My Expectations for “Spring Loaded” Virtual Event (#apple (#appleevent #springloaded)

At long last, Apple is calling the first virtual event of 2021 for next week. I have mixed up feelings about this one. AirTags, if they are real, aren’t game changer and really are complementary to anything Apple is doing these days.

I wrote a few times that for the iPad, the next major step won’t come in the form of hardware upgrades but in software, with iPadOS 15. And this, happens every year on June at the WWDC conference. So, unless there is a last minute surprise from Apple’s updated iPad Pro, my attention will be for the next WWDC, not this spring event.

Oh, about this rumoured iMac redesign, THIS I will be looking forward to it, but somehow, I think it is more a WWDC thing than anything else.

On Apple Arcades dubious Games quality (#apple #appstore #applearcades)

Consider the following App Store screenshot of a recently introduced game in the Apple Arcades service.

Reviews of this game are really bad because the game doesn’t load on people’s devices. Does Apple really test their stuff before putting them out? Tim Cook et al. brags all the time about being a mandatory gatekeeper for iPhone security and quality control with the App Store. In this illustrative case, and there are many others, Apple is failing big time to play his role. I just can’t understand why this shit is possible.

About those two icons (#apple #iOS15)

New Apple Music icon design language?

New App Store icon design language?

I rarely comment on rumours from highly speculative reports, but this report from MacRumors is different:

“The Apple Music for Artists app now features a simpler, streamlined icon with a pinkish red music logo rather than the multicolored logo that was used before. The icon also has an embossed look that makes it stand out from other Apple icons.”

and

“App Store Connect in October was updated with a refreshed icon that’s similar to the ‌Apple Music‌ for Artists icon, which means Apple has now updated two app icons with this new design.”

The simple fact that two icons got updated with similar look at several months interval could signal a trend leading to the upcoming design update with iOS 15. I much prefer the right version of these icons, particularly the embossed design. This 3D effect adds some depth and dynamism to the design, and yes I like the fine line marking the icon boundaries.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those two icons were part of an A/B testing program, within Apple. Second, what Apple has done with macOS Big Sur was only the beginning destined to encompass all platforms, in some form or another (icon design wise).

On Tim Cook’s interview by Kara Swisher (#apple #timcook #privacy)

There is a lot to like in the recent Tim Cook’s interview with Kara Swisher (link to Podcast). It’s a must-listen. Here are a few observations and remarks.

  1. I love Tim Cook’s stance on issues like privacy protection. But at the same time, I have a hard time understanding how Apple can continue to sign a search deal with Google while advocating privacy protection. This is simply unsustainable and hard to defend if you ask me. I know… $$$. Yet… will they ever try to make their search engine or buy one like DuckDuckGo and kick Google out as the default search engine? That would be such a powerful message to send.
  2. Today, Apple under Tim Cook, has never been so well positioned to represent the best corporate defender of many of my core values: privacy protection, careful attention to details in design, openness to diversity, environment protection, sustainable development, great user experiences. Apple is not perfect, far from it. Yet, there is nothing like them these days.
  3. Tim Cook is candidly answering the question of where he sees himself in ten years from now. I wonder what are the plans for his or her successor? Does he and Apple’s upper management actively put as much thought into it as Steve Jobs did in his last few years at Apple? I wonder and I hope this is the case.
  4. This interview maybe seen as a bit self-serving, yet it is what it is. We, Apple’s customers like me, pay Apple to make calls on issues like encryption and privacy protection, environmental protection, etc. That’s the way I see my voting dollars anyway. As soon as I like most of their calls, I’ll be fine and be one of their customer. I dearly hope it stays that way because alternatives are scarce to say the least.
  5. Is Apple playing the same rules for ALL developers? I doubt it. Is Apple’s curation of the App Store perfect? Far from it: 80% of the stuff in there is pure junk.

I think it is important to stay critical about Apple. We must keep them on their toes.

