The Pure American Banality of Donald Trump’s White House Fast-Food Buffet | The New Yorker
from Daring Fireball

This photograph should go down as the definitive image of the Trump administration.

(Also worth noting: Rosner’s note on pluralizing “Filet-o-Fish”.)

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
12 hours ago
Apple launches Smart Battery Case for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR | iMore
from Daring Fireball

Lory Gil, writing for iMore:

For anyone that’s been waiting for Apple’s Smart Battery Case for the latest and greatest X series of iPhone, your wait is over. Apple just launched a new version for all three in the current model iPhone X line, that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

This year’s model also supports Qi wireless charging. So, you can set it and forget it and your case and iPhone will charge at the same time.

The Smart Battery Case can be charged with and USB-PD compatible chargers (not included in the box), which will improve charging time significantly.

I didn’t hate the humpback design of the old Smart Battery Case the way some people do, but this clearly looks more elegant. What isn’t obvious from Apple’s photos is how the Lightning ports align. I think what’s going on is that because the cases are much thicker at the bottom, the case’s Lightning female port is behind its internal male jack. The old Smart Battery Case needed a chin because the Lightning connectors were on top of each other. I also don’t see any holes for audio from the speakers to pass through.

Interesting too that the whole thing works with Qi — keep your phone in the case and put it on a charging pad and both will charge. That has to be pretty complicated engineering-wise.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
17 hours ago
Instagram caught selling ads to follower-buying services it banned – TechCrunch
from Daring Fireball

Scathing investigative report by Josh Constine for TechCrunch:

Instagram has been earning money from businesses flooding its social network with spam notifications. Instagram hypocritically continues to sell ad space to services that charge clients for fake followers or that automatically follow/unfollow other people to get them to follow the client back. This is despite Instagram reiterating a ban on these businesses in November and threatening the accounts of people who employ them.

A TechCrunch investigation initially found 17 services selling fake followers or automated notification spam for luring in followers that were openly advertising on Instagram despite blatantly violating the network’s policies.

At the time Facebook acquired Instagram, Instagram was by far the nicest social media experience I’d seen. It is now quickly descending into a cesspool of crap. I fully expected Facebook to Facebook-ify Instagram, but it’s sad watching it happen. It seems to be accelerating in the wake of the departure of co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger — again, surprising no one.

This bit from Constine’s report is funny:

This led me to start cataloging these spam company ads, and I was startled by how many different ones I saw. Soon, Instagram’s ad targeting and retargeting algorithms were backfiring, purposefully feeding me ads for similar companies that also violated Instagram’s policies.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
19 hours ago
The Talk Show ✪: Ep. 240, With Special Guest Ben Thompson
from Daring Fireball

Special guest Ben Thompson returns to the show. Topics include Apple’s horrible no good very bad earnings warning, the Chinese market, Apple’s push toward services for revenue growth, antitrust issues regarding the App Store, and more.

Brought to you by these fine sponsors:

Alex Weinstein Music: Handmade music for your next video project. Use promo code thetalkshow and save 30 percent off your first purchase.

Squarespace: Make your next move. Use code talkshow for 10 percent off your first order.

Eero: Finally, Wi-Fi that works. Get $100 off a Wi-Fi system and a year of eero Plus with code thetalkshow.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
22 hours ago
DuckDuckGo Taps Apple Maps to Power Private Search Results
from Daring Fireball

DuckDuckGo:

We’re excited to announce that map and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo for mobile and desktop are now powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework, giving you a valuable combination of mapping and privacy. As one of the first global companies using Apple MapKit JS, we can now offer users improved address searches, additional visual features, enhanced satellite imagery, and continually updated maps already in use on billions of Apple devices worldwide.

With this updated integration, Apple Maps are now available both embedded within our private search results for relevant queries, as well as available from the “Maps” tab on any search result page.

