The Daring Fireball Linked List

Unique ‘Celebration’ Apple I Sells for $815,000 

Apple hardware is overpriced.

Spotify Is Burying Musicians With Apple Music Exclusives 

Lucas Shaw and Adam Satariano, reporting for Bloomberg:

Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy. Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps. Those artists have also found their songs buried in the search rankings of Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, the people said. Spotify said it doesn’t alter search rankings.

Hardball.

Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ Amplifies Discord in the Music Business 

Ben Sisario, reporting for the NYT:

Despite its idiosyncratic format, “Endless” — one long streaming film, whose songs (different from those on “Blonde”) were not available separately — fulfilled Mr. Ocean’s contractual obligations to Def Jam, enabling him to release “Blonde” through Apple without any involvement from the label, according to three people with knowledge of Mr. Ocean’s deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. The financial arrangement between Mr. Ocean and Apple is not known. Apple, Def Jam and a representative for Mr. Ocean’s managers all declined to comment.

Record labels, more and more, are unnecessary middlemen, especially for well-known acts.

Nikkei Asian Review: ‘Intel Aims to Challenge TSMC Over Apple Chip Orders by 2018’ 

Cheng Ting-Fang, reporting for Nikkei Asian Review:

Intel’s recent pledge to expand its business making chips for others highlights its ambition to snatch chip orders for Apple’s popular iPhones from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as early as 2018, industry experts said.

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker by revenue, announced earlier this month that it will license technology from British mobile chip designer ARM with the aim of securing more business from smartphone companies. LG Electronics will become the first smartphone company to adopt Intel chips following the ARM deal.

Would be a crazy story if Apple switched from Intel to AMD for x86 CPUs for the Mac, but switched to Intel for CPUs for iOS.

(Via MacRumors.)

Intriguing Rumor: ‘Apple Could Use Custom x86 SoC Made by AMD’ 

Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits n Chips, back in October:

According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018. Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.

So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family, like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the perfect partner to do this.

Most of the speculation about Apple taking control of its Mac CPU is about switching the instruction set to ARM. That’s possible, of course, but problematic in many ways. (You wouldn’t be able to use Boot Camp to boot into Windows, for example.) This is just an idle rumor from a year ago, but it’s intriguing to think about Apple designing their own SoCs for Mac with the help of AMD.

Steven Levy, Behind the Scenes on Apple’s AI and Machine Learning 

Lengthy profile on Apple’s AI efforts by Steven Levy, for Backchannel:

Probably the biggest issue in Apple’s adoption of machine learning is how the company can succeed while sticking to its principles on user privacy. The company encrypts user information so that no one, not even Apple’s lawyers, can read it (nor can the FBI, even with a warrant). And it boasts about not collecting user information for advertising purposes.

While admirable from a user perspective, Apple’s rigor on this issue has not been helpful in luring top AI talent to the company. “Machine learning experts, all they want is data,” says a former Apple employee now working for an AI-centric company. “But by its privacy stance, Apple basically puts one hand behind your back. You can argue whether it’s the right thing to do or not, but it’s given Apple a reputation for not being real hardcore AI folks.”

This view is hotly contested by Apple’s executives, who say that it’s possible to get all the data you need for robust machine learning without keeping profiles of users in the cloud or even storing instances of their behavior to train neural nets. “There has been a false narrative, a false trade-off out there,” says Federighi. “It’s great that we would be known as uniquely respecting user’s privacy. But for the sake of users everywhere, we’d like to show the way for the rest of the industry to get on board here.”

This is the crux of the whole piece, to my mind. The AI community is largely focused on privacy-invasive data collection and doing the computation in the cloud. Apple’s approach protects privacy by keeping the data (and performing the computation) on the device.

The other interesting angle in the piece is about most researchers wanting to publish their work, whereas Apple is attracting those who are more interested in the products themselves. But Apple is allowing their researchers on differential privacy to publish their work.

Import Your Vesper Notes Into Ulysses 

Götz Fabian:

A few days ago, the creators of the notes app Vesper announced to end its development and eventually shut down the sync server. Being in this industry ourselves, we can understand that making this move isn’t easy, and we’re sorry for both the developers and the Vesper users who grew fond of the tool. If you’re a Vesper user and considering Ulysses as a future replacement, this post is for you. To ease migrating your notes from Vesper to Ulysses, we’ve created a small tool which lets you do exactly that.

Very cool. It even keeps your tags and photo attachments.

Jonathan Poritsky’s Elegy for Vesper 

Jonathan Poritsky:

But Vesper was innovative in two key ways: tags and photos. No note taking app before or since has treated photos as well. And I can find no replacement for the way it handled tags. […]

The brilliance of Vesper’s photo handling was that it didn’t treat photos as inline elements. They were almost like metadata, an aspect of your note. The photo itself could be the whole note.

