Joel Santo Domingo, reviewing the new 13-inch Air:
Road warriors and jet travellers rejoice, we’ve found a laptop
that will last all day and well into the night. The newest Apple
MacBook Air 13-inch (Mid-2013) lasted an astonishing 15-and-a-half
hours on a battery test that makes most current mainstream
ultrabooks and ultraportables cough and die after four to six
hours. The fact that the system gives up very little if any
day-to-day performance is astounding.
The security state operates as a ratchet. Once you click in a new
level of surveillance or intrusiveness, it becomes the new
baseline. What was unthinkable yesterday becomes permissible in
exceptional cases today, and routine tomorrow. The people who run
the American security apparatus are in the overwhelming majority
diligent people with a deep concern for civil liberties. But their
job is to find creative ways to collect information. And they work
within an institution that, because of its secrecy, is
fundamentally inimical to democracy and to a free society.
Remarkably thoughtful essay; if you read only one thing this week, make it this.
Week-old roundup of day one designer commentary on iOS 7. I was right about one thing: it’s polarizing. Two remarks I very much agree with:
What was outlined today looks like a very rational base on which
to extend the OS — somewhat timeless, far more timeless than what
we had before.
I think the design had to be reset so that newer interaction
models could surface. More gestures, more animations. They added a
physics engine to the SDK. It’s like a pendulum swinging from
obvious visual affordances to engaging kinetic ones. The parallax
effect, the physics of the messages bubbles and I’m sure many
other ‘kinetic’ behaviors are new to devs in iOS7. Apple wants
apps to use more motion and less visual design.
The design and goal is clearly focused on listeners purchasing
music — but even so, iTunes Radio feels like the first truly
modern take on what terrestrial radio wishes it could be. Radio
was always meant to be a promotion tool, a way to sell more music,
but without being built directly on top of the world’s biggest
music retailer, it was always too distant from the marketplace to
be more effectual. Now a “buy” button lives next to every song, or
a wish list one for those hesitant, and it feels like this is how
modern radio should function.
Agreed; iTunes Radio is well-done and well-designed. I’m a little surprised Apple is making everyone wait for iOS 7 to get it.
According to the Financial Times of London (paywall), Richard Yu,
chairman of Huawei’s consumer business group, said at the launch
of its latest smartphone offering, the Ascend P6, in London: “We
are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination
has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia.”
I can’t find one person who has been using the Nexus 7 for an
extended period of time, and hasn’t seen a massive downgrade in
performance. Just what kind of downgrade are we talking here? I
cannot pick up my Nexus 7 without experiencing problems like a lag
of ten seconds, or more, just to rotate the display; touches
refusing to acknowledged; stuttering notification panel actions;
and unresponsive apps.
I tried the basics at first, like a factory reset. I then moved onto
drastic measures, like rooting and installing CyanogenMod 10.1
(which I thought would surely fix everything, since I’ve used
faster devices with lesser hardware, and performance problems were
merely a lack of software optimization). And nothing seems to work.
My first-generation iPad from 2010 works just as well as the day I bought it. Actually, even better, because iOS has gotten better.
Brian X. Chen, reporting for the NYT from the e-book price-fixing trial:
Both parties showed their evidence on a projector screen. Apple’s
legal team used a MacBook to shuffle between evidence documents,
stacking them side by side in split screens and zooming in on
In contrast, the Justice Department’s lawyers could show only one
piece of evidence at a time. One video that Mr. Buterman played
as evidence failed to produce the audio commentary needed to make
The race to the bottom. Deceptive low-now, high-later pricing.
Scam and clone apps. Shallow apps with little craftsmanship that
succeed, but many high-quality apps unable to command a
sustainable price. The “top” list encourages all of these —
we’d still have them without the list, but to a substantially
Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’
personal data, and we don’t collect or maintain a mountain of
personal details about our customers in the first place. There are
certain categories of information which we do not provide to law
enforcement or any other group because we choose not to retain it.
For example, conversations which take place over iMessage and
FaceTime are protected by end-to-end encryption so no one but the
sender and receiver can see or read them. Apple cannot decrypt
that data. Similarly, we do not store data related to customers’
location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.
That last sentence separates Apple from many other companies.
Darby Lines, on Apple’s new “This Is Our Signature” campaign:
In my opinion this has been, from the return of Steve Jobs at
least, the singular goal of Apple. Not to make all the moneys, not
to dominate markets, not to impress bloggers but simply to make
products that enhance our lives.
Apple spent nine months in complete silence — from the release of the iPad Mini through last week. The only thing they announced in that interim was the ouster of Scott Forstall and corresponding reshuffling of executive responsibility. No new products, no new designs. And the business and tech media lost their shit over this, declaring an end to Apple’s ability to innovate. Apple’s “This Is Our Signature” mantra is in defiance of this superficial demand for an endless stream of new new new. Apple is saying they’re above the churn of the news cycle, and if you don’t understand that yet, they don’t care. You’ll either get it through your head eventually, or you will never understand Apple.
