The Initial Charge Linked List

The Initial Charge Linked List is a frequently updated list of interesting 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 the feature articles from this site.

Bring Out Your Dead

Dr. Drang spends a day with Apple’s Podcasts app.

Why Do Apple Music’s Curated Playlists Have Songs That Aren’t Available on Apple Music?

I would guess that Apple isn’t limiting their curators strictly to the Apple Music library for the sake of future proofing. Apple hopes to eventually have all music available on the service and the currently unavailable tracks would automatically become playable once Apple acquires the proper rights. And if you own the tracks from elsewhere the playlists should already playback fine by using your pre-existing files as the source material.

iCloud Music Library Data Loss

Joseph Rosensteel:

Apple has provided no way for users to revert changes that are being made in iOS, and no mechanism to recover deleted data. That really bothers me because if an automated system is going to make changes to optimize my data then it’s never going to be 100 percent accurate. Dropbox is really close to perfect these days for maintaining the integrity of my data, but they still have mechanisms to recover files and revert versions.

A Time Machine-like interface which would allow you to recover lost media or revert to previous versions of your library would be nice, but it’s never going to happen. It’s a user interface problem that I don’t expect Apple is too interested in solving. In their mind, they’d rather fix the problems they have and remove any need for a data recovery feature.

Update Regarding How Apple Matches Music Files

Kirk McElhearn, in an update to his recent piece on iCloud Music Library metadata matching:

I’ve been unable to reproduce this issue, and my guess is that there was a glitch with Apple’s servers that has since been corrected. If you only subscribe to Apple Music, or are using it on a free trial, then your songs are matched using metadata only. If you subscribe to both iTunes Match and Apple Music, then iTunes matches your songs using digital fingerprinting.

My guess: Apple’s been rapidly fixing bugs in the backend of Apple Music. I suspect the test that Kirk performed could have been easily reproduced a few days ago, but Apple quickly fixed it once his piece started gaining steam.

Pocket Adds Recommendations in Beta Channel

A recommendation engine built-in to my read later service sounds great. But I worry that having yet another “inbox” to check alongside the services I already use — RSS, Twitter, and email — is simply going to be adding to the noise and not cutting through it.

What we need more of is features like Fever’s Hot section which displays the most frequently linked to web pages from the sites you’ve chosen to subscribe to over a specific time period. If I had a mechanism in all of my inboxes that surfaced the most interesting and important things for me, that didn’t require me to weed through the dregs, that would be something I’m interested in. For example, imagine if Instapaper could reorder your queue based on what you’re most likely to be interested in reading — it didn’t offer you new articles, just suggested a good place to start reading your existing ones.

Three Months with Apple Watch

M.G. Siegler:

I’m almost exactly three months into wearing the device. Yes, I’ve worn it every day in that span, which is clearly a good sign. I also still get asked about it on almost a daily basis — also a good sign, as people still seem to be interested in it. But I definitely wouldn’t say I love the thing. I like it, but after all this time, it’s still not vital to me day-to-day. It’s a nice-to-have.

I still want an Apple Watch. Even though, like Siegler, I don’t expect anything truly revolutionary to be created with the platform.

(Via Analog Senses.)

Amazon Signs Top Gear’s Clarkson, Hammond, and May for New Show

James Vincent, writing for The Verge:

Former Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have signed up for a new motoring show on Amazon Prime, set to air in 2016. The news ends months of speculation about the trio’s future on TV after the BBC refused to renew Clarkson’s contract following a “fracas” during filming this year. The deal is a major coup for Amazon’s streaming service, which lags behind rival Netflix, and although there are no details of how much the firm paid for the trio, a company insider told the London Evening Standard: “We have made a significant investment.”

I haven’t watched more than five minutes of Top Gear in my entire life, but the show’s fans talk about it like it’s absolutely legendary. This incarnation might not make its way into my regular rotation of shows, but I’ll certainly be watching when it’s eventually released.