When Apple added photos to Notes last year, many said it was the death knell for Vesper. But Notes treats photos differently. They are inline, part of the note. They are not the note itself. For me that’s not as attractive. It adds complexity where I’d rather have none.

He’s got a wonderful story at the end, about a particular note he wrote in Vesper. I don’t want to spoil it.

Blackbox 

Blackbox:

Blackbox is a new shipping company from the creators of Cards Against Humanity.

Our mission is to help you sell and ship stuff directly to your fans for a fraction of the cost and effort of doing it yourself. Blackbox works like a co-op: if we all go in together, we get the cheapest pricing, the fastest shipping, and the best service. The shipping is fast. We pay your sales tax. You can customize the packaging and the inserts. It’s pretty great.

We think the future will favor independent creators selling their own products, without publishers or bloodsucking middlemen taking most of the money. In fact, we’re betting the company on it.

It even has a cool domain name.

The Macaroni in ‘Yankee Doodle’ Is Not What You Think 

Michael Waters, writing for Atlas Obscura on a bit of British pop culture slang from the 1760s.

Yours Truly on Anil Dash’s ‘Pop Life’ Talkshow 

I was this week’s guest on Anil Dash’s Pop Life, on Talkshow. It’s like texting in public. It was fun, and there were some excellent questions from the audience. I tell the story about the first time I met Steve Jobs.

White Sox Change the Name of Their Ballpark to ‘Guaranteed Rate Field’ 

Also, 2017 will officially be the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.

Five Years of Tim Cook’s Apple in Charts 

Jan Dawson:

This week marks the fifth anniversary of Tim Cook’s appointment as permanent CEO at Apple — he was appointed CEO on August 24th, 2011. As a result, we’ll no doubt see quite a few retrospectives this week looking back over his time at Apple, and evaluating his tenure. As context for that analysis, I wanted to share some numbers about Apple in the quarter and year before he took over, and compare it with numbers for the quarter and year ending in June of this year. Not all the applicable data sets go back that far — Apple has changed its reporting segments in at least a couple of ways during this five year period, but we’ll mostly try to compare before and after as closely as possible.

Outstanding work. Both the factual comparisons and his analysis. Particularly eye-opening to me is Apple’s increase in R&D spending as a percent of revenue, and the correlating drop in margins. Dawson writes:

That reversed the trend under Steve Jobs, and the increased investment in R&D is roughly equivalent to the drop in margins during this time — Cook has made a massive bet on R&D and by implication on future products.

Mylan’s EpiPen Price Gouging 

Matt Novak, writing for Gizmodo:

EpiPen, the life-saving allergy product, is now a $1 billion a year business for Mylan, a drug company that’s currently enduring a wave of bad publicity over the extraordinary surge in EpiPen pricing. In 2007, an EpiPen cost about $57. Today that price has skyrocketed to over $600 — all for about $1 worth of injectable medicine.

EpiPen is an emergency medication that’s stabbed into a person experiencing anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can be triggered by anything from bee stings to food. I’ve never used an EpiPen, but as someone with a peanut allergy who once made his own trip to the ER after a particularly unfortunate restaurant experience (“these Chinese beans sure are crunchy…”) I can tell you that anaphylactic shock is really no fun.

Mylan is able to do this because they have no competitors in the U.S. Not one. If you need an EpiPen, you’re buying theirs. It’s despicable. Long-time DF readers may know that my son has a severe dairy allergy, so we’ve been buying EpiPens for years. Our insurance covers two per year, but after that we’re buying them out of pocket. We’ve never had to use one, knock on wood, but they expire every year, and we need a set for home and a set for school. We can afford it, but many parents can’t.

I don’t know how the executives at Mylan sleep at night.

Pinterest Acquires Instapaper 

Instapaper CEO Brian Donohue, on Hacker News:

Based on the comments I’ve read below the main concerns seem to be that Instapaper will either be shutdown or materially changed in a way that effects the end-user experience. I can tell you that neither of those are the plan for the short-term or long-term of the product, and I am personally looking forward to providing you with the same great service under a new owner.

We’ll see. Pinboard developer Maciej Ceglowski:

The “we sold to Pinterest but nothing is changing” email is Instapaper’s equivalent of reassuring grandma about her move to a nursing home.

Vesper Shutting Down 

Brent Simmons:

I loved working on Vesper. It was one of the great software-making experiences of my life. We’d get on a roll and it was wonderful.

And now it hurts to turn it off, but it’s time.

I’m working on a postmortem — or maybe more of a eulogy — but for now, I can’t express my feelings any better than those two short paragraphs from Brent.

