The Initial Charge Linked List


Nest Announces Second Generation Nest Protect Smoke Detector

Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

At an event today in San Francisco, Nest announced that it is releasing a second-generation smoke detector, and it’s also called the Nest Protect. The new detector has a “split spectrum sensor” for smoke detection, a step beyond the single photoelectric in the original one.

It’s 11 percent smaller than the original, can test itself automatically with its speaker when it thinks your not home, is easier to install, and features a smoke chamber that keeps dust and insects out. It’s available for preorder today for $99 and ships at the end of the month.

iOS 9’s Redesigned App Switcher

AppleInsider’s Sam Oliver takes a look at iOS 9’s new app switcher. I’m not totally sold on it yet — I’m just too used to the old switcher. But Sam seems impressed, so I’ll reserve judgment until I can get my hands on it myself.

Apple Maps and the Long Road Back

Matt Hauger:

I’d even identified the perfect test case. The West Virginia Division of Highways just opened a five-mile stretch of highway near our home in the Potomac Highlands. “Surely,” I thought, “Google will incorporate this new route before Apple.” […]

I was wrong. Firing up both apps on my iPhone last night, I was surprised to find that Apple had discovered the new four-lane stretch before Google.

My fiancée and I used Apple Maps to navigate from upstate New York, to Gettysburg, to Philadelphia, and back this past weekend. My experience with Maps has been nothing but positive since it first launched in 2012, but this was the first trip that we relied on it as our only mapping application — usually we use TomTom to do most of the heavy lifting. Whether we were traveling on the back roads of central Pennsylvania or the busy traffic of Philadelphia, Maps handled it all without a hitch.

Ming-Chi Kuo’s Accuracy

Great piece by Alex Heath on KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. I especially like the chart at the bottom showing the accuracy of Kuo’s predictions over the past several years — only missing two out of twenty eight predictions since 2011 is pretty impressive.

Apple Music Revenue Share to Music Labels and Publishers Explained

Peter Kafka, reporting for Re/code:

Here are the real numbers, according to Robert Kondrk, the Apple executive who negotiates music deals along with media boss Eddy Cue: In the U.S., Apple will pay music owners 71.5 percent of Apple Music’s subscription revenue. Outside the U.S., the number will fluctuate, but will average around 73 percent, he told Re/code in an interview. Executives at labels Apple is working with confirmed the figures.

I’ve heard that Apple Music is far more favorable to artists than other music streaming services on the market.

San Francisco, a Brief Review

Vasil Enchev’s great piece comparing the variants of Apple’s new default OS typeface, San Francisco.

Instacast Discontinued as Parent Company Vemedio Runs out of Money

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

In an email sent to paid members, Martin Hering says that all of Vemedio’s products will be ‘discontinued’, with Instacast being the most well known app affected by this. The company says they will keep the servers up for as long as possible so current users will not be left with non-functional apps immediately.

I hate seeing a software company close up shop, especially one that develops a great app like Instacast. If you’re still using the app, I suggest switching to Overcast as soon as you can. There’s no telling how long Vemedio will be able to keep the servers running and, in my opinion, Overcast by far the best podcast client available.

iPad Multitasking: A Deep Transformation

Federico Viticci, writing for MacStories:

iOS 9 is going to be a watershed moment for iPad users. For many, the iPad is about to graduate from utility to computer. Apple is envisioning a future where users can do more with iPad apps without the inherent complexities of OS X – and they’re largely relying on developers to help build this future.

I’ve been using the iPad Air 2 as my primary computer for months and I couldn’t be more excited about the new features in iOS 9. Being able to have two apps open side-by-side is going to drastically change the way I work — it’s a good time to own an iPad.

I have to admit I feel somewhat validated about my decision to purchase the iPad Air 2. I had been thinking about buying a new iPad for years since my original iPad has basically been unusable since iOS 6 was released. But, for whatever reason I kept waiting — every year holding off until next year’s model only to decide against getting it. Something was different about the Air 2, though— 2GB of RAM.

The increase in RAM from the iPad Air to the Air 2 was so drastic that I knew there had to be a reason for it. Apple doesn’t just double the memory in their devices willy-nilly — they knew long ago that iOS 9’s multitasking features were coming and that it would require a significant increase in memory to run smoothly. I could see that Apple had something big planned and I knew the Air 2 was the one to buy.