Windows 10 Solitaire Requires a Subscription to Remove Ads

It’s hard to believe this is actually real.

iTunes is a Toxic Hellstew

G. Keenan Schneider, in response to Marco Arment’s Don’t Order the Fish:

When I worked at Apple, my co-workers and I frequently lamented the state of iTunes. We prophesized a streamlined, rebuilt from-the-ground-up application with each impending major version release. Instead, we got new features wedged into the same old foundation. […]

Looking back, it’s still shocking that our dreams of a new iTunes were never realized. Apple, a company that shows little to no remorse when it kills its babies, has somehow kept this thing on life support. They should’ve immolated it long ago and allowed something new, agile, and slim to emerge from the ashes.

Honestly, I seldomly use iTunes. Sure, it’s always running on my Mac, but only so that we can stream media from our iTunes library to the Apple TV on a whim. When I do use it though, it’s completely miserable. I always have to relearn how to find certain sections of my library and often have to perform web searches to remember how to use a feature that’s no longer where I expect it to be.

We know iTunes peaked four or five years ago and it’s time Apple did something about it.

‘Apple Will Debut New Apple TV in September’

John Paczkowski, reporting for BuzzFeed News:

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell BuzzFeed News that the company intends to announce its next-generation Apple TV in September, at the same event at which it typically unveils its new iPhones. […] Expect a refreshed and slimmer chassis and new innards; Apple’s A8 system on chip; a new remote that sources say has been “drastically improved” by a touch-pad input; an increase in on-board storage; and an improved operating system that will support Siri voice control. Crucially, the new Apple TV will debut alongside a long-awaited App Store and the software development kit developers need to populate it.

His sources also say that the subscription television service isn’t likely to be announced alongside the Apple TV — probably a 2016 thing. I couldn’t be more excited about this. But I really hope the new hardware still includes an IR sensor. I’m quite attached to my Logitech Harmony One and don’t want another remote on my coffee table.

Stagefright Vulnerability

Aarti Shahani, reporting for NPR:

In this attack, the target would not need to goof up — open an attachment or download a file that’s corrupt. The malicious code would take over instantly, the moment you receive a text message.

“This happens even before the sound that you’ve received a message has even occurred,” says Joshua Drake, security researcher with Zimperium and co-author of Android Hacker’s Handbook. “That’s what makes it so dangerous. [It] could be absolutely silent. You may not even see anything.”

And we all thought the iOS text message vulnerability was bad. But this is a serious exploit, especially considering how long it takes for most Android devices to receive OS updates.

(Via John Moltz.)

Reeder 3 for Mac Public Beta

I’ve been experimenting with various RSS readers on my iPad because my favorite (Sunstroke) is no longer being developed and frequently crashes in iOS 9. I suppose this public beta is a good opportunity to try something different on the Mac side of things, as well.

Apple Music Matches Files with Metadata Only, not Acoustic Fingerprinting

Kirk McElhearn:

Apple Music, however, works differently. It does not use the more onerous (in time and processing power) acoustic fingerprinting technique, but simply uses the tags your files contains. And it can lead to errors. Here’s an example of how this can be a bit surprising. […]

Since Apple Music matches only using tags, it can’t tell the difference between, say, a studio recording and a live version of a song. Or an explicit version and a clean version. This explains why, for example, Macworld editor Susie Ochs found that a live Phish album was replaced by studio versions of the same tracks.

This explains a lot — like how Apple Music can’t seem to differentiate between acoustic and non-acoustic versions of songs on different albums if the tracks have the same name. But if Apple was able to use acoustic fingerprinting with iTunes Match, why not with Apple Music?

Update: Turns out, this might not be reproducible.

The Junk Drawer Method

Marco Arment:

iTunes is designed by the Junk Drawer Method: when enough cruft has built up that somebody tells the team to redesign it, while also adding and heavily promoting these great new features in the UI that are really important to the company’s other interests and are absolutely non-negotiable, the only thing they can really do is hide all of the old complexity in new places.

iTunes is in desperate need of a complete rewrite. Apple’s done it with nearly every other application they ship and I don’t understand why they haven’t done so with iTunes — likely the most important application Apple develops.

Arcuri on 4-Inch iPhone 6c

Timothy Arcuri claims that all signs of a 4-inch iPhone 6c in Apple’s supply chain have disappeared. This is unfortunate if it proves to be true, but Arcuri’s track record has been spotty at best. I did a quick search on MacRumors and of the four predictions I found, he only got half of one right. This certainly doesn’t disprove the prediction, but I’d take it with a grain of salt.