XDA: ‘Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Still Delivers Embarrassing Real-World Performance’ 

Eric Hulse, writing for XDA:

The same lag carries onto scrolling performance in many applications, and infrequently in every application after heavy continuous usage. The phone does not get too hot, mind you, but we do notice that after continuous sessions, it progressively begins misbehaving. Scrolling behavior in particular is behind what you’d expect out of an $850 device, especially after this has been one of Samsung’s weak points for years.

When compared to the OnePlus 3, we find that the Note 7 often neglects using its four cores as opposed to the OnePlus 3, which efficiently mixes up its core utilization when handling the same task. GPU profiling on the Note 7 makes it extremely clear that the phone leaks frames on several actions, even minor animations throughout the UI such as a WiFi network spinning circle animation. In some instances, we found outright damning displays of the Note 7’s occasionally-pitiful fluidity accompanied by the walls of green bars denoting serious difficulties pushing the frames through.

But this is not just a matter of opening or returning to your application sooner than on other devices, Samsung’s software is noticeably slower than that of competing devices in almost every action.

The stock keyboard still sees issues with split-second lockups, and the sharing menu on the Note 7 often leaves you waiting for options to load. The notorious TouchWiz Launcher has earned itself a reputation for slow speed and stutters throughout the years, and while it is not as bad as it used to be, it can still miss clear frames while switching through homescreens, and despite years of integration, Flipboard still remains the most jerky leftmost homescreen panel ever introduced by an OEM.

Weird. The Note 7 scored 9/10 for performance at The Verge.

Galaxy Note 7 vs. iPhone 6S Speed Test 

Hard to say how much of this should be attributed to the A9 SoC (hardware) and how much to iOS (software), but it is impressive that a year-old iPhone blows away a brand-new top-of-the-line Samsung.

10K Apart: What Can You Do With 10 KB? 

My thanks to the Microsoft Edge team for sponsoring last week’s DF RSS feed to promote 10K Apart, a web design contest in which they’re awarding $10,000 in prizes to the most compelling web experiences that can be delivered in just 10 KB. With so much of an emphasis on front-end frameworks and JavaScript runtimes, it’s time to get back to basics — back to optimizing every byte and ensuring your site can work, no matter what. Check out the official rules and enter the contest today.

(Microsoft Edge is the all-new, modern browser for Windows. Check out dev.microsoftedge.com for tools to take the pain out of testing for Windows on your Mac, including free Windows 10 virtual machines, an open roadmap for their web platform, and a new public bug database.)

Apple Drops ‘Store’ From Apple Store Branding 

Juli Clover, reporting for MacRumors:

Apple appears to be making a slight branding change to its retail business, dropping the “Store” moniker when referring to its Apple Store locations. Apple has already made the change online, and all of its store pages now refer to stores by names like “Apple Union Square” or “Apple Valley Fair” or “Apple The Grove,” instead of “Apple Store, Valley Fair” or “Apple Store, The Grove.”

It’s a change that appears to have started rolling out with the launch of the newer Apple Stores, like the Union Square location in San Francisco. Apple has always referred to that store as just Apple Union Square, and over the course of the last few days, the company has updated all of its retail store webpages to remove the “Store” branding. What was once “Apple Store, Fifth Avenue,” for example, is now just “Apple Fifth Avenue.”

The “Store” branding only made sense when the concept was novel. Now that Apple’s stores are well established, it makes sense to drop the “Store”. Think about the brands that are Apple’s peers in retail. No one goes to the Tiffany Store or Gucci Store, they just go to Tiffany or Gucci. It’s not even just a premium thing — you say Target and Walmart, not Target Store and Walmart Store.

Gawker.com to End Operations Next Week 

J.K. Trotter, writing for Gawker:

After nearly fourteen years of operation, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company.

Josh Marshall:

Needless to say, Gawker courted a huge amount of controversy. And the decision to shutter it may, for all I know, be tied entirely to legal liability. But I have no doubt Gawker’s controversial rep put a permanent dent in ads sales - think of it as an inverse premium. The other thing though is that Gawker had no endemic ad proposition. Fun, news scoops and schadenfreude have no allied consumer products. But if you look at the other Gawker Media sites they were each carefully and wisely aligned with strong endemic ad propositions.

So given all that’s happened, even over and above whatever legal complexities are involved, it makes sense that a big corporate media giant would see the other Gawker Media sites as the drivers of value, not Gawker itself.

It always seemed clear to me that Gawker was Nick Denton’s baby, a labor of love. The other more targeted Gawker sites were there to prop up Gawker financially. Now that the company has been sold, there’s no one left who wants Gawker propped up.

Olympic Medals Per Capita 

This is an interesting perspective on Olympic medal counts — pro-rated by population. The United States finishes in the middle of the pack, right behind Russia and North Korea. New Zealand and Jamaica are performing the best (other than statistical outliers).