Judging from my inbox, Twitter and Messages, people are losing
their minds over iOS 7 and some of the changes Apple introduced at
WWDC last week. Here is my advice to you — sit back, take a deep
breath and relax.
There are a few things you need to remember about iOS 7. First,
it’s nowhere near finished in terms of design or functionality.
Apple engineers stopped adding or changing the operating system
before WWDC so they had a stable build to show during the keynote.
It’s not done.
iOS 7 is so far from done that maybe there is a story here, in that Apple has a mountain of work ahead to get iOS 7 ready for actual release this fall (presumably, coincident with the release of new iPhone and iPad devices). But to judge iOS 7 beta 1 as you would a release version is silly.
My thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Squarespace puts world-class design in your hands and provides everything you need to create your own website in minutes. Squarespace websites are different. They’re designed to be simple, modern, and to look great on every device. With Squarespace, your personality, products, or content are always the focus.
Apple has set fire to iOS. Everything’s in flux. Those with the least to lose have the most to gain, because this fall, hundreds of millions of people will start demanding apps for a platform with thousands of old, stale players and not many new, nimble alternatives. If you want to enter a category that’s crowded on iOS 6, and you’re one of the few that exclusively targets iOS 7, your app can look better, work better, and be faster and cheaper to develop than most competing apps.
Recorded earlier this week in front of a live audience in San Francisco, I was joined on stage by Guy English, Scott Simpson, and a cavalcade of very special surprise guests. I’m pretty happy with how this show turned out.
Droid Life, “That Moment When iOS 7 Became Android”:
We’ll have so many more thoughts on the way related to iOS 7,
but we thought we’d start with the eerily similar lock screens.
Floating bubble live wallpaper, minimal clock, fading on the
actionable icons, semi-Roboto font, etc.
Helvetica Neue Ultra Light, “semi-Roboto”. OK, then.
The truth about the greatest commercial of all time — Think
Different — is that the intended audience was Apple itself. Jobs
took over a demoralized company on the precipice of bankruptcy,
and reminded them that they were special, and, that Jobs was
special. It was the beginning of a new chapter.
“Designed in California” should absolutely be seen in the same
light. This is a commercial for Apple on the occasion of a new
chapter; we just get to see it.
This morning, I watched the videos of the iOS 7 interface again,
and I saw a bunch of rushed designers unable to stabilize an
uneven interface. It’s worth remembering that Ive took over
Human Interface only 7 months ago, and they redesigned the whole
phone in that time. Straight up: seven months is a ridiculous
Astute take on iOS 7’s design by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, writing for Gizmodo:
The predicted rebirth Susan Kare’s original black-and-white OS
design, it ain’t. Actually, let’s just ban using the term “flat”
altogether for this post. The iOS 7 we met today was full of what
Jony Ive called “new types of depth.” Alongside a poppy,
neon-and-pastel color scheme, the icons, apps, and homescreen of
iOS 7 are full of layering and dimensionality. There are also
entirely new types of animation: from a screen that uses the
accelerometer to adjust in parallax, to beautiful new animated
My thanks to Robots and Pencils for sponsoring last week’s DF RSS feed. Robots and Pencils make iOS apps, including Spy vs. Spy and Primeval DFX (Hollywood style CGI dinosaurs, inserted into your own videos) last year.
Their company name reflects their philosophy, with programmers and designers working in tandem. If you’re looking for someone to build an app for you, get in touch with Robots and Pencils.
Things went downhill from there. Under Snyder’s questioning,
Turvey acknowledged that he couldn’t remember a single name of
any of the publishing executives who had told him Apple was the
reason the publishers were switching their business model. He
conceded that the publisher’s move to the agency system was
important to Google’s own fledgling book business, yet Turvey
couldn’t remember any details about the conversations with
publishers. By the end of the interview Turvey had gone from
saying the publishers had told him directly, to saying they had
merely told people on his team, to finally saying the publishers
had “likely” told someone on his team.
It was a topsy Turvey moment for the increasingly unsure Google
exec. For Snyder and Apple it was one of those rare times when a
trial opponent is practically defenseless. Mercifully, Cote
adjourned saying “Let’s allow Mr. Turvey to escape so he can enjoy
Below, I have carefully parsed Yahoo’s statement, line by line, in order to highlight the fact that Yahoo has not in fact denied receiving court orders under 50 USC 1881a (AKA FISA Section 702) for massive amounts of communications data.
If it had, even if I couldn’t talk about it, in all likelihood I would no longer be working at Google: the fact that we do stand up for individual users’ privacy and protection, for their right to have a personal life which is not ever shared with other people without their consent, even when governments come knocking at our door with guns, is one of the two most important reasons that I am at this company: the other being a chance to build systems which fundamentally change and improve the lives of billions of people by turning the abstract power of computing into something which amplifies and expands their individual, mental life.
