The Initial Charge Linked List

 
The Initial Charge Linked List is a frequently updated list of notable links and commentary. You can subscribe to the Linked List with its dedicated RSS feed or you can follow along on the main feed, which includes both Linked List items and feature articles from the site.
 

Historical iPhone Screen Sizes ➝

David Smith shares his application usage statistics for iPhone screen size. What really caught my eye is that the 5.5- and 3.5-inch form factors are neck-and-neck. I’m surprised that the 3.5-inch size is still holding strong, but I expected 5.5-inch iPhones to be more popular than they are. Perhaps I notice them more often because they’re larger, but I see a lot of Plus-sized iPhones on a daily basis — more than this graph suggests.

Purported iPhone 7 Leak Suggests Headphone Jack Will Stay ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

The iPhone 7 had been rumored to be dropping the analog 3.5 mm headphone jack, in favour of wireless Bluetooth or Lightning cable headphones for audio output. However, a new iPhone 7 component leak posted on Weibo disagrees with previous reports, depicting a board that includes a 3.5mm jack (in the top right of the photo above).

This gives everyone another year, at least, to prepare for the inevitable.

Airmail Adds iPad Support ➝

Federico Viticci, writing for MacStories:

Airmail showed that it was possible to build an email app for power users on mobile devices – asking for a fair price in the process – but I couldn’t switch to it as my full-time client yet.

That’s changing with today’s update to Airmail for iOS, which I’ve been using as my only email client on the iPhone and iPad for the past several weeks. In addition to an iPad app – which mostly follows in the footsteps of its iPhone counterpart in terms of UI and navigation choices – Airmail 1.1 brings powerful new features such as saved searches, customizable keyboard shortcuts, support for send later and read receipts, and more.

I also switched to Airmail on all of my devices after iPad support was added in version 1.1. But I’ve realized that I’m not in love with the app. It’s good and I continue to use it, but only because there isn’t anything better on the market. And I’ve tried everything from Dispatch to Outlook — Airmail is as close to great as I’ve been able to find.

Finding Your MacBook’s Battery Cycle Count ➝

A great tip by Jeff Benjamin showing how to determine if your Mac’s battery is within its normal cycle count lifespan.

Rex, a Home for Things I Love ➝

Matt Mazzeo, writing on Medium:

We have places review what we’re eating, good and bad. Places to review where we’re vacationing, good and bad. Places to discuss what we’re watching, good and bad. But where do we share the things we love? I dare anyone to review their 10 year history of “likes” on Facebook and tell me that it’s a good representation of the things they love. And yet, the world needs a home where people can share and discover the things that inspire us — that are too good to keep to ourselves, without making it feel like work. REX is that place.

The user interface reminds me of Instagram and the functionality reminds me of Pinterest — I expect Rex will find a sizable, dedicated user base.

Twitter Quietly Retires Magic Recs ➝

Ingrid Lunden, reporting for TechCrunch:

Twitter confirmed to TechCrunch it had stopped sending Magic Recs. It is now channelling recommendations through only one channel — native push notifications on your phone.

I’ve been following Magic Recs for nearly a year and I would typically receive one or two direct messages each week with a suggestion of a new user for me to follow. That ended in early March after it recommended Apple’s new support account. I hadn’t realized that Magic Recs went offline until a couple weeks ago when it dawned on me that I haven’t been receiving DMs from it. This is an especially unfortunate change for users like myself who use third-party clients to interact with Twitter — I’ll never see these push notification recommendations.

What Does Apple Look Like Without the iPhone? ➝

Jason Snell, writing for iMore:

Sometimes I worry that iPhone gets the lion’s share of Apple’s attention — and by the numbers, it really should. But I’m encouraged by the fact that Apple still commits to innovation in Mac hardware (albeit at a slower pace than some Mac fans might like), and has taken steps the last year to really upgrade the iPad, both hardware and software. But when you look at the size of the Mac and the iPad, that decision doesn’t seem like charity, but like good business sense. And as someone who relies on the Mac and iPad, I’m grateful that Apple gives due attention to those product lines.

We often forget how large Apple’s other businesses are. But if you were to take the iPhone completely out of the equation, Apple would still be a wildly successful company.

This by Tinrocket ➝

Patrick Dean:

So yes, there are times when only a big neon orange arrow and baby blue text highlighting will do when it comes to image and screenshot annotations (and for this I still use Skitch, but Pinpoint works too). For all of those other times though, like when you actually want markups and labeling that don’t advertise your sense of aesthetics has been left in the trunk of a car currently on fire on the side of the highway, try This — because beautiful annotations do exist.

