Ben Brooks on the iPhone Upgrade Program ➝

Ben Brooks is very unhappy with the iPhone Upgrade Program experience. As it turns out, your upgrade options are constrained to what your local Apple Store has available. If there’s a specific color and storage size that you’re interested in, you better hope it’s in-stock locally.

Ben listed a few other problems with the iPhone Upgrade Program. And I have to say, it looks less and less appealing the more I know about it. When I eventually upgrade my iPhone, I think I’m just going to buy it outright. I’m not thrilled about the idea of dropping $800 all at once, but it sounds a lot better than dealing with the Upgrade Program’s restrictions.

Apple’s A10 Fusion Benchmarks ➝

John Gruber:

Looking at Geekbench’s results browser for Android devices, there are a handful of phones in shouting distance of the iPhone 7 for multi-core performance, but Apple’s A10 Fusion scores double on single-core.

According to these benchmarks, the iPhone 7 is faster than the fastest computer I’ve ever owned. In Geekbench, my Mid-2011 Mac mini scores 2841 in single-core and 5223 in multi-core. The iPhone 7 is about 21% faster in single-core tasks and about 8% faster in multi-core. That’s absolutely incredible.

Initial Thoughts on iOS 10

Every year, when Apple releases their newest version of iOS to the public, I’ve typically already spent a few weeks or months with it on my main device. That was the case with almost every major iteration, until iOS 10. Whether I acquired it by nefarious means, signed up for the developer program, or sent my UDID number to a friend, I’ve always been able to get a hold of it. This year was a little different.

I installed iOS 10 on my iPad during the public beta, but it didn’t last long. Even though this was one of the best beta periods I’ve experienced from a stability standpoint, I’ve come to realize that my standards of acceptability are much higher than they’ve ever been. Now that my iPad and iPhone are my primary computers, I can’t put up with the little software bugs anymore.

In years past I could always switch to my Mac when something wasn’t working right, but that was during a time when all of my workflows were decidedly Mac-centric. Now, if something didn’t work on my iPad, I’d be left trying to piece together how I used to do it on my MacBook — often realizing that this task didn’t exist until my post-iOS era and I’ve never done it on a Mac before. iOS has become too essential for me to run beta builds. I just can’t risk anything breaking anymore.

The public beta only lasted a few days on my iPad — I reverted to iOS 9 at the first opportunity. That was a month or two ago, though, and Apple has spent their time polishing the rough edges. The public beta was good, but the final build is superb.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have any complaints, though. There’s still a small number of annoyances that remain. However, iOS 10 is an incredibly well built operating system and has quickly become my favorite OS upgrade of all time. As of this writing, I only have it installed on my iPhone, but I expect to have it on my iPad and my wife’s iPhone within the next couple of days.

I’m not going to be writing a detailed review of the update — if you’re looking for that, I suggest reading Nick Heer or Federico Viticci’s. Instead, I’ll be sharing a handful of my notes, taken in the first few hours after updating.

  • It’s going to take a little time to get used to the new lock screen behavior. I’m fully prepared to be called a maniac for this, but I’ve never enabled Touch ID or a passcode. I’ve been happy enough continuing to use the “slide to unlock” gesture. Because of this, I expect I’ll accidentally swipe to my widgets instead of unlocking my iPhone on numerous occasions over the coming weeks.
  • The quicker animations for launching and closing apps is quite jarring. It makes my eyes feel weird.
  • iMessage Apps are going to be incredibly popular, but I don’t expect I’ll install many of them. I’m a bit of a minimalist and iOS’s built-in images app will get me most of what I want. I might buy a couple sticker packs, but that’s about it.
  • Games in iMessages are surprisingly great. I spent about an hour playing a connect four clone and a battleship clone with my brother-in-law. It was fun. I think I’ll be playing games like this more often in the future.
  • I like the new design of the system-wide application back buttons. They have more heft and are much more inviting to use.
  • The Music app is much better than it was in iOS 9, but I wish I could set artists as a tab along the bottom. I don’t need search and I don’t need Radio. If I had my way, the tabs along the bottom would be: recently added, artists, playlists, and more.
  • I love the Force Touch shortcut for clearing all notifications.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a way to quickly view Today View widgets with an app open. You can slide from the top and swipe to the left, but iOS doesn’t remember which pane you viewed last — unlike Control Center. That puts an extra step between me and my widgets. I routinely use Fantastical’s widget to check the date, PCalc’s widget for quick calculations, and Workflow’s widget for launching workflows. With iOS 10, widgets are significantly less convenient for me.
  • It’s a little odd that you can “uninstall” default apps now. I don’t plan on going crazy with it, I don’t have much of a problem simply hiding these apps deep within a folder. But of course, I had no problem immediately deleting Tips and Stocks.

