Good Reads for October, 2014

hero_largeEvery month, we’ll be bringing you no more than a handful of slightly longer — but always worthy of your time and attention — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. This is Good Reads.

  • We kick off Good Reads this morning with a profile of Jony Ive from Vogue, who describes Ive’s zen-like qualities alongside his design genius. Of course, Ive is the one behind all design at Apple these days, hardware and software, so to say he had a hand in the Apple Watch — itself a very design-oriented device — is an understatement.

Design critics now look back at the birth of the Jobs-Ive partnership as the dawn of a golden age in product design, when manufacturers began to understand that consumers would pay more for craftsmanship. Together Jobs and Ive centered their work on the notion that computers did not have to look as if they belonged in a room at NASA.

  • Anandtech has a look at iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite in great detail, breaking down the elements that fuse Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems. Yosemite is a complete rethinking of the desktop OS, in line with the previous sweeping changes brought about by iOS 7, the same changes that iOS 8 built upon a year later. But there’s as much hardware integration between the two as there is software, with the hardware enabling some of the cooler features of both OSes.

Apple’s strategy to provide that experience appears to be deep integration of their services across all of their product lines. It starts with the cloud, with new additions to iCloud like iCloud Drive and Photo Library. From there it goes to software commonality, with a design language that exists on both iOS and OS X, and applications that exist on both platforms. On the opposite end of the spectrum from the cloud are the new continuity features which provide integration between all the devices that you have right there with you.

  • Michael Tsai’s collection of quotes concerning Apple’s software quality decline is one of the better ones I’ve seen regarding the topic. It’s no secret iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite launched with many issues, many of which have been in the public spotlight. It’s an unusual situation for a company that is usually lauded for their attention to detail, particularly in regards to quality software. (The following quote is from Gus Mueller, one of the linked pieces from Tsai’s collection.)

There’s been a bit more grumbling than usual about the quality of Apple’s software recently. And I can’t help but feel like things have changed for the worse. Random crashes, system instability, background processes crashing and having to reboot to fix things. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I really think Apple is trying to move too fast.

  • Over on his blog, Dustin Curtis writes Apple are going up against Google in a battle of privacy versus user experience. He writes the kind of information Google collects about you, while it might seem creepy in a way, lets the company build better products, ones that can help you out in your day-to-day. As a counterpoint, Cole Peter’s response is that privacy versus user experience is a false dichotomy, going on to explain information collection doesn’t necessarily predicate better products.

The real issue that Apple is trying to address is not really privacy, but rather security. Though Google has all of my data, it is still private. Google does not sell access to my data; it sells access to my attention. Advertisers do not get my information from Google. So as long as I trust Google’s employees, the only two potential breaches of my privacy are from the government or from a hacker.

  • Every time I show off Siri to someone who’s new to iOS devices, I always converse with Apple’s personal assistant as if it were a live, real, human being. I ask her to tell me a joke, or remind me to call my mum when I get home. The New York Times has a similar story about a boy who became best friends with Siri, and it’s kind of great.

For most of us, Siri is merely a momentary diversion. But for some, it’s more. My son’s practice conversation with Siri is translating into more facility with actual humans. Yesterday I had the longest conversation with him that I’ve ever had.

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