I have more to say about this, but I wanted to link to the announcement as soon as it was up. This is huge news (particularly for DuckDuckGo) and really interesting for Apple strategically.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
22 hours ago
United Is Telling Staff To Be Nice To Apple Employees - One Mile at a Time
from Daring Fireball

A letter to pilots from the United rep who manages their account with Apple, obtained by One Mile at a Time:

As we enter into another 3-year contract renewal negotiation this coming January with Apple, your partnership is key in demonstrating to Apple how United differentiates itself from the competition. Overall, Apple continues to grow revenue on United more than 20 percent annually and keeping them happy while traveling on United is critical to the success of many of our SFO routes. Thanks again for going above and beyond, your efforts make a positive impact to the strong and growing partnership between Apple and United.

If you spent $150 million a year on United, you’d probably get nicer treatment, too. And the letter shows that United’s real competition for Apple’s business are the foreign carriers:

Your professionalism and dedication to enhancing the customer service experience for Apple Global Services customers by hand delivering personalized ‘thank you’ cards helps us compete and win against the foreign flag carriers especially in the very competitive US-Asia market.

50 seats a day between SFO and Shanghai is just a jaw-dropping number. That’s 25 Apple employees flying home and another 25 heading over every single day.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
22 hours ago
German court throws out Qualcomm's latest patent case against Apple | Reuters
from Daring Fireball

Reuters:

A patent lawsuit filed by Qualcomm Inc against Apple Inc was thrown out by a German court on Tuesday, in a reversal for the U.S. chipmaker after it won a recent court ban on the sale of some iPhones in the country.

The regional court in the city of Mannheim dismissed the Qualcomm suit as groundless in an initial verbal decision, saying the patent in question was not violated by the installation of its chips in Apple’s smartphones.

“We are happy with the decision and thank the court for their time and diligence,” Apple said in a statement. “We regret Qualcomm’s use of the court to divert attention from their illegal behavior that is the subject of multiple lawsuits and proceedings around the world.”

These court cases are so tedious to follow, but the effects are real. Until this ruling Apple was forced to removed the iPhone 7 and 8 from sale in Germany — very popular products in a very big market.

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ifttt  daringfireball 
23 hours ago
302 Found
from Daring Fireball

Jean-Louis Gassée, on Apple’s earnings warning:

I have a hard time believing that the $29 limited time offer had a significant impact on Apple’s numbers. Did Apple replace hundreds of thousands of batteries? I doubt it. At 100 replacements per Apple Store times 500 stores, that’s 50K happy customers and only $50M in missed new iPhone revenues. I’d have to be off by a factor of 10 — half a million iPhone battery upgrades, one thousand repairs per Apple Store — to approach a mere $500M in missed revenue.

[Update: My battery upgrade discussion above is wrong in two ways.

As readers pointed out, my numbers estimate might be too low.

And… the error might not matter. Apple had full knowledge of battery replacement numbers when issuing its Nov 1st guidance.]

I’m pretty sure Gassée’s back-of-the-envelope estimate of the number of batteries replaced was way too low. During Apple’s all-hands meeting January 3, Tim Cook said Apple replaced 11 million batteries under the $29 replacement program, and they’d have only anticipated about 1-2 million battery replacements normally. (The fact that Cook held this all-hands meeting was reported by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, but the contents of the meeting haven’t leaked. Well, except for this nugget I’m sharing here.)

But Gassée’s second point still stands: the battery replacement program ran all year long, so even if it was more popular than Apple originally expected, why wasn’t it accounted for in guidance issued on November 1 — 10 months after the program started? My guess: the effect of the battery replacement program on new iPhone sales wasn’t apparent until after the iPhone XR and XS models were available. A few million extra iPhone users happy with the performance of their old iPhones with new batteries — who would have otherwise upgraded to a new iPhone this year — put a ding in the bottom line.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday
Start Up No.980: the vitamin D myth, how smart TVs pay, Brexit’s paranoid fantasy, where Apple stumbled, and more | The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say
from Daring Fireball

Rowan Jacobsen, writing for Outside:

In November, one of the largest and most rigorous trials of the vitamin ever conducted — in which 25,871 participants received high doses for five years — found no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke.

How did we get it so wrong? How could people with low vitamin D levels clearly suffer higher rates of so many diseases and yet not be helped by supplementation?

As it turns out, a rogue band of researchers has had an explanation all along. And if they’re right, it means that once again we have been epically misled.

These rebels argue that what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health — that big orange ball shining down from above.

