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.

  • Over at MacStories, Federico Viticci published an epic on how he was still working on the iPad. It’s so long that it has a table of contents for a single-page article, but it kind of has to be when he’s covering everything from how iOS 9’s multitasking features have improved his blogging workflow, to the single reason he still has a Mac. There’s some debate as to whether this kind of thing would work if you day-to-day was more than just reading or writing, but I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Being tied to a desktop computer isn’t an option for me. No matter what life has in store for the future, I have to be ready to work from anywhere. I have to consider the possibility that I won’t always be okay, working from the comfort of my living room. That means having a computer that can follow me anywhere, with a screen big enough to type on, and a higher degree of portability than a MacBook. That means using an iPad. That means iOS.

  • Towards the latter half of February, the Apple and FBI case has been at the forefront of any Apple-related coverage. Apple has since responded to the court-ordered request for assistance in accessing the contents of one device that is connected to the San Bernardino shootings, and while the whole debate of privacy and encryption is fascinating, the slightly more concerning aspect of this is how it was handled by the FBI. Jonathan Zdziarski’s breakdown of the burden of forensic methodology applied to modern smartphones tells the tale.

FBI could have come to Apple with a court order stating they must brute force the PIN on the phone and deliver the contents. It would have been difficult to get a judge to sign off on that, since this quite boldly exceeds the notion of “reasonable assistance” to hack into your own devices. No, to slide this by, FBI was more clever. They requested that Apple developed a forensics tool but did not do the actual brute force themselves.

  • Regardless of the result from the Apple and FBI legal battle, what we’ll see from all this is Tim Cook’s Apple. Putting aside the entire security and privacy debate, the Tim Cook legacy as explained by Neil Cybart, is where Jony Ive focuses on product and Cook curates the rest of the six other aspects that make up Apple culture.

With Jony Ive focused on Apple’s product vision, Tim Cook has been playing to his strengths dedicating much of his attention to nurturing the Apple experience by focusing on six values: security and privacy, trust, equality and ethics, and environmentally responsibility. […] For each of these six values, there have been specific events where Cook’s actions demonstrated his leadership style and vision.

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