Linked List Entries

The Linked List is a frequently updated list of notable links and commentary. You can subscribe to the Linked List with its dedicated RSS feed or you can follow along on the main feed, which includes both Linked List entries and feature articles from the site.

Apple Will Not Have an October Event This Year ➝

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

This shouldn’t come as any surprise given that it’s already the 20th of October, but Apple has no plans to hold an event to introduce new products this month. Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi confirmed there will be no October event in an email to MacRumors reader Luke.

Prior to Apple’s most recent event, I had hoped for a second keynote before the end of the year. I felt like there was plenty of product announcements and software recaps to do that would fill the time. And a second event would give each of the presenters an opportunity to dive deeper on product features.

But all of the important announcements that I noted in the aforementioned link were already discussed at last month’s event. They don’t have enough left to justify another keynote. That means we should expect the availability of the Amazon Video app for Apple TV to be announced in a press release. And the HomePod and iMac Pro will be released after private press briefings and published reviews by some of the more influential publications.

The only remaining wildcard was my expectation of some sort of third-party software integration in the HomePod. But as we creep closer to the device’s release, it’s becoming painfully clear that Apple isn’t ready for it this year or it isn’t going to happen at all.

The Third-Generation iPod Shuffle ➝

Riccardo Mori recently acquired a third-generation iPod Shuffle and shared his thoughts on the minuscule music player. The device was a drastic change from previous iPods. Lacking controls on the unit itself, it relied on VoiceOver and the included headphones’ in-line controls.

This iteration of the iPod Shuffle was not well-received and Apple brought the on-device controls back in the following model. But reflecting on the third-generation iPod Shuffle today, I’m left wondering how long it will take for the AirPods to gain a little more independence. What if they featured a small amount of flash storage that could be automatically filled with music or the latest episode of your favorite podcast?

Multi-Watch Lifestyle ➝

Chris Hannah just bought an Apple Watch Series 3 and will be using his Series 0 as a dedicated sleep tracker:

I started by removing all the apps, turning off the features like handoff, bedside mode, notification indicators, and activity monitoring.

Then it was the watch face, so they were all deleted, apart from a modular face. Which I have customised to have the time in the top right as usual, and the middle complication is the alarms. Everything else is blank. Because what else would I ever need to see if I’m in bed? Hopefully I’d be sleeping.

There’s also a few more little settings that will make the sleep-watch experience better. For example, the brightness is the lowest it can go, the text size is a bit larger, and it will be on Do Not Disturb, Silent, and Theatre modes, all the time.

So it now does nothing I guess?

Oh except, I installed AutoSleep on it.

I don’t think I could ever part with my Apple Watch Series 0. It’s the timepiece I wore at my wedding and it’s garnered a bit of sentimental value as a result. But this seems like a brilliant way to continue using an older Apple Watch beyond its typical lifespan. When I eventually buy a Series 3, I expect I’ll use it for sleep tracking as well.

Twitter Testing 280-Character Limit ➝

Twitter was originally built as a text messaging service. You send a message to 40404 and Twitter would automatically publish it on their website. Your tweets would also be sent to all of your followers as a text message and you could use certain shortcuts — DM, RT, track, follow — to perform various functions.

This is where Twitter’s character limit came from. The SMS protocol only allows messages that are 160-characters long. 140-characters gave the company some wiggle room to include a small amount of metadata (like usernames) alongside the full text of the tweet.

But native applications have become the primary interaction point for Twitter users. The company doesn’t have to rely on SMS anymore and can ditch the old character count baggage. I’m not positive that 280-characters is the right number, but I’m the type that would rather err on the side of caution and try something smaller first. Something around 200 feels better to me.

But I’m glad they’re doing something to freshen up the service. I just hope that doubling the length of tweets doesn’t negatively impact the usefulness of my timeline. Brevity is Twitter’s best feature. And I hope that isn’t going away when the 280-character switch is flipped on for all users.

Apple TV 4K ➝

Support for 4K video and HDR was inevitable. This is the direction the industry is heading and Apple needed it in their set-top-box in order to keep up. And I couldn’t be happier that Apple is offering 4K titles on iTunes at the same prices that they’ve been selling HD content at for years.

The Apple TV 4K seems like a great piece of hardware, but I’m not thrilled about the lineup’s pricing. Not necessarily the 4K model’s $179 starting price, that’s fine by me, but the current Apple TV remaining in the lineup at $149 is just silly. In an era where reasonably sized smart TVs can be purchased for two or three hundred dollars, it’s hard to justify the cost of an Apple TV anymore. Pricing the old Apple TV at $99 would have lowered the barrier to entry and helped the company compete with inexpensive streaming boxes from Roku, Amazon, and the like.

Regarding the TV app’s live sports and news feature, this is exactly how I believe it should be dealt with. The app surfaces live events that you’re interested in and hides the rest alongside your other streaming library content. It’s perfect. I just hope a wide variety of streaming services add support for it — having the NBA and MLB at launch is a big deal, but I’d like to see more niche content networks like the WWE get on board.

Apple Watch Series 3 ➝

The landmark feature is built-in cellular connectivity. Perfect for making calls, streaming music, receiving notifications, and interacting with Siri when you’re away from your iPhone. The Series 3 is available with and without cellular connectivity, starting at $399 and $329 respectively. Preorders start on September 15 with models shipping a week later.

In addition to the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple also announced a medical study, which will look at heart rates and arrhythmias. My wife, in particular, is really excited about this news. She’s been having occasional heart palpitations for the past several months and her doctors have been struggling to find their cause. This study, combined with the Heart Rate app’s notifications for unexpected elevated heart rates, might help her discover the cause of these palpitations.

Steve Jobs Theater ➝

Before I publish my thoughts on any of the products announced today, I wanted to address Tim Cook’s dedication of the theater, in memory of Steve Jobs. The audio played at the opening of the event — the first ever to be held in Steve Jobs Theater — was absolutely perfect. No matter your opinions about the products Apple makes, you can’t deny the influence Steve Jobs had on millions of people around the world. He was a great man that will be missed for decades to come.

If you don’t have an opportunity to watch the full video of today’s event, at least try and set ten minutes aside to watch the beginning. It’s worth it.

Giving Prepaid a Chance ➝

Eric Schwarz decided to give prepaid cellular service a try. He moved everyone on his AT&T family plan to Cricket Wireless. They’re saving a bit of money on their monthly bill and have found the service to be just as reliable as their previous setup.