Summary of “In an Era of ‘Smart’ Things, Sometimes Dumb Stuff Is Better”

While riding a bicycle, for example, you often have to let go of the handle bar and lift the watch toward your face to check the time.
Until the Apple Watch manages to constantly display the time without sapping the battery, a normal wristwatch is better for telling the time in all those scenarios.
A kitchen timer vs. Amazon EchoOne of the most common uses of Amazon’s Echo is to set a kitchen timer.
Just say “Alexa, set a timer for 80 minutes” while you’re busy chopping vegetables.
There are reasons a cheap kitchen timer can be superior.
So if you have to check your food for doneness and change the kitchen timer, an old-school timer – either the analog variety or the type with a digital time display and two or three physical buttons – can be easier.
You can also constantly see how much time is left on the timer, whereas with the Echo, you have to open a smartphone app to see the remaining time or ask Alexa to tell you how much time is left.
Over the long term, using a smart speaker as a timer gets tedious.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple Plans Upgrades to Popular AirPods Headphones”

Apple Inc., seeking to bolster its wearables business, is working on upgrades to its wireless AirPods headphones, according to people familiar with the matter.
Like with its mobile devices – the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch – Apple intends to frequently update the AirPods with new hardware features.
The first AirPods include a chip known as the W1, and Apple released the W2 with the Apple Watch last year.
The latest iPhones can survive splashes, while the Apple Watch is considered “Swim-proof.” Apple’s plans could change or be delayed, the people said.
Apple introduced the first AirPods in 2016 alongside the iPhone 7 as a way to replace the traditional wired headphone jack.
Since launch, AirPods have been considered one of the top-performing Apple products and have resonated with both reviewers and consumers.
Apple’s Other Products segment, which includes AirPods, Beats headphones, the Watch, Apple TV and accessories, generated more than $5 billion in revenue for the first time in the company’s fiscal first quarter, representing 36 percent year-over-year growth.
Apple has said it is releasing an upgraded AirPods case this year that allows the headphones to be recharged wirelessly, like the iPhone X. The company is also working on an augmented-reality headset that would launch in 2020 at the earliest, Bloomberg News has reported.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Apple Is The World’s Most Innovative Company”

The only things more impressive than Apple’s financial numbers are the products that generated them.
Fast Company: What makes a good year for Apple? Is it the new hit products? The stock price?
Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people’s lives? If you’re doing both of those things-and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other-then you have a good year.
FC: Given the relentless pace of change in the world, how do you prioritize what Apple is going to spend its time on, which things deserve attention and which things are distractions?
In the scheme of things versus our revenue, we’re doing very few things.
TC: What drives us is making products that give people the ability to do things they couldn’t do before.
What comes with that is trying to anticipate not only the great things that people can use your products for but those things that might not be so good, and try to get out in front of those.
TC: For a casual observer who hasn’t been a user of our products, the thing that they might miss is how different Apple is versus other technology companies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Apple Plans to Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone Software”

Apple’s annual software upgrade this fall will offer users plenty of new features: enabling a single set of apps to work across iPhones, iPads and Macs, a Digital Health tool to show parents how much time their children have been staring at their screen and improvements to Animojis, those cartoon characters controlled by the iPhone X’s facial recognition sensor.
Just as important this year will be what Apple doesn’t introduce: redesigned home screens for the iPhone, iPad and CarPlay, and a revamped Photos app that can suggest which images to view.
“This change is Apple beginning to realize that schedules are not being hit, stuff is being released with bugs – which previously would not have happened,” when Apple was a smaller company with fewer engineers, customers and devices to manage, says one person familiar with the company.
The shift is an admission of what many customers have already come to notice: Some Apple software has become prone to bugs and underdeveloped features.
At Apple, all new features are tied to a big release in the fall, when Apple rolls out its splashiest new software, and a more modest update in the spring.
Under the previous system, a person familiar with Apple says, “Inevitably, some things will be late because you underestimated how long it would take. Some things have to be cut, some things have to be rushed. It’s the result of having thousands of people working on the same schedule.”
The first test of the new development strategy will come in the fall, when Apple debuts the next iPhone and iPad software upgrade.
Apple plans to integrate Animojis into FaceTime, letting people put virtual faces over themselves in video calls.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The HomePod is the point of no return for Apple fans”

