Friday, May 4, 2018

Apple: My request for all the data it had on me was eye-opening →

Jefferson Graham for USA Today:

It took eight days for my data to arrive from Apple, from a European office that is handling the privacy requests. After making the request, the iPhone maker first asked for my street address, phone number, the serial number of the iPhone, and other personal information before releasing it. This compares to Google and Facebook’s data dump. They asked no questions, and the results arrived swiftly-Facebook within minutes, and Google within hours.

Apple’s file on me took longer but was lightweight – a testimony, according to the company, of how little it collects and stores on its individual users.

And:

What Apple didn’t share with me is all the questions I’ve asked the Siri personal digital assistant, queries it gathers to make the artificial intelligence smarter.

The company says the data wouldn’t tell an individual user anything, since it’s not associated with him or her. Your Siri requests – “Show me how to get to PF Chang’s,” or “What year was Steve Jobs born?” go back to Apple – but it uses a random identifier to mask your identity. So a Siri search for the closest Chipotle restaurant will only tell Apple that a user requested the data, but not associate it with me.

There are people out there who hate Apple products and services, but damn if their privacy stance isn’t world-leading. There’s absolutely no debating that fact.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

iOS 11.4 beta enables AirPlay control via Siri

Zac Hall from 9to5Mac discovered an awesome new feature I’ve been clamoring for in the latest iOS 11.4 Beta. You can now ask Siri to AirPlay content to your Apple TV and/or HomePod, including multi-room audio playback!

This is a feature I have always thought Apple should implement to make the initiation of AirPlay even quicker, so I’m very excited. Hope it stays in through the final release.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Intel delays Cannon Lake processors →

Malcolm Owen for AppleInsider:

Revealed during Intel’s quarterly earnings report, the chip giant revealed it would continue to focus on shipping chips that use the established 14-nanometer process this year, reports PC Gamer. While next-generation chips using a 10nm production process will ship this year, Intel is instead shifting high volume manufacturing into 2019.


Intel CEO Brian Krzanich advised the change in pace was caused through issues achieving suitably high yields of 10nm chips. Rather than try to achieve high volume production this year, and potentially waste considerable portions of wafers used in manufacturing, the company is instead taking time to fix issues before attempting mass production.

Bad news for all PC makers, and another perfect example of the entire industry’s reliance on Intel. Apple’s rumored switch to ARM may be worth the headache.

Privacy Policy updates are trendy

There’s a silver lining in the aftermath of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica fiasco: everyone and their mother are updating privacy policies right now. Go ahead, check your inbox; I bet you have quite a few. Maybe it’s a bit marketing fluff, but the optimist in me hopes there is good intention.

Just in the past few weeks, I’ve received emails in regards to privacy policy updates from Twitter, Periscope, Roku, Plex, Airbnb, and Etsy. In fact, the following exchange I had with Matt Birchler from Birchtree in relation to a privacy policy update from BookBub prompted me to write this post.

Privacy is becoming increasingly more of a common thread amongst the general public, and is therefore a trendy thing to support. But that’s how things really get done on the Internet though, isn’t it? Hopefully the trend will help enable real change across Internet services and companies, like the encryption of traffic end-to-end. Hell, even the thought of insecure traffic should be a distant memory in the next few years.

One thing is for sure: companies can no longer cry innocence or näiveté for failing to protect the data of their users. Let’s hold them to it.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

It has been 229 days since AirPower was announced →

Nick Heer for Pixel Envy:

Imagine an alternate universe where the AirPower and the wireless charging case for the AirPods weren’t announced until, say, the opening keynote of WWDC this year with same-day availability. Sure, buyers of iPhones and Apple Watches that were released last year would have to suffer through several tedious months of wondering why Apple didn’t make their own charging pad because many of the ones out there right now aren’t very good, but the reaction to its then-immediate availability would have been a classic example of underpromising and overdelivering.

Good points by Nick.

