Good Reads for June, 2016

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a perfectly picked selection — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes, they’ll be deep dives into how Apple’s latest rumoured move is user-hostile, or how the major facet of Apple’s software success is evolving into a slightly different beast. Other times, they’ll be deep dives into Apple’s upcoming file system. All I know is, you’ll need to bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Of all the rumours in June, none generated more clicks than Apple’s as-yet-unconfirmed decision to remove the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack from the next iPhone. Sanity and logic was thrown out the window as internet commenters argued for or against the removal, which is pretty much how it played out in our own discussions on the topic. Over at Medium, Steve Streza tells us why Gruber’s rebuttal against a “user-hostile move by Apple” as described by The Verge completely misses the point.

It seems pretty reasonable that a user would not want hardware compatibility issues, DRM-encumbered music, or significantly more expensive headphones. And users already have lots of devices compatible with the 3.5mm headphone port. Therefore, to remove the port in a way that is not user-hostile and stupid, Apple would have to provide more value and benefit than they are taking away, on top of whatever new features they provide.

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Apple’s WWDC 2016 Event Wrap Up, We Knew Nothing Edition

For the first time in a long time, we knew nothing — or at least, very little — about what Apple were going to announce on stage at WWDC. Of course, we knew we’d be seeing updates to all of Apple’s major software platforms, but the new features and improvements were complete unknowns. Those expecting hardware announcements were left disappointed, but otherwise, there was plenty for Apple to cover.

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the 27th Worldwide Developer Conference, welcoming the attendees from 74 countries as part of over 13 million registered developers. Of the 5000-plus attendees, 72% of those are first-time attendees, and what’s more, 120 are under 18. The App Store now has over 2 million apps, with 150 billion downloads, and Apple has paid over $50 billion directly to developers.

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Good Reads for May, 2016

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of hand-picked — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. May turned out to be a pretty quiet month for Apple thinkpieces, so this time around we’re doing something slightly different by pointing out a few shorter posts, then going back to some Apple Watch commentary that was missed out last month. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Apple’s new Union Square Apple Store is the first of its kind. Despite featuring some of the same general features as other Apple Stores, right down to the glass staircase, the floor-to-ceiling glass wall, and brightly-lit wooden tables showcasing Apple products in the best possible light, it’s a new kind of Apple Store, one with an 37-foot screen, an indoor seating area with trees implanted into seats, and cute wooden stools with nested leather seats. Jean-Louis Gassée says it sends a clear message.

Seriously, this is a business run by serious adults. They make mistakes, but this isn’t one of them. This is a retail chain that has defied conventional wisdom, broken all revenue per square foot records and become an icon, envied and copied. The new site (preceded by a smaller implementation of the new design in Brussels) sends a clear message: this is what we think of ourselves, this is what we think of our customers.

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Good Reads for April, 2016

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a handful of carefully-considered, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes, these will be a look back at how a product is doing, one year on, and other times, a deep-dive into why Apple didn’t invent some new-fangled thing you see every day on the web. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Before we get into some pieces discussing the Apple Watch one year after its release, I want to point out that Apple did not invent emoji. Emoji are everywhere on the web these days, and Apple and other smartphone manufacturers are adding new emoji with almost every point release of their operating systems. But not all emoji are created equal, and what you see on one platform may end up being (very) different on another.

Granted, the iPhone did have a 20-month head start at exposing the English-speaking world to emoji. Plus there’s that whole thing where Apple features are mysteriously assumed to be the first of their kind. I’m not entirely surprised that Apple’s font is treated as canonical; I just have some objections.

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Good Reads for March, 2016

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of throughly-vetted, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes these will be celebrations of Apple culture, profiles of Apple executives, speculation about future products and services, or some combination of the above. All I know is, you’ll need to bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • While it all sort of fizzled out, coming to a rather lacklustre conclusion, the ongoing battle between the FBI and Apple raised enough eyebrows for further scrutiny. But Apple’s position of respecting civil liberties by enforcing encryption on its devices and the FBI’s request for assistance under the All Writs Act may have only been half the story — beneath the surface, perhaps there was something bigger at stake. Unlike what the FBI were claiming, this was about more than just one device.

But the San Bernardino attack changed the dynamic, ratcheting up tensions that had simmered ever since Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations that the U.S. was collecting Americans’ personal data. Law enforcement officials had long warned that stronger encryption would eventually shut out criminal investigators. Now they had a case with national security implications they could use to press their argument that Apple had gone too far with iOS 8.