Dave Mark on Apple Music’s Home Field Advantage

Dave Mark, writing for The Loop:

My music is available in Apple Music. I can mix and match, switch back and forth between Apple Music and my music effortlessly. I can build a playlist with both. With Apple Music, there’s no sense of inside and outside the garden.

Apple Music may have an advantage in that you can easily jump between streaming music and purchased music within the same app. But there’s an entire generation of teenagers that have never bought a song in their life — everything they listen to is either pirated or streamed from YouTube, Pandora, or Spotify. For them, having all of their purchased music available alongside streaming tracks isn’t anything that’s worth switching over because they don’t have the same ecosystem investment as we do. They want a reasonably priced solution (preferably free) that gives them access to all of the songs they want on every device they own.

Trailer Released for ‘Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine’

Given how incredible this trailer felt to watch, a documentary-style film might be the best way to tell Steve Jobs’ story.

A Mac’s Longevity Is Its Biggest Unsung Selling Point

My first Mac was a 2006 MacBook that I used regularly as my mobile machine for five years before it was replaced by my current MacBook Air. I typically run my Macs into the ground before I replace them and can attest to the fact that Apple computers remain usable much longer than the PCs my friends and family spend their money on. This is a selling point I’ve used to convince two of my fiancée’s family members to purchase an iMac instead of some random junky PC from Best Buy. And it’s one of the best reasons to buy Apple hardware.

Vizio IPO Shows How Its TVs Track Whatever You’re Watching

Richard Lawler, regarding Vizio’s Inscape software:

We’ve never heard of Inscape before, but as explained in the S-1 Vizio filed today, it’s based on ACR (automatic content recognition) software licensed from a third party, and viewers can opt-out of participating in it while maintaining other connected features. That’s actually fairly common in modern TVs, and others like LG and Samsung have already rolled out features based on the tech to do things like integrate with TV shows, or display ads based on what the TV is showing. ACR software recognizes the video being displayed, matches it up and phones home the data. According to Vizio, its Inscape platform can pull some 100 billion anonymized datapoints from 8 million of its connected TVs every day. That kind of data can be used for ratings, and is valuable to both advertisers and content providers.

I’m really glad I decided to buy a “dumb” TV. And I don’t expect I’ll be recommending any Vizio televisions anymore. This is the kind of privacy-invasive tracking software that we should be fighting against.

Apple Watch Going on Sale at Best Buy Starting August 7

An Apple spokesperson, in a statement to iMore:

Customers love Apple Watch, and we are thrilled to begin offering it at Best Buy locations across the U.S. starting August 7. More than 300 Best Buy stores will carry Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models in time for the holiday shopping season.

Say what you will about Best Buy, but I’d rather travel the twenty minutes to my local Best Buy than nearly two and a half hours to the closest Apple Store.

Nilay Patel: ‘The Mobile Web Sucks’

I’m not the first to point out the irony here, but this article is published on a website that routinely takes several seconds to load it’s multiple Megabyte webpages. As for the browser vendors, don’t blame them for Vox Media’s poor web development. I understand it can be hard to shrink page size and load time when you have five or more ads per wepage, but I never have problems loading websites that have a less hostile attitude towards their readers.

On Apple Watch Development Hesitation

Jason Snell, regarding Brian X. Chen and Vindu Goel’s piece on developer interest in Apple Watch:

This is a story about developers trying to figure out if they want to be on a new platform, and if they do, how best to accomplish that. Unfortunately, Chen and Goel’s story makes it seem like the development community is just holding its breath waiting to see if Apple’s selling watches, while users are similarly waiting to see if their favorite apps from their phones run on the watch before buying.

It’s still early days. There’s plenty of time for developers to build apps for the platform before we need to start worrying about it. And remember, apps developed with the native SDK won’t be available until this fall and many applications shouldn’t have Apple Watch counterparts because it’ll make for a crummy experience.

Amazon May Be Planning Drive-Up Grocery Stores with First Coming to Sunnyvale, CA

Nathan Donato-Weinstein, reporting for Silicon Valley Business Journal:

The e-commerce giant is developing a new drive-up store concept in Silicon Valley that will allow consumers to order grocery items online, then schedule a pickup at a dedicated facility, according to industry sources familiar with Amazon’s plans. If confirmed, the project could signal a new distribution strategy for Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, while adding an additional threat to a grocery industry already in the throes of change.