India comes in dead last, by a long shot. This year they have just one single medal, from a country of over 1.3 billion people. This story by Justin Rowlatt for the BBC News makes it sound like there are three main factors:

  1. India is very poor. Their economy is growing, but the government is spending on education, not sports. They spend so little they make their athletes pay their own way to the Olympics.
  2. Indian culture doesn’t put much value on sports, so even good athletes are under family pressure to give it up and focus on school.
  3. Cricket is so popular in India that most of the best athletes play it — but cricket is not an Olympic sport. (And even if it were, it could only give them two additional medals: one for men and one for women.)
The Talk Show: ‘Enjoyably Clicky’ 

This week’s episode of my podcast, The Talk Show, with special guest Jason Snell. Topics include the latest rumors regarding the upcoming new iPhones and MacBook Pros, Rick Tetzeli’s cover story for Fast Company on Tim Cook’s Apple, the saga of Apple Maps, and the connection between baseball and mechanical keyboards.

Sponsored by:

  • Boom for iOS: Music player app that redefines the way you listen to music on your iPhone or iPad. Free download.
  • Fracture: Your pictures, printed directly on glass.
  • Eero: Finally, Wi-Fi that works. Use code thetalkshow for free overnight shipping.
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Planning 10.5-Inch iPad Pro in 2017 

Eric Slivka, writing for MacRumors:

According to Kuo, Apple is aiming to introduce a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro model next year to go along with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and a “low-cost” 9.7-inch iPad model. Kuo makes no mention about the fate of the current 7.9-inch iPad mini, although many have assumed that model may be phased out as the recent 5.5-inch iPhone “Plus” models have helped lessen demand for Apple’s smallest tablet.

If true, I’ll bet the aspect ratio changes. I can’t see why else they’d change to something so similar to the existing 9.7-inch size.

Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) 

My thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Are you running Docker containers in production? Ready to share your story with the industry’s top developers, end users, and vendors?

Cloud native computing uses an open source software stack to deploy applications as microservices, packaging each part into its own container, and dynamically orchestrating those containers to optimize resource utilization. CNCF hosts critical components of that software stack including Kubernetes and Prometheus and serves as a neutral home for collaboration. CNCF is looking for new members, and especially end users of cloud native technologies.

If that describes you, check them out and join today.

Jason Calacanis, 18 months Ago: ‘Apple Will Buy Tesla for $75B in 18 Months’ 

Jason Calacanis, 14 February 2015:

Apple will buy Tesla for $75b in 18 months — it’s a lock (in my mind).

Let’s use that lock to season the claim chowder on this one. (Yours truly at the time: “If Apple were going to do this they’d have done it years ago.”)

Update: Even more seasoning for the claim chowder — Tesla’s market cap today: $33.4 billion.

Symbolic Leadership 

Om Malik:

I think Gruber is missing the point — attending a game when a division you are responsible for is down for six hours is a clear lack of empathy for the customers, and also is a sign that standards are falling of what used to be an Apple Standard for building products of delight. Sure, things might have taken as much time to fix the iCloud, but the message you would have sent out to rest of the Apple team would have been different.

Let’s unpack this. First, it has nothing to do with “empathy for the customers”. 99.999 percent of the customers whose iCloud accounts were affected by the June 2 outage have no idea who Eddy Cue is, let alone care whether he attended the Warriors game.

As for the message to Apple employees, that’s really the only part of the “Eddy Cue should have skipped the game” argument that makes any sense to me. I disagree with it, but at least it makes sense. But it’s predicated on a lot of assumptions about Apple employee attitudes and morale, and Cue’s leadership and management abilities. Are the engineers and system administrators who were responsible for fixing the outage delicate emotionally fragile children who felt hurt when they found out Eddy Cue went to a basketball game while they were doing their jobs? Or are they mature professionals, who realize that the only thing that mattered was fixing the outage?

And let’s go further. Let’s say Cue did skip the game. How would the employees working on the outage know that he skipped the game? Should Cue have been calling them every 15 minutes to see how it’s going? Should he have made them feel small by screaming at them, telling them that they’re incompetent shitheads? Should he have made them feel guilty by telling them that he was missing Game One of the NBA Finals, because of this outage? Or, should he simply trust them, leave them alone and let them do their jobs — in which case, he might as well have just gone to the fucking game.

If we’re going to talk about symbolic leadership, I like what it says to Apple employees that Cue went to the game. It says having fun and a life outside work is good.

Facebook to Deploy Ad Blocker Blocker Blocker Blocker 

Josh Constine, writing for TechCrunch:

A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.

Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.

Whack-a-mole all the way down.

One More Thing on Om Malik’s Eddy Cue Rant 

Philip Elmer-DeWitt (who was on the same episode of TWIT) transcribed Om Malik’s rant:

This is coming from the so-called celebrity influx into the company, whether it is through the Beats acquisition or Eddy Cue. I mean, look at Eddy Cue. The guy was hanging out at the playoffs when iCloud was burning. For six hours. You know, he wouldn’t have survived a day if Steve was around.

