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.

Apple Is Working on a Dedicated Chip to Power AI on Devices ➝

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple is working on a processor devoted specifically to AI-related tasks, according to a person familiar with the matter. The chip, known internally as the Apple Neural Engine, would improve the way the company’s devices handle tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence — such as facial recognition and speech recognition, said the person, who requested anonymity discussing a product that hasn’t been made public.

Looks like we might be seeing N-series chips in the not-too-distant future.

Thinking About Shared iCloud Photo Libraries ➝

Stephen Hackett:

This solution is what I would prefer. In it, my wife and I would continue to have our own libraries, tied to our own iCloud accounts, just like we do today.

However, we would be able to add each other as viewers to our libraries. Once access has been granted, her library would show up in the top-level of as do things like People, Places, Videos, etc. I could tap her library to see all of her content, including albums, collections, etc. If I were to see something I wanted to add to my library, I could select it and tap “Add to My Library.” Doing so would prompt iCloud to add a full-resolution copy of that file to my personal library.

The one thing keeping my wife and I from using iCloud Photo Libraries is the lack of a feature like this. Right now, we use Google Photos with a shared Google account on both of our iPhones. This gives us a single, unified library to browse and offsite backups for our photos. If Apple shipped a library sharing feature, though, we’d switch in a heartbeat.

‘The Thinnest Tightrope They Can Walk Between What Is and Is Not Considered Creepy’ ➝

Nick Heer, on Google and Facbook’s ability to associate offline purchases with online advertising views:

For this to be effective, there has to be some association made between a purchaser, whether they have seen an ad, and how that campaign was delivered — through social media, a general website, and so forth. Therefore, there must be enough information to correlate the three factors, which is enough information for specific purchases to be tracked back to an individual. If there isn’t that level of granularity, the service is pointless, isn’t it? […]

When Apple launched Apple Pay, they made a point of stating that they don’t track transactions over time. I don’t think Apple’s privacy protections necessarily prevent Google and Facebook from associating purchases with ad views, but it can’t hurt to consider using services from companies that build privacy protections into their products and services, instead of those that try to find the thinnest tightrope they can walk between what is and is not considered creepy.

Joe Rosensteel’s tvOS Wishlist ➝

Joe Rosensteel is far more negative on the Apple TV than I am, but I agree with a lot of the points in his piece. One thing I’d like to add to his list is the ability to sync the installed applications and home screen layout between multiple boxes.

We have an Apple TV in the living room and another in the bedroom, it’s irritating that I have to organize the home screen on both devices manually. If I install a new app or change the order of the icons, those changes should be reflected on both devices by making use of some sort of iCloud service.

Judging Apple’s WWDC 2016 Announcements One Year Later ➝

Matt Birchler takes a look back at the most important announcements from last year’s WWDC keynote.

IFTTT’s Free ‘maker’ Tier Lets Anyone Create and Share Applets ➝

Mat Smith, writing for Engadget:

IFTTT is opening up its recipe/ applet creating platform to everyone, with a free ‘maker’ tier that offers deeper (read: harder) programming options beyond the simple “if this then that” UI most IFTTT aficionados use. You could already do this, making private applets for your own use, but this announcement means part-time developers can share any awesome applets with the greater IFTTT community, including lazy ingrates like myself.

If I’m not mistaken, this was a feature available to all IFTTT users until the service took it away sometime last year. I’m glad to see it’s back.

And just to see what the process was like for creating these shareable applets, I went ahead and built a couple. One that automatically saves new Initial Charge feature articles to Instapaper and another that does the same for Pocket. The process was quite simple — I was able to put these two together in less than five minutes.

Apple Dot Com Slash Switch ➝

A new section on Apple’s website encouraging Android users to switch to iPhone. It launches alongside a handful of ads with similar messaging and design aesthetic.

Ikea Announces Smart Lighting Compatibility ➝

Ben Lovejoy, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

iPhone-ticker reports that Ikea is updating its TRÅDFRI smart lights to be compatible with HomeKit, Amazon Echo and Google Home. The site says that the company will ‘retrofit’ the functionality, suggesting that compatibility will apply to existing products.

The existing product line is limited to white bulbs, but once you’ve bought the gateway for $79.99 (which includes two bulbs), you can add smart bulbs at prices ranging from $11.99 for a 1000-lumen E28 bulb, through $14.99 for a 400-lumen E12, $17.99 for a 980-lumen E27 to a $19.99 G10 spotlight. Dimmers and motion sensors are also available at similarly affordable pricing.

I’ve been waiting for the price of smart home products to drop before jumping wallet-first into the category. I’m not thrilled about having to spend $80 on the gateway, but $12 for each subsequent bulb seems like a pretty killer deal.