good reads

Good Reads for May, 2018

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of uniformly unedited, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Some of the time, they’ll be pieces you already read from other sources, interviews that should have appeared in the news but I felt deserved a little extra attention, or thought-provoking looks at the past or present state of technology and how Apple fits into the puzzle. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • We kick off this month’s Good Reads with Hodinkee’s interview with Jony Ive. For those that remember when this was first published in early May, this was more of a piece that focused on Ive as a watch designer. Benjamin Clymer compared and contrasted the differences between the technology-centric Apple and the sheer craftsmanship of traditional watch makers. Design is one aspect Apple prides themselves on, and that shows in spades with what they’ve done with the Apple Watch.

I think how much the Apple Watch has impacted watchmaking. And I realize, just like the iPod changed music and the iPhone changed personal communication, the Apple Watch will certainly change not only watchmaking but how we interact with the world around us. I am quite sure it will be for the better.

Continue reading

Good Reads for April, 2018

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of tastefully threadbare — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. One in every three is guaranteed to be from Medium (or your money back), and at times, the others will be criticising recent Apple design decisions, praising someone else’s criticism, or even all of the above. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Over the last month, there have been more criticism levelled at Apple’s HomePod than I care to admit. Some of those criticisms were even valid, particularly when it came to pointing out Siri’s failings when compared to the Amazon Echoes and Google Homes of the world. Over at TechCrunch, Lucas Matney defends the HomePod as part of Apple’s overall home speaker strategy, admitting that while Siri needs work, the strength of Apple’s ecosystem will be what gives it the edge over the other smart home speakers.

It’s also why I don’t think Apple needs to be as worried about getting a $50 product like the Home Mini or Echo Dot out there, because while Amazon desperately needs a low-friction connection to consumers, Apple doesn’t gain as much by putting a tinny speaker into a can that will do even less than what “Hey Siri” on your iPhone could do.

Continue reading

Good Reads for March, 2018

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of spectacularly scrumptious — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes these will be reflections on a decade of iPhone programming, a look at the HomePod’s place in the home, or forgotten stories about Apple’s video game console. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Early on in March we saw the tenth anniversary of the iPhone SDK. The Iconfactory’s Craig Hockenberry tells us about how it was when it all started, from jailbreaking the original iPhone to see what could be accomplished outside and ahead of the official SDK itself, lamenting the original proposition of slow, JavaScript-based apps versus the speed and power of the native apps of the time, and the iPhone’s very first Twitter app. Now, iOS development is a lucrative business in and of itself, with an audience of millions.

The iPhone SDK was promised for February of 2008, and given the size of the task, no one was disappointed when it slipped by just a few days. The release was accompanied by an event at the Town Hall theater. Ten years ago today was the first time we learned about the Simulator and other changes in Xcode, new and exciting frameworks like Core Location and OpenGL, and a brand new App Store that would get our products into the hands of customers.

Continue reading

Good Reads for February, 2018

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of ravishingly rectangular — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they won’t actually be reads, or about how Apple is the world’s most innovative company. Sometimes, they won’t be exactly about Apple per se, but you know what? Those ones make for the best stories. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • This isn’t the first time I’ve pointed out a video in Good Reads, and the bad news is, it probably won’t be the last. The good news is, Motherboard’s mini-documentary on how iFixit became the world’s best iPhone teardown team gives us the behind-the-scenes perspective of a company that believes in everyone being able to repair their own devices. Plus, some of it was shot in Australia, because thanks to the magic of timezones, we get the privilege of being among the first to get hands-on with new iPhones.

The most important thing that happens when a new iPhone comes out is not the release of the phone, but the disassembly of it. The iPhone teardown, undertaken by third-party teams around the world, provides a roadmap for the life of the iPhone X: Is it repairable? Who made the components inside it? The answers to these questions shift stock markets, electronics design, and consumer experience.

Continue reading

Good Reads for January, 2018

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of painstakingly penned, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they’ll be gripes about how the MacBook Pro has lost all semblance of being a pro-level machine, a bunch of questions and answers about Apple’s massive cash stockpile, or a wish list for the next version of watchOS. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • It’s not really a read, per se, but I thought I’d point out the craftsmanship behind the WWDC 2017 Lightbox by Josh Tidsbury anyway. His gift to members of the Technology Evangelism group at Apple this year, following their work at WWDC, pays homage to both the cube of the Apple Design Award, with the aesthetic that only wood can bring. The amount of detail that went into the creation of these little wooden mementos is a testament to the kind of attention to detail that makes Apple great.

I wanted to create something of a keepsake for each of the other members of our team as a personal gift to each of them. I’ve always loved the aesthetic of the Apple Design Award, and wanted to create something of an homage to that design, but using my favourite material: wood.

