The Initial Charge Linked List

 

Spotlight and Siri’s Sibling Rivalry ➝

Stephen Hackett:

Google Now, Alexa and Cortana have all removed the boundaries between what information is local and what’s not. Apple’s not quite there with iOS 9, but I think iOS 10 could push it to the next level. Why maintain two services, with overlapping and somewhat confusing feature sets, when a single, unified experience could get the job done?

It would make perfect sense for Apple to merge Siri and Spotlight alongside the introduction of the rumored Siri SDK.

CurrentC Ends Beta Tests, Will Deactivate Accounts Later This Month ➝

Ashlee Kieler, reporting for The Consumerist:

Weeks after CurrentC was delayed (again) and half the team was laid off, the mobile payment that was supposed to serve as a merchant-backed alternative to payment systems from Apple and Android may be over for good. Or at least that’s the impression one might get from an email sent to testers of the system.

A couple of key points from the email:

  • June 28 will be the last day that transactions will be accepted using CurrentC.
  • All active accounts will be disabled on June 28 and those users will not be able to access their account from the app.

We all know it’s bound to happen eventually, this is just another sign of the inevitable.

E.W. Scripps Buys Podcast Company Stitcher ➝

John Gruber, on the news that Midroll will be operating Stitcher:

The end goal here is lock-in, and so I think it’s worth fighting right from the start, even at the expense of a few thousand additional listeners for my show. Maybe they’ll never become dominant. Maybe even if they do, they won’t do anything to promote lock-in. But now is the only time to resist the possibility that they’ll grow dominant and abuse their position. It’s too late once it happens.

The best we can hope is that Midroll treats Stitcher users like Neilson households — a small sample size that can be used to represent all podcast listeners. Anyone with an antenna can watch whatever shows they like without restriction, but only the Nielson households’ contribute to a show’s rating.

Of course, this isn’t something I would advocate for. I would much rather advertisers simply trust that their message is getting across and everyone helps maintain podcasting as an open platform. But unfortunately, Midroll and Stitcher are likely going to be leveraged to lock popular podcasts and listeners into a single client app. The best way for us to prevent this future is for listeners to switch to a better app and for producers to pull their podcasts from Stitcher.

Instagram Adds Basic iOS Extension Support ➝

John Voorhees, writing for MacStories:

Unfortunately, the Instagram share extension’s functionality is limited. All you can do is add a title to the photo you post to Instagram. There is no way to crop your shot, apply filters, tag people, select a location, or select social networks on which to share your photo, all of which are available in the main app.

This really is a piss-poor implementation, if you ask me. Until they add more functionality, I’ll stick with my Push to Instagram workflow which allows for all of the features that Instagram’s own extension doesn’t.

Purchasing Your Own Cable Modem May Save Money and Allow for Faster Data Speeds ➝

I used a cable modem provided by Time Warner Cable up until they began charging a monthly fee for them a couple years ago. That’s when I first invested in a cable modem of my own and I can’t believe I hadn’t done so earlier. The new modem allowed for much faster internet speeds, a cheaper cable bill, and I no longer needed to power cycle my modem every few weeks. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend it.

‘Things I Wants to Say to Siri’ ➝

Rohan Naravane, writing for Nuclear Bits:

As we approach closer to this year’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), rumours about what could be unveiled at the event have begun cropping up — including one about Apple making a voice assistant device like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. But another juicy tidbit that made its way along with it, is the release of a Software Development Kit (SDK) for Siri, which should help 3rd party developers extend the functionality of this upcoming device, along with other iOS devices and even Macs.

There’s plenty of workflows that I’d love to initiate with Siri. And I have to imagine the folks at DeskConnect will be all about the Siri SDK if it’s announced at WWDC next week.

‘I Performed Open Heart Surgery on My Mac Mini, and It Was Horrifying’ ➝

Nick Statt, writing for The Verge:

Now, Macs are notoriously hard to upgrade, and that’s by design. This I know well from simple cases like RAM upgrades. But I was not at all prepared for the massive undertaking the late 2014-era Mac mini requires of users. And simply to reach one of maybe only two parts an average computer owner may ever want to upgrade on their own. It involved painstakingly dismantling the entire machine piece by piece, using janky tools in place of the specialized ones I didn’t have. It was yet another much-needed reminder that Apple goes out of its way to make tinkering a herculean task.

A suggestion to anyone planning to upgrade their Apple hardware: buy every single suggested tool in iFixit’s corresponding repair guide. I recently upgraded the hard drive and RAM in my 2011 Mac mini and I used every tool listed in iFixit’s guide — even the silly-looking spudger tool. I don’t think I would have been able to complete the upgrade without them.