My trick to read more (#reading #writing #tips #tricks)

In a word: Pocket. I’ve been rediscovering this application in recent days, and I’m loving it a lot. I no longer read articles within Safari or News Explorer. As soon as I think the article is interesting, I save it to Pocket and continue from there. The reading experience is simple and is frictionless. Being able to tag and highlight each article helps me organize and add value to my readings. Above all, Pocket will become a repository of all my past readings. The recommend feature creates some exposure for the authors. Each of my recommendation is accompanied by some text. I love it.

You can have a look at my Pocket profile here. Enjoy.

Remembering... (#techmemories)

Today, I’m remembering things like Turbo Pascal, TRS-80, ResEdit, 6502, LDA #$69, Inside Macintosh, Z-80, TI 99-4A, Logo, Commodore 64, Apple //c, ATZ modem command, eWorld, POKE 63280,0, COBOL 85, PDP-11, Choplifter, Broderbund, Multiplan, 4th Dimension, Sprites, Omni Database, Think Thank, Mac Draw, PageMaker.

These are some of the most significant souvenirs of numeric artifacts of my past numeric life. What are yours?

It’s been a long time... (#apple #iphone12)

Today, I have come to realize that, since its introduction, I didn’t see the iPhone 12 lineup in person. It’s the first time that I didn’t go to an Apple Store to see, manipulate and experience a new Apple product release. How big is the Max? How small is the mini? What about this new edge? The same goes for the Mac Pro.

The pandemic has really put a dent in our lives in some unexpected ways, big and small. But, do I really miss something? After all, the iPhone 12 is the return of the beloved iPhone 5, which I owned. I guess I’ll have to wait for the iPhone 13 or whatever it is called.

Curiously Entering the World of DJing (#music #dj #mixing #electronicmusic)

I’m no musicien. I know barely nothing about music theory. Yet, I always wanted to do some form of music. Synthesizer would be my instrument if I was to do music. Yet, I’ve been fascinated by music, especially electronic music since I was a teenager. I’m a big listener of techno and house music. Recently, I started to use my iPad while exercising on the treadmill to play video on YouTube of DJ doing mixes. This got me curious about the equipments and software DJs are relying on. I downloaded Algoriddim’s Djay app and stared to play with it on my iPad. I was really excited. I started to read more about the world of music mixing. So, I learned about DJ mixer, controllers, DJ software, music sources, digital record pools, file formats, MIDI, etc. Then, yesterday, unexpectedly, while visiting a music instruments store to see these equipments in person, I bought a Pioneer DDJ-400, a pair of small speakers, went home, enabled a trial of Djay Pro AI on my iPad Pro and started to plug all the pieces together. I feel like it’s Christmas time. Will see where it goes from here. Expect more details on my endeavour soon.

And so it begins (#apple #wwdc #wwdc21 #wwdc2021)

Apple just kicked off the 2021 season of high expectations, endless wishes lists, criticism, betas, crashes, deception, no-show products, expected hardware refreshes, iPad deceptions, etc. Again, this year, it will be a digital-only version, thanks to the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. I’m happy with that. As I wrote in the past, my hope is that this type of event stays digital. I’ve never been to a real WWDC so I don’t miss anything.

Now, trying to read into WWDC’s announcement art: sure, there is this reference to last year’s Craig Federighi with its MacBook Air, but it is also clear to me that Apple is set to announce their AR Glasses. Yep. Remember, you read it here first guys. 😜

My micro.blog instant joy

Friday thinking… I find is so refreshing to be able to have decent conversations on the open web. There is no drama here, everything seems so… simple. It brings back some confidence about human’s capabilities to engage in respectful conversations…. That’s be because there are lots of nice guys here on Micro.blog… it is lacking elsewhere (no finger pointing here, I won’t name a platform… but, well, ya know, right?).

Returning to normal programming.

