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.
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.
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.
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.
I discovered Michael Rockwell’s blog last week, Initial Charge (he’s also the creator of #OpenWeb). Upon perusing his site, I discovered ‘The Toolkit’, which is his list of publishing workflows for the … well … Workflow app.
I’m particularly fond of the ‘Push To Ulysses’ flow, which I even used to write this post. So meta. Here’s Michael’s description of it:
Push To Ulysses: When viewing a webpage in Safari, initiate Push to Ulysses from Workflow’s action extension. A new sheet will be opened in Ulysses with my template for publishing Linked List items. If activated with text selected on the webpage, that text will be placed in a blockquote within the body of the template.
There are quite a few more, so if you’re a web publisher, head on over and check them out.
Katharine Trendacosta for the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
[…] Net neutrality protections didn’t end today, and you can help make sure they never do. Congress can still stop the repeal from going into effect by using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s action. All it takes is a simple majority vote held within 60 legislative working days of the rule being published. The Senate is only one vote short of the 51 votes necessary to stop the rule change, but there is a lot more work to be done in the House of Representatives. See where your members of Congress stand and voice your support for the CRA here.
Keep fighting the good fight, people. As I have said before: we may be losing the battle, but we will win the war.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that quite a number of folks don’t like to pay outright for digital content and services. Ever since the dawn of widespread Internet adoption in the 90s, people have always figured out ways to get content for free. From early peer-to-peer file sharing services such as Napster and Kazaa, to the more modern BitTorrent, and questionable streaming services such as Kodi. But now there’s a new age upon us. It’s an age so convenient that we’re willing to forego alternative means and pony up! Yes indeed, it’s The Subscription Age.
Ron Amadeo for Ars Technica:
ZTE was caught violating US sanctions by illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. The company then made things worse by “making false statements and obstructing justice, including through preventing disclosure to and affirmatively misleading the US Government,” according to the Department of Commerce. The company reached a settlement with the government, agreeing to pay up to $1.2 billion in penalties and discipline the employees involved in the sale.
Recently, the Commerce Department found ZTE was not complying with this settlement, which triggered the next part of the agreement: a seven-year ban on US exports to ZTE. The company is no longer allowed to use US components and, possibly, software in its devices.
On the ZTE Temp Go, the first Android Go smartphone:
The $80 Tempo Go went on sale on March 30 and quickly sold out in about a day. Since then, the device has been listed as “Out of stock” on ZTE’s website. Since the devices use a Qualcomm SoC and Google software, is the Tempo Go dead after a single day on sale?
Damn. Cold blooded, but fair. Hopefully returns will be in order for Temp Go owners.
Last week, Michael Rockwell from Initial Charge introduced a fantastic idea called #OpenWeb. It’s an aggregate of independent technology publishers who primarily focus on Apple (including yours truly).
Michael’s words from his introductory post:
[…] But discovery is still a major problem. Why would you put the effort into buying a domain, setting up a site, and writing if no one is going to read it? And if you do manage to jump through all the hoops to start publishing, how do you find others in the community that have done so as well?
#OpenWeb let’s you find out what everyone’s talking about without having to wade through dozens of knee-jerk political reactions on Twitter or inspirational memes on Facebook. Those things have their place, but I think we need somewhere to go for more thoughtful commentary […].
I think this is a great idea. I started blogging about a year ago, and as Michael says, discovery is a hard problem for an independent writer. Head over to #OpenWeb and discover other great writers and opinions, as I have already.