The Initial Charge Linked List


Samsung Announces Serif TV

I’m kind of digging this design. I wouldn’t mind bringing living rooms back to a simpler time when you didn’t need to mount your TV on the wall or buy a piece of furniture for it to sit on. And now that we’re going to have set-top-boxes like the Apple TV which can fill the roll of a game console and media source, why not build TVs like this?

Apple Refunding All Purchases of Peace

Marco Arment:

Today, Apple made the decision for me, in a way that I didn’t even think was possible, and I’m actually happy — or at least, as happy as someone can be who just made a lot of money on a roller coaster of surprise, guilt, and stress, then lost it all suddenly in a giant, unexpected reset that actually resolves things pretty well.

Dom Esposito Unboxes and Demos the New Apple TV

Finally confirmation that the new Apple TV is capable of streaming media from iTunes over Home Sharing. I expected this feature to be present, but I never actually saw evidence of it until now.

Acceptable Ads Manifesto

I wasn’t aware of this initiative until just a few days ago. There’s some heavy hitters on board, though — Reddit, DuckDuckGo, and Stack Exchange to name a few. But unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to make a difference long term.

MacStories Reviews Apple News

Graham Spencer, writing for MacStories:

Much like Apple’s past experiments in bringing news to iOS, the News app in iOS 9 fails to live up to its potential. The high hopes that I had for the News app have unfortunately been (mostly) dashed. Whilst there are aspects of great execution in some limited areas, huge aspects of News seem half-baked and confused.

There’s a lot to complain about with Apple News, but the one thing that frustrates me the most is that it often misses stories on some of my favorite sites. I’ll be browsing NoOctothorpe’s channel in News trying to find a specific link that he published, but it’s nowhere to be found. There’s not even a common thread amongst the missing articles — it feels completely random.

I still have high hopes for News, though. Once Apple irons out the bugs, it might be the perfect solution for users who want a news app without all of the complexities of a traditional RSS reader.

Which iOS Content Blocker is the Fastest?

Ben Brooks tested all of the ad blockers available in the App Store and found 1Blocker to be the fastest. His test included pages from several different websites including iMore, Bloomberg, and The New Yorker. I was very happy to see that Adamant — a blocker which displays ads from networks like The Deck by default — made it into the top three.

The Gamble of Ad Networks

Álvaro Serrano, writing in the Afterword section of his this week’s Morning Coffee:

The reality is — and people know it — that there’s no way to build a successful ad network without incurring in some of the bad practices they were supposed to address in the first place. You can’t participate in a massive network that rotates ads across tens of different websites and still claim that those ads are somehow tailored specifically to your readers. […]

The way I see it, the burden falls squarely on publishers to defend their readers’ time and attention and protect their trust. By placing that trust in the hands of an ad network, as ethical and well-intentioned as that network may be, they were effectively taking a gamble.

This whole ad blocking conversation has reminded me of my piece on native advertising from earlier this year:

This helped me to start thinking about native advertising from a different perspective (at least when it comes to one man shops), maybe we should be questioning the morality of links to products and services that we have no control over. Maybe the best way to maintain integrity is to vet every single word and link published on our sites. If someone else makes decisions about what products and services are linked to in sponsorship spots then how can we as publishers vouch for the quality of everything we publish?

I was more talking about sponsored posts throughout the article, but it’s applicable to any other form of advertising on the web. How can publishers vouch for the quality of their website if some percentage of their page’s “content” is in the form of advertising determined by a third-party that they have almost no control over?

I think it might be time for publishers to take their ad sales and hosting in-house. It’s going to be hell trying to convince advertisers that it’s the right thing to do — deliver ads without a third-party intermediary — but in the end, I think it’s the only respectable way to earn a living through advertising on the web. Simple, non-rotating banner ads that link to a product or service without the use of JavaScript sounds like a breath of fresh air compared to the current online ad market. And there’s plenty of ways for the publisher and advertiser to track the effectiveness of the ad that doesn’t require the use of third-party services.

Current Apple Remotes Work With New Apple TV

Steve Troughton-Smith, writing on Twitter:

Unsurprising, but existing Apple TV IR remotes work fine with the new Apple TV too – even back to the original white model

This is great news for me. I was left with a lot of questions regarding the remote situation with the Apple TV, but I’m happy that I won’t have to completely give up my Logitech Harmony.

(Via MacRumors.)