This seems like a fairly obvious progression of Amazon’s business. One of the biggest problems with online retail is that you can’t purchase items that you need today — grocery items being some of the more notable examples. But, purchasing items online and picking them up at a warehouse location sounds pretty compelling.

Although, I doubt this sort of system would convince me to switch from my beloved Wegmans — a store that I genuinely enjoy shopping at.

WSJ: Apple Hires Auto Industry Veteran

The Wall Street Journal:

Doug Betts, who led global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV until last year, is now working for the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant but declined to comment on the position when reached Monday. […]

Mr. Betts could be the first major automotive executive to join Apple with experience leveled more at the manufacturing side of the business.

For nearly two decades, he has worked in product quality and manufacturing at an auto company, first as a general manager at Toyota Motor Corp. and later as a vice president at Nissan Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, now FCA US LLC.

Apple doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This might actually happen.

Jet, Club Price Savings on Pretty Much Anything You Buy

A new online retail startup that claims to offer bulk pricing on smaller-sized packages and the ability to unlock bonus savings on other items as you add more to your cart. It’s a clever way to up-sell customers into larger average transactions. What’s most interesting to me is that the majority of Jet’s product listings display the Amazon price next to it, which has been higher or equal to Jet’s price on every product I’ve checked.

Jet might not be a viable alternative for Amazon Prime customers, though. Amazon Prime offers customers many perks that Jet just isn’t competing with currently — free 2-day shipping, a large streaming video library, and more. But Jet does sound like something to take a look at if you aren’t a Prime customer and want as much savings as possible.


The Internet Is Awful

A recently created Tumblr by John Degraft-Johnson that showcases how slow to load many popular websites are. He’s currently reviewing every website in the Alexa top 50 alongside some notable tech sites. It’s just incredible how many of these homepages weigh-in at over 10MB.

(Via Nick Heer.)

Apple Working to Fix Missing and Duplicate Song Issues in Apple Music

Jim Dalrymple, in a follow-up to his scathing piece on Apple Music:

I arrived at Apple this morning to talk to them about my issues with Apple Music and to hopefully fix my problems. The good news is that I have about 99 percent of my music back.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. The missing and duplicate song issues that we’ve all seen in Apple Music are being fixed shortly. They are certainly aware of what’s been going on, I can assure you.

It’s good to hear that Apple worked with Jim to help him recover his lost music and I’m glad they’re working on a fix that will prevent this from happening in the future. But I’m still amazed that Apple Music shipped with these sorts of problems — did they not test the cancellation process? It certainly seems like they would have found these bugs if they did.

The Mac App Store is a Second-Class Citizen

Craig Hockenberry notes the various ways that the Mac App Store lags behind the iOS App Store, all of which hurt developers and users alike.

Square Said to File Confidentially for Initial Offering


Square Inc., the mobile-payments company founded and led by Jack Dorsey, the interim chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., filed confidentially for an initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Square has been working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the IPO, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private

This comes shortly after Square announced a payroll processing service and a real-time sales tracking application.

‘Apple Music is a Nightmare and I’m Done with It’

Jim Dalrymple:

At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me—Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I’ve spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.

I haven’t had the dreadful experience with Apple Music that Jim has, but I do find myself settling back into my old habits of listening to the same albums I did before Apple Music was released. I almost have to force myself to listen to music I don’t already own.

Part of this is because I haven’t found the “For You” recommendations to be much better than they were a couple of weeks ago when I published my sort-of initial impressions of the service. A lot of that is my fault, I haven’t been listening to music too often over the past week and as a result haven’t been giving the service much more information about what I actually like.

I’m still holding out hope that Apple Music will eventually understand what type of music I enjoy, but I know that my taste is quite specific. I don’t blanket love certain artists and often only enjoy music from a portion of their history. For example, I love early Fall Out Boy and hate their newer stuff, I love We Are The In Crowd’s first album but haven’t enjoyed much after that aside from a couple of tracks, and I love Incubus’ second, third, and fourth albums but dislike everything else from them. Like I said, quite specific.