Twitter’s New, Longer Tweets Are Coming September 19 ➝

Chris Welch, reporting for The Verge:

Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work, The Verge can independently confirm. Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform’s 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages.

I’ve been looking forward to this change since it was first announced back in May. I’m a huge proponent of retaining the 140-character limit, but I don’t think attachments should be treated the same way as text.

John Gruber on Apple’s On-Stage Diversity ➝

John Gruber:

But last week’s ratio was so disparate not because the company didn’t pick enough women for speaking slots. Rather, it’s because the executives in charge of most of the products announced last week were men.[…]

So the problem is not that women are underrepresented as on stage speakers. The problem is that they are underrepresented in leadership positions. I would argue that it’s better — more honest — for Apple to allow its onstage diversity to accurately reflect its actual leadership diversity. If Apple simply put more women and people of color on stage, it would be a token gesture. If Apple puts more women and people of color on this page, more of them will appear on stage as a result.

I’d reference the article which spurred these comments, but I don’t think it deserves your attention.

Just Glass ➝

Ben Brooks discusses his experiment of using the iPad’s software keyboard, exclusively, for a week. I spend most of my time writing on the iPad with the software keyboard, but I’ll openly admit to preferring a hardware keyboard when I’m writing longer-form prose.

The area where the software keyboard shines for me is in editing my writing. I almost always edit with the software keyboard. It’s much easier to move the curser, type, and scroll when I don’t have to continually switch back and forth from the glass to the hardware keyboard.

On ‘Courage’ ➝

John Gruber, regarding the video of Steve Jobs in which he makes the case for not supporting Flash in iOS:

You can argue that Jobs said it better. I think he did, too — particularly because Jobs emphasized the fact that they knew people were going to disagree, vociferously. (Jobs was one of the best communicators the world has ever seen, so that’s no ding against Schiller.) But Jobs and Schiller meant “courage” in the same way: having the courage to make a sure-to-be controversial decision when there is a non-controversial option, simply because they believe it to be the right thing to do in the long run.

It’s funny how so many people have been hung up on Phil Schiller’s “courage” explanation. I’ll admit, it didn’t come off particularly well. But if you look beyond the snark and listen to Schiller’s full remarks, I think you’ll start to get it.

What Apple did was force the issue. In my day job, I often make decisions that effect the freight process in the retail store where I work. One strategy that I’ll often employ is shrinking the amount of available space for a department’s backstock. Other employees usually get pretty upset with me for doing this. But more often than not, by the time the next truck shipment arrives, they’ve done enough work in that department to shrink its backstock to an acceptable level.

Forcing the issue does, indeed, take courage. And doing so shows that you aren’t afraid to take a little heat in order to get the desired outcome. Apple knew that some portion of users would get angry about the removal of the headphone jack, but do you expect us to continue using it forever? Would headphone companies invest the resources necessary to improve the wireless experience if Apple hadn’t given them this nudge? Perhaps.

But with all the physical constraints of handsets and everyone’s desire to pack them with more and more technology, something had to give eventually. Maybe Apple removed the headphone jack a little prematurely. But I think we’ll find a wireless future much faster because Apple had the courage to take the heat.

Seen on the Seventh

I can’t say I was too impressed with the opening video of Tim Cook riding to the event with Pharrell Williams and James Corden — whoever that is. It felt a little bit too much like every other “hilarious” CEO video that never quite manages to be funny, or even interesting. But Apple delivered an impressive set of announcements — headlined by a second-generation Apple Watch, new iPhones, and wireless headphones.

I wasn’t able to watch the event live — aside from a handful of moments in 5-10 minute chunks. Instead, I kept a close eye on my Twitter timeline and watched the full event earlier this morning. The following is my impressions of each of the major announcements, in the order they appeared on stage.

Nintendo

There’s been this hope within the Apple community, for the past several years, that Apple would purchase Nintendo and make a big push for gaming on their platforms. But having Shigeru Miyamoto on stage is proof that an acquisition wasn’t necessary. Nintendo is bringing a brand new game to iOS — Super Mario Run — but that’s only the beginning.