With Metal for OS X, I No Longer Need a Mac Pro

Brianna Wu, writing for iMore:

Metal for OS X is huge — and it’s going to be a much bigger deal on the Mac than it is on your iPhone or iPad. If you use a Mac to produce professional content, chances are, Metal is about to drastically speed up the professional apps you use like Adobe Illustrator and Autodesk Maya.

As long as professional apps adopt it, game developers, designers, video editor, and photographers are going to love Metal.

ReplayKit Will Screen Record Gameplay and App Videos

Jordain Kahn, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

With ReplayKit, developers will be able to offer users the ability to screen record gameplay or other apps automatically or manually with a single tap. Users will then be able to share recorded content through an iOS share sheet directly to social networks and video sharing sites. Apple pauses all incoming notifications and anything that might ruin the gameplay video experience, and only users will have access to the recorded videos.

I’ve considered recording gameplay videos of Hearthstone in the past, but decided against it because I only play on my iPad. I would have had to connect my iPad to my Mac and record the video in QuickTime, which is exactly why I abandoned the idea. I wanted a no fuss solution to screen recording in iOS 9 and Apple’s delivering just that.

How Many Default iPhone Apps Do You Use?

Messages, Camera, Maps, Photos, Clock, Music, Phone, Safari, App Store, iTunes, and Settings. That’s eleven out of the twenty seven that come preinstalled on the iPhone. But unlike Thomas Ricker and BuzzFeed’s Charlie Warzel, I don’t think it’s much of a threat to Apple. Every mobile platform has this problem and I doubt it affects Apple any more than Android.

App Thinning Will Be a Major Boon

Andrew Cunningham, writing for Ars Technica:

Apple already talked in the keynote about how it had reduced the amount of space required by the iOS 9 OTA update from around 4.6GB to 1.3GB, but a more transformative technology only got a passing mention: App Thinning. In short, apps in iOS 9 will leave your phone or tablet with more free space in the first place.

My fiancée has been using a 16GB iPhone 5S for almost two years and has definitely felt hindered by its limited storage space. She often has to pull all the photos off of her camera roll, make tough decisions about what music to sync from iTunes, and delete apps from her device to give herself some breathing room. If App Thinning does what it claims it’s going to be a big deal for iPhone owners with 8-16GB of storage.


Apple Music Will Allow Downloads for Offline Listening


Apple’s statement to Re/code regarding offline listening:

As an Apple Music member you can add anything from the Apple Music library — a song, an album or a video — to your collection. And that’s just the warm-up act. From there you can create the perfect playlist from anything you’ve added. You can save it for offline listening and take it on the road.

It’s kind of unfortunate that users will have to manage there songs for offline use manually. It would be great if Apple Music automatically cached songs on your device that it thinks you’re likely to listen to if you were to go offline. That’s the kind of experience that could get me interested in the service.

On iOS Badges and Information Density

I’m one of the followers that often replies to Justin’s iPhone screenshots asking why he has so many notification badges turned on. If I were him, I’d include a link to this piece alongside every screenshot I share.

Apple Maps Vehicles

From a newly published page on

Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.

We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.

The page also displays a list of cities that these vehicles will be driving in next.

There’s a lot of speculation that Apple is going to be using this data to introduce a street view-like feature, but I think we’ll be seeing these images first appear at the top of business listings in Apple Maps. Currently, these images are being provided by Yelp and are often of poor quality.

Find My iPhone, Find My Friends May Become Built-In Apps

Let’s be honest, Find My iPhone should have been a default app from the day it was announced. As for Find My Friends, I forgot it existed and it’s just another app I’ll drag into the “Default” folder on my last home screen.

The App Effect

A brilliantly produced short film about the importance of the App Store. I have to be honest, the bit at 4:16 about bringing music to deaf people got me right in the feels.

June, the Computer-Based Oven That Thinks Like a Chef

I’m not sure if I could ever justify spending $1495 on a tabletop oven. But, this is the only thing on the market that could potentially pull me away from my beloved Breville Smart Oven.

