Monday Morning News
The weekend was made substantially more interesting by US President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from seven countries. In an email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that it was not a policy that they supported, noting that Apple employees were also affected by the executive orders, and that Apple had contacted the White House to protest the orders.
Reuters has a report on the differing strategies used by Apple and Amazon for smart home devices and accessories. Apple’s approach to HomeKit has been closed development, with Apple controlling the entire process and dictating strict security guidelines for HomeKit-compatible products. Amazon, on the other hand, just wants you to write code to talk to its Alexa platform, at which point it will review the code and approve.
From February 5, Apple will be moving all of its international iTunes operation to Ireland. Ars Technica describes the move as moving the entire iTunes business from one tax haven to another, with the iTunes Store, Apple Music, App Store, iBooks Store all making the jump to Apple Distribution International, along with $9 billion of iTunes assets.
Apple has been awarded with the Louise Braille Award for its efforts in device accessibility. Building accessibility features into products has always been something that Apple has been very good at, and Apple’s support for refreshable Braille displays across both Mac and iOS platforms is the best in its class.
For some reason, Apple has removed the iCloud Activation Lock status checker from its website. It’s unknown why Apple has made the change, as the tool provided valuable information on whether an iPhone you were looking to buy was locked to an Apple ID or not, potentially revealing something about its origins, but it’s also possible that it’ll be back within a couple of days.
Some 12-inch MacBooks are suffering from a stuck keys issue. Some of the issues appear to be fixable by removing debris from the keyboard, but others require replacement.
The Mac Observer tells us how to perform a factory reset on AirPods to help with battery and pairing issues. There’s no official reset instructions (at least that I could find on Apple’s support site), but I guess anything is worth a try.
Six Colors takes a look at the Brydge Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. They say out of all the iPad Pro keyboards available, the Brydge gets real close to being the ideal due to a number of great features and overall good usability.
A deep dive into HandBrake and video transcoding by Rob Griffiths explains the trade-offs between speed, size, and quality. There’s a few comparisons between the standard ripping presets used in HandBrake and the command line tool transcode-video, but the take is the both do an acceptable job for most people.
Seven years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. While the first-generation iPad was superseded about a year later with the long-lived iPad 2, initial impressions of Apple’s tablet were pretty good.