The Initial Charge Linked List

 

Requiem for the Thunderbolt Display ➝

Nick Heer:

Don’t let me get you down — LG’s 5K display might work just fine for your setup. But it doesn’t seem like an adequate replacement for the Thunderbolt Display. It doesn’t have the same hardware quality as an Apple product, it doesn’t have comparable functionality, and it has an ugly “forehead” to house the camera. Unfortunately, it seems like Apple won’t make a true successor to the Thunderbolt Display because they’re not making displays any longer. For a niche of Mac users, that’s a big loss.

I haven’t purchased a standalone display since I stopped using PCs in 2006. Every display I use is now built into the machine it’s connected to. And although I’m unsure I’ll ever be in the market for a standalone display again, if I was to need such a product, I don’t even know where I’d begin. I always assumed that I could just buy the one Apple makes, but that’s no longer the case. And that stinks.

Goodbye Mint, Goodbye Fever ➝

Shaun Inman:

As of today I’m officially suspending sales and support of Mint and Fever. But! As self-hosted software, absolutely nothing changes and you can continue using both Mint and Fever as you were yesterday. […]

I am unbelievably grateful for everyone who found some utility, personal or professional, in these things that I built over the past decade. I also want to apologize to anyone who didn’t get their activation key in a timely manner or has had a pre-sale or support request go unanswered for too long. I hope Mint and Fever treat you well for as long as you continue to use them.

I’ve been a huge fan of Shaun Inman’s software for years — I reviewed Mint and Fever around the time I first installed them and they’ve been my favorite web analytics and RSS syncing services ever since. But the writing’s been on the wall for both of them for quite some time — development has drastically slowed over the past two years. I expect I’ll continue using them for a while, but eventually I’ll have to migrate to something else.

This is sad news, but I’m glad Shaun will be able to spend less time on projects he’s no longer interested in and more time on the software that gets him excited to code.

Scoreboard for Apple TV ➝

A neat utility app for the Apple TV that helps you keep track of board and card game scores on your television. It’s easy to use, supports up to ten players without scrolling, and can save multiple scoreboards for ongoing games.

If you’re starting to feel like the Apple TV is just for media apps, Scoreboard breaks the mold with a beautiful presentation and great functionality.

How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists ➝

A fascinating piece by Mark Gurman filled with scoops regarding the state of Mac hardware and software development within Apple.

Here’s the bit that I found most interesting:

In the Mac’s heyday, people working on new models could expect a lot of attention from Ive’s team. Once a week his people would meet with Mac engineers to discuss ongoing projects. Mac engineers brought prototypes to Ive’s studio for review, while his lieutenants would visit the Mac labs to look at early concepts. Those visits have become less frequent since the company began focusing more on more-valuable products like the iPhone and iPad, and the change became even more obvious after the design team’s leadership was shuffled last year, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there’s no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.

The Mac diehards aren’t just the ones that helped Apple survive through the tough times, they’re also the ones who have evangelized the platform over the past decade — contributing to what it is today. It’s in Apple’s best interest to keep those users happy because a good portion of them have influence over their friends and family’s purchasing decisions. If they switch to Windows, many of their friends will switch back too.

macOS is the current platform of choice for these users and Apple needs to build Macs that appeal to them. But you can’t do that if you’ve shifted the entire company’s focus toward an entirely separate product line.

Minecraft for Apple TV Now Available ➝

Owen Jones on Minecraft News:

Do you own one of those fancy Apple TV devices? Maybe Santa has his elves cooking one up in their high-tech workshop?

If either of those are true, I bring good news! We’ve just released Minecraft for the slim black boxes. And, for a limited time, it comes with seven pieces of lovely DLC, giving you the chance to customise the fun to your liking. Minecraft: Apple TV Edition currently includes the Holiday 2015, Town Folk, and City Folk skin packs, along with the Plastic, Natural, Cartoon, and Festive 2016 mash-ups. It costs $19.99 and is rolling out in all regions as I type.

I’ve never played Minecraft before, but I’m hoping to find a SteelSeries Nimbus under my tree on Sunday and I can’t think of a better game to try it out on.

Steven Aquino Shares His First Impressions of the Apple AirPods ➝

Steven Aquino:

My overall take after a few days with them is short: It’s a great product. They’re yet another example of quintessential Apple—the weaving of hardware and software that works so well you’d swear it’s due more to wizard-like magic than it is to bonafide engineering prowess.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these.

The Best Third-Party Watch Bands ➝

A curated collection of the best third-party Apple Watch bands by the folks at WatchAware. I’ve only ever bought new Watch bands directly from Apple, but that’s mostly because I was worried about the quality from third-parties — I didn’t want to buy a piece of junk. Now that this resource exists, though, I expect I’ll be picking a few of these up soon.

Evernote Will Not Implement Its Controversial New Privacy Policy ➝

I’m glad that Evernote is reversing this decision, but I don’t think I can trust a company that needed to be convinced that this was a bad idea. If Evernote released this new privacy policy and no one complained, they would have started reading users’ notes with no remorse. That’s not a good sign about the integrity of those running the company.

