September 30, 2015

Link: You Can’t Do That On [Apple] TV! ☍

iFixit co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens:

Not too long ago, we tore down the Apple TV and Siri Remote. The developer unit we disassembled was sent to us by Apple. Evidently, they didn’t intend for us to take it apart. But we’re a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA—and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway.

A few days later, we got an email from Apple informing us that we violated their terms and conditions—and the offending developer account had been banned. Unfortunately, iFixit’s app was tied to that same account, so Apple pulled the app as well. Their justification was that we had taken “actions that may hinder the performance or intended use of the App Store, B2B Program, or the Program.”

Live and learn.

I’m sure there will be people blaming Apple for this, but the developer Apple TV units had a fairly specific non-disclosure agreement. While I am a fan of iFixit’s work as a whole, the Apple TV teardown probably should’ve waited a month or so.

“We still compete today, but Apple and Microsoft can partner on more things than they compete on…Partnering with Microsoft is great for our customers. That’s the reason we do it. I’m not a believer in holding grudges.”

September 28, 2015

Link: Digital Catch-Up at Tribune ☍

Lynne Marek for Crain’s Chicago Business interviews Tribune Publishing CEO Jack Griffin (via Stephen Hackett):

Holding the paper up, he said: “I could be wrong, but I don’t think that this entirely goes away. I think there’s enough about it—the experience that’s sufficiently different with both the advertising and the editorial. I mean, how do you do that online?” He answers his own question later: “That’s really hard to do online or on a phone.” […]

He said he expects young people, like his 20-something sons, will continue to gravitate to newspapers, even print editions. As they move into adulthood and begin to care more about settling into a community, they’ll turn to a newspaper, as generations of Americans before them have, he predicts.

I grew up in a household that got the Chicago Tribune, and the quality and size slowly declined, probably in relation to declining subscriptions. While there is certainly value to newspapers, most have not figured out a way to move to the web and mobile in an enjoyable way. Mix in the declining stock and how the company recently spun off its broadcast properties, and this doesn’t give me hope for Tribune figuring it out.

On the flip side, I’ve been trying out The Washington Post’s electronic edition (thanks, Amazon Prime) and have been fairly pleased so far. It’s not perfect, but does give me hope that some publications can at least attempt to make the jump to digital.

Link: The Ultimate iPhone Camera Comparison ☍

Tap Tap Tap’s Lisa Bettany (Makers of Camera+):

In the past eight years, each new advancement in iPhone camera technology has made dramatic improvements to image quality. The new 12-megapixel iPhone 6s iSight camera is no exception. With 50% more megapixels than the last four iPhone 8-megapixel models, the iPhone 6s boasts a number of key improvements including: improved auto-focus, local tone-mapping, noise reduction, and colour separation, with that fancy “deep trench isolation” technology Apple is raving about.

When you go from one generation of iPhone to the next, the camera update is often seen as worthwhile improvement, but comparing the original iPhone with the 6s really shows how far we’ve come in only eight years.

September 23, 2015

Link: Enterprise OS of the Millennial Generation ☍

Tim Bajarin, President, Creative Strategies Inc. for Re/code:

This younger generation does use PCs. However, they actually spend the most time on their iPhones and iPads, and Macs are mostly relegated to serious productivity projects. More importantly, they know iOS inside and out, as they spend much more of their day in this operating system then they do on any computer they have. I believe Apple understands this better than anyone and their most recent iPad Pro is a nod to this trend. More importantly, I see Apple using this to drive millennials toward making iOS their OS of choice as they move into their careers and new jobs. In fact, within five to seven years, I suspect that Windows will not even be of interest to this younger set, as iOS will be the device operating system that dominates their work and personal lifestyles.

I think this is an interesting take, especially since so many think Chromebooks are the answer in the K-12 education space. With iOS becoming more powerful and Microsoft’s mishandling of Windows 8 (and Windows Mobile/Phone), it does seem plausible, especially since, anecdotally, I know plenty of people who have made the iPad their primary “home” computer, paired with some company-issued PC laptop they were given from work.

September 22, 2015

Link: Stop F#$!ing Up Your Release Notes ☍

Stuart Hall:

I’m one of those people that love to get new updates. I check my updates tab often, read the release notes and go check out the apps I use all the time.

Somewhere along the line release notes have become a joke. Something companies obviously see no value in.

Even in the age of apps that update on their own, it’s nice to see what changed other than “generic stability and performance improvements” so many apps advertise. I especially loathe the new trend of release notes simply saying that apps are updated every week or every two weeks. Take the time to share what you’ve done and be proud of the improvements. It’s only a few sentences.

Link: watchOS 2 Released ☍

Alex Guyot for MacStories did an in-depth review:

watchOS 2 brings no dramatic visual change from its short-lived predecessor. The platform remains young, and has a long way to go before it reaches any significant modicum of “maturity”. Questionable choices such as the honeycomb Home screen layout, assignment of the hardware side button to the Friends interface, and lack of support for third-party watch faces all remain. But under the hood, in the areas of connectivity, performance, power, and system and hardware level access, watchOS 2 makes major leaps forward.

If you haven’t already, go grab it from the Watch app on your iPhone (General > Software Update). If you run into any weirdness during installation, I recommend restarting one or both devices.

September 21, 2015

Link: Ad Blocking and the Future of the Web ☍

Jeffrey Zeldman:

Your site may soon be collateral damage in a war between Silicon Valley superpowers. By including ad blocking in iOS9, Apple isn’t trying to take down your site or mine—just like the drone program doesn’t deliberately target civilians and children. Apple is trying to hurt arch-rival Google while providing a more elegant (i.e. more Apple-like) web experience than user-hostile ad networks have previously allowed. This is a great example of acting in your own self-interest, yet smelling like a rose. Will independent sites that depend on advertising be hurt along with Google?

I’ve been playing with some content blockers and really enjoy the aspect of blocking trackers or ads that make the experience terrible on iOS (excessive data usage, full-screen and hard to dismiss), but it is a shame that many are an all-or-nothing sort of thing. Granted, tasteful ad networks like the Deck and Carbon, which SchwarzTech uses, are more the exception than the rule. It’s a shame that, like iOS apps themselves, advertising online has been a race-to-the-bottom and tacky affair. Maybe forcing a big shift is what we really need.