Linked List Archive

The Initial Charge Linked List is a collection of notable links and brief commentary, with entries regularly added throughout the week.

Apple Vision Pro Returns ➝

Mark Gurman:

In speaking to more than a dozen people who have returned the Vision Pro over the past week, I’ve heard some similar reasons:

  • The device is simply too heavy, too cumbersome to manage, headache-inducing and uncomfortable.
  • The current lack of applications and video content doesn’t justify the price.
  • The work features don’t make people more productive than just using a normal external monitor with a Mac — and they’re difficult to use for long periods.
  • The displays have too much glare, the field of view is too narrow, and the device causes eyestrain and vision problems.
  • The product can make users feel isolated from family and friends. Meaningful shared experiences don’t yet exist, and the Vision Pro can’t easily be passed around to others because of the need for a precise fit.

I’m unconvinced that many of these concerns will be addressed in future iterations of the Vision Pro. Perhaps I’ll look back at this and feel foolish, but I don’t think VR/AR is the next big thing. And I’m not sure it ever will be.

(Via John Spurlock.)

➝ Source: bloomberg.com

iOS 17.4 Changes PWAs to Shortcuts in EU ➝

Michael Tsai:

Apple had two years or so to prepare for the DMA, but they “had to” to remove the feature entirely (and throw away user data) rather than give the third-party API parity with what Safari can do. I find the privacy argument totally unconvincing because the alternative they chose is to put all the sites in the same browser. If you’re concerned about buggy data isolation or permissions, isn’t this even worse?

I don’t understand what Apple’s end game is with this and the rest of their “compliance” with the DMA. It seems foolish to expect regulators in the EU to turn a blind eye to Apple’s changes, which are obviously outside of the spirit the DMA’s intentions.

Users are irritated, developers are irritated, and I would expect regulators to be irritated as well. It seems inevitable that there will be further action from the EU to force Apple’s hand, so what’s the point? Is the goal just to get as much revenue from the App Store as they can before they have no other option but to truly level the playing field? That seems so incredibly short-sighted when you consider the bridges that they’re burning along the way.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Plex Announces Movie Rentals ➝

I’m not in love with Plex moving into this space — I don’t want the Plex app to turn into an advertisement for their add-on services. I just want it to give me a great interface for the media I have stored on my home server.

But I understand that they need to make money somehow and they will eventually hit a dead end with revenue if they continue to offer lifetime Plex Pass as an option. Hopefully they will keep the feature in sensible places within the app so users that don’t want to see it never have to.

➝ Source: plex.tv

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ Returns to the Open Web ➝

No longer a Spotify exclusive, The Joe Rogan Experience is available wherever you get your podcasts. The show’s RSS feed is active again with the latest episodes, which means it’s actually a podcast again.

➝ Source: macrumors.com

‘The Productivity Use Cases Simply Didn’t Materialize for Me’ ➝

Ben Thompson:

The net result is that the Vision Pro, at least in its current incarnation, does not come close to being the productivity tool I was so excited about last summer, when I wrote that I suspected the Vision Pro was “the future of the Mac”, and that’s even before getting to the limitations of Apple’s iOS-based operating system in terms of app capabilities and business models. That latter point, along with the limitations of eye-tracking as a default user-interface model, also makes me worry that new and better hardware won’t change this reality. […]

Now, having used a Vision Pro of my own, I have to say that were I making a decision independent of my job, I would not buy a Vision Pro. I personally don’t watch that much TV or movies, and while I am a huge sports fan, there is not yet the sort of immersive content available that would make it worth it to me (but I’m hopeful!). Meanwhile, the productivity use cases simply didn’t materialize for me, although I am hopeful for the ability to project two monitors in a software update.

I don’t find the Vision Pro to be compelling at all. I think of it like 3D movies or motion controls in games — something that will be popular for a period time, but will ultimately only be useful for specific applications and thought of more as a novelty than as the default.

And I think too many people are getting lost in the weeds talking about this specific hardware and software rather than about the category as a whole. As I mentioned on Mastodon last week:

If we take this product to its logical conclusion, though, and remove all of its existing limitations, I still don’t see how it would add to my life. There are just inherent limitations that can’t be so obviously “fixed” — having more than one person see what’s on the display at a time, for example.

Admittedly, I have a reasonably sized home office and haven’t traveled for work in a few years, but beyond it’s capabilities as a large display in a relatively small package, I don’t think VR/AR is all that useful for general computing. I’m also skeptical as to whether larger screens actually make people more productive — I only use my MacBook’s 13-inch screen during my work day, even though I have a 27-inch display available to me.

The only other seemingly compelling feature of the Vision Pro is the immersive experiences, giving you the ability to disconnect from the world around you to help you focus on your work. But much of those benefits could be had with a decent pair of noise canceling headphones and you don’t have to worry as much about eye strain or at all about motion sickness.

➝ Source: stratechery.com

Platform Tilt ➝

Mozilla:

This dashboard tracks technical issues in major software platforms which disadvantage Firefox relative to the first-party browser. We consider aspects like security, stability, performance, and functionality, and propose changes to create a more level playing field.

There are more issues for Apple platforms than Microsoft and Google combined.

➝ Source: mozilla.github.io

Lux Orion ➝

Eric Schwarz:

Where the iPad shines is in unique ways where the device disappears to perform a unique task. Lux Optics, makers of the well-regarded Halide camera app, has enabled iPad users to transform their devices with Orion, an app that turns your iPad into an HDMI monitor.

Orion is just so handy. I most recently used it to install Windows on a machine that I planned to run without a display. It worked flawlessly.

➝ Source: schwarztech.net

Panic Launches Prompt 3 ➝

There is a $20 per year subscription to unlock the app, but you can also buy it upfront with a one-time payment of $100. I downloaded the app as soon as I saw it was available and paid for the one-time purchase without hesitation.

Panic makes incredible applications and I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth with the one-time payment — heck, I still use Code Editor regularly, even after its discontinuation in 2021.

➝ Source: panic.com