No Apple Display With Integrated GPU at WWDC ➝

Rene Ritchie, expanding upon the aforelinked tweet:

There’d been some speculation on Twitter and rumor reports about Apple possibly introducing a display with an integrated eGPU. Theory being, it would take some of the graphical processing overhead off MacBooks and/or facilitate a single-cable connection that could drive 5K. It sounds cool, but I asked around, and it’s not happening at the keynote or any time in the immediate future.

It looks like WWDC is going to be more of a software-focused event. And that sounds great to me.

Instagram Rolling Out Algorithmic Timeline ➝

I was just starting to enjoy Instagram — I hope this doesn’t completely ruin it for me. But I can’t say I’m optimistic.

Spy Photos All but Confirm Upcoming MacBook Pro’s OLED Touchpad ➝

Killian Bell, reporting for Cult of Mac:

Leaked photos of what is claimed to be Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro all but confirm it will ship with a new OLED touchpad above its keyboard. The images sent to Cult of Mac also hint at four USB-C connectors.

There hasn’t been much talk about the OLED touchpad, which leads me to believe most are indifferent about the change. As for the USB-C ports, I’ve seen nothing but outrage about it on Twitter.

Is It Me, or Did the Power Just Go Off? ➝

It’s been quite a while since my area experienced a power outage. But living in upstate New York, the winter weather often results in downed power lines followed by several hour outages. This is a neat tip from Jason Snell to determine whether the incident is neighborhood-wide or just you.

Bloomberg Hires Mark Gurman ➝

Brad Stone, in a memo to Bloomberg staff, as reported by Recode:

At Bloomberg, Mark will widen his coverage area to include consumer electronics and other services not only created by Apple but also Google, Facebook, Amazon and other top tech players. He will contribute to Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg’s growing stable of podcasts, and his work will be central to the launch of Bloomberg’s new digital technology brand, being spearheaded by Aki Ito. He’ll be based in San Francisco and start later this summer.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Mark Gurman.

Rumored Apple Display Could Include Integrated Graphics ➝

Benjamin Mayo, reporting for 9 to 5 Mac:

Independently, we have heard some rumblings about what the new display might offer. Finally bringing it up to speed with its Retina display Mac cousins, the new ‘Thunderbolt Display’ will likely feature a 5K resolution display 5120×2880 pixels. Moreover, sources indicate that Apple will take the display in a surprising direction, specifically suggesting that Apple plans to integrate a dedicated external GPU into the display itself.

My understanding is that current display connection standards are less than ideal for powering super high-resolution monitors. That’s one of the reasons Apple has only shipped Retina displays in notebooks, iPhones, andiPads. It seems that the best way Apple has found to remedy that problem is to integrate the GPU into the display itself allowing for a more robust connection between the two.

The upside is, no matter how powerful your Mac’s internal graphics is, it will capable of powering this new monitor. But the downside is, it will likely require Thunderbolt 3.

(Via Nick Heer.)

Apple TV Won’t Get Amazon Prime Video Until Apple Agrees to ‘Acceptable Business Terms’ ➝

It’s clear that Amazon wants to sell content and Prime memberships through their apps. But they’re also unwilling to give Apple a 30% cut of that revenue— which is perfectly reasonable. This leaves Apple in a position where they can either make a special deal with Amazon or come to terms with the fact that they’ll never have a Prime Video app for their platform. I think Apple’s wise to stand their ground — if they make a special case for Amazon, why shouldn’t other big-name developers get a sweet deal as well?

Apple’s Thunderbolt Display Sold Out in Many Apple Stores ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

It’s been true for way too long now that Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is due for a comprehensive upgrade. Apple’s $999 27-inch display has a dated design and has much lower resolution than the Retina 5K iMac for $800 more. For those reasons and more, it’s been on everyone’s Do Not Buy list for quite some time, but that may be about to change. […]

Thunderbolt Display can still be delivered overnight when bought through Apple’s online store, but a check at nearby Apple Stores showed that one out of every three locations had zero inventory. We’ve seen stock fluctuation in the past way before a product replacement — most recently the Apple TV — so it’s possible the inevitable Thunderbolt Display replacement could be planned for the fall and not Apple’s keynote in two weeks. But there are plenty of reasons to expect something new in Thunderbolt Display’s place at any point.

“Way too long” is an understatement — Apple hasn’t updated their standalone display offerings in nearly five years. It’s hard to believe that’s even true, there aren’t many Apple products that survive this long without being refreshed or discontinued. And I truly hope this is a sign that Apple will be shipping Retina-quality desktop displays in the next few months.