I had been using Pinpoint for the occasional image annotation, but I switched to This after reading Patrick’s review. The app has some limitations, but nothing I can’t put up with.

Anker PowerPort 4 ➝

I decided to purchase this four-port USB charger after spending a few nights in a hotel room for my wedding. With my purchases of an iPad Air 2 last year and an Apple Watch last fall, I now travel with three devices which charge over USB. But the hotel room didn’t have enough power outlets where I needed them to accommodate all of my single-port USB chargers.

I’ve been using this unit by Anker for a couple of days and it does the trick. I can charge my iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch at the same time with only a single power outlet. And when we travel on our honeymoon this summer we can also use it to charge her iPhone, if need be.

I’m not too keen on the LED that remains illuminated while plugged in. But it’s not bright enough to disturb me while sleeping and the positives vastly outweigh this one little annoyance. If you’re in the market for a multi-port USB charger, I highly suggest putting this one under consideration.

Apple Watch and the Future ➝

Joe Cieplinski lists the changes he’d like to see in future Watch hardware and versions of watchOS. I agree with all of his points except for the last one — Joe thinks Apple should get rid of Time Travel. I completely disagree. I use Time Travel everyday to see what the temperature is forecast to be at different times. Time Travel is faster than launching an application and usually offers more granularity. It should stay.

Apple and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Drop in iPhone Sales ➝

John Gruber:

In chart form, you can see what an anomaly last year was with the iPhone 6. But given that you can almost draw a straight line connecting the other four points in the chart, I’m not willing to call it a peak yet. But even if we see a return to growth, it might take several years before we see another Q2 with over 60 million units sold.

Going based on the trend line of iPhone sales from 2012-2014, I’d guess the next Q2 with over 60 million units sold will be in two or three years.

‘Nothing Twitter Is Doing Is Working’ ➝

The most important thing for Twitter to do is improve the sign-up process. New users have no idea how to find good people to follow or why they should be using the service in the first place. If I was running Twitter, I’d start there.

Demand for iPhone SE Is ‘Very Strong,’ Exceeds Available Supply ➝

Tim Cook, from yesterday’s earnings call:

We’re thrilled with the response that we’ve seen on it. It is clear that there is a demand there even much beyond what we thought. That is really why we have the constraint that we have.

I called a few local AT&T stores yesterday to see if they had any iPhone SEs in stock. My wife planned on purchasing a 64GB model in rose gold if any were available. Unfortunately, none of the stores had any SEs at all. One of the employees I talked to noted that his store had only ever received one single iPhone SE since launch — a 16GB model in space gray.

Apple iPhone Sees First Year-Over-Year Sales Dip ➝

Jordan Crook, reporting for TechCrunch:

For the first time in its history, the iPhone is experiencing a drop in sales.

In 2015 at this same time, Apple sold 61 million units of the iPhone. This year, for the period ending March, Apple only sold 51.2 million units, representing a 16 percent YOY drop.

This is to be expected. As smartphone hardware matures, there’s less of an incentive to upgrade to the latest model — all of the compelling features have already been built. Folks like you and I might upgrade every year or two, but I expect it will become increasingly common for average users to continue using their handset until it doesn’t work anymore.

The App Store and Retail Co-Op ➝

A great piece by John Gruber where he equates paid App Store search results to paid placement on grocery store endcaps. Very clever.

Looking at the Future of Color Management ➝

Craig Hockenberry, writing on Iconfactory’s weblog:

As with most things released by Apple, there is an amazing amount of underlying technology that makes this new display shine. This new product is also a glimpse of how our screen technology will evolve over the coming years, so now is a good time to start understanding how these changes are going to affect our products.

As a developer, you’ll quickly realize that the scope of these changes will make your update to Retina graphics look like a walk in the park. At the end of this piece, you’ll also learn how I can help guide you through this process.

The MacBook Doesn’t Need More Ports ➝

Peter Cohen:

While I understand the argument in favor of increasingly the expandability of the MacBook – yes, that single USB-C port is maddening – I’m willing to accept that Apple has a very different concept of what this computer should do than people who criticize it. The MacBook, unlike any other Mac laptop, is designed to be as wireless as possible.

I’m not discounting that some Mac users need wires to connect things like external hard drives, displays and other peripherals. Using a port replicator or the devices offered by Apple and other third parties, you can expand the MacBook’s connectivity. You can attach an external display. You can hook up an external hard drive. And so on. But ultimately, you’re trying to wedge a square peg in a round hole – the MacBook simply isn’t made with that in mind.