I’m sorry, that’s what gets me worked up about this company. They have all these wrong priorities. They want to do entertainment content? Buy damn Netflix and move on from there. Do it properly if you want to do it. Don’t try to do this stupid penny-ante stuff which adds no value to the company. Absolutely none.

(DeWitt’s comment: “I couldn’t disagree.”)

I’ll just point out that Eddy Cue started at Apple in 1989, and reported directly to Jobs while creating and running the iTunes Store, App Store, and iLife suite. You’re free to argue that Cue is doing a shitty job, but “he wouldn’t have survived a day if Steve was around” doesn’t hold water.

And the whole thing about Cue attending a Golden State Warriors game — Game One of the NBA Finals — during an iCloud outage is nonsense. If Cue had skipped the game, the iCloud outage would not have been fixed a minute sooner. Not one minute.

Om Malik: Apple Should Buy Netflix 

Om Malik:

I was on Leo Laporte’s TWIT show yesterday and ended up going on a bit of a rant about Apple and “Planet of the Apps.” My view on “content” efforts like this is pretty simple. It is distracting, non-core to Apple and basically avoids the bigger challenges: how to add data and Internet DNA into a company that has managed to struggle with services. The App Store needs more smarts and better search, and it needs to take a contemporary, data-centric approach to surfacing apps. “Planet of the Apps” is just an old media-like thinking applied to “apps.” I might be the only one who feels that way, but the reality is that these kinds of efforts are really not good for Apple at a time when it is competing with Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Apple — if it really wants to get into content and wants to make a strong statement to the Hollywood establishment that has stymied its television efforts so far — should make a big, bold bet. It should use its massive stock market capitalization and cash hoard to buy Netflix.

Om is a good friend, so it pains me to say this, but he’s off his rocker on this one. I’m as skeptical as anyone about this Planet of the Apps show and why Apple is producing it. But I highly doubt it’s a distraction for anyone at Apple. It’s not even shooting in the Bay Area; it’s shooting in L.A.

Buying Netflix, on the other hand, would be a huge distraction. I’m not saying it could never happen or would certainly be a bad idea, but Apple’s services are built to take advantage of its hardware. Netflix is the opposite — it’s a service designed to be available on any device with a screen. With iTunes, Apple already has a library of movies and TV shows. If Apple wants to produce original content, they could start their own production company for a tiny fraction of Netflix’s $42 billion market cap. A fraction.

To me, this reads as Om being bored with Apple, and wanting them to just do something. Saying Apple should buy Netflix is no different than Eric Jackson’s call two years ago for Apple to start making mega-billion acquisitions. As I wrote then:

Conglomeration may well work out well for Facebook. General Electric has done well with that model for over 100 years. But it would be a disaster for Apple. Apple makes acquisitions for integration. Exhibit A: PA Semi — a chump change $278 million acquisition that laid the groundwork for Apple to become the leading mobile semiconductor company in the world.

America Votes With Cards Against Humanity 

Cards Against Humanity:

Today, we’re letting America choose between two new expansion packs about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

At the end of this promotion, Cards Against Humanity will tally up the sales of both packs, and depending on which pack gets more support, we will donate all the money in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Text Analysis of Trump’s Tweets Confirms He Writes Only the (Angrier) Android Half 

Interesting data and semantics analysis by David Robinson, stemming from a casual observation by Todd Vaziri that went hyper-viral.

On the Economic Feasiblity of Apple Providing Decent Wireless Earbuds With the New iPhones 

Thomas Ricker, writing for The Verge:

“I’d prefer ‘good enough’ wireless earbuds included with the iPhone,” says Gruber, “and ‘amazing’ headphones as the upsell product.”

Same, but that doesn’t mean it’s economically viable for Apple to do it. When I first read Gruber’s take a few weeks ago I thought bundling an acceptable set of wireless earbuds would be too expensive. After all, the most popular models recommended by experts start at around $80, and can easily cost more than $200. But that was before I received the Meizu EP-51 Bluetooth earbuds for testing.

These Meizu earbuds cost $28 and are pretty decent. Of course Apple could make something similar. Apple loves profit margins, but institutionally their distaste for wires and cables is even stronger. They might go with Lightning earbuds by default, but they should go wireless. That’s what justifies removing the standard jack — not that one port is better than another, but that wireless is better than wired.

Gurman on New MacBook Pros 

Mark Gurman, writing at Bloomberg:

The new top-of-the-line MacBook Pros will be slightly thinner than the current models but are not tapered like the MacBook Air and latest 12-inch MacBook, one of the people said. The new MacBook Pros have a smaller footprint than current models and the casing has shallower curves around the edges. The pressure-sensitive trackpad is also slightly wider, the person added.