Apple TV App Store Top Charts Algorithm Now Hides Apps That You Already Have Installed ➝

This makes perfect sense. Why should Netflix and Hulu continue to sit at the top of the charts when every established user already has those apps installed? This removes clutter and gives more developers an opportunity to acquire new users.

2017 iPhone May Include Enhanced Taptic Engine for More Complex Vibrations ➝

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

In a report corroborating details about Apple moving towards an elongated three-year period between major iPhone refreshes, or a tick-tock-tock cycle, Japanese website Nikkei claimed that 2017 models will be equipped with a “high-performance motor” able to “create more complex tactile vibrations.”

Good vibrations.

Jawbone Stops Production of Fitness Trackers ➝

Steve Kovach, reporting for Tech Insider:

Jawbone has stopped making its UP fitness trackers and sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller, sources familiar with the matter told Tech Insider. […]

To be clear (since some people are interpreting this report incorrectly), Jawbone is not exiting the wearables business. You can still buy the UP fitness trackers. Jawbone just sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller.

They’ve offloaded their entire inventory of fitness trackers to a third-party, but they will continue to be available in stores. One question, what happens when those units are all sold? Sure, they’re still technically in the wearables business, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes soon.

Amazon Puts Alexa in the Browser ➝

Jordan Crook, writing for TechCrunch:

Amazon has put Alexa, the voice-powered AI software found in the Echo, Dot and Tap, right inside the browser with the launch of Echosim.io.

After logging in with an Amazon account, anyone can start asking Alexa questions by clicking and holding on the mic button.

This is pretty neat.

Lookmark, Save iTunes and App Store Content for Later ➝

A neat little iTunes and App Store wishlist app that lets you save applications, music, movies, TV shows, and more for later. I started using the app about a week ago and it’s a huge improvement over my old method — creating a new note in Simplenote every time I found something I wanted to return to. And with an in-app purchase of $4.99, Lookmark will send a push notification whenever something you’ve saved goes on sale in the next six months.

Apple Is Working on an AI System That Wipes the Floor With Google and Everyone Else ➝

Steve Kovach, reporting for Tech Insider:

Apple now has the tech in place to give its digital assistant a big boost thanks to a UK-based company called VocalIQ it bought last year.

According to a source familiar with VocalIQ’s product, it’s much more robust and capable than Siri’s biggest competitors like Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. In fact, it was so impressive that Apple bought VocalIQ before the company could finish and release its smartphone app. After the acquisition, Apple kept most of the VocalIQ team and let them work out of their Cambridge office and integrate the product into Siri.

I’m starting to get really excited about WWDC.

Here’s What Google Photos Could Do Next ➝

Mat Honan, writing for BuzzFeed News:

Almost one year ago, Google launched a new photo management application — Google Photos — for both the iPhone and Android. It’s been a hit. Last week, at its Google I/O developer conference, the company said the app has already amassed 200 million users. “I think it makes us one of the fastest growing consumer products in history,” said Anil Sabharwal, who runs Google Photos. And in an interview with BuzzFeed News looking back on the past year, Sabharwal suggested ways Google Photos might continue to change and evolve.

I have one feature request: searching for photos based on camera model. Google Photos is aware of what camera has taken the shot, but when I search for “canon” it only displays photos of actual canons that I’ve taken at historical monuments.

VentureBeat: New Apple TV Will Compete With Amazon Echo ➝

Jordan Novet, reporting for VentureBeat:

The company will build on its enhancements to the Apple TV announced last year, which brought the Siri virtual assistant to the set-top box. A new version of the Apple TV will solve problems with the existing box and remote control, a source familiar with the matter claims.

“They want Apple TV to be just the hub of everything,” the source told VentureBeat.

Earlier this week The Information reported on plans to build “an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone.” Our source, however, says the device will be the Apple TV.

It seems to me like the Amazon Echo is at its best when placed in the kitchen. So, how does the Apple TV compete with the Echo if it’s not even placed in the same room?

Microsoft Lays Off Hundreds as It Guts Its Phone Business ➝

The future of Windows Phone is bleak and this is terribly sad news. I had hope that Microsoft’s mobile offering would find a large enough segment of the market to thrive, but it’s becoming painfully clear that this isn’t the case.

