Tag Archive for ‘Kirk McElhearn’

Why Apple Is Missing the Boat on Home Wi-Fi ➝

Kirk McElhearn, writing for Intego’s mac security weblog:

A mesh wi-fi system could form part of a broader Apple home network. Imagine if the HomePod, Apple TV, or future Apple in-home devices, acted as a satellite for a wi-fi access point, as well as being a HomeKit hub; this could get more people to buy these media devices, knowing that they would serve more than one purpose.

In addition, the Time Capsule, an AirPort base station with a built-in hard drive, was a great way to ensure that people backed up their Macs. It meant that both desktop Macs and laptops could be automatically backed up without needed to connect an external hard drive. This was not without its quirks, but the technology was seamless. Apple could have extended this backup to iOS devices as well, allowing local backups instead of or in addition to iCloud backups.

I love my Eero setup, but I’d trade it in a heartbeat for an Apple designed and developed mesh Wi-Fi system that allowed Time Capsules, HomePods, and Apple TVs to extend the network.

➝ Source: intego.com

Is Apple Getting Rid of Star Ratings for Music in iTunes? ➝

Kirk McElhearn:

Ratings are totally absent from the iOS 10 Music app, with no option to turn them on. Currently, on iOS 9, you can view a rating or rate a track by tapping its album artwork while it’s playing, but only for tracks in your library; you can’t apply star ratings to Apple Music tracks. Nothing happens in iOS 10 when you tap the artwork. When you tap the … for a playing track, you see a menu which offers Love and Dislike options, but no star ratings.

I hope to see star ratings return to iOS. I make extensive use of them in a few smart playlists and the new heart-based rating system doesn’t offer enough granularity for my needs.

Maybe Apple Does Need to Make a Smaller iPhone ➝

Kirk McElhearn:

But there was one comment that I noticed, which I actually found surprising. Tim Cook said, at one point, that:

the number of people who had an iPhone prior to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus announcements, so this was in September of ’14, that have not yet upgraded to a 6, 6 Plus, 6s, or 6s Plus is now 60 percent. So another way to think of that is, 40 percent have, 60 percent have not.

60% of people are using an iPhone prior to the iPhone 6. In other words, 60% of people are using smaller iPhones.

That may mean that the 4-inch form factor remains the most popular iPhone size of all time. I’m in no position to speak for Apple, but that’s not something I’d let go of too easily.

Alternatives to Apple’s iOS Music App ➝

I came across this article after Richard Anderson tweeted about Cesium. Honestly, I didn’t even know this type of app was possible on iOS. But they all seem to function a lot like third-party calendar apps — reading and writing data from system APIs rat her than recreating the entire stack.

I’ve been using Cesium for several hours and I’m very impressed by it. The interface is incredibly simple and reminds me of earlier versions of the iOS music app — back when it was still called “iPod.” I’m not thrilled about the application’s icon or the circular scrub bar on the now playing screen, but I’m glad to be using something that feels designed for music playback rather then to sell a subscription streaming service.

Its too early to say whether I’ll be sticking with a third-party music app, but I’ll definitely be trying a few others from Kirk McElhearn’s list before going back to iOS’ default option.

Turn a Mac mini into a Media Server with Plex ➝

I’ve used a Mac mini as my home media server for years, but I’ve always stored my content in iTunes. This has its advantages in that it’s capable of sharing media throughout the house with out needing to install additional software on any of my devices — and of course, it played nice with my Apple TVs. But with the new Apple TV’s App Store, it might be time to give Plex a try.

‘Pandora’s Thumbprint Radio is What Apple Music Needs’ ➝

Kirk McElhearn:

Pandora’s approach makes a lot of sense. Rather than try to funnel my listening into a single unit – an album or playlist – a radio station that plays music I like, and related music, across all genres, is far more interesting. Sure, there are times I’m in the mood to hear some Cabaret Voltaire; I’ll just spin one of their albums. Or when I want some mellow jazz, I’ll put on some of Miles Davis’s early records, and when I want funky jazz, I’ll turn up the volume and listen to Bitches Brew. But sometimes I just want music.

I’ve spent several hours listening to Pandora’s Thumbprint Radio and I couldn’t be more happy with it. The personalized station has helped me rediscover dozens of tracks that I completely forgot about. I would absolutely love for Apple Music to gain this feature.

Use Safari’s Responsive Design Mode in El Capitan ➝

I have a project that I plan on starting this spring and this new feature looks like it’ll be invaluable while I’m working on it.

Most People Simply Don’t Care Enough About Music to Pay for Streaming, but It Gets Worse ➝

Kirk McElhearn:

I think people in the music industry miss something very important. Most people simply don’t care very much about music. They may want to listen to a few of the latest hits, and they will do so on the radio, or with an ad-supported streaming service such as Spotify, or on YouTube. For the most part, these people use music as wallpaper. They are not music fans. The percentage of people who care enough about music to want to pay even $10 a month is clearly very small.

There’s also plenty of users who consider themselves to be music lovers, but don’t find new music at a rapid enough pace to warrant spending $10 a month on an all-you-can-eat service. I absolutely love the bands and musicians that I listen to, but only find myself listening to something new a few times a year. Most of the time I’m just cycling through the same 4-5 albums.

The biggest hurdle for me is that my musical taste is very narrow. I’ve tried branching out by browsing the For You tab in Apple Music, but I always found myself gravitating towards albums I already owned. I suppose the last decade of album purchasing isn’t helping much, though, the vast majority of music I’ve found myself enjoying I’ve bought already.

Teenagers today might not be so inclined to buy all the music they love, though. The proliferation of mobile devices with an always-on internet connection changes things — its much easier (and cheaper) to stream the music you want from free services rather than pay money for it.

The value proposition is where things get interesting. As long as free services like YouTube and Spotify exist, why would anyone growing up today pay for music at all — purchases, subscriptions, or otherwise? Sure, there’s plenty of people who don’t care enough about music to pay for streaming services. But the problem gets worse when you consider that, even among those who care deeply about music, there might only be a small group of listeners who are willing to pay for music when its so easy to listen to anything you want for free.