For as long as the company has existed, Apple products have worked best with other Apple products and that’s been that.
The HomePod has voice control for music playback, but you’ll have to be tapping into Apple’s own Apple Music, iTunes tracks, or iTunes Match to take full advantage of Siri.
Whatever, you just bought the Apple speaker and now you have to live within the confines of the world that Apple has set up for you.
Apple has shown itself a master of creating synergistic effects between its products, with the Apple Watch, AirPods, Mac, and now HomePod each feeding the demand for an iPhone user to remain an iPhone user.
The striking thing to me today is just how aggressive the Apple separatism is with the HomePod: without even basic Bluetooth streaming, the HomePod is, to borrow a famous Apple line, unapologetically Apple-centric.
This could all change with time, as Apple might open up the HomePod with proper Spotify support to entice more users, but there’s no guarantee.
The peculiar thing with Apple is that even when it goes into a hardcore proprietary mode, as it has done with the HomePod, there are still hundreds of millions of Apple users out there with the budget and interest to purchase its latest product.
It may seem fine and benign to just add another piece to your Apple hardware puzzle today, but you’re liable to keep that speaker for many years and what happens if Apple makes some decision you disagree with? How easy will it be for you to extricate yourself from the company that already provides your phone, laptop, smartwatch, earphones, speakers, car and TV interface, and – via Apple HomeKit – all your smart home gadgets and devices? Amazon and Google are competing for a similar dominance of our attention spans, but they at least embrace alternative services like Spotify and Tidal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Instagram photos from inside Apple Park”

Apple employees are moving into the company’s new headquarters, Apple Park, and posting photos on Instagram.
The photos show a stunning-looking building, especially at dusk.
Apple employees are moving into their new $5 billion headquarters, Apple Park.
The building in Apple’s Cupertino, California hometown will eventually hold 12,000 employees in a giant ring-shaped building designed to blur the indoors and outdoors.
Apple received temporary occupancy permits in December for 5 out of 12 different sections of its campus, VentureBeat recently reported.
Occupancy permits for the rest of the other sections will be granted before the end of March, according to the report.
Only Apple employees or specifically invited guests can access “The ring,” but as the campus fills up, Apple employees are posting stunning shots to Instagram.
There are lots of photos of Apple Park, but most of them were taken from a drone or a professional photographer – these pictures bring you inside and show you what it’s like to work at Apple Park.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple HomePod review: locked in”

The Apple engineers I talked to were very proud of how the HomePod sounds, and for good reason: Apple’s audio engineering team did something really clever and new with the HomePod, and it really works.
It’s also very inconvenient to use the HomePod as a TV speaker: you can set an Apple TV to AirPlay to it, but it drops that connection when you play music again, and you have go back into the Apple TV’s settings to select the HomePod again every time.
If your HomePod is in the kitchen and you’re in the basement, anyone can just roll up on the HomePod and have it read your texts.
Anyone can walk up to the HomePod and have it read your texts if you’re not careful during setup This is also baffling: iPhones don’t answer to just anyone saying “Hey Siri” once you’ve trained them to your voice, and the HomePod runs a variant of iOS on an A8 chip, which allows for “Hey Siri” on the iPhone 6 when it’s plugged into the wall.
The biggest limitation of the HomePod is how tightly it’s tied to Apple Music.
In any event, Apple Music doesn’t offer any tools to make importing your Spotify playlists simple, and while I think the HomePod sounds amazing, I don’t think it sounds so good that it’s worth that much pain.
Apple’s ecosystem lock-in is actively working against a remarkable product with the HomePod, and I say that as someone who uses Apple Music as their primary music service.
The HomePod seems designed for a very demanding person who lives alone inside Apple’s ecosystem All of this is why I started thinking of the HomePod as “Lonely.” It feels like it was designed for a very demanding person to use while living alone entirely inside Apple’s ecosystem.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple’s Middle Age – Stratechery by Ben Thompson”