The Similarity of Differences ➝

Seth Clifford, on the Google I/O keynote:

What became apparent to me, seeing everything myself and hearing the Google presenters talk about the technology, was that Google and Apple aren’t even competing in the same space anymore. Both companies are engaged in selling mobile devices, but they’re coming at personal technology from such different perspectives, they’re almost not even comparable. A few years ago, it seemed like the companies were at odds on the same field. But they’re not even playing the same sport. […]

Apple and Google, in the eyes of the general public and many tech bloggers, have been at war for many years, and in vague terms, both companies sell fancy mobile phones. But the implications of those businesses are so far beyond the face value of what we see. And what I’ve realized is that they aren’t zero-sum or mutually exclusive. What I’ve come to understand is that the more the two companies seem to have been battling, the more the individual directions of each company become unassailably concrete.

This rivalry between Apple and Google is reminiscent of Apple’s rivalry with Microsoft. Though the feud may be bitter, it’s important to remember that for one company to succeed, the other doesn’t have to fail.

Workflow 1.5 Now Available ➝

A big update to Workflow — one of my favorite apps for iOS. It features twenty two new actions, a completely rewritten workflow composer, and a ton of other improvements. I’ve been using the beta for about a week and have had a blast working with the Ulysses integration, for obvious reasons.

I plan on sharing more of my workflows soon and I also have some updates to those that I’ve already shared — Push to Ulysses, Push to WordPress, and Upload Image. Until then, I suggest reading Federico Viticci’s review of the update.

Apple Reportedly Considered Buying Time Warner, Might Still Fund Original TV Content ➝

John Callaham, writing for iMore:

A new report claims Apple briefly considered putting in a bid to acquire Time Warner in late 2015. […]

The report from the Financial Times (paid subscription required) claims that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, talked about such a deal with Time Warner’s head of corporate strategy, Olaf Olafsson. However, those discussions never went past the early stages, according to the report.

‘iPhone Is Vulnerable to a Device That Just Works’ ➝

I’ve read this thing three or four times. Can someone point me to the part where he explains how or why his iPhone doesn’t Just Work?

‘Take Only Your iPhone and One Other Device if You Need It’ ➝

Ben Brooks, on keeping your electronics kit light:

You need far fewer electronic devices than you think. All I carry is my iPhone and my iPad Pro. Done. My rule here is very simple: take a phone and one other device. Unless you have a major reason why you need three devices, take only two.

I’ve been following this rule for over a year and don’t expect I’ll ever look back. I currently travel with my iPhone and iPad Air 2. And Like Ben, I could probably get by without the iPad. Though, if I find time for writing, I really appreciate the extra screen real estate.

I used to lug my MacBook Air with me, up until I bought the new iPad last year. One huge benefit of going all-in on iOS is how much lighter your bag is. Not only are the computing devices themselves lighter, but everything I travel with charges over USB. I can bring a single, 4-port Anker USB charger, the necessary cables, and I’m able to charge everything I need to.

Apple Planning Siri SDK and Amazon Echo Competitor ➝

Chance Miller, writing for 9 to 5 Mac on The Information’s latest scoop:

The report explains that Apple will open up its Siri personal assistant to outside app developers by releasing an SDK. This will allow for app developers to make their apps and services accessible through Siri, much like Amazon, Google, and Viv are now doing. […]

As for the actual hardware competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home, the report says that Apple has been working the device since before Amazon introduced the Echo in mid-2015. The device would feature a speaker and be web-connected, while it would also carry deep integration with HomeKit. It will also act as speaker, likely carrying support for AirPlay technology.

An Siri-powered AirPlay speaker sounds like a fantastic product. I currently use a Jambox for listening to music and podcasts in the kitchen, but this would be a strict upgrade. And leveraging Apple’s developer community to extend Siri’s abilities is simply brilliant. The core functionality would be secure from a privacy standpoint and the onus would be on the user to install applications which might weaken that security.

And count me in with John Gruber, I like the name Hi-Fi.

Ming-Chi Kuo Publishes Note on Apple’s Notebook Plans ➝

He’s predicting MacBook Pro updates — with Touch ID, an OLED display touch bar to replace the function keys, and a new thin and light design — and a new 13-inch MacBook that will further relegate the MacBook Air to the entry-level position.

Siri Integration Will Be Key Feature in OS X 10.12 ➝

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

Rumors have indicated Siri integration will be one of the key features coming in OS X 10.12, and new screenshots of a Siri menu bar and Siri app icon suggest Apple is indeed working on bringing Siri to the Mac in its 2016 operating system update. The screenshots were shared with MacRumors by a source who has provided us with reliable information about Apple’s software plans in the past.