If you need more ports than the MacBook offers, don’t buy it — no one’s forcing you to. And there’s no sense in getting mad about one particular notebook line when the MacBook Pro and Air are both perfectly suitable alternatives.

Federico Viticci’s iOS 10 Wishlist ➝

I immediately saved this to Instapaper — I’ll be reading it the first chance I get after this weekend.

Apple Should Give Customers Free iCloud Space to Match Their Devices ➝

Susie Ochs, writing for Macworld:

In the fall of 2014, Apple cut the prices on iCloud storage to fall more in line with competitors like Amazon and Google. But the best thing Apple could do is recognize that we’re already paying a lot to play in its garden, and throw in free iCloud storage that matches the capacities of our Macs, iPads, and iPhones.

Susie suggest that Apple should offer this extra storage for two years after the purchase of a new device. I doubt it’s going to happen for free, but what if this extra storage was another perk that came with AppleCare+?

macOS Naming Conventions ➝

Rene Ritchie wonders what identifier Apple would use alongside their rumored desktop OS rebranding — macOS. My hunch is they’ll stick with the “locations in California” theme and attach the operating system’s proper version number in instances where differentiation is necessary. That means Apple’s current OS would be referred to as macOS El Capitan (10.11).

Apple Starts Rolling Out Web Previews for tvOS Apps ➝

Federico Viticci, reporting for MacStories:

Apple has begun rolling out web links and iTunes web previews for Apple TV apps. The change, first noticed by Jeff Scott and which we were able to confirm via Safari on OS X, allows users to link to tvOS apps in a web browser, which will show an iTunes Preview with screenshots, app description, and other information.

I hope Apple adds purchase buttons to these web previews that will automatically initiate downloads on your Apple TV. They aren’t currently viewable from an iOS device, but presumably that will change in the future as well.

Apple Releases MacBook Refresh ➝

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

The technical nuts of it are that the MacBook can now be ordered with dual-core Intel M processors at up to 1.3GHz with 1866 MHz memory, Intel HD Graphics 515 with a claimed 25% faster graphics performance and faster internal storage. The new guts are getting you better performance but also better battery life with what Apple says is 10 hours of web browsing or 11 hours of iTunes movie playback.

These are solid updates to an already great machine. If I was in the market for a portable Mac, I’d seriously consider buying one.

Amazon Prime Video Now Offered as Standalone Monthly Service ➝

Tim Hardwick, writing for MacRumors:

Amazon has repositioned its Prime Video service as a standalone $8.99 monthly subscription deal with the option to cancel at any time. […]

In addition to Prime Video, Amazon has also introduced a $10.99 per month option for its full Amazon Prime service.

If only they could get an Amazon Video app out the door for Apple TV.

Large Displays in Automobiles ➝

Chris Ziegler, writing for The Verge:

Basically, the right move is for everyone to move to digital, multifunction clusters in addition to whatever else they may have in mind. In Tesla’s case, perhaps it’s a big touchscreen on a floating mount, but for something like the Toyota Prius, it could be a powertrain efficiency monitor up by the windshield. Whatever. I just need my map in front of me.

I absolutely disagree with Chris Ziegler, I hate large displays in cars. I have a 2009 Toyota Camry with a very simple instrument cluster and entertainment system — CD, AM/FM radio, an auxiliary-in jack, and a monochrome display. I specifically avoided purchasing a car with a more extravagant setup because I find their displays to be dangerously distracting. I dread the very idea of car shopping because of it. Luckily, I plan on driving this car into the ground. But when I finally start looking for a new one — when presumably most cars on the market will have these displays — I have no idea what I’m going to do.

Adding Optical Audio to the Apple TV ➝

Casey Liss talks about using the Tendak HDMI Splitter to get optical audio from his Apple TV. I thought about purchasing an adapter like this when I found out that the Apple’s latest model didn’t support optical audio out, but that was before I learned that my television supported audio pass through. Casey’s TV supports the feature as well, but he specifically wanted to playback audio from the Apple TV without having his TV on. The Tendak worked like a charm.

‘Adoption Takes Time’ ➝

David Chartier, in response to Jason Snell and John Gruber’s opinion of 3D Touch:

I’m surprised at these perspectives on what seems to be a by-the-book Apple feature introduction. Not only are 3D Touch, peek, and pop quite useful (perhaps after some new muscle memory), they have the same introduction and adoption pattern as other recent, significant Apple hardware innovations. […]

I wager 3D Touch will simply take time for many of us, and maybe a couple more ads as well. It will also get a couple more chances in the spotlight as Apple rolls it (and any improvements) out to the rest of iOS at major product launches.

