Thoughts on the iPhones 6 and Using a Case

Since the iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus went on sale last month, there has been much discussion regarding whether to use a case with the new phones. To wit, here’s Jason Snell’s take:

I have always appreciated using my iPhones as they were born, a naked robotic core with no adornment. And I’ve never dropped one. But I’ve been using an Apple iPhone 6 leather case for the last couple of weeks, and really liking it.

Myself, I’ve long been a fan of cases for my iPhone. To me, using a case provides not only protection against bumps and bruises, but also they add texture to the device, the friction of which makes gripping it much easier. This is especially true for this year’s new iPhones; as “big and slippery” as they are, using a case makes sense.

In my experience, I’ve found using my iPhone 6 with a case to be great. I bought one of Apple’s silicone cases alongside my phone on launch day, and find it to be durable and grippable. As I have cerebral palsy, the strength in my hands isn’t the best — even in my dominant hand — so the case adds as a security blanket should I ever accidentally drop my phone. As well, I find that pushing the volume and power buttons to be easier with the case on because it adds visual definition and better tactile feedback. In short, using a case on my iPhone 6 is a usability win.

That said, I have heard many on Twitter proclaim the polar opposite: I can’t fathom putting a case on my new iPhone. It’s not an unreasonable stance; after all, the iPhones 6 are made of sturdy materials and, of course, why bother covering up such a beautiful industrial design? In fact, I love the feel of my iPhone 6 naked — to me, it feels even better in hand than the iPhone 5C that I lusted after all last year. Yet for as luxurious as the smooth surface and curved glass of my iPhone 6 is, the truth is I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I could very well change my mind in the future, but for now, I’m 100 percent a case man.

‘Dark Mode As iOS Accessibility Feature’

CGP Gray posits Apple should add a “dark mode” to iOS, a la OS X Yosemite:

I’m still holding out hope for Apple to, one day, introduce a true system-wide dark mode for iOS that apps can opt into participating with their defaults. (Apple already has done this with OS X, sort of.)

But until that day comes, I ask developers of text-heavy apps: please consider including a dark mode for your app not just because it’s a night-use feature but also because, for some of us, it’s an accessibility feature.

As Gray says, having a dark mode is a matter of contrast and legibility.

(via Marco Arment)

On Low Storage Capacity iPhones and iOS Updates

John Gruber, “Note to Self: It’s the Storage Space, Stupid”:

If there is any way that Apple could have brought the base model storage up to 32 GB with the new iPhones, they should have. And it’s inexcusable that they’re still selling new devices with only 8 GB of storage.

If this decision was made simply in the interest of profit margins, and/or to nudge would-be entry-level-model buyers to the more expensive 64 GB mid-range models, whatever money Apple is making from this is not worth it, in the long run, compared to the collective goodwill they’re losing and the frustration they’re creating.

See also: this support doc from Apple, “Resolve Issues With An Over-the-Air iOS Update”.

‘The Magazine’ Ceasing Publication December 17

Publisher and EIC, Glenn Fleishman, writes in the announcement:

The Magazine will stop publishing its every-other-week issues on December 17, 2014, cancel all outstanding subscriptions, and automatically provide pro-rated refunds (either through Apple or directly) for subscriptions that continue past December 31, 2014. (We will be in touch directly with Kickstarter backers who subscribed via our Year One book campaign.)

We will continue to make the app available as well as our Web site for the indefinite future, and you’ll have access to any issues you purchased or that appeared during subscriptions.

That The Magazine is folding is sad to me, personally, on a couple levels. First and foremost, Glenn is a friend, and it sucks that the publication wasn’t economically sustainable for him long-term. I know he’s put in a lot of love into stewarding it since acquiring it from Marco last year. Secondly, The Magazine is the place that gave me my first taste of published authorship; “Re-Enabled” is the piece that launched my career and steered me to where I am today professionally. I’ll always be grateful to Glenn (and Marco) for the opportunity, and “Re-Enabled” will always be my baby.

Explaining Apple Pay

Yoni Heisler for TUAW, “Apple Pay: An In-Depth Look at What’s Behind the Secure Payment System”:

With Apple Pay, no credit card data — even in encrypted form — is ever stored on the iPhone or on Apple’s servers. Similarly, no credit card data is ever transmitted to or stored on a merchant’s servers.

When a user first signs up for Apple Pay, either via an existing iTunes credit card or by loading a new one onto the iPhone, the card information is immediately encrypted and securely sent to the appropriate credit card network. Upon determining that the credit card account is valid, a token is sent back down to the device whereupon it’s safely stored within the iPhone’s Secure Element.

The token is used in place of an actual credit card number and is what Apple, in its marketing materials, refers to as a unique Device Account Number.

Great piece on the intricacies of Pay, presumably launching soon.

‘At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert’

Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, writing for The Washington Post:

This coffee shop looks pretty much like any other Starbucks, with blond wooden chairs and tables, blueberry and raspberry scones lining the bakery cases, and progressive folk rock floating from the speakers. (There are plans to redecorate, possibly including spy paraphernalia from over the decades.)

But the manager said this shop “has a special mission,” to help humanize the environment for employees, who work under high pressure often in windowless offices and can’t fiddle with their smartphones during downtime. For security, they have to leave them in their cars.

Of note, CIA operatives even use Starbucks for recruitment purposes:

The chief of the team that helped find Osama Bin Laden, for instance, recruited a key deputy for the effort at the Starbucks, said another officer who could not be named.

Commemorating the Third Anniversary of Steve Jobs’s Death

Tim Cook, in a company-wide memo sent out on Friday:

Steve’s vision extended far beyond the years he was alive, and the values on which he built Apple will always be with us. Many of the ideas and projects we’re working on today got started after he died, but his influence on them — and on all of us — is unmistakeable.

Hard to believe that it’s already been three years (today) that Jobs has been gone.

‘Happy Days Are Here Again — for the Superwealthy’

Dave Gibson, writing for Mother Jones:

The Great Recession officially ended five years ago, but that’s news for millions of Americans: A stunning 95 percent of income growth since the recovery started has gone to the superwealthy. The top 1 percent has captured almost all post-recession income growth.

Capitalism! U-S-A! U-S-A! (That was sarcasm.)

Be sure to read the comments; good stuff. My favorite:

Economies don’t DO anything. Policies, wealth distribution, education and health care direct the economy. When policies keep the masses stupid, sick and poor the wealthy make billions.

Recode: Apple to Hold iPad Event on October 16

John Paczkowski has the scoop:

Apple has a few more new products to unveil before the year is out, and it plans to show them off in a couple weeks. Sources tell Code/red the company will hold its next special event on Thursday, Oct. 16 — not the 21st. Headlining the gathering: The latest updates to its iPad line, along with those new iMacs that 9to5Mac told us about earlier this week. Also: OS X Yosemite. Given the breadth and spectacle of Apple’s September event, this one will be a more laid-back affair held at the company’s Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino, without any mysterious white structures and awkward one-song concerts.

‘Making the App Store More Accessible’

My latest for iMore, published earlier tonight, is a short piece wherein I discuss the App Store and accessibility — specifically, its visual merits. As I say in the article, I’m genuinely surprised at how I neglected to touch on this in my writing before now.