I’m going to assume that the menu bar icon is a placeholder for now — the word “Siri” inside of a rounded rectangle doesn’t seem at home alongside OS X’s other menu bar icons. As for the dock icon, it’s stunning. I like the waveforms, I like the color scheme, it’s all great.

The biggest mystery with this, though, why has it taken so long? Is it just a simple implementation — working just as it does on iOS — or was Apple waiting until they were able to build something bigger that integrated more deeply into OS X somehow?

‘Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat Is Such Bullshit’ ➝

Dan Kim on Google I/O’s “Eat. Sleep. Code. Repeat.” slogan:

Whether it’s racing cars, loving art, reading, hiking, spending time in nature, playing with their dog, running, gardening, or just hanging out with their family, these top-notch programmers love life outside of code.

That’s because they know that a truly balanced lifestyle — one that gives your brain and your soul some space to breath non-programming air — actually makes you a better programmer.

Avoiding BlackBerry’s Fate ➝

Marco Arment:

Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for.

If they’re right — and that’s a big “if” — I’m worried for Apple.

I have been using Siri a lot more over the past few days — mostly to see how it compares to Google’s offerings. As a general rule, I don’t use Siri for much. Not necessarily because it isn’t good, but because I don’t like to interact with my device in that way. I’d rather type in a quick search query than awkwardly speak out loud to my phone.

Perhaps that will change in time as more people use voice features on their devices — if everyone’s doing it, those who aren’t will seem out of touch. And if that’s the case, then maybe Apple did place the wrong bet on privacy versus big data.

But if Apple’s wrong, couldn’t they eventually partner with Amazon, Google, or some other company to integrate their voice services into iOS? That wouldn’t put them in a perfect situation — not owning a core aspect of their OS. But Apple has something that none of these companies do — incredible hardware. No matter how far behind Apple is in big data-based AI, other smartphone manufacturers are showing very few signs of catching up to Apple’s level in hardware quality. And because of that, I think they’ll always have a place at the table.

‘Google Didn’t Win Over This Apple Fan at I/O 2016’ ➝

Matt Birchler:

It’s been a few years since Google has not impressed me at I/O, but 2016 has broken that streak. I’m interested in Google Assistant, and I’m pretty sure a Google Home will be mine as soon as it’s available, but they didn’t do much else to get me riled up. I hope to see more good stuff coming from the company this year, and maybe the products they showed off this week will actually be great, but I didn’t see it at I/O.

Google Assistant was the only product that made me envious of my Android-using friends. But the feature wouldn’t make a large enough impact to warrant switching from iOS.

Retro Platformer the Incident Debuts on Apple TV With New Multiplayer Mode ➝

Harish Jonnalagadda, writing for iMore:

Retro platformer The Incident is now on Apple TV, with the game picking up a new four-player multiplayer mode called Coincidents. The Incident features an excellent chiptune soundtrack, 8-bit pixel art, and much more.

I had a ton of fun playing The Incident when it was first released for the iPhone. And I look forward to playing it with multiple players on the Apple TV.

Apple Promotes Alternate Conferences and Events Surrounding WWDC ➝

I think it’s delightful that Apple is promoting AltConf, Layers, Beard Bash, and The Talk Show on the WWDC website.

Netflix Launches Fast.com ➝

From Netflix’s weblog:

Today we are launching fast.com, a simple-to-use website to help you see how fast your Internet connection is, whether on mobile or broadband, anywhere in the world. And like the Netflix service, it’s ad free with a streamlined design that is quick and easy to understand.

This has replaced Ookla’s Speedtest as my new default.

Apple’s New Retail Store Strategy ➝

Jim Dalrymple explains the five new Apple Store features unveiled yesterday at their new Union Square location in San Francisco.

What We Lose in a Streaming Music World ➝

Richard Anderson:

There are digital files in my collection that are over a decade old. They’ve traveled with me across multiple computers, and multiple lives. This is meaningful in a way that streaming can never be. How do you connect with music that you simply rent, and could disappear from your library the moment you turn your back? […]

How will you explore the music of a surprisingly good opening band when they don’t exist in the library of Apple Music, Spotify, or TIDAL? So much music that has touched my soul, you can’t stream it for love or money. I had to seek it out on my own, pawing through used music bins, or going to shows. When there’s an all-you-can eat buffet for $9.99, what’s the incentive to order something that isn’t on the menu?

The move to streaming services is going to be extremely painful for smaller bands that are still struggling to get noticed. Not only do they get a smaller piece of the pie, but they’re more likely to get lost in the shuffle alongside, what seems like, an infinite supply of options.