It’s Becoming Harder and Harder to Sell Second Hand Apple Gear

After many weeks of trying, I finally sold my 2017 21.5 inches iMac. Even though Apple is currently selling M1 iMac at a competitive price, I thought that it would be easier to get rid of my Mac. It was a maxed out configuration, which helped me ask for a higher than usual price compared to other sellers. Yet, it wasn’t easy. As you might guess, I’m not the only one trying to sell an Intel-based iMac.

The next device put on sale was my iPhone 11 Pro with 256 GB of storage. One week before the officiel launch of the iPhone 13 Pro, I put up my older iPhone for sale. I got quite a few people interested in it, but the problem was the price they were willing to offer. It was way under my asking price, closer to what Apple is offering as a trade-in value. I think this is part of the problem. Many people are looking to get rid of their older devices to help pay for the new one, but potential buyers are comparing to what Apple is offering, which shouldn’t be used to fix the value of the second hand iPhone. Apple will refurbish the device or recycle it. This cannot be used as a comparison. After a week of getting my trade-in kit, I decided to return my iPhone instead of bothering to sell it.

When I bought my MacBook Air back in August, it came with a free pair of AirPods. I didn’t need them, so I put them on sale too. That one was easy to sell, though. It took less than half a day to find someone willing to get them.

It’s true that Apple hardware keep their resale value, but I think it’s not what it used to be. Apple is no longer the underdog, their devices are everywhere, which puts pressure on pricing.

What’s I’d like to see come in Canada is the iPhone upgrade program available in the US. I think I would pay a monthly price to always get the newer iPhone.

Dear @Viticci, I’m Not a Professional Reviewer, So What?

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

This podcast episode from MacStories featuring Viticci triggered quite a few reactions. Why? Because of these two sentences in the first moments of the episode talking about the iPad mini:

“You wouldn’t want to read/or watch a review by someone who is not a professional reviewer. It wouldn’t be enjoyable.”

Yep. Viticci said that. In “The value of a non-reviewer’s perspective” from Mere Civilian:

”I agree, a review from a person who does not write for a living may not be enjoyable. However, I strongly disagree with the first sentence. “

What? Really? Then, I read this reaction from Lee Peterson on his blog:

”MacStories posts some great stuff but not everyone wants to read long articles, some like smaller easy to digest articles from independent writers, I like to think I do that here. I get to the point and try to respect my audiences time, does that make my opinion invalid or not enjoyable?”

And here is my response. Viticci comments make him look full of himself. Period. I’m happy for him if he can live from writing reviews. I would rather read review from real end-users because the point is to get comments and observations from real use case scenarios. Sure, I like reviews from Marques Brownlee because he has well-balanced and critical point of views on a lot of stuff. It also touches the subject of what makes someone a blogger or a writer. If you write constantly, then you are a writer. Are you Shakespeare? Probably not. There is a starting point for everyone. Some will fall along the road, others will thrive. I tend to think of reviews by professionnel reviewers as synthetic reviews, where there is a lot of speed and feed talk. At some point, we want to go beyond that and have comments coming from experience. So, sure, I’d like to read comments from pilots about the real usefulness of the iPad mini. They are the one who can make a judgment on the subject.

Last year I wrote “I’m not an audiophile, but here are my thoughts on Apple’s AirPods Max” which is not of “review” but a collection of observations. I concluded with this:

”So, do I like the sound quality of my AirPods Max? Yes. Do they sound better than my Bose QC25? Yes. By a wide margin compared with the price difference with my Bose Q25? No. But, hey, they are wireless, convenient, comfier, have transparency mode, spatial audio and they fit within Apple’s walled garden.”

Is there any value in this? I think so. Should Viticci care? Certainly not. I do have genuine thoughts and opinions, and this is my ultimate right to share them with the world for exactly what they are: thoughts and observations. Nothing more, nothing less.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Apple’s Maps — Nine Years of Iterative Updates

Today Apple is publishing an article on its newsroom website about all the new thing that comes with Maps in iOS 15. There is a lot to like in this update, like the 3D detailed views in some major cities like San Francisco. These 3D views remind me of SimCity, a game on which I’ve spent countless hours playing. Maps as matured over the years, following the iterative nature of Apple’s approach to everything they do. Some don’t like it, others see the value in it. I’m one of those who think this is the best approach as each iteration helps build the next one with good cumulative experience. Today’s Maps, nine year later after a rocky start, in 2012, is impressive and as good as other popular alternatives, in my area at least.

