‘Apple Pay: Inclusive and Empowering By Design’

My friends at iMore today published my latest piece for the site. In it, I elaborate on my thoughts regarding Apple Pay’s accessibility merit.

President Obama Endorses Net Neutrality

In a statement, Obama calls on the FCC to view broadband Internet as a public utility:

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

In response, Marco Arment writes:

Why should we believe that he’ll actually have any effect on net neutrality?

As Arment rightly points out, it’s important to remember that while Obama’s words sound great, he did appoint a former Big Cable lobbyist as FCC chairman. So there’s that; “talk is cheap”, indeed.

‘Put On Your Big Boy Pants and Accept the Agreement’

Kif Leswing reports for GigaOm on the details of the contract between Apple and its sapphire supplier:

Even if you’re uninterested in GT Advanced Technologies, there are a number of details about how much power Apple exercises over its suppliers.

Squiller says that Apple did not ever really enter into negotiations, warning that GTAT’s managers should “not waste their time” negotiating because Apple does not negotiate with its suppliers. According to GTAT, after the company balked, Apple told GTAT that its terms are standard for other Apple suppliers and that GTAT should “put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement.”

(via John Gruber)

On App Developers and Going Android-First

Marco Arment, responding to a story claiming developers are increasingly prioritizing Android over iOS:

The likely truth is that there is no noticeably shifting trend of developers choosing Android first because of its market share, or choosing iOS first because of its profit share, because that’s not how developers choose. Most developers with the authority to choose their platform will choose whichever one they use and like best.

If there was really a shift occurring toward Android-first, a significant number of iOS developers would be switching teams, developing for Android first and probably switching to Android as their carry OS. But of every iOS developer I know — and I know a lot — only one is choosing that path.

(Emphasis Marco’s.)

Be sure to read the first footnote at the end of the piece.

‘Expectations for WatchKit’

David Smith writes about his enthusiasm for Apple Watch’s developer APIs:

So to start with we will be given the ability to implement actionable notifications and Glances. This is what I believe we are getting with the SDK release this month.

It will only be later next year that full apps will be possible. It is not a stretch to think that later next year is code for WWDC next June. Likely along with WatchOS (or whatever they call it) version 2.0. There is a delightful symmetry with the history of iPhone OS, where we didn’t get a full SDK until 2.0 (though I’m sure people will similarly jailbreak to get a head-start).

Like Smith, I’m very excited for WatchKit to ship. Apple Watch’s new paradigms — in usability and in software — are so new, so unique that it absolutely does evoke a “child-like awe and curiosity” around the device’s capabilities. In particular, I’m very keen to know what, if any, Accessibility frameworks (Siri excepted) are built into the Watch. The Watch will have to be accommodating to users with disabilities, and I’m excited to find out how Apple achieves this given the new form factor.

(via 512 Pixels)

‘I Gotta Feeling No One Should Buy This Thing’

Dan Seifert, in reviewing Will.i.am’s Puls smartwatch for The Verge:

The screen is small and grainy and the operating system is neither responsive or intuitive. There are a few preinstalled apps for Twitter, Instagram, contacts, and more, and the Puls has a full dialer for making phone calls. It also has a full QWERTY keyboard, which requires two presses to type a single letter (one to zoom in, a second to actually input the letter). It’s unsurprisingly terribly frustrating to use. The Puls’ feels like a Kickstarter concept product that never should have made it to production.

Saira Blair, the Nation’s Youngest Lawmaker

Sam Brodey, writing for Mother Jones:

The Republican wave lifted many boats last night, including that of 18-year-old Saira Blair. The college freshman was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in a landslide—she earned 63 percent of the vote to her 44-year-old Democratic opponent’s 30 percent—and officially became the youngest lawmaker in the country. She’ll represent a district of about 18,000 people in the eastern part of the state, near the Maryland border.

The Wall Street Journal describes Blair as “fiscally conservative,” and she “campaigned on a pledge to work to reduce certain taxes on businesses.” Her website boasts an “A” rating from the NRA and endorsements from West Virginians for Life. As a 17-year-old, Blair primaried the 66-year-old Republican incumbent Larry Kump and advanced to the general election—all while legally being unable to cast a vote for herself. Democratic attorney Layne Diehl, her general election opponent, had only good things to say last night about the teenager who beat her: “Quite frankly, a 17- or 18-year-old young woman that has put herself out there and won a political campaign has certainly brought some positive press to the state.”

We differ politically for sure, but good for her. I hope she does well.

‘iOS 8, Accessibility, and Third-Party Keyboards’

In my latest for MacStories, published this afternoon, I write about third-party keyboards in iOS 8. They’re good — particularly for accessibility — but they’re not without problems.

On Culturally Diverse Emojis

Jillian D’Onfro, writing for Business Insider:

The Unicode Consortium sets the international standards for characters — like emoji — across different software platforms, and the latest draft of its emoji report clearly demonstrates intentions to represent characters of all skin tones.

“People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone,” the report reads. “The Unicode emoji characters for people and body parts are meant to be generic, yet following the precedents set by the original Japanese carrier images, they are often shown with a light skin tone instead of a more generic (inhuman) appearance, such as a yellow/orange color or a silhouette.”

Good news — we need more diverse emoji like we need more diverse dolls for young children.

‘You Could Buy Those Two Books and Save 50 Grand on Cooking School’

Carolyn Jung, in a profile of Jacques Pepin for the San Francisco Chronicle:

He is a throwback to the days when cooking shows actually were about teaching people to cook.

While others on TV are hell-bent on histrionics, throwing down he-man portions of food and boosting bad-boy personas, Pepin’s gentlemanly manners and graceful movements with a knife are enough to leave a roomful of culinary students rapt as he merely bones a chicken. His seminal “La Technique” and “La Methode” cookbooks are modern-day bibles of cooking. And his TV shows are beloved and watched repeatedly, even by veteran chefs, such as Mark Franz of San Francisco’s Farallon, who say the episodes never cease to inspire them.

Pepin is, unquestionably, my favorite TV chef. His food knowledge and his knife skills — his speed, in particular — are extraordinary. I watch reruns of his shows all the time; the fact that he teaches instead of entertains (in the Food Network sense) is so refreshing to me. He truly is the chef’s chef.