June 3, 2022

Snippet: Federico Viticci Rediscovers the Mac ☍

Federico Viticci:

Most of you probably know me as “the iPad guy”. And rightfully so: the iPad – more specifically, the iPad Pro – is my favorite computer Apple’s ever made; my coverage of iPad, iPad apps, and, later, iPadOS has far exceeded everything else on MacStories for the last 10 years. I’ve long considered myself primarily an iPad user and someone who strongly believes in the platform because there’s nothing else like it. I don’t think I need to tell that story again.

For these reasons, as you can imagine, when Apple got in touch with me last November asking if I wanted to try out one of the new MacBook Pros with the M1 Max chip, I welcomed their suggestion with a mix of surprise, trepidation, and, frankly, genuine curiosity. What could I, a longtime iPad user, even contribute to the discourse surrounding the comeback of the Mac lineup, the performance of Apple silicon, and the reality of modern Mac apps?

There was a stretch where an iPad was my primary computer, but I’m itching to pick up an Apple Silicon-based MacBook (hoping for a new Air at WWDC next week). I love my sixth-generation iPad mini, but being able to mix iOS and macOS applications in a lightweight device is way too enticing.

Snippet: Iconfactory Founder Corey B. Marion Passes Away at 54 ☍

The Iconfactory:

Our beloved Iconfactory founder, Corey B. Marion, lost his multi-year battle with cancer this past week, he was 54. It’s difficult to put his loss into words except to say that without Corey, there would quite literally be no Iconfactory. Corey, Ged and Talos met in 1994 and we soon began a journey together that spanned 28 years. From day one, Corey did exactly what he loved most – designing, pushing pixels and creating icons.

I received my copy of The iOS App Icon Book by Michael Flarup on the day the Iconfactory announced Marion’s passing and it hit just a little harder as there’s an Iconfactory section. His work and the company he created was definitely an integral part of my formative years with Apple products.

May 25, 2022

Snippet: On Tech Negativity ☍

Lee Peterson:

I realise as I look at my last few weeks on here that my posts and probably my Twitter use has moved to the more negative view of tech or complaining about stuff.

This has got me thinking about what I do and write about here. I’m trying to write about passions but I think tech has turned into something I’m not as passionate about as I used to be. Tastes change over time and I feel gaming and Star Wars remain more positive but I think I’m run down by the tech news cycle and general lack of innovation.

I’ve had moments like this and it really feels like the 2010-2014 run was truly the salad days of the smartphone and social media era. I don’t dislike Big Tech™, but I’m finding that I enjoy social media much less, especially with the business side of many services being much more heavy-handed and cutting into the creativity side of the user experience, not to mention creepiness or trying to hog every last ounce of attention. For Apple, the Mac is relatively mature and boring (in the best way possible) and iOS/iPadOS have matured to the point that they also are starting to feel more iterative. It’s not that I dislike them, but there’s arguably less to write about. Beyond that, there are just some topics that seem to be the focus of most technology coverage that I either have no interest in or actively dislike.

All of this is fine—just as tastes and interests change, so do the topics covered on a site like mine. I don’t go into each day thinking of what I’m going to complain about, as I’d much rather share things that are interesting or bring me joy. If we have a stretch where the tech news cycle feels a bit tiresome, I may cut back on posts.

Snippet: Apple Shipped Me a 79-Pound iPhone Repair Kit to Fix a 1.1-Ounce Battery ☍

Sean Hollister for The Verge:

The thing you should understand about Apple’s home repair process is that it’s a far cry from traditional DIY if you opt for the kit — which I did, once I saw the repair manual only contains instructions for Apple’s own tools. (You can just buy a battery if you want.)

I expected Apple would send me a small box of screwdrivers, spudgers, and pliers; I own a mini iPhone, after all. Instead, I found two giant Pelican cases — 79 pounds of tools — on my front porch. I couldn’t believe just how big and heavy they were considering Apple’s paying to ship them both ways.

The entire article felt weird to me in that Hollister is complaining about what he got to do the repair versus the expectation of what he should have gotten. Other than the very quick turnaround (you’re given seven days based on the deposit, but the clock starts ticking the minute you have the tools, sometimes before the parts), the entire process is designed to be exactly like any Apple Authorized Service Provider, but in your own home.

Does it seem like this kind of hassle is something the average (or even tech-inclined) person would want to mess with? Probably not, but it is an option. Aside from redesigning iPhones to have easier-to-swap components, leading to bulkier designs that most people haven’t asked for, I don’t see a way around this. It doesn’t even save you money and there are a number of places besides Apple Stores that use genuine parts, so it isn’t some sort of scheme to funnel people into Apple Stores to get them to buy more things—kind of reminds me of the conspiracy theory that Apple makes iPhones worse after two years so you’ll buy another…but wouldn’t you be disgusted and start looking elsewhere?

Nonetheless, if you are interested in doing repairs on your iPhone yourself, it seems you’ll get all the tools you could ever want or need and for things more complex than battery swaps, it might be a worthwhile endeavor, especially if your phone is damaged or out-of-warranty.

May 10, 2022

Snippet: Apple Discontinues iPod touch, Ending iPod Line ☍

Apple:

Since its introduction over 20 years ago, iPod has captivated users all over the world who love the ability to take their music with them on the go. Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line — from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac — along with access to more than 90 million songs and over 30,000 playlists available via Apple Music.

“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”

Apple rarely issues a press release for a discontinuation of a product, but the iPod was so important to the company. It was released just after things started to turn around in the early 2000s and continued through the iPhone era—it helped put Apple where it is today. While the iPod hasn’t felt like a relevant product for the better part of a decade, I really like that they took the time to acknowledge its importance.

We all get to wax poetic about a device for most of its life did one thing and one thing well—music. Work didn’t follow you home on your iPod and the only doomscrolling that happened was when you were trying to find a specific song. I owned a couple of different iPods over the years, and an iPod touch was my first iOS device (long before iOS was called that). It’ll be sad to close this chapter, but I don’t think it’s a surprise.