Many of the problems Jim has experienced do seem to stem from iCloud Music Library, which I haven’t turned on. And while that may seem like splitting hairs, it is an important distinction. Jim had complaints about the service, but nothing as harsh and dramatically infuriating as having nearly five thousand tracks disappear from your library when you cancel the service — which iCloud Music Library is entirely to blame for and is completely unacceptable.

One message Phil Schiller tried to convey in his appearance on The Talk Show was that the company does listen to customer feedback. And I imagine Jim’s piece was the topic of discussion at Apple by all parties involved in Apple Music’s development. This shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but they need to react to this quickly and issue software fixes that ensure that no one else has the experience that Jim did.

Flickr Reintroduces Pro Membership

A membership includes improved stats, an ad-free experience, free US shipping on Flickr merchandise, and a 20% discount on Adobe Creative Cloud. Existing Flickr Pro members will be automatically upgraded to the new Pro with their existing pricing. All other members can upgrade to Pro for $5.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

I’ve always had an affinity for Flickr, but haven’t used the service in several years. Maybe this is a good time to give it another look.

(Via Analog Senses.)

iOS Beta Users Can No Longer Post Reviews in the App Store

This is a hugely positive change for the iOS ecosystem, but I wish beta users could submit reviews as feedback to the developers. That feedback would never get published and wouldn’t effect App Store rankings. This would give users a familiar mechanism for alerting developers to bugs or incompatibilities they might not be aware of without damaging the application’s reputation in the App Store. Just a thought.

Apple Announces Back to School Promotion

From Apple’s current rebates page:

Receive a pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones at no cost — or upgrade to a pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones for $100 — when you buy an eligible Mac with education pricing. Offer starts on July 23, 2015, in Apple Retail Stores and participating Apple Authorized Campus Stores, and on August 6, 2015, on the Apple Online Store and at 1-800-MY-APPLE. Offer ends on September 18, 2015.

I’ve never tried Beats headphones, but I’ve heard that they’re fine. However, this seems like the perfect promotion for back to school. Just as the iPod was the music player all the “cool kids” used back when it was the promo item, Beats are now the headphones.

Anandtech Reviews The Apple Watch

Saved to Instapaper.

Free Version of Threes! Doubled Developer’s Daily Income

I’m a huge fan of Threes! — it’s one of the two games that I still have installed on my iPhone (alongside Two Dots). And I’m glad to hear that the developer found success by releasing a free version.

Early Apple Watch Sales Beat the Original iPhone and iPad

Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

In an interview with The New York Times, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that sales for the Apple Watch “sales in its first nine weeks exceeded those of the iPhone and iPad in their first nine weeks of availability.” Apple itself said that the iPad sold 3 million units in the first 11 weeks, so that gives us some kind of ballpark. […]

One thing we can look at is the revenue in that “Other” category. As you can see in the chart below, Apple earned around $1.7 billion last quarter in the category. This quarter, that number jumped to $2.64 billion. That’s a big jump, and though of course we can’t say it’s all due to the Apple Watch, that’s going to be the thing everybody supposes until Apple tells us otherwise.

Don’t worry, columnists will still find a way to predict the imminent demise of the Apple Watch.

Manton Reece Goes Indie

Manton Reece:

Last week I resigned from my job at VitalSource to focus on growing Riverfold and shipping new apps this year, some of the most ambitious products I’ve ever tackled.

I can’t wait to see what he’s working on.

Twitter Probably Ditched Your Background To Make Ads Look Better

Drew Olanoff, regarding the removal of background images from Twitter’s home and notification pages:

The reason? None officially given. One of the possibilities, and something I’ve heard, is that Twitter wants more control of their ad display experience. For example, if the company were to want to sell a full-homepage-takeover-background-ad that you see on a lot of sites, they couldn’t. Because of your cruddy customized one.

I’m glad I only interact with Twitter through Tweetbot. The interface is clean and reliable.

DigiTimes: 12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Set for Release in Mid-November

DigiTimes has a mixed track record, but November sounds about right to me for an iPad launch.

On Negative App Store Reviews During Betas of iOS and OS X

If you’re going to use beta software, expect bugs. And more importantly, don’t leave negative App Store comments when a beta operating system breaks an application. There’s no reason to worry potential customers with a bad review when it’s extremely unlikely that the average user encounters the same problems you have.