It wasn’t discussed on stage, but Nintendo also plans on releasing at least two more games this spring — one based on Fire Emblem and the other on Animal Crossing. If this is a successful endeavor, I expect we’ll see them bringing even more properties to iOS in the future. It’s a little unfortunate that their first game feels a bit like mobile fodder, but even with its simplistic gameplay, I’m sure it’ll be well received.

What I’m excited about, though, is a future where Nintendo is building games for Apple’s platforms. Nintendo has a knack for building some of the most innovative and entertaining games on the market. And paired with Apple’s hardware prowess, we could be in for something really good.

Apple Watch

Apple has announced Apple Watch Series 2 — the second-generation Apple Watch. They’ve made some solid improvements over the previous model, but I’m not convinced it will spur existing Apple Watch owners to upgrade. I don’t currently have any plans to purchase a Series 2, but don’t get me wrong, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Apple doesn’t need to convince every existing Apple Watch owner to upgrade, they just need to continue iterating and expand the Apple Watch’s appeal. I think the water proofing improvements and GPS will do that. They’re clearly positioning the Watch more as a fitness device — between swimming and being able to map your route while running — and I think that’s the right move.

Apple’s learned very quickly that fitness tracking is the killer app for smartwatches. At least for now. I expect they’ll continue to focus on this aspect of their wearable until third-party developers find that next big killer app. We all know that it’ll come eventually, but I don’t think anybody will be able to pinpoint what it is until it’s already upon us.

Series 2 comes in the familiar aluminum and stainless steel metal casings — just as the original did — but Apple has replaced the incredibly expensive gold model with a slightly less expensive ceramic edition. I have to admit, it’s an absolutely stunning model based on the product shots on Apple’s website. I have no interest in spending over twelve hundred dollars on a smartwatch, but I can appreciate Apple’s interest in exploring new materials.

Building devices out of ceramic may be expensive today. In the future, that might not be the case. But the only way we’ll ever see an improvement in the kinds of materials used in consumer products is if someone actually takes the time to work with them — I’m glad Apple’s still trying to push the industry forward.

Returning to their focus on fitness, Jeff Williams invited Trevor Edwards on stage from Nike to talk about Apple Watch Nike+ — a special edition of the Watch designed for runners. Apple has had successful partnerships with Nike in the past — the Nike+ kit for iPod immediately comes to mind — and I expect this to be no different. The design doesn’t particularly appeal to me, but judging by the current lineup of Nike running shoes, I think Watch Nike+ will become a highly sought-after product.

I think it was a really smart move to keep the existing Apple Watch in the product line. It gives me hope that they’ll continue to support the first model for several years to come and it gives them a much more affordable price point to get people in the door. I have a suspicion that the Apple Watch isn’t going to explode in popularity until they reach a sub-$200 price point. And continuing to sell last years model is a great way to help them inch closer to that pivotal price.

iPhone

It’s becoming harder and harder for Apple to keep the new iPhone under wraps before its unveiling. As with previous years, most of the design details had leaked weeks (or months) before yesterday’s event. But despite the amount of information we already knew about the product, Apple still managed to impress me with the new iPhone.

Apple conveniently broke down the iPhone announcement into ten landmark features and I’ll tackle each of them individually.

Design: They’ve introduced a new finish — jet black — which has a glossy appearance. This gives the illusion, when the display is off, that the entire device is made from a single material. They’ve also introduced another color — black — which looks a lot like space gray albeit in a much darker hue.

Of the two new colors, I prefer the standard black option. Granted, I haven’t seen them in person, but I’m not typically fond of glossy finishes on devices. It is unfortunate that jet black is only available on the two higher-end storage tiers, but I suspect that’s because of the additional engineering work that goes into manufacturing it.

Home Button: Apple has redesigned the home button and, much like the latest trackpads, removed the physical mechanism. The home button is now Force Touch enabled and uses a Taptic Engine to provide feedback when pressed.

This is something that I’ll have to experience for myself before I pass judgement on it. I’ve read mixed reports on Twitter, from members of the press, with some saying it feels exactly like a button and others saying the opposite. I was initially skeptical of the Force Touch Trackpads when they were introduced in the MacBook, and while I haven’t used one on a day-to-day basis, I was very impressed by them when I tried it out in-store.

Water and Dust Resistant: The iPhone 7 is rated as IP67, which means it is capable of surviving immersion up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. That will protect you from accidental spills or drops in a puddle, but I wouldn’t suggest taking it in the pool.

This was my biggest disappointment from the entire event. I suppose I got my hopes up with my theory of Apple hitting it out of the park with water proofing, but I shouldn’t have let that get the best of me. If my theory was true, there would have been many more rumors about it. Maybe they’re saving it for next year’s model.

