. You can’t make this stuff up.
(Via Abdel Ibrahim at WatchAware.)
111 Designers File Amicus Brief Supporting Apple Against Samsung ★
Andrew Chung, reporting for Reuters:
Apple Inc. deserved the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. paid for infringing patented designs
of the iPhone, because the product’s distinctive look drives
people to purchase it, a group of design industry professionals
told the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.
Setting up a clash with a number of Silicon Valley companies that
have come out on the side of Samsung, more than 100 designers and
educators signed on to a new court brief supporting Apple.
They include famous fashion names Calvin Klein, Paul Smith and
Alexander Wang, the industrial design director at Parsons School
of Design, the design director for Bentley Motors, and Tony
Chambers, the editor-in-chief of Wallpaper magazine.
The actual brief is a cogent read.
Philadelphia to Its Residents: Don’t Swim in Dumpsters ★
Another local note. From a public service announcement from the Philadelphia mayor’s office:
In view of the City’s commitment to public health, safety and
basic common sense, we will not issue permits for block party
dumpster pools. And while you would think this decision would not
require an explanation, three days of press requests have proven
We are not screwing around, Philly. The Streets Department will
not issue any future block party permits to the 2400 block of
Cedar, and officials have contacted the dumpster rental company
regarding its failures to obtain the proper closure permits and to
take mandatory measures to protect the street during placement of
Bill Lyon Throws Out First Pitch at Phillies Game ★
Tommy Rowan, writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Bill Lyon took a few steps off the pitcher’s mound at Citizens
Bank Park Wednesday night, wound up his left arm, and tossed the
ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies squared off against the
the San Francisco Giants.
Lyon threw a strike to the Phillie Phanatic, and nary a boo was
heard throughout the stadium.
It didn’t matter where the ball landed on this night —
Alzheimer’s Association Night at the South Philadelphia ballpark
— in which the city paid tribute to the 78-year-old former
Inquirer sports columnist.
I read Lyon’s column in The Inquirer religiously. I wanted to do what he did. He wrote with style, and a distinctive voice. He held no punches. Actually, scratch that past tense. He still writes with style and a distinctive voice, and holds no punches. Now, though, instead of sports, he’s documenting his own battle with Alzheimer’s.
Kurt Wagner, reporting for Recode:
This is yet another blow for Twitter, which is trying to take
back its own narrative in an effort to boost its slumping stock
price. The company’s VP of Communications, Natalie Kerris, left
Twitter unexpectedly earlier this week, and at least two other
members of the company’s tiny communications team have left in
the past six weeks.
Prosser, in particular, had a lot of key responsibilities on the
team. As head of corporate comms, he handled press for most of
Twitter’s executive turnovers (and there have been plenty). That
meant he was also dealing with company earnings every quarter
(also a pretty tough assignment). As a result, Business Insider
named him the top tech PR person in 2015.
Trump’s Suits ★
Speaking of suits, Luke Leitch, writing for The Economist:
The potential impact of the Republican candidate in the American
presidential election on world peace, global trade and democracy
in America have been exhaustively covered. Less discussed is the
dark shadow that Donald Trump casts over the world of fashion, but
for those of us who live under it, it looms large. For I am not
alone in suspecting that Trump will go down in fashion history as
the man who killed the business suit.
‘We’re Apple. We Don’t Wear Suits. We Don’t Even Own Suits.’ ★
In light of last week’s leak from Time Warner executives that Eddy Cue showed up for a meeting wearing “jeans, tennis shoes with no socks, and a Hawaiian shirt”, it’s worth a look back to this 2010 Wired story by Fred Vogelstein on Apple’s strained relationship with AT&T:
Looking back, it’s clear that the cracks in the Apple-AT&T
relationship began forming as soon as Jobs announced the iPhone
in January 2007. It was the first time the public got to see
the long-rumored device — and, shockingly, the first time
AT&T’s board of directors saw it as well. (Apple refused to
show the phone to all but a handful of top AT&T execs before
the launch.) The split only deepened from there. Apple and AT&T
have bickered about how the iPhone was to be displayed in
AT&T’s stores: Apple insisted the phone be presented on its own
display stand, away from other models. They have even fought
about wardrobe: When an AT&T representative suggested to one of
Jobs’ deputies that the Apple CEO wear a suit to meet with
AT&T’s board of directors, he was told, “We’re Apple. We don’t
wear suits. We don’t even own suits.”
Jon Swartz, writing for USA Today:
Shares closed up 7 percent Wednesday on speculation about a
rumored joint takeover bid by two billionaires who are major
Twitter investors: former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Saudi
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, no stranger to substantial tech
Crazier things have happened.
Mossberg: TV Sets Are Still Too Complicated ★
Walt Mossberg’s decade-old Pioneer plasma gave up the ghost, so he replaced with an OLED set from LG. He loves the picture, but:
But learning to use the TV is a whole other story. The Bean Bird
setup process was pretty straightforward, but it gets you going
just enough to start watching something. Tweaking all of the TV’s
many features, including common ones like picture tones and
uncommon ones like zooming in on a part of the picture or using a
built-in web browser, takes hours. You must wade through menus
containing scores of choices.
And some controversial features common to modern TVs are buried
deep in these menus. For instance, while I like motion smoothing
others strongly dislike it — it’s sometimes known as the “soap
opera effect.” If you don’t like it, the LG’s interface
doesn’t make it at all easy to understand what’s happening to your
picture or what setting to adjust to turn it off. It’s not even
called motion smoothing in the menus — LG calls it “TruMotion.”
Motion smoothing should be illegal. It’s a crime against cinematography.
Evan Blass: New iPhones to Hit Retail on 16 September ★
Fits with my theory that the announcement event will be Wednesday 7 September.
Samsung Executive Mocks Apple’s iPhone 7 and the Removal of the Audio Jack ★
Live on stage during Samsung’s introduction event for the Galaxy Note 7:
You want to know what else it comes with? An audio jack.
(Audience laughs.) I’m just saying.
You have to watch it to see just how smug he is about it. Merits of the decision to remove the headphone jack from next month’s new iPhones aside, think about how extraordinary it is that a Samsung executive can make a joke about an iPhone rumor and the entire audience gets it.
Also, how much says Samsung has new phones with no audio jack on the market by this time next year?
Alex Kantrowitz, reporting for BuzzFeed:
Natalie Kerris, who joined Twitter as its VP of communications in
February, is leaving the company, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Leslie Berland, Twitter’s chief marketing officer, will lead both
marketing and communications in a combined role.
BuzzFeed News confirmed the departure with a Twitter spokesperson.
“During her time leading communications at Twitter, Natalie helped
us share the Twitter story with the world. We are grateful for her
energy and enthusiasm and the impact she’s had, even in this short
time,” said the spokesperson. “We wish her all the best.”
Another sign of turmoil at Twitter. Kerris was a longtime PR director at Apple, who left Apple after Steve Dowling was named Katie Cotton’s successor.