On Republicans and iPhones

Conor Finnegan, reporting for CNN:

In a call for free markets and open platforms, Alexander argued that government should be more like Apple, Inc. – working to give private citizens the means "to create a happier, safer, more prosperous life."

[...]

"Republicans want to enable and empower you. We want to be the iPhone party."

Methinks Senator Alexander knows not what he speaks.

(via @reckless)

‘Where the Hell Are the Android Tablets?’

James Kendrick, writing for ZDNet:

Most days I work all over the downtown Houston area. I move from place to place, paying particular attention to the mobile devices that people use. I see iPads, lots of them, everywhere I go. I see people carrying them in hand while walking down the street. What I rarely see, almost never in fact, are Android tablets.

All I see are iPads too. People buy iPads.

(via The Loop)

‘Apple, Samsung, and Intel’

Matt Richman makes a case that Intel, not Samsung, should fab Apple’s ARM chips:

This arrangement would benefit both companies in a number of ways. Apple would no longer depend upon Samsung, its biggest competitor, to produce the chips at the heart of its most successful products. (This is analogous to America asking China to build its most advanced missiles and hoping the country won’t use any of the top-secret technology it learns about for its own benefit when it’s clearly in China’s best interest to do so.) And because Intel has manufacturing capabilities that other companies don’t, Apple might well be able to create better chips than it would be able to if it were to continue using Samsung as its chip manufacturer. Finally, the company would have peace of mind knowing that its chip producer doesn’t stand to gain anything from a processor shortfall, as Samsung does. Even if the factory were to cost $5 billion — and it wouldn’t — it’d be worth it. Steve Jobs said Apple’s cash hoard is for “big, bold” “strategic opportunities”. This move exemplifies that thinking.

Sounds good to me.

It’s long amused me that Apple relies on Samsung — Samsung — to manufacturer the brains that go into the company’s most important and successful products. Apple’s A-series chips are custom-built by an in-house team, and, as Richman rightly points out, Apple’s taking a big risk in allowing its adversary access to top secret, critical information. Whether or not Apple moves away from Samsung for chip production is unknown, but the idea of Intel as a replacement is a plausible one.

(via John Gruber)

On Daniel Murphy and Paternity Leave

Molly Friedman and Nicole Lyn Pesce, reporting for the NY Daily News:

New father and Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy is the latest parental punching bag after three New York sportscasters mocked him for skipping the team’s first two games to be with his wife and son — but experts and parents say the ballplayer was right to take the paternity leave, help his wife, bond with his kid and then get back to work.

[...]

Father may know best on TV, but on sports talk radio, retribution was swift. On separate WFAN shows, broadcasters Mike Francesa, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton said Murphy should have sucked it up to support his teammates not his wife.

Such asinine critcism — clearly, baseball should take precedence over the birth of your child.

‘The Right Can’t Admit That Obamacare Is Working’

Ezra Klein, writing for Vox:

Today, the right struggles with Obamacare Derangement Syndrome: the acute inability to see Obamacare as anything but a catastrophic failure that the American people will soon reject. For those suffering from ODS, all bad Obamacare news is good news, and all good Obamacare news is spin. In this world, delays of minor provisions in the law prove that the entire structure is collapsing, while surges of millions of people enrolling in insurance don’t prove anything at all.

ODS has kept Republicans from updating their mental model of how Obamacare is doing. To them, the law’s disastrous rollout proved that it was doomed. The fact that it recovered beyond anyone’s expectations — literally, not a single analyst or policymaker I spoke to in December thought it credible that the exchanges would sign up 7 million by April, much less 7.5 million — hasn’t made much of an impression.

To me, the anti-Obamacare rhetoric reeks of pure partisanship. Conservatives don’t like it because it was a Democrat who introduced the bill. If it were a Republican who had come up with the idea, right-wingers would be lauding that person as the second coming of Christ.

I still cannot fathom why the United States is so steadfastly against nationalized healthcare; it seems like our collective arrogance is the only thing stopping us from joining the rest of the industrialized world on this issue. That said, Obamacare is pretty damn good under the circumstances — certainly better than nothing — and I’m glad it exists. In fact, just yesterday I signed up (finally!) for insurance, and I couldn’t be more happy and relieved.

(via Stephen Hackett)

On iOS Emojis and Diversity

Joey Parker for MTV, on how he called for greater diversity in iOS’s emoji:

I decided to go straight to the top of Apple to find out if they were planning to issue a new, more diverse, set of emojis. So who better to reach out to than Apple CEO Tim Cook? Within a day we got a response!

Good for Apple to be working on this. This reminds me of the push in preschools to incorporate more multicultural dolls like this into the classroom.

On Sparks Bay Area Sports

Along with my good friend Karen Datangel, I’ve spent the last couple months being part of an exclusive Giants Insiders group. We’re local to the Bay Area, and we all follow the San Francisco Giants.

The purpose of the Insiders program was/is to act as a private beta for the Sparks Bay Area app for iPhone, which officially launched this week on the App Store. The simplest way to describe Sparks is as a Twitter for sports, in essence. You write short, Twitter-like messages (with an image) to "spark" conversation about your team(s). As a sports fan, I was eager to be part of the beta group.

In my testing, I’ve found Sparks to be a great concept that’s well executed. It’s fun to see what others are saying, and the images really draw you in to the experience. The iOS 7 UI design is well done, and I find it easy to use. The only quibble I have is that there isn’t much Accessibility support, not even VoiceOver. The developers tell me it’s coming in a future update, however.

Overall, a fun app that’s a good 1.0. Get it.

‘The Politics Around Welfare’

Michelle Chen, writing for The Nation:

Whatever setback they’ve encountered, poor people don’t need more “incentives” to lift themselves out of poverty, they need an opportunity to not be poor.

Bingo.

‘Memories of Steve’

Don Melton wrote a splendid piece full of Steve Jobs stories from Don’s time at Apple:

[I]’d like to recount a few of my own stories about Steve here. Not only for you, but for myself. Because maybe in the process I can remember him better.

You’re nuts if you don’t take the time to read this. So great.

On Samsung

Marco Arment, writing about the Apple-Android "holy war", says this for Samsung:

Samsung is institutionally and permanently tasteless, shameless, and crass to its core. They are, and always have been, professional rip-offs. If you want to support them, that’s on you.

Tell the Internet how you really feel, Marco.