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Apple’s March 2016 Event Wrap Up, Everything Small Is New Again Edition

If you were thinking that the rumours spoiled Apple’s announcements earlier this morning, you’re probably right. Apple’s event earlier today was short and sweet, getting to the point without spending undue time on product demos or lengthy monologues from invited guests — so while those wanting a little more were left somewhat disappointed, there will still plenty to get excited about.

If you prefer the spoiler-free version, you can watch the Keynote on Apple’s website or pour over the new, smaller, products over at Apple’s website. There’s a pretty cool new Apple Watch mini-site, too, otherwise, read on for a summary of everything that was announced.

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Good Reads for February, 2016

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a small selection of slightly longer op-eds, think pieces, and whatever else the Apple blogosphere offers up about the wonderful world of Apple. Some will have already had coverage in the daily news, but they’ll always be worth you time and attention. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Early on in February people were wondering if they still liked the Apple Watch, and while some said the Apple Watch had led them to discover the wondrous world of mechanical watches, there was at least one mechanical watch enthusiast who couldn’t take off the Apple Watch because he liked it so much. Jack Forster says the design of the Apple Watch rivals that of any mechanical watch — which should probably come as no surprise, given how much design credentials there are in the house of Apple, but makes mechanical watch enthusiasts after the advent of the Apple Watch a curious case indeed.

The big picture, though, is that you get something that has enormous thought put into every detail – both hardware and software – to such an extent that it would be oppressive if it weren’t in general so good. What scares me about luxury watchmaking nowadays is that it often forgets that good design, and getting the details right, still matter.

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Good Reads for January, 2016

Another year, another month, another Good Reads. In case you’re new, every month, we’ll be sharing the best, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes there will be think pieces on why Apple’s design has strayed from the path, or why Tim Cook is the worst CEO since Steve Jobs, but the only thing we know for sure is that they’ll always bring a kind of discussion to the table that we don’t generally see in the daily news. Bring your own Instapaper account or read-it-later service of choice, because this is Good Reads.

  • With Apple’s financials being released earlier this week, it’s time for some in-depth analysis on where Apple is going with all that cash. With close to two thirds of Apple’s revenue coming from the iPhone, Neil Cybart of Above Avalon writes that Apple is currently the iPhone company, but given that Apple themselves have predicted iPhone sales falling off next quarter, what’s next?

[…] there are clues that Apple not only has little interest in that strategy, but has already been thinking of new products in an effort to move beyond the iPhone. Management is aware that iPhone growth will not continue indefinitely and that at a certain point Apple’s resources will be better spent coming up with new products that can do an even better job at making technology more personal.

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Good Reads for November, 2015

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a handful of carefully-curated — if slightly late, and somewhat longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Whether it’s about how Apple is changing the face of design, or how the largest iPad yet has the potential to make a big difference in the classroom, each’s months reads will bring something unique to the table that wasn’t necessarily covered in the preceding months’ news. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • November 2015 saw the launch of Apple’s biggest iPad yet, in the form of the iPad Pro. Much has already been written about the larger-screened iPad Pro’s potential to replace your laptop, and there’s a good chance there’s plenty more that has yet to be written. Ben Brooks’ take on the idea of using your iPad Pro as a laptop replacement isn’t about whether you can use the iPad Pro as laptop replacement, and doesn’t discuss how the various usage scenarios fit into the iPad Pro workflow, but instead chooses to discuss how the iPad Pro has been as a laptop replacement for him.

Make fun of iOS for how locked down it is all you want, but at least I don’t have to worry about breaking it because I wanted to install a new free text editor, or I wanted to try and print from it.3 iOS is not only a stable computing platform, it is hard to break. In fact, I have yet to have a family member hand me an iPhone where it had such software issues that I could not fix it with a simple device restart, or removing an app sucking down the battery.

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Good Reads for October, 2015

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a hand-picked selection of the best, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. While these picks could have easily made it into the daily morning news digests, I feel they deserve some special attention because they bring up a particularly important point, or cover some important topic that explains how Apple does what it does, and how they do it better than any other company. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • With the recent launch of the Apple TV, what better way to kick off another instalment of Good Reads than with a piece from Universal Mind about the importance of apps coming to the big screen. There will be challenges, of course, but if apps coming to the big screen means publishers who weren’t interested in mobile get on board with apps for the new Apple TV, then that’s a win, in my book.

The tvOS App Store is set to kick off a new gold rush where third-party developers push the boundaries and create a broad range of disruptive new experiences. Like the iTunes Store did for music before it, the tvOS App Store lowers the bar for small content producers to sidestep incumbent distribution systems and access larger audiences.

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