Good Reads for June, 2015

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of the best, if slightly longer, tracks about the wonderful world of Apple. Our crack team are out scouring the web for the freshest beats, the poppiest pop, and the most lyrical of all the lyrics to bring you the listens worthy of your time and attention. Whatever your taste, we’ll have a handful of curated playlists for that — oh wait, that’s Apple Music. This, on the other hand, is Good Reads.

  • Rene Ritchie’s analysis of WWDC 2015, with its slightly bizarre “Backstage” introduction video and diversity in both gender and Watch-wrists, says the conference sets up Apple for the next year. This time around, it wasn’t about completely overhauling a user interface we’ve been used to for years, or shipping features we’ve wanted for equally as long, but about giving us a taste of how all that hard work will pay off in the future. As much as you didn’t appreciate Drake taking the stage to talk about Apple Music, the amount of time Apple dedicated to that particular segment should give you an idea of how important Apple Music is to the future of not only Apple, but to the music industry as a whole.

There’s always been a challenge in programming WWDC, given that the room is filled with developers, but a world of customers is watching. Every moment becomes a balancing act — too technical and the audience watching the stream might get lost. Too flashy and the people in the seats might feel abandoned. This year it was the latter. A lot of the humor and most of the music fell flat for many of the people at the show and in the media.

  • It kind of got a little lost in the noise of WWDC, but Mashable’s interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed how the lack of diversity in tech was out fault. Looking at WWDC, you can see where Apple was making a difference: STEM organisations that might not have been technically “students” were given the opportunity to attend WWDC with scholarships, and as for women in tech, having women on stage at WWDC was a first for Apple, and definitely won’t be the last time.

I sat down with Cook, a relatively reclusive interviewee, and asked why it was important that Apple ramp up its efforts in diversity. His answer was unequivocal: “It’s the future of our company.” Cook added: “I view these people that I talk to today as the future generations of the company, and they will either be a part of it directly or a part of the ecosystem. And either way — when I think of Apple, I think of the whole community, not just the people that have the Apple badge.”

  • With June this year marking the eighth year of the iPhone, the device that was introduced as a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device has now changed everything we know about mobile. We take simple things like scrolling for granted these days, but as it turns out, the first iPhone wasn’t from Apple. The Internet History Podcast tells us about the original iPhone, released in 1998.

A skunkworks project for just such an “appliance” was started in 1995, inside, of all places, National Semiconductor. Three engineers, Chaim Bendelac, Yuval Shahar and Reuven Marko were given company funds to explore the possibilities for a product that would be part internet, part telephone. They called their brainstorm “Project Mercury.”

  • One of the biggest changes in iOS 9 is the ability to run two apps simultaneously side-by-side, finally bringing true multitasking to the tablet. Most apps will work out of the box with these features, but only if developers have been following Apple’s app development guidelines and best practices. Ars Technica details the journey to multitasking and resolution independence in iOS 9, which started three years ago with iOS 7.

We’ll take a quick look at the existing technologies Apple is using to enable multitasking on the iPad, and then we’ll look at what developers need to do to their apps to get them ready. Don’t expect every app in the App Store to support multitasking on the day iOS 9 drops, but it should at least be a pretty easy process for anyone maintaining a universal iPhone and iPad app that plays by most of Apple’s rules.

  • Wired says Apple is going to kill off the home screen. By bringing back the contextual screen that’s just one swipe away from the home screen and acknowledging that many interactions will happen directly from the lock screen or within notifications, they’re saying that although there still needs to be a place for all your apps to live and be easily accessed from, much of your app interactions will happen away from the home screen.

With iOS 9, the bulk of interaction will happen elsewhere, dispersed among intelligent notification panels, powerful search tools, and context-specific suggestions that put relevant apps a flick away. The dependable home screen will still exist, but for the first time, it feels secondary. These days, the smartphone experience is just too fast and fluid to be pinned to a grid.

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