February 6, 2016

Link: Mysterious ‘Error 53’ is Bricking iPhones ☍

Christina Warren for Mashable:

The basic problem happens if you get your iPhone’s home button repaired anywhere other than an Apple Store or Apple-authorized repair center. If the home button — which includes the Touch ID sensor — is replaced, you run the risk of getting a dreaded “Error 53” on your phone.

Ever since Apple added the Touch ID sensor, erring on the side of security when damaged, I’ve always encouraged people to get their screens replaced from Apple. The pricing is fair and you get an official part with support. Don’t cut corners on a device you use every day.

February 3, 2016

Link: Ben Brooks on Your Cute Release Notes ☍

Ben Brooks:

With disturbingly increasing frequency, companies are deciding to let their marketing departments handle their release notes instead of the engineering team or product manager.

And we are all worse off for it.

This times 100. I think the overly-clever release notes are bad, but the now-common “we update our app every other week” and generic “bug fixes” are just as terrible and vague. Tell me something big that you fixed and have some self-respect.

February 1, 2016

Link: iPad Pro Outsells Surface ☍

IDC (via John Moltz):

“One of the biggest reasons why detachables are growing so fast is because end users are seeing those devices as PC replacements,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, Research Director, Tablets at IDC. “We believe Apple sold just over two million iPad Pros while Microsoft sold around 1.6 million Surface devices…”

With all the doom-and-gloom regarding iPad sales declining, this is an interesting statistic, especially since I never really thought of the iPad Pro as a “detachable” device by default. That Surface number also includes both the cheaper Surface and the more expensive “laptop-killing” Surface Pro.

January 30, 2016

Link: How the iPhone 6 Ruined Apple ☍

Dr. Drang:

While it’s certainly possible that the great days of iPhone sales growth are over, I wouldn’t make that prediction just yet. In fact, I was surprised to learn that iPhone sales were merely flat. I was expecting a decline—not because the iPhone is losing popularity, but because the iPhone 6’s first quarter of sales was such a gigantic leap upward. The pent-up demand for a larger iPhone caused sales to increase nearly 50% year over year, to 74.47 million from 51.03 million the year before.

I agree with this notion, and that the iPhone 6 still feels modern enough for most people (there are actually a lot of people still on iPhone 5Ses and quite satisfied). Mix in the end of the two-year contract and it’s almost the perfect storm for people hanging onto their iPhones longer between upgrades.

January 28, 2016

Link: VMware Hosted UI Team Laid Off ☍

Sean Gallagher for Ars Technica:

Members of VMware’s “Hosted UI” team—the developers responsible for the virtualization company’s Workstation and Fusion desktop products—were apparently laid off on Monday as part of a restructuring of the company that was announced yesterday. The developers were just a part of a larger layoff as the company moved to cut costs and brought aboard a new chief financial officer. […]

When contacted to comment, a VMware spokesman said that the company was committed to continuing development and support for Fusion and Workstation and that the company was “transitioning the Fusion and Workstation teams to co-locate” with the rest of the company as part of its reorganization. “Our commitment to Fusion and Workstation products is unchanged,” he said.

Although I don’t use virtualization as much anymore, it’s nice that there are options for OS X (Parallels, Fusion, VirtualBox) and it would be a shame to see one of the big players disappear, even if it doesn’t quite align with EMC and Dell’s plans. It’s disappointing how much talent walked out the door yesterday, but hopefully these products will be continued, as VMware is claiming.

January 20, 2016

Link: Music Memos ☍

Apple released a new iOS app today:

Sometimes the best ideas come when you least expect them. When those moments happen, open Music Memos to record high-quality, uncompressed audio through the built-in mic in your iPhone, or connect an external microphone. Music Memos is optimized for acoustic guitar and piano, and it works with other musical instruments, too.

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but tools like this are the things Apple does best—smart, clever little apps, that work with others across devices (provided they get updated regularly). Now if only they can get something like this for podcasters…

January 19, 2016

Link: How Donald Trump Got Everything Wrong About Apple in One Sentence ☍

Arik Hesseldahl for Re/code:

Donald Trump, the billionaire and leading Republican candidate for President of the United States, says he wants Apple, the biggest technology company in the world by market valuation, to make its computers and other products in America. It made for a good sound bite, but it betrayed a deep ignorance of how the tech economy actually works and the role of American workers in it.

January 5, 2016

Link: EFF Says T-Mobile Is Throttling All Video ☍

Klint Finley for Wired:

But it turns out there may be a big catch: If you use Binge On, T-Mobile slows download and streaming speeds for all video, including streams from services that aren’t covered by the Binge On service, such as YouTube.

That’s the conclusion of a report published today by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital advocacy organization tried streaming and downloading videos from sites that are not affiliated with T-Mobile’s Binge On by using a smartphone on T-Mobile’s wireless network and found that their download speeds were significantly slower than they were when downloading and streaming the same content over an encrypted connection, so that T-Mobile couldn’t tell what type of content the testers were accessing. In other words, T-Mobile appears to be deliberately slowing any and all video content on its network.

I switched back to T-Mobile about a month ago and have been very happy with the service and coverage in my area. I appreciate that they’re trying to ways to offer a balance of getting lots of content and low prices, but I think Binge On affecting all video, as the EFF suggested, might be overstepping their bounds. Granted, there is a way to opt-out, but they really ought to stick to only messing with streams from Binge On partners, or at least offer a separate choice in regards to “optimizing” other video.