macOS Sierra review: Mixing iOS with OS X to make a better Mac

Roman Loyola, MacWorld

I’m going to hold off on upgrading for a good long time. I’m not seeing anything here that’s compelling.

Siri is the marquee feature. I use Siri when it’s impractical for me to type, which is never when I’m at my Mac.

Well, I can’t type when I’m eating, and I do often eat at my Mac. But I don’t think Siri will be helpful there. When I’m eating my mouth is often full of food, so it’s impractical to type OR speak!

Big changes are always unpopular

John Gruber relates Apple’s decision to drop headphone jack to bigger issues:

“When we think of controversial decisions, we tend to think of both sides as creating controversy. Choose A and the B proponents will be angry; choose B and the A proponents will be angry. But when it comes to controversial change of the status quo, it’s not like that. Only the people who are opposed to the change get outraged. Leave things as they are and there is no controversy. The people who aren’t outraged by the potential change are generally ambivalent about it, not in a fervor for it. Strong feelings against change on one side, and widespread ambivalence on the other. That’s why the status quo is generally so slow to change, in fields ranging from politics to technology.”

I would not even describe myself as “ambivalent” about Apple’s decision to drop the headphone jack. Really, what it comes down to is I don’t give a darn. I switched to Bluetooth a couple of years ago. The only time I use that 3.5-mm jack is to connect the iPhone to the cassette adapter in my car. And a Bluetooth car adapter only costs $25-$40.

In politics, it takes a crisis to bring about big changes. When things are gradually declining — as they are now in the US — people want to just kick the problem down the road a little longer.

New Apple Watch. Tempting, but not compelling.

I’m happy with my Pebble Time. The Apple Watch is better for me — but $369+ better?

Apple Watch Series 2 announced with swimproof shell and GPS for $369 – Nick Statt, The Verge

The Pebble Time is water-resistant, same as the new Apple Watch. I can wash my hands or do dishes with the watch on. I hear I can shower with it too, but I like to get my wrist clean when I shower.

The Apple Watch would integrate a lot better with my favorite apps. But is that worth $369+ to me?

Apple said to plan first Pro laptop overhaul in four years →

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is preparing the first significant overhaul of its MacBook Pro laptop line in over four years, according to people familiar with the matter, using one of its older products to help reverse two quarters of sliding sales.

The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named.

I may be getting one of these. Not probably, but possibly. I’ll be pleased if it works out.

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz calls Apple’s tax strategy ‘a fraud’

Jeanna Smialek and Alex Webb, Bloomberg:

“Here we have the largest corporation in capitalization not only in America, but in the world, bigger than GM was at its peak, and claiming that most of its profits originate from about a few hundred people working in Ireland — that’s a fraud,” Stiglitz said. “A tax law that encourages American firms to keep jobs abroad is wrong, and I think we can get a consensus in America to get that changed.”

Apple has a corporate structure that allows it to transfer money to low-tax jurisdictions, and one of those is Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent — far below the U.S. top statutory rate of 35 percent. The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, is probing whether Ireland violated the bloc’s state-aid rules by helping Apple lower its Irish tax liability.

 Apple, which declined to comment on Stiglitz’s remarks, has firmly denied using any tax gimmicks, telling an EU tax panel in March that it had paid all of its taxes due in Ireland. Apple employs 5,500 people in Ireland, according to its website.

Stiglitz Calls Apple’s Profit Reporting in Ireland ‘a Fraud’ – Bloomberg

Via Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, who says:

Apple, Google and other tech giants have shown themselves to be capable of resisting government demands when it suits their interests — see, for example, Apple’s brave and admirable stance on being forced to compromise its cryptography — but when it comes to things like paying its fair share of tax to compensate its host nations for the educations provided to its workforce, the roads they drive on, the courts and laws that defend their interests, and the health systems that keep the majority of their workforce dying from TB or yellow fever, the companies’ stance is “We comply with all laws and pay as much tax as they require.”

Picture this

Apple doesn’t understand photography

Apple thinks photography still means going off on vacation and pulling together albums. Instead, we take photos of receipts, leaflets, tiny text that we want to blow up to readable size, and more. Apple needs to get better at how people use cameras in real life.

Is Android better at this? Google Photos is not.

[Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten/The Next Web]

Look out behind you

Pearl RearVision is a rearview video camera you can add to your older model car that lacks one as dealer standard. Pearl is a startup founded by ex-Apple engineers.

Sounds great. I love having rearview video when I rent a car, and I miss it when driving our old Subaru Forester.

But the price tag is $500. Everybody who can afford that is already driving a new car.

I’m not predicting great success.

A team of ex-Apple engineers just launched the Nest for cars

[Johana Bhuiyan/Recode]

What’s new for Apple Watch?

MacRumors demos Apple watchOS 3.

Looks nice, but I’m not going to buy the existing Apple Watch at this point. Reviews say that Apple Watch is slow and battery life is poor. I’d want to know those problems have been corrected before buying an Apple Watch.

Also, I just bought a Pebble Time a couple of weeks ago, and Julie would cut off my hand if I bought another smartwatch so quickly. Then I wouldn’t be able to wear a watch because it would fall off my wrist.

Maybe in six months? By then I expect the new Apple Watch will be out and I can figure out a way to type with one hand.

RIP slide to unlock

The classic ‘Slide to Unlock’ iPhone gesture is gone from iOS 10

Susie Ochs, Macworld: “I’ll really miss Slide to Unlock, which I stopped using 18 months ago anyway.”

It was “the first bit of iOS we ever saw.” It “got audible gasps of amazement at the original iPhone’s unveiling.”

The iPhone was the first real smartphone. Sure, there were predecessors — the Palm Treo, for example; I had one and loved it. But the iPhone was a vast advance and made smartphones mainstream. So that slide unlocked an era.

And that demo was Steve Jobs’s last great product introduction.

Apple sued Samsung claiming slide to unlock was proprietary; a judge threw the lawsuit out on its keister.