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.

  • App Store changes announced ahead of WWDC included shortened app review times, subscriptions, as well as search ads and discovery. Matthew Panzarino writes that these changes are the first of many that will permanently change the way the App Store works. It’s widely known that people download fewer apps than ever these days, and with subscriptions and moving ingrained iOS features like Messages towards platforms, Apple is moving the App Store away from an encapsulated world of isolated, stand-alone apps to one that becomes a part of your device, as much as Messages or Mobile Safari is now.

We’re headed for a point at which people use more “invisible,” distributed services on iPhones than they do “apps you launch via an icon.” That’s a given. So Apple has two choices — either it can milk the last drops out of the capsule app ecosystem as we know it, or it can start building App Store tools to support these kinds of apps and services and to help developers monetize them.

  • WWDC also marked the introduction of a new Apple file system. APFS (just don’t ask what the acronym stands for) has been years in the making. Apple plans to adopt it across all their platform in two years, which is probably around the right kind of time for a file system to mature to the point where it can comfortably on your Mac, as well as on your iPhone, and Apple Watch. Adam Leventhal’s deep dive on APFS, republished on Ars Tehnica, is a great technical read about Apple’s built from the ground up, optimised for flash storage file system.

  • Our last story this morning is from former ad agency head Ken Segall, who asks if Apple has lost its simplicity. Apple’s obsession with simplicity may have been integral to making the company as successful as it was, but can we really say that was the case when it was products such as the iPad and iPhone catapulted Apple to the highest peaks of consumer technology? Steve Jobs may have been the master of simplicity, but Apple is different now.

For some reason, Apple has decided that every other year, it should just add an S to the current model number, because the S-year improvements are internal only. So Apple’s own actions have served to train the public that S years are the “off years”. This is an absurdity, given that such revolutionary features as Siri, Touch ID and 64-bit processing have all been introduced in S models.

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