There’s one thing I noticed, too: we haven’t received the typical “product needs a little more time” statement from Apple, like when AirPods were delayed for about two months. If this silence is any indication, something completely unforeseen happened with AirPower, or Apple wouldn’t have announced it so far in advance. Although, they have got into the rhythm of doing so over the past couple years. I don’t know if it’s Tim’s call in particular, but it’s quite a shift from announcing and releasing the same day or week like they used to.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Apple should reinvent home networking

I started writing this article about a month ago. Here’s part of the original intro:

You may have been saddened to hear that Apple has no plans to update their wireless networking/storage line of equipment known as AirPort, but I think something bigger could be brewing in Cupertino.

Now in the wake of AirPort’s official demise, my thoughts remain unchanged on how and why Apple should reinvent home networking, because it’s needed more than ever.

Like any Apple product, AirPort routers offered a simple interface for configuration, employing Apple’s ‘it just works’ mentality. I have never owned an AirPort product, but from what I know, the entire line handled the basics swimmingly. But the reality is: the demand on our home networks and the Internet is only growing, and AirPort essentially was a hobby, similar to the original Apple TV.

In a world where everything is connected, in a time where privacy and security are more important than ever, Apple should seize the opportunity to offer a modern wireless networking solution that also takes advantage of their flourishing ecosystem.

Read on

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Amazon will soon increase Prime fee to $119 →

Jason Del Rey for Recode:

Amazon is increasing the price of its Prime membership in the U.S. for the first time in four years, the company’s chief financial officer announced on a call with analysts on Thursday.

Effective May 11, new subscribers will pay $119 a year for the shipping and entertainment membership program, up from $99 today. The new annual fee will apply to current Prime members starting with renewals on June 16. Amazon last raised Prime’s fee in 2014, when it cost customers $79 a year.

To me, the most shocking thing about this was the year Amazon last increased Prime fees (2014). I can’t believe it has been that long. Feels like only two years ago. Anyway, $119 is still a hell of a deal. Unlike the ire drawn whenever Netflix prices increase, I think the sheer breadth of Prime benefits outshines these inevitable announcements. It is the Subscription Age, after all.

Apple officially discontinues AirPort line of products →

Rene Ritchie asked Apple what’s up with their AirPort line of products (AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule Wi-Fi routers). Here’s the official word from Apple:

“We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products. They will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.”

The writing has been on the wall, as the AirPort line has become increasingly stagnant. The timing of this news is apropos, as I have been working on an article detailing the case for Apple to reinvent home networking.

Apple could seize the moment and create a modern Wi-Fi system at a time that would be advantageous for them and their customers. I look forward to publishing my thoughts soon, as I’m not so sure Apple is bowing forever out of this business.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How to get Workflows for your iPhone and iPad →

It’s time for some more Workflow-goodness, similar to my post from the other day.

Matthew Cassinelli for iMore:

Workflow for iPhone and iPad is Apple’s powerful automation app, letting you create or get other people’s workflows that you can use to speed up tasks on your devices.

But you don’t have to be able to create workflows to benefit from them – you can add them from the Gallery or import them from other people, just run those, and still get a lot of benefit from using Workflow.

Workflow is a really powerful app that was purchased by Apple. I have come to rely on it heavily.

Fun fact: Matthew was on the Workflow team before Apple bought the app (and a little after), so he’s the perfect person to write this. As a matter of fact, if you’re itching for more advanced iOS automation techniques, check out his personal blog.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Speed up Apple Watch software updates by disabling Bluetooth →

Christian Zibreg for iDownloadBlog discovered a faster way to update his Apple Watch:

Disabling Bluetooth on your paired iPhone at the right time will force your Apple Watch to connect to your iPhone via the faster Wi-Fi protocol.

Read through to find out exactly when you need to disable Bluetooth during the update process for this to work.

This is great, because when I update mine, I swear I have been transported back to 1998 with a 56k modem. I have always wondered why Apple doesn’t broker this process over Wi-Fi by default. It sure would make for a better experience. I’ll have to give this process a try with the next update.