Microsoft: Wow. Your Turn, Apple.

Microsoft’s announcements this week are nothing less than impressive. Microsoft is showing courage. Their Surface are striking. These things will probably be hot as hell (pun intended, thanks to Intel Inside). I’m hoping users will have a better experience than many of my colleague who had their Surface replaced in the last year because of over heating issues. Stylus On the surface (pun intended) may not work as well as the Apple Pencil on the iPad. Apple is at their best in that regard. Yet, we have to give them credits for what they are doing. They are iterating with more than incremental updates. They try new things. It’s interesting to see Microsoft aligning itself with Apple strategy: vertical integration (hardware + software: Windows) with a yearly release schedule. Designed for Windows 11. Well done.

Now, looking forward to Apple’s next announcement: the MacBook Pro “redesign”. Don’t expect anything close to what Microsoft is doing. But expect Apple to reintroduce the HDMI port and the SD Card reader. According the latest leaks.

Tim Would Love Stopping the Leaks

Of course the memo from Tim Cook about leakers is being leaked. It’s funny to read a leaked memo from Tim Cook expressing his concern and frustration about leakers working within Apple. After reading it, I do think part of the message is for outside leakers too, knowing the memo would be… leaked.

On iOS 15 Early Adoption Rate

Compared to last’s year iOS 14, early numbers show a much slower adoption rate for iOS 15. The problem? Last year was about the iPhone experience getting widgets. That’s a very material change. This year? Even if widgets now come to the iPad, it is far less reaching than it was on the iPhone. Things like focus modes are not as flashy as widgets but are damn useful, to me at least.

Happy iOS 15 & iPadOS 15 to you all!

After a long summer of beta releases, today we get to see the final releases of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. Are you feeling as excited as a few years ago at the same time? Personally, even if I think those are great iterative updates, I don’t. There is less to grab by developers it seems. I’m not expecting exciting new releases for any of my apps. What about yours?

Dear @AppleInsider STOP THIS!

I don’t know who got the idea at AppleInsider of putting video auto-play right in the middle of every articles, but this doesn’t enable a great reading experience. Even worst, scrolling the page to the bottom while reading will put the video in the bottom right corner on top of the content. It makes me wonder if I should stop reading their content altogether. Ads are bad but this is even worst. It’s not a good reading experience at all. Please, reconsider. Thanks. A long time reader.

The iterative Apple that delivers

If you think that this year’s updates from Apple are meh, I think, either you didn’t pay attention during the keynote or you’re simply bored. You may not like the iterative nature of Apple under Tim Cook, maybe you forgot to remember that the smartphone (and to some degree) the smartwatch are mature products. Since Apple is paying attention to what the majority of people actually care about, improving battery life, adding more storage, keeping prices steady, not having to wait three months to get a new device, stop expecting folding iPhone to prove Apple is still innovating.

There, I said it.

The future of the App Store According to Marco Arment

One of the best recent take on the possible future of the App Store.

Regarding IAP purchases:

Most apps will be required to also offer IAP side-by-side with any external methods

Many games will offer both IAP and external purchases, with the external choice offering a discount, bonus gems, extra loot boxes, or other manipulative tricks to optimize the profitability of casino games for children

External purchase methods will evolve to be almost as convenient as IAP

The payment-fraud doomsday scenarios argued by Apple and many fans mostly won’t happen

Now, App Store side-loading and alternative App Stores:

Facebook would soon have apps that bypassed App Review installed on the majority of iPhones in the world.

Without the threat of App Review to keep them in check, Facebook’s apps would become even more monstrous than they already are.

Alternative app stores would be even worse. Rather than offering individual apps via side-loading, Facebook could offer just one: The Facebook App Store.