Interesting. I was expecting a tapered design.

The new computers have been in advanced testing within Apple since earlier this year, said one of the people, who didn’t want to be identified discussing products before their release. The MacBook Pros aren’t likely to debut at an event currently scheduled for Sept. 7 to introduce next-generation versions of the iPhone, according to one of the people. Apple spokesman Bill Evans declined to comment.

Interesting. I definitely expected them to be announced at the September event, even if they’re not available for sale until late October or early November. That’s what Apple did with the iPad Pro last year. If they’re not announced at the September 7 event, when will they be announced? They could do a smaller event in October, but I was told last year that Apple no longer wanted to do that.

Chrome Will Start Blocking ‘Behind the Scenes’ Flash Content Next Month 

Anthony LaForge, “curator of Flash in Chrome” (talk about a shit job):

Today, more than 90% of Flash on the web loads behind the scenes to support things like page analytics. This kind of Flash slows you down, and starting this September, Chrome 53 will begin to block it. HTML5 is much lighter and faster, and publishers are switching over to speed up page loading and save you more battery life. You’ll see an improvement in responsiveness and efficiency for many sites. […]

In December, Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the default experience, except for sites which only support Flash. For those, you’ll be prompted to enable Flash when you first visit the site. Aside from that, the only change you’ll notice is a safer and more power-efficient browsing experience.

Finally.

Mark Gurman on the New iPhones 

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

The standout features will be a dual-camera system on the larger iPhone, a re-engineered home button that responds to pressure with a vibrating sensation rather than a true physical click and the removal of the devices’ headphone jack, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified discussing unannounced features. Apple declined to comment.

It sounds like the plus-sized iPhone really will be the only model with the dual lens camera. Depressing if true.

The new iPhones will remove the headphone jack in favor of connectivity via Bluetooth and the charging port. That will make room for a second speaker, said the people. Apple started allowing headphone makers to build headphones that can connect via the iPhone’s charger connector in 2014, the same year the company acquired headphone maker Beats Electronics.

That’s a dodge around the fact that Gurman apparently does not know what sort of ear buds (if any) Apple is including in the box. The iPhone already supports both Bluetooth and Lightning headphones, but the one that Apple includes in the box is the one that the headphone jack is being replaced in favor of.

Philadelphia TV Pioneer Captain Noah Dies at Age 90 

Sad local note:

Produced at the Channel 6 studios, the show at its peak was syndicated to 22 other stations across the nation. Locally, the Magical Ark’s audience in the early 1970s was larger than Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street combined.

Organist Larry Ferrari provided the music, which included “Send Your Pictures to Captain Noah” and their theme song, “I Can Sing a Rainbow.”

When I was a kid, Captain Noah was the show to watch. Over 3,600 episodes.

Daring Fireball Sponsorship Openings 

Couple of openings on the schedule this month, including this week. If you’ve got a product or service you’d like to promote to DF’s savvy audience, get in touch and we’ll make a deal.

Update: This week’s spot just sold, but next week remains available.

Milton Glaser Analyzes Olympic Logo Design Through the Ages 

Emily Gosling, AIGA:

There’s been much controversy recently around Olympic logo design, but let’s not forget the rich and varying narrative the Games’ graphic design has weaved over the decades. Ahead of Rio 2016, who better to cast their eyes and critical judgement over the good, the bad, and the ugly of logo design for Olympics past, present, and future than Milton Glaser? Here he is.

My favorite (and Glaser’s): Tokyo 1964. Perfect.

Joe Posnanski on Alex Rodriguez 

Nice take by Joe Posnanski on Alex Rodriguez:

And then, impossibly, Rodriguez got better. At 22, he had a 40-homer, 40-stolen base season and was probably the best player in the league again (the MVP went back to Gonzalez but this time it didn’t directly affect A-Rod — he finished a distant ninth in the voting). Two years later, Rodriguez added 100 walks to his superior shortstop defense, high average, big power — he was again probably the best player in the league. He finished a distant third in the MVP voting to Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas, a couple of sluggers who didn’t even pretend to play defense.

The lack of respect — the lack of love — obviously rankled him. At free-agency time, Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras made it clear that they had every intention of shaking up the world, every desire to let America know that this Alex Rodriguez guy was not a great player, he was THE great player, the consummate player, the ideal player, better than anyone.

And they signed a deal with Texas that dropped jaws all over the country. Through the years, baseball players have set records with big deals, but this one was on a whole other level. Even now, 15 years later, A-Rod’s 10-year, $252 million deal in 2001 ranks as the third-largest in baseball history. And one of the two deals ahead of it was the one A-Rod himself signed later as an extension with the Yankees.

A-Rod was the second-best hitter I’ve watched in my lifetime. The best, of course, was Barry Bonds, whose name is also inextricably linked to PEDs.