The Curious Case of iPad Headphone Jacks ➝

Ben Brooks:

In Apple’s mind I believe they see the iPad as a device in which you don’t ever need wires to use. If you do, you only need one at a time (either to charge while you sleep, or for headphones). Of course Apple’s preference is for you to use AirPods, but lacking that you can use the Lightning port.

I would bet then that the next round of iPad Air, and iPad mini models, you will see no headphone port.

The writing is on the wall for headphone jacks — eventually Apple won’t sell a single device that has one built-in. But this transitionary period will take a few years. I agree with Ben, I think the iPad Air and iPad mini are the next devices that will lose the headphone jack.

I think the iPad Pro will follow soon after, though. iOS devices represent a new era of computing and I think the “pro” iOS users are more willing to accept these types of changes. They’re the bleeding edge users who have already preordered their AirPods or plan on doing so soon. Apple will still probably hear some amount of backlash from them, but not to the same degree as they did with the iPhone — not even close.

I’m more curious about how long it will be before Apple ships a Mac without a headphone jack. And will that happen before they’ve been fully removed from the iOS lineup? Is this the type of feature that Apple will use as a temporary differentiator between the two lineups or will they transition both of them concurrently?

Evernote Employees Can Read Your Notes, and There’s No Way to Opt-Out ➝

Thorin Klosowski, writing for Lifehacker:

In a recent update to its Privacy Policy set to go into effect on January 23, 2017, Evernote lays out how their machine learning technology will work, which most notably includes the fact that “human review is simply unavoidable.” The machine learning analyzes your notes, then provides a number of features, including improved search, learning how you use Evernote then showing you data specific to how you use it, and even detecting if you’re doing something like making a list then suggesting different features. In order to make sure their technology is operating as its supposed to, employees will need to look at the content of some notes.

Wow.

Amazon Releases Shopping App for Apple TV ➝

Chance Miller, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

The app is rather basic in terms of features and you must be a Prime member in order to use it. Upon downloading it, you’ll be given a code and asked to head to Amazon’s website on your phone or computer to sign in. From there, the app will ask you to create a four-digit pin number for completing purchases.

My theory is that Amazon is testing the waters to see how many of their users have Apple TVs and whether it would be worth developing a video app for. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

Apple Store Employee Says iPhone Battery Replacement Plan Is a Mess ➝

Ben Gilbert, reporting for Business Insider:

One longtime Apple store employee told Business Insider the battery replacement takes anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. It may not sound like a lot of time, but for store employees, those replacements add up.

In the case of the employee we spoke with, even though they’re not in a flagship store in a major city, the staff is seeing anywhere from 15 to 30 battery replacements every day — that’s limited by the number of replacements that can be conceivably done in a workday by a single Apple Store technician. Their store “takes in more than we replace in a day,” they said.

This is exactly why I’ll wait until after Christmas to get my battery replaced. As annoying as it is to have these problems, I’d rather deal with it for another couple of weeks than have to wade through the crowds at the Apple Store. They’re already busy enough during the holidays, but this battery replacement program seems to be making things much worse.

macOS 10.12.2 Removes Battery Time Remaining Estimate ➝

Michael Tsai:

I never liked how the estimate claimed to be accurate down to the minute. I would like to see an estimate with fewer significant digits, both to hide the erratic changes and to avoid over-representing the accuracy.

This would be a much more elegant solution to the problem rather than removing the indicator all together. Saying something like “About 4 Hours Remaining” would give you most of the information you needed without making you feel like the estimation is gospel.

Early Thoughts on DirecTV Now ➝

Eric Schwarz:

I sort of see the product as a public beta right now. It’s mostly complete, but with the amount of excitement and emphasis that AT&T is putting on it, they’d be morons not to tweak it a bit these first few months. By offering a discounted rate and free devices to early adopters, the risk is pretty low.

The thought of paying $35 or more each month for a streaming media service seems outrageous to me. Between the WWE Network and Hulu, I currently only pay $23 a month. What has me interested in the service, though, is the free devices they offer. The way I see it, if I pre-pay for three months of DirecTV Now, I’m essentially paying $105 for an Apple TV and getting the service for free. That’s a great deal even if I never launch the DirecTV app and cancel before it auto-renews.

Seagate’s New Amazon Cloud-Syncing Portable Hard Drive ➝

A neat new hard drive from Seagate that automatically uploads backup copies of everything stored on it to Amazon Drive. This seems like the perfect backup solution — offering local and offsite backups in a single product.

Counterfeit Apple Chargers Fail Safety Tests ➝

BBC News:

Investigators have warned consumers they face potentially fatal risks after 99% of fake Apple chargers failed a basic safety test.

Trading Standards, which commissioned the checks, said counterfeit electrical goods bought online were an “unknown entity”.

Of 400 counterfeit chargers, only three were found to have enough insulation to protect against electric shocks.

This problem has been around for quite some time, but it seems to have gotten a lot worse recently.