Maybe Google would bring the Play Store to iOS and offer a unified SDK to develop a single codebase for iOS and Android, effectively making every app feel like an Android app

Media conglomerates that own many big-name properties, like Disney, might each have their own app stores for their high-profile apps.

Most developers would probably need to start submitting our apps to multiple app stores, each with its own rules, metadata, technical requirements, capabilities, approval delays, payment processing, stats, crash reports, ads, promotion methods, and user reviews.

In a few words: what a fucking mess.

I don’t expect side-loading or alternative app stores to become possible, and I’m relieved, because that is not a future I want for iOS.

I’m not so sure this won’t happen, but I’m sure that’s something I don’t want too. If only Apple could better read the room’s temperature and budge a tad.

Readwise.io Reader App — A Potential Game Changer?

In a recent announcement by Readwise.io:

We’re now in position to reimagine aspects of the digital reading experience itself, from how you annotate a document, to how you navigate. Readwise as you know it today isn’t going anywhere, but this is our future.

And:

With the new Readwise reading app, not only will these resurfacing and syncing features not go away, they will be enhanced through tight integration into the reading experience.

There is much more to digest on their published essay. They’ve been thinking about this for a while and judging from a few screenshots, their reading app seems compelling and well done. I’m hoping they will support Safari’s extensions. RSS feeds will be supported too. Sadly, it will probably be another Electron-based app. We’ll see if this doesn’t affect too much the experience.

I’ve been a subscriber of Readwise.io for a while, but I must admit that I’m not taking advantage of it as much as I would have liked. It does get synced with my Pocket account, but that’s about it. Oh, and my saved quotes get resurfaced in my Mailbrew summary newsletter, which is cool.

I’ve subscribed to their private beta testers waiting list and I can’t wait to try it out. If all goes well and is up to what they say on their blog post, this could entirely replace Pocket for me.

E-Bike and the Apple Watch — a Quick Question

So, you’ve got an e-Bike. Good for you. I’m jealous. You’ve got an Apple Watch too. Good for you, just like me. Now you want to go for a ride and record this activity with your Apple Watch. Which activity type will you select? Selecting Bike will probably record wrong data as you can move much faster than a regular bike and getting lower than normal heartbeat rate. Should Apple provide another type of biking activity?

Photo by Wolfram Bölte on Unsplash

Courage, Apple?

John Gruber on Apple’s lack of courage regarding vaccination of their employees:

So where’s Apple on this? Why isn’t Apple requiring proof of vaccination for employees, including for retail employees and customers? Why reserve courageous decisions only for removing headphone jacks?

Boom.

Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

Remembering that day

I was at the office. A normal day. It was a perfect sunny and more than usual mild September day. Blue sky. Then the news struck. At first, I didn’t understand what was actually happening. The internet went slow, to the point of becoming unusable. My colleagues started to leave their desks. We all turned to the TV set in the employees cafeteria. It was such a unique accident, we all thought. Then, the second plane, which marked a turning point in our history of modern barbarism. We are still trying to recover from it. I think of this day so often, each time with deception and bitterness because we didn’t learned the right lessons.

Side note: I find the American society fascinating. They seems to treat those who died on 9-11 differently then those who die each year from guns. The latter are more than three times those who died on 9-11. Each year. The US spent close to 6 000 billions dollars on war since 2001. It didn’t fix anything. How much do they spend on guns to try to fix this problem? Fascinating indeed.

Photo by Magnus Olsson on Unsplash

Can’t wait to try this

This is the Opal webcam. For the Mac. Made by Apple people. Can’t wait to try this out. Not cheap, though. Not ready yet either.

Quick Ranting On Medium App Updates

Can Medium stop reimagining their app and fix it?

Consider this screenshot of the Medium.app updates streak. It’s not a joke. At least one update a week for reimagining their app. I used to like Medium but their app, probably a major conduit to their content, is broken on the iPad and it never gets fixed (mainly layout issues).

How are we supposed to take online publishers seriously when for months they let bugs hinder the user experience of… reading their content? I greatly reduced my use of Medium for reading content, partly because of this.