The oldest mistake in the book: conflating cause and effect.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday
procreate.art
from Daring Fireball

Procreate is a beautiful, fast, and powerful painting app made for creative professionals. It gives you all the tools you need to create quick sketches, inspiring paintings, and detailed illustrations, no matter where you are.

Along with the huge range of pro features like fully customizable brushes and high resolution, multi-layered canvases, you can now experience the brand new QuickShape. This groundbreaking tool helps you create perfect geometry, just like magic.

For just $9.99 it’s yours forever, with regular feature-rich updates and most importantly, no subscriptions. Whether you’re a creative professional or just starting out, Procreate has everything you need.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday
United Airlines takes down poster that revealed Apple is its largest corporate spender - 9to5Mac
from Daring Fireball

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9to5Mac:

United Airlines has released a statement following the circulation of a tweet that showed Apple as its largest account, spending $150 million on flights every single year.

In a statement to Kif Lewswing, United Airlines said that the information was displayed as part of a (intended to be) private project that has since been discontinued. […]

Big companies don’t like details like this being public knowledge, even if there isn’t anything too sensational about a big corporation buying a lot of flights for its employees.

“Don’t like details like this being public knowledge” — I’ll go out on a limb and guess that’s an understatement for Apple.

It’s no surprise that a lot of Apple employees fly back and forth to Shanghai, but 50 seats every day is a lot.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
yesterday
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Republican Party:
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Also Republican Party:
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Award for CREEPIEST virtual creep in tech goes to... (this thread is INSANE)
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The state of American democracy:
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4 days ago
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To hone in: I don’t care about an *apology* so much as an *explanation*. NYT screwed up some shit in 2016. It’s OK.…
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4 days ago
Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
from Daring Fireball

Ian King and Kartikay Mehrotra, reporting for Bloomberg:

After an interrogation of Intel’s chief strategy officer largely backfired this week, a Qualcomm attorney on Friday declined a judge’s invitation to bring Aicha Evans back to the witness stand as a non-jury trial brought by the Federal Trade Commission moved into its fourth day of testimony.

“Not from us, your honor,” Qualcomm lawyer Antony Ryan told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, prompting a cheer from Evans, which provoked widespread laughter in the San Jose, California, courtroom after one of the liveliest showdowns so far in the case. It also ended something of an ordeal for him. […]

Ryan frequently sought to corner Evans by citing piecemeal excerpts from her emails and pretrial testimony, a common tactic in trials to save time. Evans had none of it, asserting her right to read documents aloud in their entirety while insisting context was crucial. When Ryan tried to interrupt her, she ignored him and read on.

You’re know you’re in trouble when the courtroom laughs at you.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago
Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone? - WSJ
from Daring Fireball

John D. Stoll, in a column for The Wall Street Journal, under the headline “Polaroid. Walkman. Palm Pilot. iPhone?” and sub-head “As demand for Apple’s signature product starts to wane, now is the time for CEO Tim Cook to find the next act”:

Apple, for the better part of the 2000s, was the master of the next big thing: the iPod, the MacBook Air, the iPad, the iPhone. Apple wasn’t always first, but its products were easier to use, thinner, cooler.

It’s a sleight of hand trick slipping “MacBook Air” into that list, to make the Apple’s 2000’s seems more innovative than its 2010’s. The original MacBook Air was a landmark Mac, to be sure, but one many since 1984.

With the success of the iPhone since it arrived on the scene, the next big thing has been harder to find. Apple has had no breakthrough on TV, a modest success with its watch, a stumble in music and a lot of speculation concerning its intentions for autonomous cars or creating original programming. Now, as in a comic-book movie, we’re all left to wonder whether Apple’s greatest strength could be its biggest weakness?

So the iPod was the next big thing but Apple Watch is “a modest success”? Stoll should follow Horace Dediu. If he did, he’d know that Apple Watch is now a decidedly bigger business than the iPod ever was. And the Apple Watch is still growing, and may not yet be close to its peak.

“A stumble in music”? Apple Music had 56 million subscribers in November, up from 50 million last summer, and has overtaken Spotify in the U.S., Canada, and Japan. $500 million a month in recurring revenue is a stumble I’d like to take.