The 12.9-Inch iPad Pro’s Typing Advantage ➝

Jason Snell, writing on Six Colors:

Last week I was writing a story on a warm, summery day—rare for early April, even in sunny California—and I was despairing about being inside rather than in my backyard. I ended up sitting out in the backyard and writing the story on my iPad Pro’s software keyboard, sitting under a redwood tree in a hammock. I kept the iPad flat in my lap and typed as I would on a laptop keyboard. And I was shocked at how fast my typing speed was when I really focused on the large software keyboard—not hardware keyboard speeds, but noticeably faster than my experience with the smaller iPad software keyboards.

After seeing this piece, I decided to install TapTyping and do some typing tests on my iPad Air 2. My average speed was 65 words per minute with 97% accuracy. This was much closer to my typical hardware keyboard speed than I expected it to be — about 90 wpm.

Perhaps I would be faster on a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, as Jason suggests, but my brain isn’t able to work that fast most of the time and I still prefer the 9.7-inch form factor. I’m also only one year in using the iPad as my primary computer, in another year or two, I might match my hardware keyboard speeds.

Paid App Store Search ➝

Daniel Jalkut, writing about Bloomberg’s recent report of paid placement in App Store search results:

Allowing third parties to pay for placement in the App Store would not contribute to Apple’s justifications for the App Store in any way. Who benefits from such a change? The businesses paying for the placement, presumably. It’s hard to see how paid placement would consistently benefit either Apple or its direct customers. It’s unlikely that paid listings would be used to highlight apps that are in line with Apple’s other goals for the store.

There’s just too many downsides associated with charging developers for placement in App Store search results. I would be shocked if Apple made a move like this.

Scrolling Tweetbot to the First Unread Tweet ➝

Apparently Tweetbot will scroll to the first unread tweet if you double tap on the timeline icon in the tab bar. This is amazing. And seriously, why am I just now hearing about this?

(Via Michael Tsai.)

Your Blog Is What You Make It ➝

Matt Birchler:

I’m here to say that I think that blogs are amazing. Every one is different and brings something to the table that you’re not going to see anywhere else. Some blogs are more official and have teams of writers, strict editing processes, timed releases, and a functioning revenue model. Others are tiny one man shops where someone is just excited about something and decides to write about it.

If you publish a weblog of your own or follow, even just a handful of them regularly, you need to read this piece. This bit towards the end especially hit home with me:

This is my corner of the internet and I use it to write the things that I want to see out there in the world. The fact that I have an audience that reads this stuff and gives me feedback on it is a huge bonus, and I am incredibly appreciative of everyone who does, but I’d be doing this even if there was nobody on the other side of the “Publish” button.

This is the best thing I’ve read all week.

Apple to End iTunes Allowances ➝

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple has announced that users can no longer setup iTunes Allowances for kids from today, ahead of a complete shutdown of the iTunes Allowances program on May 25th, 2016. […]

Now that iTunes Allowances is going away, families will instead have to migrate to Family Sharing. Family Sharing includes features like Ask To Buy, which requires parental permission when a child tries to buy an app or game. It isn’t a complete replacement, however, as it is a manual process unlike the automatic credit system that was iTunes Allowances.

I’m glad there’s an option available to users who relied on iTunes Allowances, but it’s a real bummer that parents will have to manually approve each purchase. Maybe an allowance-based system will return in a future iteration of Family Sharing.

Track Your Water Consumption With WaterMinder ➝

Jake Underwood, writing for MacStories:

WaterMinder’s goal is to, quite simply, help you drink water. Similarly to how the Activity app aims to provide movement goals based on height, weight, and general activity lifestyle, WaterMinder calculates and presents you with a specific ounce count for the amount of water you should drink every day.

I’m pretty happy with my eating habits, but I don’t drink nearly enough water. That’s something I’d like to change and WaterMinder looks like the perfect app to help me along the way.

Google May Be Considering Swift for Use on Android ➝

Nate Swanner, writing for The Next Web:

About the time Swift was going open source, representatives for three major brands — Google, Facebook and Uber — were at a meeting in London discussing the new language. Sources tell The Next Web that Google is considering making Swift a “first class” language for Android, while Facebook and Uber are also looking to make Swift more central to their operations.

Google’s Android operating system currently supports Java as its first-class language, and sources say Swift is not meant to replace Java, at least initially. While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader “upside” than Java.

What are the chances that Google forks Swift and uses it as the building blocks for their own programming language? They’ve already set the precedent by forking WebKit and creating Blink — this might actually happen.