The Guardian: ‘Apple Executives Have Discussed Their Plans for An Autonomous Vehicle with Officials at California’s DMV’

Mark Harris, writing for The Guardian:

According to documents obtained by the Guardian, Mike Maletic, a senior legal counsel at Apple, had an hour-long meeting on 17 August with the department’s self-driving car experts Bernard Soriano, DMV deputy director, and Stephanie Dougherty, chief of strategic planning, who are co-sponsors of California’s autonomous vehicle regulation project, and Brian Soublet, the department’s deputy director and chief counsel.

To Hack an Android Phone, Just Type in a Really Long Password

Jose Pagliery, reporting for CNN Money:

The patch is already available for Google’s own line of phones — the various Nexus models. But there’s no telling when it’ll reach Android devices made by Samsung, LG and others. Blame the Android’s fractured updating system, which is slowed down by phone manufacturers and cellphone network carriers.

The hack is easy to perform and should be very concerning to owners of non-Nexus Android phones. Unless, of course, your device isn’t running Lollipop which is the only affected version of Android and is only installed on about 21% of devices.

(Via Matt Birchler.)

Adamant, Content Blocking for iOS

I was offered early access to Adamant before it went live in the App Store and I’ve been very happy with it. If you’re still looking for an alternative to Peace, I’d suggest giving Adamant a try.

A List of Content Blockers for iOS 9

Dave Mark is compiling a list of iOS 9 content blockers. I suggest checking it again in a week or two to see if any innovative and interesting ones show up.

Why Peace 1.0 Blocks The Deck Ads

Marco Arment on whitelisting good ads by default in Peace:

In Ghostery’s desktop-browser plugins, users can selectively disable individual rules, so you could, for example, whitelist The Deck if you find their ads acceptable. Peace 1.0 doesn’t offer this level of granularity — you can whitelist individual publisher sites, like, but not ad rules across all sites. That wasn’t an opinionated decision — it was simply cut for 1.0 to ship in time, and I’ll likely add it in the first update.

Whether such “good” ads should be unblocked by default is worth considering. In the past, ad-blockers’ attempts to classify “acceptable” ads have been problematic, to say the least. I don’t know if that can be done well, but I’d consider it if it could.

I hope Marco makes an effort to find a way to whitelist the good guys by default — he’s a very smart developer, if anyone can do it, I expect he could. In my eyes, the primary reason for installing an ad blocker is to improve the browsing experience, not to punish publishers who are trying to make an honest living. That is, unless those ads eat up outrageous amounts of bandwidth, kill battery life, and get in the way of content.

The Deck doesn’t do any of these offensive things and instead simply hangs out on the side of many of my favorite sites’ webpages while displaying tasteful and respectful ads — I think most reasonable internet users would consider them one of the “good guys.” But I can see why Marco shied away from whitelisting The Deck out of the gate. He would be leaving himself open to criticism for favoring The Deck in his very popular ad blocker while running a site that generates revenue from the same ad network.

As for future versions of Peace giving users the ability to decide what ad networks are acceptable, that’s a big step in the right direction. And at the very least, I hope the app encourages users to allow ads from networks like The Deck and Carbon Ads.

I’m beginning to feel a bit more hopeful about this “cause.” John Gruber proclaimed that ad blockers should display The Deck ads by default, Marco is open to the idea of doing so in Peace, and the developer behind Purify plans on adding it in the 1.1 update. Maybe publishers won’t have to uproot their entire business model and can just start displaying more respectful ads — writers will be able to continue making a living and readers will be able to browse the web without being bombarded with junk.

Update: Marco has pulled Peace from the App Store. He’s also published an explanation as to why he made the decision on his weblog:

Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.

I completely understand where he’s coming from. I’ve never used ad blockers until earlier this week because I’ve always felt that online publishers should be able to earn a living through advertising. I’ve installed and tested several ad blockers over the past five days, but I haven’t felt comfortable about it.

That uneasy feeling I’ve had is what sparked my interest in the conversation and why I’ve come to the conclusions that I have — ad blockers should whitelist networks like The Deck and Carbon Ads by default and only block ads if there are more than three on a single page. But that’s based on my level of tolerance and interests in ensuring that folks who publish on the web are able to make money doing so. It’s going to be different for everyone and I agree with Marco that a much more nuanced, complex approach to the situation is required.

