June 11, 2015

Link: Talking With Phil ☍

John Gruber took The Talk Show to WWDC and hosted the show in front of a live audience. Not only was it a treat to listen to the show with a different format from a different venue, the guest was Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Gruber asked intelligent questions and Schiller offered great answers, rather than rattling off some generic PR speak. Even if you don’t enjoy podcasts, this is one episode that everyone with an interest in Apple should listen to.

June 9, 2015

Link: David Sparks on OS X El Capitan ☍

The summary of impressions by David Sparks closely mirrors my initial thoughts on Apple’s latest version of OS X. I’m excited for most of the changes, especially the overall refinement from the radical changes in OS X Yosemite.

Link: Facing the Music ☍

Dr. Drang is a bit critical of the end of yesterday’s keynote, and rightly so:

…I can imagine Iovine being very persuasive one-on-one or in a small group, but he certainly wasn’t impressive on the big stage. He never gave the impression that the words he was speaking were his. Drake seemed to think he could just wing it during his section; he’s obviously used to adoring fans applauding every off-the-cuff remark he makes on stage. Which leaves us with poor Eddy Cue, who’s going to bear the brunt of the criticism.

And rightly so. He’s the Apple guy in this show, and therefore the heir to the Steve Jobs presentation style. But his part was way long, way boring, and way embarrassing. To be sure, every Eddy Cue presentation is a tightrope walk above a chasm of mortification, but he usually makes his wobbly way from one end to the other. Today he avoided the rope altogether and jumped straight off the edge. Even if Apple Music is really good, there just isn’t enough to it to require 20–25 minutes of laborious explanation and an endless string of music clips.

Link: Rdio Who? ☍

James Vincent for The Verge:

As Apple unveiled its new music streaming service at WWDC yesterday, competitor Rdio responded by tweeting a welcome note — or rather, a “Welcome, Apple. Seriously.” note. Some Twitter users thought it showed “the upmost respect in welcoming competition,” but others recognized it as the backhanded compliment it was.

As press statements go it seems pretty friendly, but it’s actually a re-run of a famous ad Apple ran in The Wall Street Journal in 1981. The iPhone-maker’s original “Welcome, IBM. Seriously.” note ostensibly congratulated IBM on unveiling its first ever personal computer, but also took a moment to remind readers that “[Apple] invented the personal computer” as well as dropping some projected industry-wide sales figures into the mix. You can read it as classy, sure, but it’s also cocksure.

You can see the original on Twitter, but the whole thing gave me two initial impressions: first, even if this is a mild success, Apple will probably still make more from their service than Rdio is making from theirs; second, Rdio did get themselves some free press, although I wonder how foolish the move will look if Rdio faces the same struggles Apple did after the PC went mainstream.

Link: iOS 9 to Move to 6-Digit Passcodes ☍

Cyrus Farivar for Ars Technica:

As part of its iOS 9 announcement on Monday, Apple revealed that all newer iDevices equipped with TouchID and running the newer version of the operating system will be required to upgrade from a four-digit to a six-digit passcode. Passcodes remain optional, and users can create a more complex alphanumeric password, but six digits will be the minimum. After 10 failed attempts to type in the code, the device will erase itself.

According to Apple (and math), this will vastly expand the effort required to crack a four-digit passcode. Instead of 10,000 possible combinations, newer iOS devices will soon have one million. This change affects the iPhone 5S, 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 3.

It seems like the change only applies to devices with TouchID where a passcode only really matters when you restart the device or can’t get a good read. I welcome the stronger security, and doubt many will really find it to be an inconvenience.

June 5, 2015

Link: Apple Almost Has Caught Up With Watch Demand ☍


“The response to Apple Watch has surpassed our expectations in every way, and we are thrilled to bring it to more customers around the world,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of Operations. “We’re also making great progress with the backlog of Apple Watch orders, and we thank our customers for their patience. All orders placed through May, with the sole exception of Apple Watch 42 mm Space Black Stainless Steel with Space Black Link Bracelet, will ship to customers within two weeks. At that time, we’ll also begin selling some models in our Apple Retail Stores.”

Although the initial shipments seemed to be a bit delayed from what most were expecting, both mine and a few friends of mine received our watches about a week earlier than Apple’s estimates. I think in the case of the Space Black model, Apple probably underestimated demand, just as they did with the iPhone 6 Plus. The second revision will probably be adjusted because of these numbers.

June 2, 2015

Link: Resigning from Q Branch ☍

Brent Simmons:

I decided to leave because I wasn’t working on the software that I’ve been obsessed with for more than a decade.

I turned 47 a little while ago, and I’ve had some reasons to reflect on the shortness of life, and I realized how very important it is for me to work on the software that I think about every day. I kept putting it off, but every day that I put it off hurt more than the previous day. I realized that I couldn’t continue — I have to do the work that I need to do.

Sometimes you need to sit back and re-evaluate what you’re doing, and if the things that you are doing outside of your day job aren’t satisfying, maybe it’s time to move on. Best of luck to Mr. Simmons.

June 1, 2015

“I do not wake up and reach for it as I do the other things of glass and metal. It fills me neither with joy nor malice, this wrist thing, tiny and black, like a nugget of onyx pulled up from the earth’s core, it disappears. For it I have no disdain. I am simply its neutral companion.”