On VMware Not Supporting the Mac Pro

VMware:

Due to various challenges of COVID-19 and the recent announcement from Apple on their transition away from x86 to Apple Silicon, VMware will no longer pursue hardware certification for the Apple 2019 Mac Pro 7,1 for ESXi.

This is sad news and probably not a surprising news. In early 2020, I came close to buy an entry-level Mac Pro in order to build a lab-in-a-box for experimenting different environments and software, all related to my work. I started this thread on my blog about my SDDCbox project, and was nearly ready to make the decision. Somehow, priorities shifted and I dropped my project entirely.

It is one thing to see new apps being non-native to the Mac, like 1Password 8 and maybe the upcoming Readwise Reader app, but it is another when a major player like VMware no longer consider the Mac as a viable platform for things like ESXi. Apple’s transition to its own silicon has obviously something to do with it. The Mac has never been more popular than today, yet, on the software side, I feel there is a “malaise”.

The next #AppleEvent is coming!

Just in time for the upcoming Apple event, my rumours site has been updated to reflect the most recent rumours. New iPhone. New Apple Watch. New AirPods. iOS 15. iPadOS 15. No MacBook Pro updates. That is all.

The (short) story of a scratch

Here is a picture of my 2020 MacBook Air that I recently bought. I wanted to use it as a banner somewhere, but this visual defect on the Apple logo put an end to my intention. Then, I started to think how bad things go for Apple these days and I came to the conclusion that this scratch perfectly illustrates the current status of Apple as a symbol. What a useless post. 🙂🤦🏻‍♂️

A thought on the Apple Watch Series 7

In recent days or weeks, rumours are rampant on the updated design of the Apple Watch: bigger but flatter screen, boxier design are the main themes, with no new health sensors. I’m not so sure about the boxy design. It’s ok for the iPad or the iPhone but for a watch? To me, it could make it less approachable, less jewelry. We’ll see in a few weeks. There is one thing that I’d like to point out about the Series 7: Apple is not only presumably launching an updated design, they are creating a new price point. The bigger screen helps legitimate this. They have been doing this since Tim Cook is CEO.

A typical month on Substack

Five publications each month. Four Friday notes posts, one monthly newsletter. Some new subscribers. No comments. A lot of fun at writing and publishing these posts. I’m writing for myself. I don’t feel the pressure of regular writing schedules. It’s easier than I thought. The more I do it, easier it becomes. Substack is a slowly evolving publishing platform. I wish it was a bit more like Twitter’s Revue. Anyways. https://numericcitizen.substack.com.

And so it begins. What’s next?

According to the Wall Street Journal:

South Korea today passed a bill that bans Apple and Google from requiring developers to use their own respective in-app purchasing systems, allowing developers to charge users using third-party payment methods

Now what? How will Apple respond? Will they create a different version of iOS for South Korea? Can they simply appeal this law, if such a thing is possible? How is this going to help other countries and parties to go after Apple’s practices? How much time will Apple be given to change its practices? Three months? A year? South Korea is probably a small market for Apple compared to other places in the world, but this new law seems like a tsunami in the making.

On Apple’s M1 MacBook Air energy efficiency

Funny and fascinating to see that 95% of the time, the four energy-efficient CPU cores are doing all the legwork on my M1 MacBook Air. I rarely see the performance cores doing work for a long time.

While waiting for iCloud Private Relay…

I’m using NextDNS.io for a better web experience… not the same but it does a great job of making the web more privacy friendly and a lot faster too. Too bad that we will have to wait for iOS 15.1 or later for iCloud Private Relay. Each year there are features that get dropped from the initial release… remember iMessage in the cloud, anyone?

Late to the party, but…

Just got this yesterday. You know what this mean, right? Well, maybe not. Anyway, I’m a bit late to the MacBook Air party, but this thing is probably THE best Mac Apple ever made. It’s not the best Air Apple ever made, though. A tad too big probably, yet so powerful. And this keyboard… a real and trusty keyboard. 🥰

I’m working on an essay about my new adventure in the MacBook Air land. Stay tuned.