I wholeheartedly respect Marco for making a decision like this. He’s leaving a lot of money on the table and many of us wouldn’t have been able to do the same. I hope that the developers behind other content blockers take notice and think deeply about whether or not a blanket, all-or-nothing approach to ad blocking is really best for everyone.

Amazon Updates the Entire Fire Product Lineup

Unlike Apple, Amazon chose to forgo a special event and simply announce their new products on their homepage. The new lineup now includes:

The hilarious part is that Amazon is offering a special deal on the 7-inch Fire tablet — buy five get one free. Seriously.

Belgium Apple Store Offers First Look at the Future of Ive-Designed Retail Shops

Nicolas Claeys has published photos of Apple’s new store in Belgium. This is the first Apple Store whose design was overseen by Jony Ive and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love all of the wooden drawers for accessories and potted trees on the sales floor. If this is the future of Apple retail, they’re clearly headed in a positive direction.

(Via 9 to 5 Mac.)

Peace, a Privacy-Focused iOS 9 Ad Blocker

Marco Arment, announcing Peace on his weblog:

As you can see in Peace’s privacy policy, we not only don’t collect any user data, but we can’t collect anything of much use — iOS content blockers aren’t privy to any of the user’s browsing activity. All we can do is provide a list of conditions to block. That’s it.

With Ghostery’s database, Peace is ridiculously good. This isn’t a time for me to be modest — just go try it and you’ll see for yourself.

Peace is a great application that I didn’t hesitate to purchase. It’s too soon to tell if it will become my go-to ad blocker for iOS, but I’m liking it so far. I just wish that it and every other content blocker would whitelist ads from the good guys by default.

I only want an ad blocker forthe sites that have dozens of tracking scripts and piles of obtrusive ads. But I don’t want to punish sites like Daring Fireball, Pixel Envy, Six Colors, and others like them. They display respectful ads and deserve to generate revenue from my pageviews.

I could add entries to Peace’s (or another content blocker’s) whitelist that would allow Safari to display ads from those sites, but there’s no way most users are going to be that diligent. And that’s setting aside the fact that if I come across a site that displays respectful ads I’m not even going to know that they’re there — the content blocker makes them invisible by default.

I know that the battle’s already won, but I wish it was commonplace for The Deck and Carbon Ads to be whitelisted out of the box. And I wouldn’t mind being able to set a maximum threshold for the number of ads I deem acceptable per webpage. This would limit the amount of revenue generated by the sites which cover their pages in banner ads while still allowing the publishers who respect their readers to make money from web advertising. But unfortunately, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak.

Conor McClure on Cardio > Everything

Conor McClure, regarding my comments on the Apple Watch’s focus on cardio workouts:

Strength athletes have always tracked their workouts, but even in 2015, most coaches still recommend simple composition notebooks, because no digital alternative has proven to be comprehensive or reliable enough. I think it’s a stretch to say that “having to input the type of exercise, number of reps, etc. into an application” is “not ideal” for the Apple Watch. It’s entirely plausible (I’d design the app myself if…), and it’d only take one well-designed third party app to get me on board the Apple Watch train.

He further clarifies on Twitter that the Apple Watch would be ideal for tracking strength training workouts and that manually inputing data is the only way to go.

Conor is currently pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and clearly knows his stuff. I, on the other hand, don’t really know that much about fitness.

Twenty Minutes With Tim Cook

While Tim Cook was in New York for his appearance on the Late Show, John Paczkowski was able to spend some time with him asking questions about privacy, the iPhone upgrade program, the future of computing, and more.

Apple Delays Release Of watchOS 2

An Apple spokesperson, in a statement to TechCrunch:

We have discovered a bug in development of watchOS 2 that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected. We will not release watchOS 2 today but will shortly.

No word on what the bug actually is, but I appreciate that Apple is willing to break their announced release date in order to fix bugs.

Apple Releases iOS 9

I’ve been using the public beta for weeks and installed the GM build on my iPhone and iPad a few days ago — it’s a solid update with plenty of improvements. This AppleInsider piece includes the full release notes from Apple, but if you want a more detailed look at iOS 9, I suggest reading Federico Viticci’s review on MacStories. Also, make sure to favorite Initial Charge in Apple News — just search for “Initial Charge.”

Apple TV Games Cannot Require External Controller

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

The new Apple TV works with third-party Bluetooth controllers, but because they are an optional accessory, they are not allowed to be the primary input method for a game. This requirement will force developers who want to build games around controller use to also include a touch or motion-based control scheme for use with the Apple TV remote.

