Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Dan Moren’

Apple’s Troubling Relationship With China ➝

Dan Moren, writing in reference to a recent piece about Apple and China:

That reliance is a significant vulnerability for any company, but especially one that touts its belief in human rights, equality, and privacy, three ideals that would seem to run headlong into a government that has problems with all of them. What the article makes clear is that balance of power has changed over the past decade, and whereas once Apple might have been able to convince itself that it was importing its ideals into China, it seems more and more like China’s ideals are the ones affecting Apple.

This problem isn’t unique to Apple. Most, if not all, of the major companies whose products and services we interact with each day are being influenced by China. And I expect that influence is growing with each day that passes. If you’re in favor of freedom, liberty, and individual rights, you should be concerned about this.

➝ Source: sixcolors.com

Why Apple Should Make a Cheaper, Streamlined Apple TV ➝

Dan Moren, writing for Macworld:

I’m skeptical we’ll see any major changes to the Apple TV line this fall, but what I’m hoping for is this: a return to a lower cost Apple TV, somewhere in the $70-$99 range, with a modicum of storage, and perhaps a traditional remote with buttons. Instead of building Siri functionality into the remote, the Apple TV should have built-in mics that support “Hey Siri” (or, if you prefer to avoid collisions, “Hey Apple TV”). The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and yes, HomePod, have proved that both technology and people can handle this kind of functionality. If you prefer the Siri Remote, no problem: just buy it as an add-on.

I think Apple will offer a lower priced Apple TV soon. There’s already historical precedent for reducing the price of the previous model when a new model is introduced — the third-generation Apple TV was available for $69 for a period of time after the current Apple TV was released. I think they’ll do the same when a more powerful, 4K-capable Apple TV goes on sale this fall.

I don’t think they’ll reduce the price of the current Apple TV to $69, but maybe they could if they listen to Dan Moren’s advice and no longer include the more costly Siri Remote with this model and bundle their inexpensive Apple Remote instead. Even with that change, though, I think $99 would be more likely.

This would give Apple a fairly robust lineup — the current, fourth-generation Apple TV with the older Apple Remote for $99 alongside a more powerful, 4K Apple TV with the Siri Remote for $149. This would give customers a more affordable offering while continuing to position the Apple TV as premium products.

I’m not sold on Moren’s idea of integrating a microphone into the Apple TV, though. I’d certainly have to see how it was implemented before passing judgement on it, but it doesn’t seem like an elegant solution to me. Quietly speaking directly into the Siri Remote is so much less abrasive than yelling at your TV from across the room. I don’t know, maybe it would be great, but my initial reaction is that it would be worse in almost every way.

‘In Short, It’s All Kind of a Mess’ ➝

Dan Moren, on returning his smart bulbs to “condition normal”:

The issue here is twofold: first, when you specify “white” it gives you essentially pure white, which I find an overly harsh tone. Secondly, there are a ton of different systems for quantifying colors, and the versions that Philips uses in its app don’t easily translate into hex code.

I turned again to Yonomi, but this presented its own problems. It presents two methods for specifying color: first, choosing from a menu of common, specific values—”white”, “green”, “yellow”, and so on—or second, picking from a discrete list of color temperatures measured in Kelvin. With the latter I was able to get close to the value I wanted, but it fell between two of the options presented—2500 and 3000—and there’s no way to specify an arbitrary value.

The move away from incandescent light bulbs has left me a little lost. What I’d consider to be the gold standard of light bulbs — 75W Philips Natural Light incandescents — aren’t available anymore and I’m stuck using their EcoVantage branded version. The bulb is closer to what I want than anything else that I’ve found on the market, but the light it gives off isn’t quite up to par.

My hope is that I’ll be able to limp along using these bulbs until a smart bulb is able to recreate the light output of the Philips Natural Lights. Unfortunately, none of the smart bulbs I’ve looked at are capable of outputting enough lumens to brighten my rooms and, as Dan Moren points out, the level of customization might not allow for the color temperature I’m looking for.

I’ll continue to wait for a smart bulb that’s capable of meeting my requirements. But until then, I’ll keep buying the EcoVantage bulbs — they’re available in a two-pack from my local Wegmans for $2.99. They’re not perfect, but they’re a lot closer than anything I’ve found.

Permute for Mac ➝

I happened upon some MKV files a few days ago that I wanted to watch on my Apple TV. Normally I would convert these files with Handbrake, but I decided to run them through Permute instead. Dan Moren recently recommended the app on Six Colors and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It has a myriad of presets and a simple drag and drop interface — much easier to use than any of the other video conversion apps out there.

The Amazon Echo Family Expands ➝

Dan Moren, writing for Six Colors:

The Dot is essentially a small version of the existing Echo, just 1.5 inches tall, as opposed to the Echo’s 9.9 inches. From what I can tell, it has all of the features of the Echo, as well as two new tricks up its sleeve: it includes a standard 3.5mm audio output jack, letting you connect it to an existing set of speakers; and it can connect to Bluetooth speakers as well, so you can pipe music from online music sources—Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora—to better speakers. […]

The Tap is, as rumored, a smaller portable version of the Echo—6.2 inches tall and 2.6 inches in diameter—complete with a rechargeable battery and charging cradle (you can also charge it via micro-USB).

I find the Dot to be the most compelling of the two devices. I like the idea of plugging it into a nice set of speakers for improved audio quality.

The Viability of a 4-inch iPhone ➝

Dan Moren, writing for Macworld:

But there’s a far more pragmatic reason Apple might consider a smaller iPhone. Consider that the iPad, which has been suffering from dwindling sales of late, does fairly small business compared to the iPhone. In the most recent quarter, Apple sold 9.9 million iPads—and 48 million iPhones. Almost five times as many. If Apple’s willing to explore a niche market by making a larger iPad—of which it might sell a few million—then a smaller iPhone might be an equally, if not more, viable product.

This is a very clever way to think about it. And one I haven’t seen mentioned before.


Sizing up the Apple TV ➝

Weighing in on the 32GB vs. 64GB debate, Dan Moren decided to preorder the 32GB model. His primary reason: app thinning.

When My Music Isn’t ‘My’ Music ➝

Dan Moren, writing for Six Colors:

But there’s a bigger—well, I suppose you could call it philosophical—point here. As long as iTunes has been around, the expectation has been that the music in your library is yours. This is what I find off-putting about the My Music integration in the first place—it’s intermingling tracks I own with those that I’m merely leasing.

There was something a bit odd to me about adding tracks from Apple Music to my library, however I could never really put my finger on it. But I think Dan fould the exact reason it was bugging me — I don’t like the idea of mixing tracks I own with tracks I don’t inside of an application that I’ve grown used to having populated with music that was mine to keep. I’d much prefer to keep my streaming music and my purchased music separate.