Camera: Apple completely redesigned the iPhone’s camera system this year. The iPhone 7 feature’s optical image stabilization, a larger aperture lens, a new high-speed sensor, a quad-LED True Tone flash, and a brand new image signal processor. It’s a pretty impressive upgrade from last year’s model.

Apple didn’t stop there, though. They have further widened the gap between the 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone cameras by adding an additional camera assembly. Using these two 12MP cameras — one with a wide-angle lens and the other with a telephoto lens — the iPhone 7 Plus will have optical zoom, digital zoom with drastically improved image quality, and a new portrait mode which uses software to mimic a shallow depth of field.

The new camera features really have me torn — along with many others, I presume. As much as I enjoy having a 4.7-inch iPhone that actually fits in my pocket, the two lens camera is intriguing to me. I don’t take photos as often as I’d like to, but when I do, I’m usually taking pictures of my nieces and nephews. The shallow depth of field effect in the new portrait mode looks like a killer new feature. And I suspect there will be a lot of users who upgrade to the larger device just for that feature alone.

Retina HD Display: The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus displays are now 25% brighter and sport a wider color gamut. There isn’t too much else to say about the new iPhone’s display. It’s always been impressive and nothing’s changed there. The additional brightness should help when using the device in direct sunlight and the wider color gamut will allow for more rich images.

Speakers: For the first time in an iPhone, Apple has added stereo speakers. This will allow for twice the volume output of previous iPhones and offers an increased dynamic range. Even though I have Bluetooth speakers, AirPlay devices, and headphones, I still find myself regularly using my iPhone’s built-speakers. I’m happy to see they’re making improvements on this front.

EarPods: Apple is removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7. There’s been plenty of articles written about why that is or isn’t a good idea, but truthfully, I don’t really care. In my life, there are only two items that I connect to my iPhone with an audio cable — the Apple EarPods that ship with the device and my car stereo. Both of these are easily fixed when I eventually upgrade to a device without a headphone jack. I can simply use the Lightning EarPods that Apple ships with the iPhone and I can use the included Lightning to headphone adapter in my car. Super easy.

I understand that this is a major concern to people who regularly use the same pair of headphones with a handful of devices. Not all of them have a Lightning port and some of them don’t support Bluetooth. The good news is that you can continue using your headphones with the Lightning to headphone adapter. It isn’t the most elegant solution, but it’ll certainly get you by until all of your devices support the newer technologies.

I think Apple did an excellent job explaining why they were moving on from the headphone jack. The key to it all is that handset manufacturers are doing everything they can to pack as much technology into their devices as possible. Space is at a premium and it doesn’t make sense to waste so much of it on a single-purpose connector. As annoying as it may be to a large number of users, I think any rational individual can understand why Apple’s doing this.

AirPods: Apple has removed the wires from their EarPods and engineered their own W1 Bluetooth audio chip to produce a set of wireless earbuds. They use infrared sensors to detect when they’re in your ear which will prevent them from wasting energy by unnecessarily playing back audio. They last up to five hours with their built-in battery, but come with a charging case that can provide a total of 24 hours of listening.

The pairing process is quite impressive — which is exactly what I would expect from an Apple product like this. You simply open the AirPods’ case near your iPhone and tap the connect button. The headphones are then automatically setup with your iPhone and Apple Watch. They even use iCloud to propagate the pairing to your iPad and Mac.

Apple’s AirPods are impressive from a technological standpoint, but I don’t think I’ll end up buying a pair. They’re fairly affordable, at $159, but I’m not too keen on truly wireless headphones. Having two independent earphones leaves me worried that they’ll get lost too easily.

And I’m not thrilled about the five hours of battery life either. I frequently wear headphones at work for several hours at a time, I don’t want to take them out for a recharge just to make it through an entire day. Until they offer battery life in the neighborhood of eight hours, I’m just not interested.

Apple Pay: The iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 will support the NFC standard used in Japan for contactless payments. Apple will be using this to rollout Apple Pay for Japan in October.

Performance: The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus include a brand-new generation of A-series chips called A10 Fusion. It features a four-core CPU — two high-speed cores alongside two high-efficiency cores. This allows the iPhone 7 to achieve significantly improved performance on CPU intensive tasks while allowing for better battery life while running less demanding applications. The A10 Fusion will offer improvements by just about any metric and really shows the advantage Apple has over other handset manufacturers — no one else has access to chips like this.