Introducing Club MacStories

Federico Viticci, announcing the new membership program for MacStories:

If you love MacStories as much as we love making it, I hope you’ll consider becoming a Club MacStories member. This isn’t just about good feelings and supporting MacStories directly (although that’s pretty great): you’ll receive what I believe are useful and informative newsletters every week, plus a recap of everything MacStories and more every month.

MacStories has always been about depth, accuracy, and personal stories. It’s our goal to extend these values to Club MacStories and keep doing so in the future.

I’m incredibly happy for all of the success Federico has found with MacStories. And I hope he, and everyone else writing for the site, continue to churn out some of the best Apple-related reviews and analysis available for many years to come.

I immediately became a Club MacStories member and I encourage you to do so, as well.

Bellevue Fine Art Found That ‘Empty’ Epson Ink Cartridges Are Still 20% Full

My fiancée’s a teacher and frequently uses our home printer to prepare worksheets for her class. And just like nearly every other printer user, it always feels like we need to buy ink way more often than we should. I’m certainly not going to go to all the trouble weighing and pulling apart my ink cartridges, but if I did, I’d probably find similar results. This is downright abhorrent.

(Via Ars Technica.)

16GB is a Bad User Experience

David Smith:

For a long time I’ve used the usage data from my Audiobooks app as a indication of what typical iOS usage looks like. It is an old enough app with a wide enough userbase that its data has generally been pretty reflective of what I see reported overall. So while not perfect they should give a good general idea of what customer choices.

He found that 43% of his users owned a 16GB iPhone and among them 37% had less than 1GB of free space. That’s astonishing. Apple really needed to increase the storage capacity on the low-end. As David points out, even with cloud services turned on, users routinely run into low storage warnings.

My fiancée currently uses a 16GB iPhone 5s and it’s a struggle to keep enough free space on her phone so that she can take photos and record video as she sees fit. She uses Google Photos for cloud backups and offloads full-resolution copies to our Mac Mini every 3-4 weeks. She’s had 16GB of storage in every iPhone she’s owned for six years and has decided that her next iPhone needs to have more storage.

For those curious, her current plan is to purchase a 64GB iPhone 6s in rose gold once she gets settled in at her new teaching position. And she’s not happy about having to move to the 4.7-inch form factor.

3D Touch is the Biggest UI Change to iOS Since Multitasking

Matt Birchler:

I see the killer feature of 3D Touch on the iPhone to be the quick actions you can perform from the home screen. Good app developers will take advantage of this feature by figuring out what people do most in their apps and letting them accomplish them in one quick motion.

I can’t wait to see how 3D Touch feels to use in the real world. The ceiling on it is quite high, but I’m still worried about accidentally performing a 3D Touch action when I wanted a simple tap — I suppose I’ll have to experience it for myself. But I’m with Matt, this is a huge change for users and developers alike.

Nimbus by SteelSeries

This is the controller Apple’s been using in promotional materials for the Apple TV. I obviously haven’t had any experience with the hardware, but it looks a little too chunky for my liking. What this controller has me thinking, though, is what will become the de facto standard game controller for the Apple TV? Will it be the Nimbus or will users collectively find a controller from a different manufacturer that blows this one away?

Ars Technica Compares Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program to the Four Major Carrier’s Plans

Jon Brodkin, writing for Ars Technica:

Apple is now selling iPhones on installment plans, giving customers the ability to pay a monthly charge for a phone and upgrade to a new one every year. The four major carriers in the US already offer phones on installment plans, but Apple’s new “iPhone Upgrade Program” provides yet another option that might be better for certain customers.

Apple’s plan comes with AppleCare+ and is a little bit more expensive than the other carriers, but personally, I wouldn’t touch any of these plans with a ten foot pole. I’m more than willing to purchase my phone from AT&T in order to get two-year contract pricing. I’m not concerned about getting “locked in” as many carriers will pay your early termination fee and I’d rather pay more upfront in order to save money in the long run.

WSJ on Hermès and Apple

A great piece by Christina Passariello for The Wall Street Journal in which she speaks with Jony Ive and Hermès artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas on their companies’ collaboration.

‘Hey Siri,’ Live Photos, and Privacy

Matthew Panzerino addresses privacy concerns regarding “Hey Siri” and Live Photos after talking with Apple and “folks around town this week.”