I’ll close with advice from Steven Sinofsky, who ended a Twitter thread last week with this:

The idea that Apple is on some countdown clock to “next big thing” is completely the opposite of what to worry about. That is the mistake analysts are making. Just as with Adobe, nothing is bigger than Photoshop (or MS/Office) … yet, but so what?

Focus on execution.

Bingo. There will be major new products from Apple, someday, when they’re ready. There is no rush for them. If you’re worried about Apple’s near-future success, the key is their execution on their existing products. The Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch are all businesses that any company would kill for. Apple has all of them, and none of them are going anywhere. Apple needs to keep them insanely great where they already are, and raise them to insanely great where they aren’t.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago
Twitter
Wow. I've been harassed online before, but - I have no idea who you are, nor was I at a conference/meet-u…
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4 days ago
Apple Plans Three New iPhones This Year, Plays Catch-Up on Cameras - WSJ
from Daring Fireball

Yoko Kubota and Takashi Mochizuki, reporting for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. is planning to release three new iPhone models again this fall, including a successor to the struggling XR, the lower priced 2018 device with a liquid-crystal display that has fallen short of Apple’s sales expectations, people familiar with the matter said.

Apple plans to introduce some new camera features, including a triple rear camera for the highest-end model and a double rear camera for the two other models, the people said. […]

Apple is planning to do some catching up to rivals on rear cameras. It is considering introducing a triple-rear-camera system to its 2019 flagship model, which would succeed the iPhone XS Max, the people said. That would be an upgrade from the iPhone XS Max’s dual-rear-camera system.

No word on whether the two higher-end models will look like the XS and XS Max design-wise, but I think it’s a fair bet that they will, in the same way the 7 and 7 Plus were clearly derived from the 6/6S.

Adding a third camera only to the Max though would be a major change from the XS and XS Max, which are differentiated only by size.

Meanwhile the LCD model is likely to be upgraded to a dual-camera system from the single camera on the rear of the XR, they said.

The Journal’s report makes clear that now — January — is pretty late in the game for major changes to this year’s phones. I would think the decision between a single-lens and dual-lens camera system for the XR successor (XRS?) is too late to change at this point.

But Apple lags behind its rivals in the number of rear cameras. Last year, Samsung released the Galaxy A9 with four rear cameras. Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro, launched last year, carry three rear cameras.

This is such a bad take. Just counting the lenses on the back is no way measure the quality of the phone as a camera. The current iPhones aren’t catching up to anyone in terms of hardware — the only arguments to be had are in software, with features like the Pixel’s Night Sight feature.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
4 days ago
Twitter
Four black men were falsely accused of raping a white girl in 1949. They were hunted, tortured in jail to give fal…
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4 days ago
Exponent Podcast: A Significant Shift – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
via Stratechery by Ben Thompson

On Exponent, the weekly podcast I host with James Allworth, we discuss Apple’s Errors.

Listen to it here.
IFTTT  stratechery 
4 days ago
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I’m so thankful that Dora made it through the surgery, and frankly, that we were able to afford it. I overheard a f…
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5 days ago
iOS 6 adjusts metallic button reflections as you tilt your phone - The Verge
from Daring Fireball

This effect was based on the phone’s accelerometer, not real-world environmental lighting, but it’s certainly along the same lines. I miss details like this — I just love that some folks at Apple put time into making a single button look extra cool.

And I just learned a new word: anisotropic.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago
Environmentally-lit UI: watch face, reflections, glow-in-the-dark, web browser, and more... - YouTube
from Daring Fireball

Speaking of drop shadows, here’s a demo from Bob Burrough of what he aptly describes as an “environmentally-lit UI”. He’s using the camera on the iPhone to detect the real-world lighting environment, and using that to shade, color, and reflect the elements of the on-screen user interface in real time. This is not a new idea — I think everyone who has ever designed UIs with shaded textures and drop shadows has thought about this — but I’ve never seen it implemented, and Burrough seems to have implemented it very well.