Sean Malto Skateboard Documentary Shot on iPhone ➝

Everyone’s making a big deal about this being shot on an iPhone, but there’s Apple products all over this video. Sean Malto glances at his Watch numerous times throughout and every smartphone used is an iPhone. There’s even a MacBook appearance near the beginning. The only thing missing is some clever voice about how essential these products are and this would be a perfect Apple ad.

I Still Wear the Apple Watch ➝

Eddie Smith:

Maybe I’m a Watch apologist, but Watch’s failures have not made me wear the Watch any less or feel that the roughly $400 I spent on the Watch was wasted.

I really appreciate this simple, rational explanation as to why the Apple Watch is not a failure. Like Eddie, I wear mine every day and have garnered a great deal of utility from its existence.

Next Apple Watch Will Be Mostly Internal Upgrades ➝

Neil Hughes, writing for AppleInsider:

The KGI Securities analyst dished details on the next-generation Apple Watch in a research note issued on Monday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider. Kuo claims that the 2016 Apple Watch will feature “spec improvements with limited changes to form factor design.”

Those expecting a new look for the Apple Watch, such as a thinner profile, will have to wait until the company’s anticipated 2017 upgrade, he said. This year’s model is expected to be much like the iPhone tick-tock upgrade schedule, with an “s” update focusing on the internal components rather than the external design.

This shouldn’t come as much a surprise, this is how Apple develops all of their products.

The Infinite Queue ➝

Justin Blanton:

For better or worse, queues are how I’ve come to view nearly every aspect of my life, and I know I’m not alone. Apart from some work-related responsibilities, nearly every other dimension of my life flows into “one” sinuous, malleable, and ever-growing list of things to digest and process. This includes queues for Netflix, DVR, RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Pocket, Kindle books, personal/work email, skeletons of blog posts, etc. etc. etc. It quite literally never ends.

Everything in my life has an inbox. And if something doesn’t, I do everything I can to route it in such a way that it ends up in my RSS reader, Twitter timeline, or email inbox. This is just about the only way I can ensure that everything I need to do gets done.

Ben Brooks: My iPad Pro is My Preferred Computer ➝

Ben Brooks has found that he uses his iPad Pro more on a daily basis than any other computer he’s owned in the last several years. I’ve had the exact same experience with my iPad Air 2. When I’m at home, I reach for it nine times out of ten. Whether it’s to check Twitter, write for the site, read the news, or lookup a random fact, it’s all done on the iPad.

MacStories Reviews Activity++ ➝

Jake Underwood, writing for MacStories, on David Smith’s newly announced Activity++:

Activity++ is very similar to Apple’s own Activity app. And for those unfamiliar with Smith’s “++” branding, the app could be confused as a tool which adds more functionality to the stock Activity app. I’ll strike that down right now – while Activity++ does offer improvements to both the iPhone and Apple Watch Activity apps, these improvements aren’t related to new functionality.

Activity++ will make its way onto your devices because of its convenience. On either platform, the app presents activity data in digestible sets of information that are accessible and void of any clutter. Don’t think, however, that the data is simple; rather, consider that Activity++ has a form of presentation superior to Apple’s own Activity app.

I installed the app yesterday morning and have been very happy with it so far. I find the “streaks” visualization to be much more enjoyable than the way Apple’s Activity app displays similar data.

The Trouble With 3D Touch ➝

Jason Snell, writing for Macworld:

Unfortunately, after six months of using an iPhone 6s, I’m afraid that I’ve completely stopped using 3D Touch, to the point where I forget it’s there. My opinion about how brilliantly implemented this feature is hasn’t changed a bit, but I feel like Apple needs to rethink the meaning of the 3D Touch in iOS 10 for it to be a more useful feature.[…]

Although Apple’s proud of the peek/pop interface that it unveiled with the iPhone 6s, I’m skeptical of its utility. Most of the time, when I accidentally initiate a “peek” of the content behind whatever I’m pressing on, it’s content I was already trying to see by tapping. Loading a “peek” doesn’t really take any more time than actually tapping on an item and loading the result, and returning back to the previous screen seems a lot less work than holding your finger on the glass while you peruse a “peek” to see if it’s worth opening the rest of the way.

I was always afraid that 3D Touch was more of a gimmick than a useful-in-real-life feature. I’ve tried to integrate it into the way I use my iPhone, but it just never took. As Snell points out in his piece, 3D Touch is often slower to use than simply tapping an item and tapping a back button. Unfortunately, it’s the type of feature that demos exceptionally well, but doesn’t actually improve my experience while using the device.