Cardio > Everything Else

Joe Darnell, regarding the Apple Watch’s fitness tracking:

For example, isometric exercises like push-ups and spider crawls aren’t accurately tracked because they burn calories at a different rate from standard cardio exercises like running and cycling. If I walk on an elliptical machine for thirty minutes, the Watch will accurately detail the calories burned and the minutes performed. If I’m bench pressing, then it will not accurately calculate the calories I’ve burned. My trainer who’s tried the Watch for himself says that it’s off by a long shot.

This is where trackers often lack. It’s not that the Apple Watch is inferior to other devices, it’s that tracking exercises from a person’s heart rate on the wrist isn’t accurately gathering data for a variety of muscle groups. The good news is that runners and swimmers have accurate tracking with devices like Apple Watch because their physical activity is primarily cardio in nature.

I’d love to see Apple address these issues, but I’m afraid it would involving having to input the type of exercise, number of reps, etc. into an application. That’s not ideal and requires a much more hands on approach to fitness tracking than cardio workouts do. But who knows, maybe Apple will come up with a clever way of determining most of that information without you needing to tap around on your wrist in between each set.

Joe does mention that he still starts a new workout on his Apple Watch every time he goes to the gym. Although it doesn’t accurately count calories burned, it does help him keep tabs on how much time he spends working out. Which actually might be a more important metric for many Apple Watch owners.

Pandora Introduces the One Day Pass

$0.99 for 24 hours of ad-free music sounds perfect for those occasional backyard picnics or game night get-togethers (board games, obviously).

Adblock Plus Launches for iOS and Android

From the Adblock Plus weblog:

That’s right, starting right now you can download Adblock Browser from the App Store for your Apple devices and from the Google Play Store for your Android ones. Adblock Browser blocks annoying ads right out of the box, all in one app.

The app launched earlier this week, but I still think it’s worth pointing to. Because in a year or two, everyone’s going to be running a browser with ad blocking capabilities.

Amazon to Release $50 Tablet as It Struggles to Sell Pricier Devices

And the race to the bottom continues for non-Apple tablets.

The Real Reason Netflix Won’t Offer Offline Downloads

Neil Hunt, Netflix chief product officer, speaking with Gizmodo:

I think it’s something that lots of people ask for. We’ll see if it’s something lots of people will use. Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.

Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s right about this.

Apple TV Developer Kit

From Apple’s developer site:

We want to give Apple developers the chance to build and test their apps on the new Apple TV before it becomes publicly available to customers later this fall. Register by September 11, 12:00 p.m. PDT for an opportunity to order an Apple TV Developer Kit. Availability and supplies are limited.

If you’re a developer who’s even a little bit interested in building apps for the Apple TV, I’d suggest registering.

FiftyThree Reacts to Apple Pencil

FiftyThree’s statement to The Verge:

Every Pencil needs Paper. We’re excited to launch the all-new Paper on iPhone and iPad tomorrow, after which creative thinkers everywhere will see their phones and their ideas in a new light. We believe pen-and-touch input is the foundation for a new type of productivity geared towards creative thinking. Our and Apple’s products open up these tools to even more people, which we support. We at FiftyThree are excited to reveal where we think the next chapter of productivity is headed.

I don’t actually think Apple’s competing product will hurt FiftyThree. Their stylus is less expensive, works with all iPads and iPhones, and features the eraser end which is both intuitive and convenient.

Logitech Create: The First Third-Party Keyboard for iPad Pro

From Logitech’s press release:

Today Logitech announced the Logitech CREATE Keyboard Case for iPad Pro, developed closely with Apple to leverage the new Smart Connector. As a result, Logitech will bring to market the first ever third-party keyboard compatible with the iPad Pro Smart Connector, eliminating the need to power on, set up or charge the keyboard – it is always ready when you are.

I’m not a keyboard case kind of guy, but this one actually looks more usable to me than Apple’s.

Apple’s ‘Hey Siri’ Event Video

Apple announced the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, an all new Apple TV, and more. I plan on publishing my notes from the keynote Friday afternoon.

Why the 16GB iPhone Capacity Exists

Rene Ritchie, writing for iMore:

Capacity—how many gigabytes of data storage an iPhone, iPad, or iPod has—is just an easy way for Apple to market low, middle, and high-end versions of their iOS devices. It’s easy because everyone understands 128 is bigger than 64 is way bigger than 16. More money for more capacity is easy for Apple to do and for us to buy. Check out refrigerators, microwaves, television sets, cars, pasta—almost any consumer product. You’ll quickly see similar patterns.