Burrough has another demo video, and an article making the case for why this is a good idea. I find this very exciting — can’t wait to see where it goes.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago
Daring Fireball: Codea’s iOS Menu Bar
from Daring Fireball

Simeon, co-creator of the amazing iPad coding app Codea:

Codea is our iPad app for creative coding. I’ve been developing a universal version for some time.

It’s hard to take a complicated, eight-year-old iPad coding environment and bring it to iPhone. There’s so many damn features that need to work in so many damn configurations.

Autolayout takes care of many of these issues (thanks, SnapKit). But it doesn’t take care of the most important: design. I’ve been stuck on the design for a universal version of Codea’s code editor for over a year. It might even be two.

I realised six months ago as I was using my Mac, using the menus, that I need these things — menus — in Codea. I was trying to solve a problem that has been solved for decades.

So I set out to make the best menus I could make for iOS.

Do not miss their follow-up post, which has several videos showing their menus in action. Fantastic attention to detail in how they look and feel.

Here’s something I wrote at the end of my piece on Undo in iOS last month:

What it comes down to, I think, is that the menu bar has become a vastly underestimated foundation of desktop computing. Once heralded, the menu bar is now seen as a vestige. I’m not arguing that iOS should have a Mac-style menu bar. I’m simply pointing out that without one, iOS is an 11-year-old platform that is still floundering to establish consistent conventions for some basic features, let alone complex ones, that are simple and obvious on the Mac.

What they’re doing here with Codea isn’t just putting the Mac menu bar on iOS. They’ve designed and built a very iOS-looking take on a menu bar, deeply informed by the aspects of the Mac menu bar that do work on a touch screen. Something like this is desperately needed as a standard interface element on iPad, and I think could work on iPhone too.

(As an aside, looking at the nice drop shadows behind Codea’s menus reminds me how much I hate the almost-no-shadow flatness of standard iOS popovers on iPad. Ever since iOS 7 I’ve thought iPad popovers look like a rendering bug or an early prototype. Putting aside a debate regarding the overall flatness of iOS 7–12, iPad popovers just look wrong to me. They should look a lot more like what Codea is doing with their menus.)
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago
Take our Undo Gesture!
from Daring Fireball

Procreate:

The two-finger tap to Undo was first released in Procreate 3 for iPad back in 2015, but we actually first developed it for Procreate Pocket. Undoing an action is one of the most critical input methods we use today, and we needed a method that wouldn’t clutter the interface or disrupt the core experience. We went through dozens of designs until we realised we should treat the entire screen as the Undo button - resulting in a simple gesture that could be invoked any time, anywhere.

Two-finger tap to Undo has become one of Procreate’s most instinctive and essential gestures.

It’s also one of our most-stolen features (over a dozen apps and counting), and we’re fine with that. In fact, we’re giving it away. Seriously. We’ve put together a sample project covered by the Simplified BSD License, which means you can add to or modify it as you wish.

Whether you’re one of our competitors, or in an entirely different field, please feel free to grab the project below. Take it, use it, and give your users the most instinctive Undo and Redo method available.

I love this attitude.

Just a few days before they posted this, I wrote about how iOS still hasn’t gotten Undo right. Two-finger tap is really great for drawing apps. I’m not sure it’s great in other contexts, like text editing, though. But it’s certainly better than shaking the damn device.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago
mobile.twitter.com
from Daring Fireball

This clip is so on the nose it’s hard to believe it isn’t a hoax, but it’s legit. It’s not some sort of amazing coincidence though — the actor playing “Trump” is a dead ringer for Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s racist slumlord father.

 ★ 
ifttt  daringfireball 
5 days ago
Twitter
Jeff Bezos sexts like he's an AI in a human suit
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5 days ago
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5 days ago
The Flag of the Popular Vote
The Flag of the Popular Vote

Toph Tucker has designed an algorithmic version of the US flag called the Flag of the Popular Vote, where the size of the stars and stripes are proportional to the current populations of the original 13 colonies (stripes) and current 50 states (stars). There’s also an animated version with tiny new stars appearing when new states are admitted into the union and the stars & stripes shift in size as populations grow. This New Aesthetic flag reminds me a bit of Rem Koolhaas’ proposed EU flag.

Tags: design   Toph Tucker   USA
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6 days ago
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