The story of performance is just about the same every year — massive improvements over last year’s model. What’s most interesting to me, though, is that the iPhone 7 is likely at or beyond parity with the performance of the most powerful machines in my house. I haven’t seen benchmarks quite yet, but based on the increases over the iPhone 6s, that means the iPhone 7 will be the most powerful computer many people have ever used in their life. And it fits in their pocket. That would have been unbelievable just a few years ago.

Apple Watch 2 Parts Shown on Video ➝

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Byte, a small British shop that sells Apple-certified accessories and repair parts for iOS devices, has shared new photos and a video that appear to show the Apple Watch 2’s thinner display technology and larger battery.

I look forward to learning about the new design at Apple’s media event next week. I’m holding out hope for a thinner design, but it’s entirely possible that any component miniaturization is being done to accommodate the larger battery, GPS, and barometer features.

The Latte Rationalization ➝

Eddie Smith:

Pricing apps as non-digital goods is hopeless in the long run. If you’ve read the Internet at all, you’ve seen what I call “the latte rationalization,” which goes something like this:

If you spend $5 a day on coffee, why can’t you spend $5 one time on an app that benefits you every day?

The problem with “the latte rationalization” is that there isn’t another shop down the street that’s giving away cups of coffee for free. But, in the software market, you can find dozens of competing apps that will work well enough. And many of them are available at no cost.

Open Source Plans for Vesper ➝

Brent Simmons:

Q Branch’s existing open source code — DB5 and QSKit — will be moved to my personal GitHub account. I will continue to maintain DB5 (I continue to use it). QSKit will not be maintained, but will be made available as historical artifact.

We will make Vesper for iOS, Vesper for Mac, and Vesper’s JavaScript sync service open source on my personal GitHub account. This code will also be provided as historical artifacts: they’re not intended as active projects. They’re also not intended as examples of how to write apps these days.

It’s incredibly sad that the folks at Q Branch weren’t able to find success with Vesper. But I have hope that someone will pick up where they left off and build something great with the open sourced code.

BitTorrent App Transmission Once Again Source of macOS Malware ➝

Mike Wuethele, writing for AppleInsider:

Once again, BitTorrent client Transmission has distributed malware to some users through an altered installer, with downloaders of the software on Aug. 28 and 29 probably infected by the “Keydnap” package.

The Amiibo Resistance

Last year, when I was gifted a Wii U from my wife, she bought me the Super Mario Maker bundle. Not only did it include the console and the game, but it also came with one of Nintendo’s little NFC figurines. It was the modern color 30th Anniversary Mario Amiibo and could be used to unlock the Big Mushroom power-up in Super Mario Maker.

After unlocking the power up in Mario Maker, I set the figurine on a bookshelf and haven’t touched it since. I have been aware of Nintendo’s lineup of Amiibo since before we had the console, but I’ve done my best to avoid it. The figurines can be used to unlock new features in certain games and are generally pretty neat looking.

The main reason I’ve resisted the urge to purchase a second Amiibo — or even browse the lineup — is because I’m quite susceptible to the collector’s mentality. It’s a slippery slope for me. My history with Pokémon cards and Magic: the Gathering has taught me that I can’t just own a few. As soon as I buy another Amiibo, I’ll find three or four more that I just need to have.

But a few of weeks ago I bought Splatoon on Nintendo’s eShop. I quickly fell in love with the game and have been playing it steadily ever since. Here’s what I wrote after just a week of play:

It’s essentially a cartoony paintball game in which you and your three teammates try to cover as much of the level in your color paint as possible. Along the way you can disrupt the other team by “splatting” their players and forcing them to respawn at their starting point.

There’s new weapons and clothing accessories that feature special abilities and increased power that you can unlock by leveling up. There’s other game modes to play as well, but I’ve been having too much fun with the normal “Turf Mode” to explore the other options.

Since then I’ve unlocked nearly every weapon in the game, beaten the single-player campaign, and played my fair share of “ranked” matches — Tower Control and Rainmaker being my favorite modes. But there’s one area of the game that has alluded me — the Amiibo challenges.

Nintendo has released a series of Amiibo specifically for Splatoon. It features the Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl, and Inkling Squid, which unlock weapons and accessories that aren’t available through any other means. They’ve also recently released Callie and Marie figures that can be used to change the appearance and music of the game’s main hub area.

Last week, I did a little research to find out what each of the Amiibo unlocks and I ended up buying just the Inkling Boy from Amazon. It gives me access to the weapon and accessories I’m most interested in without tripling or quadrupling the size of my Amiibo collection — as the multi-packs would.