Continue reading

Good Reads for November, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of positively personalised, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they’ll be in-depth analyses of Apple’s latest and greatest, how developers are designing for a never before-seen form factor, or the best review of any iPhone, ever. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • November was, somewhat unsurprisingly, all about the iPhone X. It’s been a month since the iPhone X was released to the masses and most apps are getting updated for the edge-to-edge display. The iPhone X is unlike any iPhone that came before it due to the rounded corners, no home button, and the TrueDepth camera system cutout that everyone keeps talking about, and that presents unique challenges for developers. Samuel Axon of Ars Technica talked to some developers about the changes they’ve had to make in their apps, and my only hope is that it all hasn’t been for notch.

The iPhone X is the most significant change to the iPhone in several years. It has a higher resolution and a different screen shape. It disposes of the home button and adds or changes touch gestures. Every one of those changes could create work for designers and developers… and then there’s the notch. You can expect more phones to do this, not just from Apple. But how do you design around it? How much work is it to adapt an app for it? Is it, as some critics say, bad design?

Continue reading

Good Reads for July, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of meticulously memorised, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they’ll be a comprehensive explanation of why ARKit is a big deal, or the latest breakdown of what made news in the Apple blogosphere recently. Other times, they’ll be an extremely technical read on a recent vulnerability that affected millions of iOS devices up until a few weeks ago. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • While recent news has focused on Apple’s removal of VPN apps from the Chinese App Store, none of this is particularly new. People have been talking about Apple’s “walled garden” for as long as the App Store has been around, and Motherboard writes about the long and storied history of Apple removing “objectionable content” from the App Store. All of this is true, of course, as is the statement that with more than nine years of the App Store, we haven’t seen any widespread malware threats.

Each day, Apple is tasked with a near-impossible job: keeping its sprawling App Store free from malware, blatantly offensive content, and spam. In order to do it, the company requires each of the App Store’s roughly two million apps, from iFart to Twitter, to undergo an extensive approval process.

Continue reading

Good Reads for May, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a series of somewhat scrutinised — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Whether they’re commentary on Apple’s latest project, a detailed analysis of how Apple keeps itself ahead of the competition, or reflecting back on ten years of the iPhone, they’ll have something for everyone. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • The standout piece from May was from Steven Levy, who over at Wired had a deep dive into Apple Park. Apple Park is undoubtedly as much of an Apple product as your iPhone or iPad is, from the attention to detail to the wood that made up the walls in offices, to the workplaces designed to increase collaboration between individuals and teams. (As a bonus, Levy’s piece in Backchannel tells us the story of David Muffly, the guy in charge of the trees at Apple Park.)

It’s probably more accurate to say that Apple Park is the architectural avatar of the man who envisioned it, the same man who pushed employees to produce those signature products. In the absence of his rigor and clarity, he left behind a headquarters that embodies both his autobiography and his values.

Continue reading

Good Reads for April, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a series of handpicked, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they’ll be about what Apple is doing with a product purchased by a single-digit percentage of Mac users, other times, they’ll be a critical analysis of what Apple are doing with the Mac as a whole, when the news is filled with rumours of new and shiny iPhones. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Early in April, Apple did something unprecedented and invited some select few to Cupertino to discuss the future of the Mac Pro. You can read the full transcript of the discussion over at TechCrunch, but the gist of it is that Apple knew they had made some wrong design decisions with the 2013 Mac Pro, design decisions that ultimately delayed any kind of hardware refresh to the tune of being untouched — no spec bump, much less a hardware refresh — for over 1200 days.

In the interim, we know there are a number of customers who continue to buy our current Mac Pro. To be clear, our current Mac Pro has met the needs of some of our customers, and we know clearly not all of our customers. None of this is black and white, it’s a wide variety of customers. For some, it’s the kind of system they wanted; for others, it was not.

Continue reading

Good Reads for January, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of intelligently instigated reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Normally they don’t appear as part of the daily news, even though the news covered tangentially-related events, such as the iPhone’s first tenth birthday, or Apple’s 2016 in review. All I know is, you’ll need to bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • If we’re starting this edition of Good Reads off with anything, we’re starting it with a story about the history of the iPhone. The internet history podcast takes us back to 2007, when Apple Computer, Inc, was riding on a wave of iPod-related successes, and the Mac was flourishing because of that. Then the iPhone was announced, Apple dropped the “Computer” part of its name, and, well, you pretty much know the rest.

And so, a skunkworks tablet project became a skunkworks phone project. At the very least, by 2003-4, in the form of various initiatives, Apple was hard at work on some sort of portable device that would merge the iPod with a phone and become an all-encompassing unitary device.

Continue reading