Dedicated iCloud Drive App Included Within Settings of iOS 9

Hidden in iOS 9’s settings is the option to turn on an iCloud Drive app which lets you navigate your files saved to Apple’s cloud service. But, the most interesting part of this, to me, is that it’s the first instance of Apple giving users the choice to hide a default app from your home screen. There’s a few other applications I wouldn’t mind toggling away in the Settings app. And due to the seemingly ubiquitous “Default” folder on the last home screen of geeks’ iPhones, I bet I’m not the only one.

watchOS 2 Introduces Activation Lock

From Apple’s watchOS 2 preview page:

watchOS 2 includes Activation Lock, a new security feature. Activating your watch requires your iCloud Apple ID and password, so in the event that your Apple Watch is lost or stolen, your information remains safe.

Finally, everyone can stop complaining about the lack of theft deterrent.

Move to iOS

From Apple’s iOS 9 preview page:

It securely transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books. And it will help you rebuild your app library, too. Any free apps you used — like Facebook and Twitter — are suggested for download from the App Store. And your paid apps are added to your iTunes Wish List.

It’s like migration assistant for Android to iPhone switchers.

iOS 9 Allows Developers to Make Ad Blockers for Safari

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

With iOS 9, Apple has added a special case of extension for ad blockers. Apps can now include ‘content blocker’ extensions that define resources (like images and scripts) for Safari to not load. For the first time, this architecture makes ad blockers a real possibility for iOS developers to make and iOS customers to install and use.

Could this also open the door for content filtering apps which prevent children from visiting adult websites? iOS has this feature built-in, but it doesn’t offer any options for what type of content is blocked.

Apple to Open Source Swift Later This Year

The announcement that Swift would be open source received the largest cheers and applause of the whole keynote. I think the presentation as a whole would have been more well received if they saved this for the end. Imagine if the event was structured as follows — El Capitan, watchOS, Music, iOS 9 with the mention of Swift going open source at the conclusion. My guess, Apple had no idea the Music segment would fall so flat.

How to Launch a Top 20 Podcast

Aaron Mahnke’s new podcast, Lore, has been a runaway success. It’s currently in the top 10 on iTunes and shows no signs of stopping. If you like stories about folklore, monsters, myths, and creatures, you should definitely subscribe.

The Talk Show, Live with Phil Schiller

A delightful intro by Merlin Mann and Adam Lisagor, the first appearance of an Apple executive on an independent podcast, and insightful discussions on software stability, iOS 9, privacy, the 16GB storage size, the tradeoffs associated with device thinness, the MacBook’s single USB port, and more. Phil spoke very candidly in this interview and was willing to answer any question thrown at him, even the ones that you wouldn’t expect him to. If you only listen to one podcast episode today it should be this one, it’s an absolute must-listen.

Update: John has also published a video edition of the episode on Vimeo.

Apple Unifies Developer Accounts

Steve Sande, writing for Apple World Today:

Now, for just US$99 per year, developers get access to beta releases and SDKs for OS X, iOS and watchOS. For those of us who used to spend $198 annually to maintain both dev accounts, this is a welcome piece of news.

Alongside this change, developers can no longer build Safari extensions for free. Unfortunately, a paid developer account is now required.

iPod Removed From Navigation

After thirteen years, iPod has been removed from the main navigation along the top of Apple’s website. It’s now been relegated to the bottom of the newly added Music page. The iPod’s era has long since ended, but this move puts the line one step closer to being discontinued for good.

Apple to Discontinue Newsstand

Peter Kafka, writing for Re/code:

Apple is going to do away with Newsstand, the app that stored and distributed newspapers and magazines, which some partners complained tended to bury its content.

I haven’t used Newsstand since the week it came out. And although I can’t say I’ve been annoyed by its presence, I’m happy to see it put out to pasture.

Apple Design Award Winners Announced

This year’s winners are Shadowmatic, Metamorphabet, Robinhood, Affinity Designer, Crossy Road, Workflow, Does Not Commute, Vainglory, Pacemaker, Elementary Minute, jump-O, and my favorite Fantastical 2.