I’m still a little afraid that this is going to get out of control. I haven’t even received delivery of my second Amiibo and I already have a handful of them in mind that I want to purchase — like Waluigi, obviously. I’ll do my best to stay strong and resist the urge to continue adding to my collection. But don’t be surprised to find me with dozens of these things, strewn about various shelves throughout my apartment, in only a few months.

When Will Apple Announce New Macs? ➝

Jason Snell, writing in Six Colors:

This year, though, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is reporting that new Macs aren’t on the agenda, and are “currently expected to be announced at a later date.”

Mac people are getting restless. With the exception of a speed-bump update to the MacBook in the spring, 2016 has been a desert. And now, with a major Apple event on the horizon, is it true that new Mac hardware may still not be on the agenda?

As John Gruber points out, it’s become clear that Apple isn’t interested in holding two events in the fall. That means, if Apple is announcing new Macs before the end of the year, they’ll be doing so with a press release or private press briefings.

And of course, there’s always the possibility that Apple decides to change course or that Gurman’s sources are wrong. Granted, that’s not very likely, Gurman probably has the best track record in the business. But you can’t entirely rule out the idea that Apple may just announce new Macs on stage at their September 7 event.

Apple Holding Event on September 7 ➝

I’m excited about this one. We’re almost certainly seeing new iPhones, but I’m not sure what else Apple has planned. The rumors have been a little erratic. We could see a new Watch, Macs, or something else entirely.

Markdown Comes to Simplenote ➝

From the Simplenote weblog:

Today we’re excited to announce that Markdown support has been added to the latest update of Simplenote for iOS.

To enable Markdown for a note, just tap on the ‘Markdown’ button in the note info panel. You can then swipe on the note editor to view the Markdown preview. Once you’ve enabled Markdown for a note, all new notes you create in the future will have it enabled by default. We hope you enjoy this handy new feature!

I’ve been using Simplenote ever since I moved away from Vesper last year. It’s a great app, but unfortunately, this new Markdown support is far from robust. There’s no inline previews or shortcuts to help with the syntax, which I would consider to be essential features. I’ll continue using Simplenote as my notes app of choice, but I’ll keep my Markdown writing in Ulysses.

The Age of the Dramatic Apple Event Reveal Is Over ➝

Jason Snell, writing for iMore:

Increasingly, it feels like the era of event surprise and delight is over. Delight can still exist, of course, but it’s becoming increasingly impossible for Apple to surprise. All the new hardware — even entirely new stuff like the Apple Watch — is rumored months before it arrives, often in exacting detail. New software, also rumored in detail before it’s announced, can be running on your devices in the days or weeks after that announcement.

But you know what? I think I might be okay with things being a bit less dramatic.

There’s a part of me that misses the dramatic hardware reveals from the mid-2000s. But as long as Apple continues to produce great products, I’ll be fine with it.

Spiteful Spotify ➝

Lucas Shaw and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:

Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy. Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.

Sure, Spotify, punish the artists who have already buddied-up with your biggest competitor. That’ll certainly have them crawling back. Except, many of them have been complaining about how much they earn from you for years.

‘Apple Could Use Custom x86 SoC Made by AMD’ ➝

Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits and Chips:

According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018. Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.

So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family, like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the perfect partner to do this.

This rumor was published back in October of last year, but John Gruber linked to it a couple of days ago.

There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the world of CPUs. Intel licensing ARM technology and attempting to take over the manufacturing of Apple’s A-series processors, the massive gap between Mac hardware iterations which was at least partly due to delays in Intel’s latest generation of CPUs, and the aforelinked rumor that Apple might be working with AMD on custom x86 SoCs. To name a few.

This is exactly the kind of rumors I enjoy, though. It hearkens back to the early days of my technology enthusiasm, when AMD was first to market with 64-bit and dual-core processors. And, perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I have a strange feeling that we’ll be learning more about all this within the next six months.

Intel Aims to Challenge TSMC Over Apple Chip Orders By 2018 ➝

Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei Asian Review:

Intel’s recent pledge to expand its business making chips for others highlights its ambition to snatch chip orders for Apple’s popular iPhones from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as early as 2018, industry experts said.

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue, announced earlier this month that it will license technology from British mobile chip designer ARM with the aim of securing more business from smartphone companies. LG Electronics will become the first smartphone company to adopt Intel chips following the ARM deal.

If Intel wants to become the premier ARM processor manufacturer, Apple is the customer they need to have.