For iPhone users, which service is that likely to be? Unsurprisingly, given its prominence on the device combined with Apple customer loyalty, the answer, at least in the United States, is increasingly Apple Music.
Apple’s music-streaming service has been quietly gaining ground in part thanks to the popularity of the company’s devices: Apple Music comes preloaded on all iPhones, Apple Watches and other hardware the company sells.
My issue, rather, is about opportunity cost: why can’t Apple architect their platform so that other services can fulfill this low-margin middle-person role, freeing up resources to focus on the sorts of things that only Apple can do?
As an Apple Music subscriber, customer only has one choice in smart speakers: HomePod,4 from which Apple makes a profit.
Charging its best customers more for iPhones wasn’t the only reason Apple’s revenue was higher, though: remember that Apple is making more off of every customer over time via Services.
Apple TV: Standalone, but thanks to Apple’s push for unified apps and AirPlay protocol, is immediately rendered more valuable if a customer already owns an iPhone.
Apple Watch: Only works with an iPhone, which means by definition it can only be sold to an existing Apple customer.
My reasoning: Apple Music for the car, and Spotify for everywhere else; Spotify Connect is excellent [↩]Except for Apple Music on Android [↩]Sonos does not count! You can’t use voice.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This 1983 Demo Says So Much About Apple’s Past, Present, And Future”

On the evening of January 26, 1983, as a technology-smitten Boston University freshman, I attended the monthly meeting of the Boston Computer Society, which included a demo of Apple’s brand-new Lisa system.
“I remember the enthusiasm and the intelligence of the crowd,” says David Larson, who presided over the Apple IIe section of the January 1983 meeting as director of marketing for the Apple II line, a job he held until 1985.
Today, Larson describes the Apple IIe as “Just a better version of the old thing that costs about the same money.” As its marketing honcho, he had to convince prospective buyers that the device was a signficant upgrade despite its familiar looks-much as the company must do to this day when people grumble that new iPhones look much like last year’s iPhones.
Much of what was new about the Apple IIe involved solving nagging problems and giving people more stuff as standard equipment.
Even in 1991, eight years after the Apple IIe’s release, the aging machine was such a standard in schools that Apple released an add-in card to allow Macs to run Apple IIe programs.
After Larson wrapped up his half-hour Apple IIe demo, the BCS meeting segued directly into the Lisa demo by Couch and a colleague, which lasted more than twice as long.
Though the news was big, the affair lacked the glitz of later Apple events such as Jobs’ Mac demo at BCS just a year later, which introduced the new computer to the strains of the Chariots of Fire theme.
Apple IIe marketing chief Larson says he marveled at the Lisa all over again when he watched the BCS meeting on YouTube: “How many of those user interface standards were set at that time, and are still in use today?” Rotenberg adds that the demo “Doesn’t feel as earth-shaking as the Macintosh was a year later. But then you go back and remember that none of this existed yet. This was the first glimpse of the future of personal computers. And then it starts to come back how amazing it was to see that in person.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home Max vs. Sonos One: Speaker showdown”

After months of skepticism over the HomePod speaker, I was invited to take part in a listening test that not only showcased the HomePod’s abilities, but directly pit it against the 2017 Amazon Echo, Google Home Max, and Sonos One.
The speakers themselves were arranged on a mid-height entertainment console from left to right: Sonos One, Google Home Max, HomePod, and Echo.
To say the HomePod outshone the Echo is obvious: The Echo’s soundscape sounds more like a 90s car radio than a true room speaker, and it struggles mightily when being asked to fill a large open room as the center of attention, rather than background music.
The Google Home Max is an embarrassment of a speaker for its cost: In isolation, the Max sounds decent enough, but when put in a ring against the cheaper Sonos One and HomePod, it’s obvious just how much compression it puts on vocal and mid-tone tracks in the interest of big, booming sound.
I’ve also never listened to the Max in direct comparison with a similarly-priced speaker before – and I have to be honest, when pitted against the others, it sounds closer in tone to an Echo than a Sonos One or HomePod.
In the battle between Sonos and HomePod, the latter is unquestionably the better speaker, and with Apple’s A8 doing on-board sound processing, software updates have the potential to make that soundspace even better.
HomePod is synced with a single iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch when you first set it up; if you choose to sync your iCloud account with that HomePod, it will only respond to personal requests while that device is on your home Wi-Fi. Take the device off Wi-Fi or leave the home, and HomePod will continue to be able to play music, report traffic, and give you weather data – but if someone asks it to send a message to your wife, it’ll refuse until your device is back online.
Multi-room audio falls into the same bucket: Because Apple uses the A8 to process audio and send different channels to different tweeters inside the HomePod, it likely attempts to create the same process for fellow AirPlay 2 speakers, and tweak the original HomePod sound accordingly to avoid overpowering certain aspects of a song or video.

The orginal article.