Apple Posts WWDC 2015 Keynote Video

The full keynote from yesterday in which Apple announced OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, watchOS 2, and Apple Music.

The Power of the Screenshot

The first person I can remember that had me thinking about using images as a way of saving and sharing information was Alex Lindsay. In his appearances on MacBreak Weekly, he would occassionally make mention of taking a photo of something — anything — to use as a note he could reference at a later point in time. This lead me to taking photos of my work schedule to input into my calendar when it was more convenient or sharing it with my girlfriend (now fiancée) so she knew what my week looked like.

This practice has since evolved into my love of screenshots as a way of saving information or sharing with friends privately through iMessage or publicly on Twitter. Although I have concerns that these pseudo-disposable images will lack context in the future or that no one will ever bother to OCR them for archival purposes, I highly doubt I’ll ever slow down the pace at which I create them.

The Battle in Mobile Has Changed

Neil Cybart:

Instead, the smartphone buying decision is likely related more to the other pieces of glass either being worn (smartwatches), in one’s purse or backpack (tablets), or at home and on the work desk (desktops/laptops). Extend the exercise further to incorporate third-party devices in the home and driveway, and the entire iOS or Android ecosystem is becoming the much bigger deciding factor for what will be your next smartphone.

It’s not about the number of devices activated or the number of apps available anymore. It’s about how the device’s ecosystem works alongside all of the other parts of your life — fitness, media, connected appliances, fashion, and more.


Google Photos: Parent-Tested, Nerd Approved

Joe Caiati set his parents up with Google Photos and they were delighted to have access to all of their photos in one place. And, Joe had the peace of mind knowing that their photos are going to be safely backed up in perpetuity. The service seems like the perfect, no-hassle solution to backing up one of the most important parts of your digital life. Assuming they’re aware of the privacy concerns, I wouldn’t hesitate to setup one of my relatives with it as well.

Laughing and Crying My Way Through Google Photos

Ryan Gantz has been trying out Google Photos and really seems to be enjoying the service. But, he’s had mixed results from the “Assistant” feature. More specifically a particular video that Google’s machine learning offered up with an odd mix of photos and video from both a funeral and his son’s school event.

Why Android Camera Phones Still Suck

Evan Rodgers, writing for Motherboard:

The sensor your phone uses is only half the story. When you take a picture, your phone automatically compresses raw image data into a JPEG, effectively finalizing the image. In this split second, settings chosen by the phone manufacturer will adjust brightness, sharpness, and tone, and the rest of the data is thrown away. HTC royally boned itself with its image processing software, which overexposes shadows and murders detail with aggressive noise reduction and sharpening.

Camera quality is one of the many reasons I could never switch to Android. Apple has really hit it out of the park for years in that department and Android manufacturers almost feel resistant to do what’s necessary to catch up.

Mac Vulnerability Allows Remote Attack, Survives OS X Reinstallation, Drive Formating

This is a pretty nasty exploit. Hopefully Apple has a fix in the pipeline that will see the light of day soon.

‘There’s No Reason Why Web Apps Have to Be Slow’

Lukas Mathis:

How often do you open a page on your mobile browser, and it’s painfully obvious that the thing you actually want to see — an article, for example — has already loaded, but is hidden below layers and layers of shitty ads that are slowly pulling in stuff, preventing you from accessing the thing you actually want to see?

I think advertisements are typically the culprit behind poor website performance and I wish more ad networks would make an effort to discourage site owners from plastering their pages with ads. But, everyone’s just letting their own poor judgement contribute to their demise. We’d all appreciate a bit more  subtlety.

NYT: Apple Pay Rewards Program Planned

Mike Isaac and Brian X. Chen, reporting for The New York Times:

Apple is preparing to announce details about enhancements to Apple Pay at its software conference next month. Those include a rewards program for the mobile wallet service, said two people briefed on the product.

The logical next step for all payment platforms.

Chris Ziegler Makes the Case for an iPhone Name Change

Back before the iPad was announced and rumors were swirling of an imminent tablet-like product release, I advocated for Apple to name the device “Apple Tablet.” And when the name “iPad” was unveiled, I hated it. But, here we are five years later and I don’t see quite as many people bemoaning Apple’s decision to name it as they did.