On Intel’s Tick Tock Strategy (#intel #apple #applesilicon)

How funny is that? It seems Intel is applying its “tick-tock strategy” to its relationship with Apple. One week, Intel is slamming Apple’s M1 Macs with highly questionable ads featuring Justin Long, the week after Intel is luring Apple’s business to make their future processors.

So obviously you’ve seen some of the competitive energies resume because there’s a lot of great innovation to be done, and we haven’t seen PC demand at this level for a decade and a half. The world needs more of that, and there is competitive fun going on with Apple and the Mac ecosystem” — Gelsinger

I don’t know if this competitive landscape is fun like Gelsinger is mentioning, maybe we could ask Tim Cook?

Beyond the HomePod (#apple #homepod)

AppleInsider:

Apple needs to release new products to compete in the home. Be it an “Apple TV 6” or “HomeHub,” something needs to change the customer’s perspective in order to get traction in the space.

The article fails to mention a feature a HomePod replacement could and should include: home networking. I wrote about this many times. Apple left home networking market at a time where it was transitioning to WIFI 6 and home automation really started to pick up pace, thanks to things like HomeKit.

Mesh networking is something critical these days with the new work-from-home trend caused by the pandemic. Only Apple could create an easy to use networking product, à la Ubiquity or something like the AirPort product line. Speakers like the HomePod mini could evolve to be mesh extenders. I don’t really care if this product does have a screen or multiple mics. Sure it has to be HomeKit integrated. No, I don’T want it to be a successor to the Apple TV. Pricing would be too out of control. It has to be a separate product.

Leaving the home networking space could be one of the worst Apple decision in recent years. We keep seeing the consequences of it now.

Image credit: taken from AppleInsider’s article.

Fuck Facebook — Dear Parents RESIST ! (#facebook #masssurveillance)

From BuzzFeed:

Executives at Instagram are planning to build a version of the popular photo-sharing app that can be used by children under the age of 13, according to an internal company post obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Sorry for the bad words, but this is beyond any shit ever spit out by Facebook. They literally scrap anything they touch: Instagram, WhatsApp, society. WTF are Facebook’s Instagram leadership thinking? I’m so tired of this shit! I’m utterly angry! Now, since those people can’t figure out reality, what’s good, what’s bad, this message is for parents: RESIST! You hold the destiny of your children, just say NO! Don’t allow your children on social networks. Period. Enough, already.

Is bloatware coming to iPhone? (#apple #iPhone #russia)

According to 9to5Mac, users from Russia, upon setup of their brand-new iPhone:

Apple users will see a dialog box upon initial setup of new devices that features web browsers, antivirus, messenger, email clients, and more to be installed by default. The list of apps is provided by the government.

At first, I thought it was a bad decision from Apple, to allow this to happen. Bending to state laws from a country like Russia doesn’t look good. Who’s next? China? What about smartphone carriers?

The headlines are scarier than the reality, though. Users will be able to uninstall those state-sponsored apps. Otherwise, it is easy to imagine many scenarios like the dreaded PC bloatware we had to endure in the nineties from Microsoft’s OEMs. Or even worse, what about state surveillance applications? How will Apple say no to those? Are PCs subject to the same requirements? If not, why?

On the flip side, I can see some situations where apps could be suggested that would make sense, like contact tracing apps. It could have made a difference if we had this feature implemented before the pandemic. Another case is to suggest a government sponsored app that gives access to services sponsored by the government (immigration, finance, security, etc.). Finally, what are those apps that will make the list when setting up a new iPhone in Russia? I hope someone will share their experience once the law comes into effect.

Photo credits: Steve Harvey on Unsplash

Something is Going with the iMac (#apple #imac #applesilicon)

Current iMac design

Well, rumours abound, changes to the Apple Store options for the iMac, the demise of the iMac Pro, something is really going on with the iMac line. As Apple is currently in the midst of their transition to a full Apple Silicon future for the Mac, we may find what’s coming next, sooner than later.

