Benny Ling

Monday Morning News

Welcome to WWDC week! I hope you like WWDC sneak peeks, because that’s pretty much all that was published by everyone over the weekend. Instead of re-hashing the same points over and over, I’m just going to link Ars Technica’s WWDC preview, which tells us about what’s expected to be revealed on stage less than 24 hours from now. There’s a very good chance we’ll get to see what Apple is doing with the next versions of all their major software platforms, but as to whether we’re going to see new hardware, the odds on that one are about even.

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Good Reads for May, 2019

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of excellently emotive, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes these will be pieces giving us sneak peek of what the future of iOS apps will look like, cases for how one popular Apple product is terrible for the environment, a story of two tech giants squeezing out the little players, or a deep dive on how Apple puts security features to the test in a relentless pursuit of privacy. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • In just a few short days, we should have a much better idea of what Apple’s plan for the future of its software platforms will be. Marzipan is how Apple are going to have iOS apps run on the Mac, and thanks to some digging from well-known developers, we now have a decent idea of what that future looks like, and how the transition will go. Craig Hockenberry gives us the past, present, and future of iOS apps on the Mac by telling us what to expect from Marzipan.

What I’m going to focus on today is how this new technology will affect product development, design, and marketing. I see many folks who think this transition will be easy: my experience tells me that it will be more difficult than it appears at first glance.

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Thursday Morning News

Apple’s new App Store webpage explains how they created the App Store with two goals: to be a safe and trusted place for customers to download apps, as well as being a great business opportunity for all developers. The page makes a good case for how the App Store provides a fair playing field for all, pointing out the various pricing models used successfully on the App Store. Apple also points out that there are many third-party apps that compete with Apple’s own, although without the ability to set app defaults on iOS, it’s perhaps a bit of a reach to suggest that an app like Gmail can really compete with the built-in Mail client.

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Wednesday Morning News

Apple has released a new iPod touch, with an A10 Fusion chip on board and an even larger 256GB capacity. Thanks to the new A10 chip, the new iPod touch now supports Group FaceTime and AR experiences for the first time, which probably isn’t all that surprising given that this is the first iPod touch update since July 2015. The new iPod touch comes in six colours including the traditional Product(RED), and starts at $299 for 32GB of storage, with the 128GB and 256GB options coming in at $449 and $599, respectively, with online purchases available right now, and in-stores later this week.

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Monday Morning News

A teardown of the 2019 MacBook Pro with fourth-generation butterfly keyboard shows that there are minor material differences between this generation and its predecessors. In particular, they confirm that there’s a different kind of switch cover material in this year’s butterfly keyboard revision, although it’s unknown what possible issue may have solved by moving from polyacetylene or TPU material to a nylon in the switch cover material, or an even more minor change in the metal dome switch material. At the end of the day, it may be months before we get any kind of feel if these keyboards are any more reliable.

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Friday Morning News

Like the rest of us, John Gruber is pleased the days of frequent Mac speed bumps are back. Put away your arguments about how computers are already too powerful for anyone’s individual needs, and realise that Apple is marketing its MacBook Pros to people who need as much power from their laptop as they can get. While including the fourth-generation Butterfly keyboards in its keyboard service program may seem like a bit of an indictment on their overall reliability going forward, the idea is Apple wants you to buy one of these new Macs with the confidence that you’ll be covered for at least the next four years. It’s not quite as good as a more reliable keyboard, period, but it’s the next best thing Apple can offer for now. And seeing as we haven’t heard anything about the Mac Pro for a while now, there’s a decent chance we’ll hear something about it at WWDC in a few weeks.

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Wednesday Morning News

A surprise MacBook Pro spec bump is the best possible kind of surprise, with both the 13 and 15-inch models getting modest CPU upgrades. The base model 15-inch goes from a 2.2GHz, 6-core, 8th-generation Intel Core i7 to a 2.6GHz, 6-core, 9th-generation Intel Core i7, while the upgraded model now gets a 2.3GHz, 8-core, Intel Core i9 processor (up from a 2.8GHz, 6-core, 8th-generation Intel Core i7). The 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t get quite as much love, with only faster turbo boost speeds to complement their existing quad-core, 8th-generation processors.

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Tuesday Morning News

Another day, another lawsuit filed against Apple. This one might be a little different than normal though, as the plaintiff says over 6,000 unauthorised recordings of Broadway compose Harold Arlen are available for purchase or streaming as part of a "massive music piracy operation" not just affecting Apple’s iTunes Music Store, but also the music storefronts of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Pandora. The plaintiff’s case seems to be that these unauthorised copies under numerous different record labels have popped up online, indicative of a larger issue affecting the digital music business in general. This time around, it’s not specifically Apple at fault.

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Monday Morning News

Buzzfeed reports on the escalating trade wars between the US and China, which has resulted in a sort of "boycott Apple" movement in China. New trade restrictions ban any US telco from installing networking equipment from foreign countries that pose a national security threat, as well as preventing Huawei from buying US technology without government approval. In response, Chinese citizens are praising Huawei, regretting their iPhone purchases, and saying they will switch devices as soon as they are able to.

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Friday Morning News

Apple’s Newsroom has a small feature on photographer Rachel Short, who, after being involved a car accident, was diagnosed with a C5 fracture in her spine, leaving her quadriplegic. Before the accident, Short says she would shoot with a variety of cameras, but now, she prefers to shoot with an iPhone, focusing on the image rather than the technical aspects of what makes up a good photo. Short says technology opens up so many possibilities for people with disabilities and limited mobility, and having the iPhone able to let her enjoy her photography is just one part of that.

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