I always had a feeling that the 16GB storage capacity was a sales tactic — “you could buy this one for $199, but you’re really going to wish you had the extra storage. I suggest buying the $299 model.” And because their using such a relatively low capacity compared to the middle tier, the customer thinks they’re getting a lot of bang for their buck by spending that extra $100.

There are still iPhone owners who are fine with lower capacities, though. My fiancée and several of our friends have 16GB and 8GB(!) iPhones and most of them don’t seem to run out of storage. These are people who never connected their iPhone to their computer, never purchased a single track from iTunes, and don’t take a lot of pictures — apps take up the bulk of their storage. They don’t have the same demands as power users do and they’re perfectly fine using an iPhone with (what we would consider to be) a paltry storage capacity.

Of that group, my fiancée is the outlier. She takes lots of photos and wants a sizable amount of music on her device, synced from iTunes. Because of that, installed applications is the area where she limits herself. She’d much rather have every Taylor Swift album accessible to her than install the latest Pac-Man endless runner. But, she’s also the sort of person who wants to buy an iPhone with a larger capacity. Her and I were both hoping Apple would increase the bottom tier storage to 32GB, so we’d both be able to save some money. But unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it’ll be the case.

Next Year’s iPhone Thickness Likely to Approach iPod Touch

Ming-Chi Kuo has a pretty good track record for Apple predictions and this is exactly the sort of upgrade Apple likes to do for their “tock” iPhone announcements.

‘Why I’m Not Expecting New iPads This Week’

John Gruber:

Conspicuously absent from my guess is anything related to new iPads. I have no sources for this, no hints from any little birdies. This is just my gut feeling, based on Apple’s event schedule in previous years, and how long I think it will take for Apple to explain and demonstrate the three products above.

He’s expecting Apple to announce the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the new Apple TV, new Apple Watch bands, and demo watchOS 2.0 and third-party Watch apps. This is very similar to what I had predicted two weeks ago regarding tomorrow’s event — with the one key difference being the lack of iPhone 6c in his predictions. A lot of his reasoning jibes with the thought behind my own predictions, too.

We’ll know for sure in about 18 hours, but I think it makes the most sense for Apple to announce the new iPad lineup at a separate event in October. The WWDC keynote was not well received and the duration was one of the biggest problems. Some might say that this is an indication that Apple is fine with longer keynotes, I would argue that they have learned from their mistake and will be taking steps to keep events like this closer to 90 minutes. And I believe the best way to do that is to limit the number of announcements at each event.

Update: John’s heard from some “little birdies” that there’s only going to be one Apple event this fall. How Apple plans to release El Capitan and the 21.5-inch iMac with Retina display remains to be seen, but I hope it’s not with a simple press release and homepage update — I think both are deserving of a spot stage. I suppose Apple’s plans will be a bit clearer in about eight hours.

Regarding the 4-inch Form Factor

Kirk McElhearn:

I’ve heard from a lot of people on Twitter, when I tweeted about this earlier, who said that they, too, prefer the smaller phone. I have no idea if Apple will be releasing another 4″ phone – other than, perhaps, keeping the 5s in the catalog, as the cheap model – but I would very much like to see one. If not, I’ll see if I can make my iPhone last three years.

The closer we get to the iPhone announcement, the less excited I am about it. Sure, the iPhone 6s is going to have a ton of new features, but I don’t think I want to carry around a device that big. My iPhone 5s feels like the perfect sized device — it fits comfortably in my pocket, can easily be used with one hand, and still offers plenty of screen real estate.

But alas, my current iPhone 5s’ battery is on its last legs and I’m desperately in need of a new device. So, if Tim Cook takes the stage and fails to announce a new 4-inch iPhone, I guess I’m stuck with the 4.7-inch model. I can’t say I’m thrilled about it, but I’m not going to buy another iPhone 5s — I’ll be damned if you catch me spending money on an iPhone two years after its release day.

Mark Gurman Reveals iPad Pro Details

Mark Gurman, reporting for 9 to 5 Mac:

Speaking of the larger screen, we have been told that the 12.9-inch display is a “monster.” To give it truly “Pro” capabilities, the iPad Pro’s landscape split-screen mode will be bolstered to allow two full-sized portrait iPad apps to be displayed. This is unlike the split-screen mode on the iPad Air 2 and upcoming iPad mini 4 that condenses portrait iPad apps to fit side-by-size in landscape mode.