I always loved the iMac because it is the most truthful version of the Mac original vision. I owned a 24” 2005 white iMac, then a 2007 aluminum version before my current 2017 iMac, on which I work on every weekday, for my day time work. I’m really looking forward for Apple to inject a new dose of design language in general, but especially for the iMac. The chin, the bezels, the rounded back all feel quite dated and tired. The ultimate form factor is to get a screen, nothing more. Think of it like a big iPad Pro on a svelte stand. The next design has to be iconic. It should differentiate itself from the current iPad Pro or the ProDisplay XDR. Apple’s industrial design team must enter new territories, they have to put a clear mark on Jony Ive’s era. Everything in Apple’s current Mac product lines look and feel like Jony Ive’s team work. We are due for a new beginning.

Will this new machine come in April? I feel like Apple should use a more important event like WWDC or one of the fall keynote to release such a landmark product. Current movements on the Apple Store and recent discoveries in Apple’s latest beta software points to a sooner than later release. We shall see very soon, I guess.

About these Read Later apps or services

Thought of the day: read later lists are useless for me. I tend to forget about the items I save in them. It was true with Instalaper, Pocket, Safari and now Reeder. I don’t read more because I save things in them. The trick for me is to read it now or else. Simple. The longer I wait to pick an article out of these lists, the less likely I will read it. So, I end up with a mass of unread and expired content. Are you more successful than me?

On the upcoming iPad Pro update (#apple #rumour #ipadpro)

IPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

As reported by MacRumors:

“Apple has tested ‌iPad‌ Pros with a Thunderbolt connector that would make them compatible with additional external monitors, hard drives, and peripherals, plus it brings faster data syncing speeds. Apple’s Mac machines have featured Thunderbolt technology for years now, but current ‌iPad Pro‌ and iPad Air models have standard USB-C ports.”

Such an iPad feature has to come with much improved operating system support for external devices, like external monitors, which is currently very limited under iPadOS 14.4. Expect an iPadOS 14.5 surprise support (something along he line of mouse support with iPadOS 13.4 at around the same time last year) or iPad 15 with profound improvements compared to iPadOS 14 which was limited in new features.

Personally, the key for a possible upgrade from my 2018 iPadPro lies in the software, not only the hardware. Also, rumours all points to the 12.9” iPad Pro, what about the 11”? I highly wish that Apple will make the 11”, just a smaller version of the 12.9” version.

Dear Justin — You’re So Funny (#apple #intel #ads #advertising)

Honestly, I like these Intel ads with Justin Long. The one with the dongle, at the very end, is priceless. These ads are fun. Not as fun as the “originals”, though, but still. Intel hits the nerves. Intel is playing the Apple playbook, simple as that. It’s an interesting moment, a blip, in the advertising world. Nothing more. Will it make a difference? I doubt it.

RIP iMac Pro, HomePod (#apple #imacpro #homepod)

What does the iMac Pro and the HomePod, two entirely different products, have in common? It’s not the fact that they are no longer being sold. The iMac Pro and the HomePod were created by Apple when they were caught off guard by market trends. In the case of the iMac Pro, Apple tried to answer pro users who were demanding a replacement to the aging trash can Mac Pro. Apple didn’t read the temperature room correctly. They acted urgently and responded with the wrong answer, the iMac Pro. The right answer would have been to fix the Mac Pro instead by creating another more modern version of the expandable Mac Pro, which they finally did later in 2019. The HomePod was created when Apple (finally) realized the smart speakers market was a thing. Apple misread the room temperature again with a high-end smart speaker which wasn’t that smart but sounded good. In such a market, pricing is everything.

Apple is at its best when they create products they want to use for themselves, just like they did with the iPhone. The Apple Car is such a thing really exists), the AR glasses (if such a thing really exists) are a potential case of such products. The Apple Watch was also built on the same principles of the iPhone: something they really want to use themselves.