Who’s Actually Buying iPods These Days?

Matt Birchler:

Well, I worked the last 3 years managing an electronics department for Target, and have sold a lot of Apple devices over that time. Since Apple doesn’t break down demographics for who is buying each device, I thought I would share my experience.

I’m not too surprised by most of this, especially the bit about the iPod touch. My fiancée’s father has always been technology-adverse — he won’t go near a computer. But, we found that he wasn’t as intimidated by our iOS devices. My fiancée has had him interacting with her iPhone a time or two and, although she had to walk him through most of it, he was actually using it.

We’ve often thought about pooling our money with her sister and buying him an iPod touch as a gift. It would be the perfect computer for him, especially if we pitched it to him as a camera. And if all he did with it was take photos, we’d be happy. But, I think he’d slowly get comfortable using it for FaceTime, viewing iCloud shared albums, or as a “weather station” with apps like Dark Sky.

I was surprised that Matt didn’t mention anyone buying the iPod nano or shuffle for working out. I know my fiancée doesn’t like taking her phone with her when she goes for a run — yoga pants don’t make it easy to carry — but maybe most people just carry their phones with them anyway. It’s not ideal, but an arm band is a lot cheaper than a nano or a shuffle and it makes managing your music a lot easier.

Climbing Back Up

Marco Arment:

The entire decline of software quality that I felt in January wasn’t all due to a single buggy network-lookup service — but, unbeknownst to me at the time, a lot of it was. And that huge swath of problems that annoyed me every day disappeared instantly and completely as soon as I updated every computer on the network to 10.10.4.

I still have some occasional problems with AirPlay on my Apple TV (3), but my Mac is definitely more reliable with network-related tasks.

Twitter’s Biggest Mistake

Joe Caiati:

Even if Twitter changed their API rules tomorrow, what developer is going trust Twitter to make their living building a third-party client?

The damage is done. If Twitter reversed their mistake six months after the API change, then it may have blown over, but years later, I would be surprised if any developer saw Twitter as a viable platform to spend their time on. It still amazes me that with all of Twitter’s bad leadership and questionable decisions, they’ve still grown to become a successful company.

I’m a bit more optimistic than Joe, but this is a concern that I failed to mention when I linked to Evan Williams’ comments last week. Developers will certainly be hesitant, but I think those that jump in could find success and other developers will be quick to follow.

Beme, a Social App That Aims for Authenticity

Beme is interesting to me because there hasn’t ever been anything like it. The design is nothing but unintuitive — I had no idea how to start recording until I watched the launch video on YouTube — but it encourages users to share their unfiltered self.

One of the reason’s I’ve avoided joining Facebook (aside from their casual attitude towards user privacy) is that I find the site incredibly depressing. Facebook allows users to depict their life as exciting and fun-filled. It’s just pictures of vacations, outdoor events, and get-togethers— all things I rarely do. People only share the good stuff and I feel as though that part of my life is infrequent compared to what I see from my friends on most social networks.

Beme is able to avoid this problem by not giving users the opportunity to record multiple takes and only share the best one. There’s no editing and no way of filtering out the cruft. It’s the real you — the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Also, if you’re interested in the app and need an unlock code, just let me know.

Joshua Topolsky on Leaving Bloomberg

Joshua Topolsky, writing on his personal weblog:

The reality in media right now is that there is an enormous amount of noise. There are countless outlets (both old and new) vying for your attention, desperate not just to capture some audience, but all the audience. And in doing that, it feels like there’s a tremendous watering down of the quality and uniqueness of what is being made. Everything looks the same, reads the same, and seems to be competing for the same eyeballs. In both execution and content, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the rat race for maximum audience at any expense. It’s cynical and it’s cyclical — which makes for an exhausting and frankly boring experience.

I’ve never understood why companies weren’t happy enough with the audience they’ve already garnered — why they have this incessant need to grow. It’s not sustainable and forces the business to do underhanded things in order to maintain their unnatural size, but eventually it all falls apart.

I find slow and steady to always be superior to explosive growth — it makes for businesses that are easier to manage and are built for the long-haul. The world needs more companies that are run with this mindset, especially on the web.

