Apple

Apple, Big Sur, and the rise of Neumorphism

Yesterday saw the introduction of a whole new version of macOS, moving beyond the X designation into a new version number: 11. macOS 11 (known as Big Sur) boasts loads of new features that bring it closer to parity with its iOS counterparts on iPhones and iPads, but one area where there seems to be a divergent path is… its icon and user interface design. You can blame that on a little something called Neumorphism, and like or hate it, it’s the next wave in UI design.
— Read on www.inputmag.com/design/apple-macos-big-sur-the-rise-of-neumorphism

Incredibly interesting piece.

Not First, Just Best

But as I watched Apple unveil the features during the slick and fast-paced keynote, I couldn’t help feeling a little envious. Apple has refined Android’s features to the point where they practically make Google’s version seem downright inferior. It’s not just Apple’s slick sales pitch—there are numerous iOS 14 features that I’ve used on Android for years. But they somehow still seem fresh and right at home on the iPhone.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3564148/how-ios-14-stole-features-from-androidand-made-them-so-much-better.html

bs_labs: Re-engine, Not Re-imagine

Apple will announce a Developer Transition Kit at WWDC, which will be available this summer. The DTK will use an A12Z (the current iPad Pro SoC), inside a Mac mini chassis. Or, I think less likely, an Apple TV chassis with added I/O.

I don’t think it will be a laptop: that would require full power management to be implemented, would be more expensive, and would result in battery life figures for semi-prototype hardware being reported all over the press. That’s really not how Apple rolls.
— Read on bslabs.net/2020/06/12/reengine-not-reimagine/

Yep. I agree with this all the way.

Apple and Education

Apple will discontinue iTunes U at the end of 2021. iTunes U will continue to be available to all existing customers through the 2020-2021 educational year.

https://support.apple.com/guide/itunesu/welcome/web

Nick Heer says it succinctly.

I don’t think either one of these announcements is a surprise; these apps have suffered from inattention for years. But Apple’s rocky approach to education needs and lack of clear strategy cannot be confidence-inspiring for schools or teachers who need to decide what technology to use in their classrooms.

https://pxlnv.com/linklog/itunes-u-ibooks-author-discontinued/

Contrast this with Google’s strategy in education, which is pretty focused. Google Classroom is becoming the defacto standard. From the New York Times, as far back as 2017:

In the space of just five years, Google has helped upend the sales methods companies use to place their products in classrooms. It has enlisted teachers and administrators to promote Google’s products to other schools. It has directly reached out to educators to test its products — effectively bypassing senior district officials. And it has outmaneuvered Apple and Microsoft with a powerful combination of low-cost laptops, called Chromebooks, and free classroom apps.

Today, more than half the nation’s primary- and secondary-school students — more than 30 million children — use Google education apps like Gmail and Docs, the company said. And Chromebooks, Google-powered laptops that initially struggled to find a purpose, are now a powerhouse in America’s schools. Today they account for more than half the mobile devices shipped to schools.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/technology/google-education-chromebooks-schools.html

I’d rather have Apple in these classrooms. The iPad Pro – as expensive as it is – is, to me, a superior device than Chromebooks – and I own a Pixelbook myself and like it. But Apple needs a more cogent strategy for education, especially in a remote-focused world where Google’s tools are way more useful than anything Apple has to offer.

How to File Great Bug Reports

With WWDC coming up, this seems timely.

When writing up your problem, describe each step thoroughly — it’s often helpful to pretend that whoever reads it has never seen the app or system you’re writing about before. For example, if you were to write “When I create an event in Calendar, it disappears in a moment,” the screener lacks enough detail to reproduce the issue. Are you creating a Calendar event through the Quick Event button, or are you dragging to add a new event? How long is a moment? Did the event disappear after multitasking, or did you remain in the app?

https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=vvrgkboh

Apple Ramps Up Original Podcasts, in Part to Help Promote TV+ – Bloomberg

The technology giant has begun acquiring two types of original podcasts, according to people familiar with the matter: one category is audio spinoffs of existing movies and programs on its Apple TV+ service, and the other is original programs that could eventually be adapted into future TV+ video content.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-21/apple-ramps-up-original-podcasts-in-part-to-help-promote-tv

Sounds a lot like vertical integration, doesn’t it? Something Apple has been increasingly emphasizing and reminds me of what they’ve already done on iOS (controlling the chipset and OS) and what they’re likely to do next year with macOS (ARM MacBooks). I dig it; it makes a lot of sense to acquire media properties that can be repurposed to feed other aspects of the business.

Tom Hanks’ Greyhound Makes its Way to Apple TV +

WWII naval drama Greyhound that Tom Hankswrote and stars in has abruptly changed course and will berth at Apple. Originally on the Sony Pictures theatrical calendar for Father’s Day weekend, the film instead will become the biggest feature film commitment made by Apple to premiere on Apple TV+. It is the latest in a growing indication that Apple is making its move, and becoming as aggressive as any streamer or studio in auctions for the acquisition of films and TV projects.

https://deadline.com/2020/05/tom-hanks-greyhound-apple-tv-wwii-action-film-apple-wins-auction-1202938467/

Kinda hoping Apple TV+ continues to be this highly curated, quality-over-quantity-focused service, rather than the confusing and flooded offering Netflix is.