His sources tell him the iPad Pro will feature 64GB of storage and sport a new A9X processor which is said to be a “large” leap over the current iPad Air 2’s A8X chip.

And regarding the full-size split-screen apps, maybe my guess about allowing multiple users on a single iPad at the same time isn’t too far off.

IAB Surveys Options to Fight Ad Blockers

It sounds like the ad industry is pretty upset about this whole ad blocking trend. But I hate to break it to them, they’re going to lose. Users are getting sick and tired of being attacked by a tirade of advertisements when they visit a webpage and they’re going to use all the tools available to them in order to make browsing the web an enjoyable experience.

I understand the other side of things, though. Advertising companies are afraid of going out of business and rightfully so. Nobody wants to be out of a job, especially when there’s a possibility that the entire industry could be uprooted. But there has to be a way to continue displaying ads that ensure publishers get paid, advertisers get paid, the companies paying for the ads get business, and the users aren’t bombarded with JavaScript.

I can tell you one thing for sure, blocking user access if they use an ad blocker isn’t the way to do it. That’s only going to push users to more extreme measures in order to view the content they want. And that’s if they come back at all. There must be a more sane approach to this problem, I just wish there were more creative people in the ad industry that could find it.

(Via Pixel Envy.)

Apple Reportedly Bringing 4K Screen to 21.5-inch iMac in October

That sounds about right to me.

The Growing iOS SDK

David Smith:

This morning I was remarking to myself about how it felt like the breadth of knowledge you need to be a good iOS developer has gotten pretty far reaching. This isn’t anything new, iOS development has never been particularly straightforward but as I thought of all the SDKs you need to master to make your app ‘good’ it became a pretty long list.

RSS is Still Everywhere

Jesper, regarding RSS as a technology:

RSS feeds (by which I also mean Atom feeds) are now one of the foundational building blocks of the web. It is to podcasting what RF signals and antennas used to be to analogue TV. […]

We’re in the 10s of this century, and this century, RSS is our analogue TV. It is the “regular” telephone net. It is boring and known and useful and a cornerstone and a foundation. There’s nothing ruling out a replacement, it’s just that no one’s going to work on one for an awfully long time because right now, there’s no obvious improvement.

I get a little annoyed (as Jesper seems to, as well) every time I hear writers and pundits espouse the death of RSS. But the truth is, Flipoard, Apple News, and nearly every other application and service that was lauded as the death knell for RSS made heavy use of the technology in order to display content. None of them would have existed in their current form if their developers didn’t have RSS to build upon.

Feed readers in the traditional sense aren’t likely to be a growth market going forward, but that doesn’t mean RSS is dead. If anything, RSS is stronger than ever. But as the applications that make use of the technology broaden their user base by designing for mainstream appeal, they start to look less like RSS readers and more like applications that allow users to read the news. They don’t advertise themselves as “RSS readers” and that’s a good thing — the mainstream doesn’t know or care what RSS is, they just want to keep track of their favorite sites without having to load each one separately in thier browser, and for obvious reasons.

Michael Anderson on NetNewsWire 4

Michael Anderson shares his thoughts on the newly released NetNewsWire 4. He doesn’t seem too high on the app — it’s missing a lot of features that the typical NetNewsWire user expects from their RSS reader. That iOS icon, though, I’m kind of digging it.

The Watch Face Wars

John Moltz, on the fetishization of circular watches:

The reason most analog watches were round is not because round watches are better or because square watches can’t be stylish. It’s simply because the motion of the hands describes a circle. That’s all the space that was ever needed for the device to fulfill its most basic function. Because that shape is so tightly suited to that particular function, it’s decidedly at odds with adding functionality to it. Thus we have the date being blocked by the hands once every hour. A tricked-out watch like a chronograph watches suffer from almost all of those added features being blocked by the hands.

He’s decided to switch from analog faces to the Modular face in order to make better use of the Apple Watch’s screen. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I eventually purchase an Apple Watch.

Apple Working to Improve Apple Music

Oliver Schusser, VP iTunes International, speaking with the Guardian:

There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things.

I wish Apple waited a few extra months before launching the service. Imagine if they took the time to work out all of the bugs that users still experience before debuting it to the public. It may have been met with a warmer welcome than the mixed impression we all had initially. And Android users would have only had to wait weeks instead months to join the service.