Tag Archives: Apple

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.”

Link

Google says Annette Hurst, who represents Oracle, was out of line disclosing that Google pays $1 billion to Apple to get Google search on the iPhone.

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.

Apple nuggets

Apple Boosts the Enterprise Cloud

At its annual WorldWide Developers Conference Monday, Apple laid out a panoply of upgrades to its operating systems for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Most of the upgrades were for consumers, but Apple distributed some nuggets that could prove valuable for enterprises using the cloud for business.

[Me/Light Reading]

Something to hope for in iOS 10

Brief Thoughts and Observations Regarding Today’s WWDC 2016 Keynote [John Gruber/Daring Fireball]

It seems possible that with iOS 10 we may be able to change our default Web browser. I’ve been wanting that for years. It’s something you can easily do on the Mac, and it’s a simple area where the iPhone and iPad lag behind Android.

Also, I’d like a way to change the default keyboard. Right now you can do it in a halfway fashion; it doesn’t stick. It’s like Apple wants you to use the stock keyboard as default while switching to alternatives for occasional specialized tasks. I just want to be able to use a third-party keyboard 100% of the time. Again, a simple area where Apple lags far behind Android.

I don’t understand what’s going on with the lock screen in iOS 10, and don’t want to devote the time to watch the keynote video. I’ll just wait and see what comes out over coming months.

WWDC rumor roundup

What to Expect at WWDC 2016

I’d be very interested in a Siri SDK to allow developers to integrate Siri into their apps.

I might be interested in Siri on the Mac, though a keyboard and trackball work very well for me, so it’s hard to imagine switching. It would be more interesting if I could type queries to Siri – which, come to think of it, Apple has already been doing with Spotlight updates.

Proximity unlocking the Mac using the iPhone would be very nice. I’ve tried third-party utilities that did that, but they proved unreliable.

I like very much the idea of Apple implementing security features in iOS and iCloud that are so tough that even Apple can’t break them.

iMessage for Android? Sweet. Would love to bring my Android friends onto my iMessage network. On the other hand, would Android users use an Apple app? Probably not.

[Juli Clover – MacRumors]

Good news about the Apple App Stores

The New App Store: Subscription Pricing, Faster Approvals, and Search Ads [John Gruber – Daring Fireball]

Among the changes: Apple is throwing open the doors to allow developers to charge subscription pricing.

That’s a big step forward for two reasons: It will allow developers to implement a try-before-you-buy model with App Store apps, same as on downloadable Mac or Windows apps.

I’m a guy who likes to try new apps, and that can be an expensive habit when the apps are only available in the App Store. For example, last week I dropped $10 for the Mac version of the Airmail email app, as well as $5 for the iOS version, because you really need to try that app on every device to give it a fair workout. After a few days, I decided Airmail is not for me (performance too slow). $15 down the drain. Ouch. Be nice if I could try it for 30-90 days, then decide whether to pay to keep using it, as is typical for downloadable desktop apps.

Hell, it would be nice if I could try an app for an hour. Or a half-hour. Or 15 minutes. Long enough to give it a workout and decide whether it’s worth staying with.

The other reason to be encouraged by these changes is that it provides developers with a way to get off the creeping-featuritis treadmill. Because the way pricing works now, developers need to come out with a new version every now and then to get users to pay for an upgrade. So the developers start adding useless features to get people to upgrade. Now, developers will have the option to say, “This app is done. Nothing more I need to do with it,” and continue to offer support and minor upgrades for new versions of the OS. I guess developers could have done that before — charge for support and compatibility upgrades separately — but perhaps the market would not have stood for it.

And of course it’s a way for developers to make more money. That’s nice, but honestly I’m not all that concerned with how much money OTHER PEOPLE are making.

Link

Apple is said to be extending iPhone refreshes to once every three years – Martyn Williams, Macworld

Apple has previously been on a tick-tock cycle with the iPhone. Even-numbered years it makes big breakthroughs in design. Odd-numbered years it refines the previous year’s design, with phones that look identical to the previous year’s version but have faster guts.

In 2014, Apple came out with the iPhone 6, which was its big phone, and the 6 Plus, which was its REALLY big phone: Last year, faster versions of the same.

Now Apple is reportedly going from a two-year to three-year cycle, as phone hardware innovation gets harder to achieve.

I’m like many Apple enthusiasts, on a two-year upgrade cycle for my iPhone. And I’ve already been thinking about skipping this year, even without any hard information on what the 2016 iPhone will look like.

Link

Google, Amazon, and Facebook are betting big on AI and virtual assistants. If those are the wave of the future – and it seems likely they are – then Apple is screwed, says Marco Arment. Apple is lagging badly in those areas, and it’s not the kind of thing you can develop in secret and spring in a keynote.

Arment is not only a smart industry observer, but he’s also an Apple enthusiast and iPhone app developer. He’s the opposite of an Apple hater.

In 2007, BlackBerry was the pinnacle of mobile email and voice devices, which was what mobile phones were for. But the market moved on and BlackBerry didn’t. Apple is at risk of the same here in 2016, Arment says.

Avoiding BlackBerry’s fate – Marco Arment

Related: I recently had my first experience with Apple CarPlay and was delighted. Pairing your iPhone to the car is accomplished with a single tap, and after that you can get your Maps, messaging, phone calls, and listen to podcasts on the screen on the car’s dashboard and using the car’s speakers. Like the Apple slogan used to go: “It just works.” And, quoting another old Apple slogan, “you already know how to use it” – even if, like me, you’ve never used it before, have never read about it, and have had no training.

And that reminds me of how so many Apple tools don’t “just work” anymore. My MacBook Air freezes up sometimes. It seems to not do that if I don’t use Safari and I reboot every day. Not sure though. Haven’t found a cause. And recently I was getting quite exasperated figuring out how to share an album in Apple Photos. I’m still not sure I did it right.

Hence the title of this post.

Link

iOS is keeping other keyboards from greatness – Katherine Boehret, The Verge

Boehret complains that third-party keyboards are unable to use dictation. But that's only one of the problems with third-party keyboards.

Support for third-party keyboards – and web browsers – is one area where Android is just plain better than iOS. iOS is always pushing you back to using the stock keyboard and browser. Android works more like a PC; if you change the default, you change it everywhere, throughout all applications and the operating system, which is as it should be.

Link

Mac Users Reporting Widespread System Freezes With OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 Update

I thought it was just me. I’ve been experiencing occasional freeze-ups for a while now. Everything locks up. The clock stops, and the mouse cursor won’t move. I need to do a cold restart.

This is the first mention I’ve seen that other people have had a problem. I’ve suspected a hardware glitch – which is annoying, because my MacBook Air is about a year old. I’ve been putting off calling AppleCare.

I hadn’t seen freeze-ups on days I reboot, so I rebooted daily.

As I write this, I’ve just updated to 10.11.5. The release notes don’t give any clear indication of fixing the problem I’m having, but you never know.

Link

Apple is planning its “largest pivot yet,” according to Apple analyst Neil Cybart on Above Avalon. Just as Apple went from a PC/iPod company to a phone company starting in 2007, it’s now on the verge of transforming from a phone company to … something else. Apple is on track to spend more than $10 billion in R&D in 2016, up nearly 30% from 2015 and from a little over $3 billion just four years ago.

Cybart thinks Apple is going to become an electric car company.

Apple R&D Reveals a Pivot is Coming– Neil Cybart, Above Avalon