However, The Verge’s Chris Ziegler thinks Apple should drop the prefix on the iPhone and simply call it “Apple Phone.” And, I couldn’t agree with him more. At this point, the prefix feels outdated and has been muddied by the multitude of companies who’ve named their products with it in hopes of cashing in on Apple’s mindshare. It’s not as cool as it once was.

If the iPhone was announced today, I don’t think it would have been called “iPhone,” and not just because we’re in an age of slightly generic, to-the-point product names with Google Photos, Apple Watch, and the like coming to market. Apple’s smartphone would have been called “Apple Phone” because I think the company believes that Steve was the only one who could bestow a product with The Magic Prefix.

Amazon Debuts Free Shipping on Small Goods

Spencer Soper, writing for Bloomberg:

The service covers items that weigh 8 ounces (230 grams) or less, which usually cost no more than $10. Delivery will take four to eight business days from a new shipping hub in Florence, Kentucky, specifically stocked for the program dubbed Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light.

Previously, the only way for non-Prime customers to get free shipping on Amazon was to order $35 worth of items. But, this new offering has no minimums and will give customers free shipping on small items such as makeup, phone accessories, and more. At this point, I’m not sure why anyone would buy something online without at least checking Amazon first.


Showtime Announces Standalone Service

The service is launching July 12 on Apple devices and will cost $10.99 per month.

Apple Store No Longer Sells iPhone With 2-Year Contract on AT&T

I guess this means I now have to buy my iPhones directly from AT&T.

‘How We Handle Your Account Information in Spark’

A plain-english explanation of how Readdle handles the personal information of Spark users. I’m glad they published this, as it leads me to believe that they’re a group trustworthy individuals. They take privacy and security very seriously and are willing to go above and beyond to protect personal information.

(Via Joe Caiati.)

Brent Simmons Resigns From Q Branch

John Gruber, on Brent Simmons’ departure from Q Branch:

For Q Branch and Vesper, life goes on. We don’t have anything to announce today, other than that this is not the end. In the meantime, I simply want to publicly wish Brent well. He’s still full-time at The Omni Group, which means Q Branch work had been relegated to nights-and-weekends time. Nights-and-weekends time is for your passions, not for obligations.

I’m excited to see what Brent is able to work on with his newly found free time. And, I’m not at all worried about the future of Q Branch — they make the best notes app for iOS and I don’t think that’ll change any time soon.

Yahoo Sunsets Pipes, Maps, and More

It’s always sad when neat web tools like these are shut down. But, Yahoo needs to do whatever it can to slim its initiatives in order for employees to focus their efforts on products that are, or will be, more successful than these ever could. My hopes aren’t high — Yahoo hasn’t really done much in the past few years — but I really would love to see them get back to what they were in their glory days.

(Via TechCrunch.)

Tim Cook Delivers Speech On Privacy

Always fighting the good fight.

No Apple TV Next Week

Brian X. Chen, writing for the New York Times:

Yet one much ballyhooed device will be absent from the conference: a new Apple TV, Apple’s set-top box for televisions. The company planned as recently as mid-May to use the event to spotlight new Apple TV hardware, along with an improved remote control and a tool kit for developers to make apps for the entertainment device. But those plans were postponed partly because the product was not ready for prime time, according to two people briefed on the product.

I was worried that this might happen. I guess we’ll have to wait until one of Apple’s fall events to get our hands on it.

Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to Take on Google Now

Mark Gurman:

Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

I don’t know if this is a feature I’ll actually make much use of. But I know that for a lot of Android users Google Now is the feature, so if Apple comes close with their offering it’ll likely be a hit.

Apple Subscription TV Service Won’t Be Announced Next Week

Petter Kafka and Dawn Chmielewski, reporting for Re/code:

The Cupertino technology company has told network executives the planned unveiling will be postponed because Apple has yet to finalize the licensing deals. Industry executives predict Apple’s Web TV offering may not launch until later this year, or in 2016. Technology and money issues remain sticking points.

I hope we’re still getting an Apple TV hardware announcement next week, though.

‘Apple Watch Glances I’m Using’

Stephen Hackett shares the Glances he’s still using after owning the Apple Watch for a month.