I own two HomePod, paired together and two HomePod mini, placed in two different rooms. I love them all, but I prefer the mini for hard to explain reasons. It is sad to see the HomePro go. It could have played so differently.

What’s the next Apple product to be killed? The iPod touch?

Afterthought: what is Apple comes out with a new HomePod with an integrated wifi 6 router and maybe some storage, something along the line of the AirPort Extreme a few years ago? A new HomePod mini could also be released with wifi extender built-in. I would buy that in a heartbeat.

Image credit: Basic Apple Guy. I love this guy’s blog.

Not one but two newsletters (#news)

For those who didn’t know, I have two newsletters. One available from Substack available at https://numericcitizien.substack.com on a monthly basis and the other one entirely made with Mailbrew. On every Saturday morning, a newsletter is built using the RSS feeds of my blogs as a source to create a summary of all my publications in the last week. So, take a look at the latest issue of “Numeric Citizen Newsletter”. There are currently 30 subscribers to this newsletter.

If you plan to subscribe to Mailbrew to build your own newsletter, please, do me a favour and consider using the affiliated link to do so.

Guilty of Digital Consumerism (#apps #services #workflow)

Greg Morris on digital consumerism:

The level of consumerism and marketing tricks being used to sell apps and services is growing over time. They all promise to fix that gap in your work life, just like adverts promise to fix the one in your love life, or improve your happiness, or whatever it is. It’s all lies.

I cannot talk for others, but for me, when I’m jumping on another service or a new app, it’s because it offers a seizable improvement. Going from Notion to Craft is my latest example of such move. I’ll elaborate on this at length in a feature post in the very near future.

I recently wrote “Are we digital nomads?” My answer is yes. It seems we cannot stay in one place for a very long time, looking for the new, the latest and greatest, all the time. We’re bored. This is what it is. Form takes over function. Or is it? Again, my blogger workflow is full of moving parts and I consider it is an ongoing experiment.

About those WebP images (#google #usertracking #nonstandard)

WebP image format goal, according to Google:

WebP is a modern image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, webmasters and web developers can create smaller, richer images that make the web faster. WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images at equivalent SSIM quality index.

I’ve seen more and more WebP images in recent months when I try to download an image from Safari. It’s frustrating. It’s not a standard. Making the web load faster so tracking scripts can run more easily, that the reason behind all those “initiatives” from Google. WebP is a terrible idea. AMP pages was a terrible idea. And FLOC is a terrible idea. Google is full of terrible ideas. Even for searching, Google is bad. Boy, I hate Google.

I’ve been using WebP Converter recently.

HEY World, it's now official! (#hey #heyworld #blogging)

They flipped the switch to ON. HEY World is LIVE! I’m so glad, curious and already excited to use this other channel to share my written content with the world. I’m already thinking about my first post on this new platform. Furthermore, I think this addition brings even more value to an already useful service, on which I depend every single day. Recently, I asked: How many websites can a blogger have? Well, as soon as a newcomer doesn’t add too much friction when publishing content, it’s ok to have many. HEY World seems to be such a service. Count me in.

On Spoonbill (#twitter #mailbrew)

I recently published a long piece about transforming your Twitter experience by using Twitter lists instead of following a bunch of accounts. As noted in the article, one side effect of this approach is that services that look for your Twitter account’s list of people you follow won’t really work. That’s the case for a new service called “Spoonbill”.

Keep updated on your friends’ and family members’ bios, websites, locations, and names.

Spoonbill will send you a summary of changes that occurred on Twitter’s bio of people you follow. I wonder if this service can be tweaked to use Twitter’s lists instead. What about Mailbrew, maybe they could come up with a similar feature, which would be really cool.

In the meantime, I’m not coming back to following two thousands people.

On iCloud Photo Library migration (#keyword)

In a surprising move, Apple starting today allows people to export their iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos. Why not provide a download to a local computer, outside the Photos app. I can see many use cases for doing so: backup purposes or simply to dump photos in a structure of directories for archiving purposes.