The Collatz Conjecture 

Fun little math problem, explained by Professor David Eisenbud in a video by Brady Haran. (I’m learning Swift, and wrote a little playground to mess around with this. Update: Here’s my code in plain text, too. And Charles Parnot posted a more elegant solution.)

‘Do I Hope Nobody Gets in My Way? They Better Not.’ 

Also in Fast Company, Mark Sullivan interviews Apple Music marketing chief Bozoma Saint John:

Q: What can you tell me about what you have learned about race and gender in corporate America? Some women and minorities have described the feeling of having to be twice as good to get where they want to go.

A: I always find that question quite funny, because I don’t have another experience. The experience I have is this. This body, this is it. I don’t have anything else to compare it to. Frankly, I think it is unfair to me, if I did it to myself, to say, “I wonder how this experience has been different to mine?” It would undercut my own successes and my own passion and my own journey. I really don’t do that. This experience is what I have. Do I work hard? Hell, yeah. Am I passionate about what I do? Yes. Do I hope I have a future in this? Absolutely. Do I hope nobody gets in my way? They better not.

Derek Jeter on Ichiro Suzuki 

Derek Jeter, commemorating Ichiro joining the 3,000-hit club:

Most of all, I’ve admired Ichiro because he’s a model of consistency. In my mind, the most underrated characteristic for anyone is consistency. It’s something that gets overlooked until it’s gone. I think baseball was always more than just a game to him. This was what he was born to do. And most impressive of all, the guy’s 42 years old and I can’t remember him ever being on the disabled list. He has taken great care of himself. He seems to approach baseball like a craft that can never be perfected. I don’t think he has a concept of “time off” from the game. It’s his life’s work. That starts with working hard all the time, even when no one’s looking.

He really has been remarkably consistent. What he’s doing this year is simply extraordinary for a 42-year-old. He looks like he could play for years. (And of course, much like Jeter did, Ichiro picked up his 3,000th hit in spectacular fashion.)

‘Playing the Long Game Inside Tim Cook’s Apple’ 

Excellent, must-read cover story for Fast Company by Rick Tetzeli (co-author of last year’s also excellent Becoming Steve Jobs biography). It’s about as accurate and insightful as a “state of Apple” profile could be. I wish I had written it.

What Apple has accomplished with Maps is an example of the kind of grind-it-out innovation that’s happening all the time at the company. You don’t hear a lot about it, perhaps because it doesn’t support the enthralling myth that innovation comes in blinding flashes that lead to hitherto unimaginable products. When critics ding Apple for its failure to introduce “breakthrough” devices and services, they are missing three key facts about technology: First, that breakthrough moments are unpredictable outcomes of ongoing, incremental innovation; second, that ongoing, behind-the-scenes innovation brings significant benefits, even if it fails to create singular disruptions; and, third, that new technologies only connect broadly when a mainstream audience is ready and has a compelling need. “The world thinks we delivered [a breakthrough] every year while Steve was here,” says Cue. “Those products were developed over a long period of time.”

That one paragraph goes a long way to explaining what Apple really does. Tetzeli also makes a compelling argument that Apple is better positioned on artificial intelligence than any of its competitors, because they’re the only company that’s with you everywhere — from your desk to your wrist to your car.

I spoke to Tetzeli while he was working on this piece, and I’m quoted a few times. This one begs for an explanation:

Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has come to seem quite fallible to many people. Its recent products have seemed far less than perfect, at least compared to the collective memory of its astonishing iPod–iPhone–iPad run from 2001 to 2010. There are the public embarrassments, like its 2012 introduction of Maps, or those 2014 videos of reviewers bending, and breaking, an iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Pay hasn’t become the standard for a cashless society, and the Apple Watch “is not the watch we expect from Apple,” according to John Gruber, editor of Daring Fireball, the preeminent Apple-centric website. Then there are the design flaws: Apple Music has been saddled with too many features, as if it were something designed by, God forbid, Microsoft; the lens on the back of the iPhone 6 extrudes; the new Apple TV has an illogical interface and confusing remote control.

If I recall correctly, the context of that remark was related to the Sport/steel/Edition tiering of the Apple Watch product lineup — particularly the $10,000-and-up Edition models. But it could have just as easily been about the slowness of the software. In hindsight — especially now that we’ve seen the zippy WatchOS 3 — Apple Watch was released before it was ready, which is un-Apple-like.

Ming-Chi Kuo: ‘Apple Watch 2’ With GPS, Barometer, Better Waterproofing 

Mikey Campbell, writing for AppleInsider:

Well-connected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note to investors on Sunday, obtained by AppleInsider, detailed Apple’s wearable timeline for the coming six months.

