Remembering ‘The Greatest Trade Show on Earth’

Chris Breen eulogizes Macworld Expo for Macworld:

At Expo careers were launched, plots hatched, businesses created, minds changed, and friends made. It was an event that we looked forward to for months and whose ideas resonated for years. And it wasn’t just us shmoes. I saw countless Apple employees who were just as excited about the show as I was. It was the center of the Apple universe. It mattered. And it mattered because it was about more than just products and promotion. It was equally about people.

While I never attended Macworld in its heyday, my lasting memory of the expo is from this year’s. Back in January, I got to meet, in person, my friends at TidBITS: Josh Centers and Adam and Tonya Engst. They’re all great people, and it was neat that I got to meet them at the event, albeit after hours.

The Problems With Safari on iOS

Bradley Chambers, “The App That Holds iOS Back”:

When the iPhone was released in 2007 with a “desktop class” web browser, it was widely praised. You could view entire websites on a mobile device. Coming from the days of WAP optimized sites on my Motorola Q, this was incredible. If we fast forward to 2014, Mobile Safari has become the app that is holding the iPad back from becoming a fully featured laptop replacement for a lot of people. While Mobile Safari is fast and loads website reasonably well, it cannot upload and download files. It can upload pictures, but that is it. Mobile Safari needs a way to upload and download any type of file into iCloud Drive (a mirrored from the Mac downloads folder).

I would argue, too, that Mail is just as guilty because of its inability to add attachments to outbound messages.

My Sweet iPhone Setup

My friends at The Sweet Setup let me write about whats on my new iPhone 6.

‘Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent’

Nick Bilton, writing for the New York Times:

“So, your kids must love the iPad?” I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. “They haven’t used it,” he told me. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

The former early childhood development major in me thinks it’s so cool that Steve Jobs, of all people, saw the value in limiting his children’s access to technology.

Treating the ‘Super Bowl of Infectious Diseases’

Dr. Angela L. Hewlett writes about her experience for The Washington Post:

Three weeks after he was admitted, Rick tested negative for the virus. Interacting with him for the first time without our protective gear was a poignant moment. Through the computer screens, glass windows and layers of plastic protective gear, we had formed a bond as tight as an patient and medical team. Together, we had beaten Ebola — a ravenous virus that, just a month earlier, had never existed in our country. Discharge day was emotional for everyone, with plenty of tears and hugs. All involved showed extraordinary bravery, dedication, tirelessness and compassion.

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.