Strong statement. And here’s Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond:
We cannot say this more clearly — the government does not have access to Google servers—not directly, or via a back door, or a so-called drop box. Nor have we received blanket orders of the kind being discussed in the media.
Special guest John Moltz joins me for a pre-WWDC episode of my podcast, The Talk Show. We start with WWDC speculation: Will there be new Macs? Might Apple release an SDK and App Store for Apple TV, and if so, would it require a new remote control? All that and more, including this week’s allegations that the NSA is spying on US citizens’ cell phone usage and Internet data.
You’re going to love the ending.
We have a different name because we make a different sandwich. A true Philly hoagie is so much better than a “sub”, it’s not even funny. We’re famous for the cheesesteak, but the Philly hoagie is just as great. (Sarcone’s is the best; Primo’s are excellent too.)
From the outside, then, it’s easy to be dismissive or even
resentful: How can these guys launch a relatively expensive
text-note app that’s missing so many features of competing
It takes balls to release an iOS app in 2013 for $4.99.
It takes balls to enter this extremely crowded category.
It takes balls to release a note-shoebox app in 2013 that has no
sync, import, or export.
It takes balls to name your note-shoebox app after a cocktail
nobody has heard of, then to age-rate the app “12+ for mild
alcohol references” just so the cocktail’s recipe can be included
in the Credits screen.
An astute review of the app, and an interview with yours truly at the end:
Federico Viticci: In a talk you gave at Macworld in January 2009,
you mentioned how you didn’t work well with other people in a
team. Fast forward to 2013, you have teamed up with Brent and Dave
for Vesper. What’s changed?
John Gruber: Great question. I’m not sure what my exact words were
then, but the way I’d put it now is that I don’t work well with
people I don’t like, or with people who don’t seem to get what I
want. […] The three of us make a good team, that’s the difference.
The big thing is that all three of us are willing to try anything,
and to take however long it takes to get it right. Iterate,
iterate, iterate; over, and over, and over. Dave designed certain
elements of Vesper dozens of times. Brent implemented many of the
features and animated transitions numerous times, just so we could
try different designs and see what they really felt like each way.
And not only did neither of them mind this, they loved it. Brent
even devised a custom framework for the app to provide us with
CSS-like tweaking for things like layout, color, and animation
It’s simple enough not to get in my way with a lot of fiddly
organizational features, but provides me with more structure than
something like the Notes app. Tagging notes made a lot of sense —
I immediately made Work, Writing, and Recipes tags. I commingled
work notes, ideas for my novel, a favorite recipe for buttermilk
biscuits, and an idea for my podcast without any trouble. Once I
started treating it as the iPhone equivalent of a small paper
notebook tucked into a pocket, it all began to fit.
Yours truly, in an interview with Snell:
“Bond’s gadgets have always been at the intersection of utility
and elegance,” Gruber said. “That’s as good a motto for a software
company as any.”
The gist of the defense was that, in contrast to what took place
under the Bush Administration, this form of secret domestic
surveillance was legitimate because Congress had authorized it,
and the judicial branch had ratified it, and the actual words
spoken by one American to another were still private. So how bad
could it be?
The answer, according to the mathematician and former Sun
Microsystems engineer Susan Landau, whom I interviewed while
reporting on the plight of the former N.S.A. whistleblower Thomas
Drake and who is also the author of Surveillance or Security?,
is that it’s worse than many might think.
“The public doesn’t understand,” she told me, speaking about
so-called metadata. “It’s much more intrusive than content.” She
explained that the government can learn immense amounts of
proprietary information by studying “who you call, and who they
call. If you can track that, you know exactly what is happening —
you don’t need the content.”
The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr.
Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any
power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we
have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear
after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who
mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of
unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.
Tight security restrictions at Thursday’s Google shareholder
meeting led even the company’s much-hyped Google Glass technology
to be banned, infuriating a consumer watchdog group who accused
the tech giant of hypocrisy.
The Post previously claimed that Microsoft, Yahoo, Google,
Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple ”participate
knowingly”. The phrase that stood out in the report (it has been
repurposed by numerous tech blogs and news sites across the
Web) since it suggested that US firms willingly agreed to a
process that — at best — could violate the rights of millions in
the US if their data is accidentally monitored by the NSA.
Hours after the news broke, and every company bar PalTalk and AOL
denied any knowledge of the program and allegations of their
involvement, the Post has changed its stance. The phrase
”participate knowingly” has been removed from the article, a new
passage suggests the firms were unaware of PRISM.
Speaking of podcasts, I’m doing a live episode of The Talk Show this coming Tuesday in San Francisco, during WWDC. The first batch of tickets sold out, but we just put another 150 on sale. Grab them while they’re hot.
About the Linked List
The Daring Fireball Linked List is a daily list of interesting links
and brief commentary, updated frequently but not frenetically. Call it
a “link log”, or “linkblog”, or just “a good way to dick around on the
Internet for a few minutes a day”.