Kuo believes Apple is planning to launch two new Apple Watch versions in the second half of 2016, both of which offer moderate improvements over their predecessor. The first unit will be an iterative upgrade on the original Apple Watch and is expected to sport the same aesthetics, but with improved intervals like a TSMC processor built on the 16nm process. Waterproofing should also be slightly improved.

A second version, dubbed “Apple Watch 2,” is also expected to share the same general design as current models, but will include a GPS radio and barometer for improved geolocation capabilities. A higher capacity battery will be included to power the advanced components, but its size will prohibit Apple’s usual generational device slimming.

I can see Apple keeping the original Apple Watch models around (Sport edition only?) at lower prices. That’s what Apple does with old generations — keep them around at lower prices. But it doesn’t make any sense to me that they would both introduce a second generation model and upgrade the first generation model. Especially if they look the same.

Google Photos ‘Free Up Space’ Commercial 

Do you smell smoke? That’s the aroma of a sick burn wafting out of Cupertino. This Google Photos commercial is running during the Olympics, and it absolutely nails Apple right where they deserve to be nailed. This commercial is going to turn millions of people with 16 GB iPhones into Google Photos users. Running out of space is a real problem that real people face — and once storage gets tight, it will remain tight until you get a new phone.

Update: In addition to 16 GB iPhones, Apple’s other problem is the meager 5 GB limit for the free tier of iCloud. I think the $1/month 50 GB plan is a great deal. It ought to be a no-brainer for anyone who can afford an iPhone in the first place. But there are a lot of people who simply won’t budge from “free”, even if it means putting up with the daily annoyance of warnings about storage limits being hit. I realize Apple is building up its “services” as a profit center, but 5 GB just isn’t enough for the free tier.

MacUpdate’s Summer Mac App Bundle 

My thanks to MacUpdate for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote their Summer Mac App Bundle. It includes brand new releases of Toast 15 Titanium, Folx 5 Pro, Myriad 4, and free upgrades for the soon-to-be-released WALTR 2 and Disk Drill Pro 3.

For visual artists, the bundle includes Corel Aftershot and Next Flipbook Maker. Nerdy utilities include iStat Menus and DaisyDisk. (Daisy Disk is my personal favorite for analyzing disk usage on the Mac. It’s a beautiful app.)

As always with MacUpdate’s bundles, it’s a great value. The retail value for all these apps is over $500 — with this bundle, you get them all for just $49.99. Act now: there are only four days left in the promotion.

Title Case vs. Sentence Case in UI Labeling 

John Saito:

If you’re an Apple user, you’ll notice a lot of title case throughout their products. That’s because Apple’s design guidelines recommend title case for many UI elements, including alert titles, menu items, and buttons.

If you’re a Google user, you’ll see a lot more sentence case throughout their products. And that’s because Google’s design guidelines recommend sentence case for almost everything.

A subtle but telling difference between Apple and Google. Culturally, Apple is fussier; Google is more casual.

Hampton Creek Ran Undercover Project to Buy Up Its Own Vegan Mayo 

Outstanding reporting by Olivia Zaleski for Bloomberg:

In late 2014, fledgling entrepreneur Josh Tetrick persuaded investors to plow $90 million into his vegan food startup Hampton Creek Inc. Tetrick had impressed leading Silicon Valley venture capital firms by getting his eggless Just Mayo product into Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, and other top U.S. supermarkets within about three years of starting his company.

What Tetrick and his team neglected to mention is that the startup undertook a large-scale operation to buy back its own mayo, which made the product appear more popular than it really was. At least eight months before the funding round closed, Hampton Creek executives quietly launched a campaign to purchase mass quantities of Just Mayo from stores, according to five former workers and more than 250 receipts, expense reports, cash advances and e-mails reviewed by Bloomberg. In addition to buying up hundreds of jars of the product across the U.S., contractors were told to call store managers pretending they were customers and ask about Just Mayo. Strong demand for a product typically prompts retailers to order more and stock it in additional stores.

That is fraud. (And it should have been unnecessary: Just Mayo apparently tastes great.)

Also, don’t miss the wonderful animated illustration by Steph Davidson accompanying the article.

Glenn Fleishman Examines What’s New in Apple’s Emoji 

Emoji week continues on Daring Fireball. Glenn Fleishman, writing for Macworld:

As part of this update, Apple has also redrawn most faces and figures, among other changes. For the quasi-figurative smiley-style emoji, the changes are very slight. In most cases, you need to zoom way in to see them, although the subtle effects remain noticeable on a Retina or 4K display. Smileys now have a slightly different light source, with a more intense “hottest” point at the top, some lines are thinner, and the 3D effect is slightly more pronounced.

The way I’d describe it is that the old Pac-Man-style faces had an Aqua-like high-gloss texture. The new ones are no longer glossy.

Here’s my beef: Why isn’t Apple yet supporting the tumbler glass?

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