Josh mentioned the incredible year-over-year growth that Bloomberg experienced while he was on board. But this bit above leaves me hopefully that he isn’t chasing after increases like that, they’re just a happy accident that occurs when you try to make things that are great. I’m excited to see what Josh decides to make in the future.

Apple Rumored to Drop 16GB Capacity with iPhone 6s

Mihai A., writing for Phone Arena:

According to this new report, sources from inside Foxconn – the Taiwan-based company that manufactures Apple’s iPhones in China – say that the packaging for the upcoming iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus does not include stickers with “16GB capacity”. Allegedly, the stickers are just for 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

Thank goodness.

Hulu Explores Adding Ad-Free Option to Its Service

Mike Shields and Shalini Ramachandran, reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

Rivals Netflix and Inc.’s Prime Instant Video, meanwhile, have highlighted the fact that they don’t show ads as a key selling point to consumers. Offering an ad-free tier would signal that Hulu recognizes how popular that approach is with many consumers.

Hulu’s code name for the project is “NOAH,” which stands for “No Ads Hulu,” the people familiar with the matter said. One of the people said the ad-free option could launch as early as this fall and be priced at around $12 to $14 a month.

I think I’d more seriously consider adding a Hulu subscription to my monthly entertainment expenses if the service didn’t include ads. I just don’t have time for advertising that’s unskippable and wastes my time.

A Watch Expert Reviews the Apple Watch Bands

Ariel Adams evaluates the entire Apple Watch band lineup and offers recommendations and opinions on each.

(Via Nick Heer.)

Taylor Swift’s Letter to Apple Surprised Her Record Label

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

Record label exec Scott Borchetta, who serves as the head of Big Machine Records and signed Swift when she was 14, recently spoke at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference and shared some backstory on the negotiations that eventually led Swift to write the letter. According to Borchetta, he’d been in talks with Apple and told the company that his label couldn’t support no compensation during the three-month free trial, but wasn’t making headway.

Borchetta hadn’t spoken to Swift about the negotiations and was caught unawares by her letter, which she didn’t clear with her record label. He wasn’t angry, though, because her post, as we know, caused Apple to change its policy and made negotiations easier.

Say what you will about Taylor Swift, but the music industry is a better place when artists are getting paid for their work. Musicians and fans should be grateful that someone in her position was willing to take the stand that she did.

Is the New iPod touch a Harbinger of a 4-inch iPhone 6c?

Jason Snell:

The new iPod touch, for all its advancements, still sports the same 4-inch Retina display as the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c. And it makes me wonder if maybe, just maybe, it’s the first hint that we’ll be seeing an updated 4-inch iPhone–let’s call it the 6c–this fall.

It’s possible that Apple has moved into a comfortable tic-toc development cycle for iPhones — releasing a new industrial design for the top-tier devices every two years with a new, low-end model coming out on the years when the 5s, 6s, etc. are released. This was the case with the iPhone 5c two years ago and could be the case with an iPhone 6c this Fall.

I think it’s important for Apple to continue developing 4-inch iPhones. It gives them a clear differentiator between device tiers — it feels like the extra $100 is going towards more than just internals. And, there’s still plenty of users that prefer the 4-inch form factor.

Imagine how clean the iPhone lineup would be if it consisted of a 4-inch iPhone 6c, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6s, and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus. With those models alone Apple could span every price point from $99 all the way to $499 with a 2-year contract. And I suppose if they wanted to continue offering an iPhone at no cost with a 2-year contract, they could continue selling the iPhone 5s.

To take it back to the iPod touch, it didn’t strike me, just how much the new iPod touch looks like an iPhone, until I was browsing The Verge’s hands-on gallery — it clearly looks like a younger sibling to the iPhone 6. And, I’m sure Apple is clever enough to see how advantageous it would be for them to share parts between the iPod touch and iPhone 6c. Apple loves manufacturing efficiencies and and the new iPod touch feels like it was designed with that in mind — between the A8 processor, 8MP camera, 1GB of RAM, and 4-inch display there’s plenty for it to share with a potential iPhone 6c.

If Apple doesn’t release a new 4-inch iPhone this Fall that features hardware specs that are eerily similar to the new iPod touch, I’ll be astonished.