July 25, 2017

A U.S. judge on Monday ordered Apple Inc to pay $506 million for infringing on a patent owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patent licensing arm, more than doubling the damages initially imposed on Apple by a jury.

There is a second lawsuit pending that alleges later Apple devices also infringe on the patent. Apple is appealing.

“I spoke to [Mr. Cook], he’s promised me three big plants—big, big, big,” Mr. Trump said as part of a discussion about business-tax reform and business investment. “I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

Apple declined to comment.

I guess Tim won’t be giving Trump any secret information on the next iPhone.

Assembling the Porsche 911 Turbo S

I want to visit the Porsche factory one day.

Stone Sour’s Christian Martucci talks guitars

Great guitarist and we like a lot of the same players.

Adobe announces Flash is dead

Adobe on Tuesday announced that Flash is dead, but not until the end of 2020. This will presumably give any developers still using the technology to move to another platform.

As a user of Apple devices, the big question is, what does this mean for me? The simple answer is nothing. iOS has never supported the use of Flash, so iPhones and iPads will continue to work as they always have. You will be able to view the same content on your devices that you always have.

It really won’t affect Mac users either. Much of the Web content has moved away from Flash in past decade, and Flash hasn’t been pre-installed on the Mac since 2010. Even if you did install Flash, Safari required you to explicitly authorize it before it would run.

Of course, it was in 2010 that Steve Jobs wrote his Thoughts on Flash that caused a major stir in the industry. The fact is, Jobs was right in everything he said.

Adobe said it is working with Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla. Each of those companies have posted their thoughts on the news.

Killing Flash is a good thing. The Web will move to more open standards, allowing everyone to see content without using proprietary technologies. Flash had its day, but it’s time to move on.

Want to get started with Logic Pro? Here’s one path.

Interested in digging into Logic Pro, but find the interface a bit intimidating? Here are two resources that might ease the learning curve.

First, spend some time with this excellent, free 4 part series from Justin Kahn, writing for 9to5Mac. To me, there’s enough depth to really understand the basics, while maintaining a slow enough pace that it’s still easy to follow.

Second, take a look at this series of slides, part of a music production course from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. The slides focus on the details of the mixer and the channel strip. To me, these are the most complex pieces of the Logic Pro interface.

Have some other suggestions for learning Logic Pro? Ping me on Twitter or post a comment.

UPDATE: Mark Dalrymple posted an excellent list of Logic learning resources in the comments.

Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note:

Just back from three weeks in the Country of Good Sin’s heartland, I see Microsoft’s fresh and well-received Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year 2017 Results. The numbers acknowledge what was already notorious: Windows Phone is dead.

Country of Good Sin? That’s France, though I’d love to know the origin of that particular nickname. Hopefully, some kind reader will enlighten me.

UPDATE: From Jean-Louis:

Moving on:

The gross failure of what once was the most powerful and richest tech company on the planet led to a search for a platform killer. Detectives didn’t think they had to go far to nab a suspect: Android. Microsoft’s Windows Phone was murdered by Google’s smartphone OS. How could Redmond’s money-making software licensing business model survive against a free and open source platform? Case closed.

No so fast.

And:

Microsoft’s smartphone troubles started well before the birth of Android. In a reversal of the famous dictum Victory Has Many Fathers But Defeat Is An Orphan, Windows Phone’s collapse seems to have had many progenitors deeply embedded in the company’s decades-old culture.

This is a great read. Jean-Louis engages in some interesting fiction, speculating on what would happen if Microsoft were to give away Windows Phone, à la Android. Still possible!

ARKit used to create an amazing, table-top, virtual tower defense game

Watch the video. I can’t say enough great things about ARKit. Such a terrific move by Apple.

Snopes locked in legal battle for control of its website

Poynter, a few weeks ago, in a post that lays out the legal details:

The owner of Snopes is locked in a legal battle with a small digital services company for control of the popular debunking site.

Proper Media — a company that owns, operates and represents web properties — has issued a legal complaint and demand for a jury trial with Snopes owner Bardav, Inc. for what it calls “a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits,” according to documents filed in the Superior Court of California in San Diego County.

And from this New York Times article:

The site, which gets all of its revenue from advertising, created a crowdfunding page on Monday, seeking $500,000 from readers to remain operational indefinitely. It says that Proper Media, the vendor that runs its advertising services, has withheld the site’s revenue and has refused to relinquish control of the site. That leaves Bardav — the company that owns and operates Snopes — with no way of moving the site to a new host or installing its own ads, said David Mikkelson, a founder of the site.

What a mess. It’s all so twisted. If only there was a site one could go to to get the real story. Oh. Wait.

Gizmodo:

If I were to plug the gadget into my car, it would jam up the Global Positioning System signals within a 16-foot radius, rendering my smartphone’s Google Maps app useless and disabling any tracking devices that might be on my vehicle. That may sound harmless enough, but when one considers that thousands of lives (everyone in an airplane right now, for instance) and billions of dollars depend on reliable and accurate GPS signals, it’s easy to understand why my little jammer and others like it are illegal to use, sell, or manufacture in the United States. Every time I turn it on, I could incur a $16,000 fine.

But they’re easy to get online, and I’m not the only one who has ordered one.

Why do people risk the fine to jam GPS?

He’s seen truckers trying to avoid paying highway tolls, employees blocking their bosses from tracking their cars, high school kids using them to fly drones in a restricted area, and even, he believes, undercover police officers using them to avoid tails.

On the downside, your efforts could cause planes to crash. So there’s that.

DigiTimes:

Apple has purchased evaporators from Korea-based Sunic System to build a 2.5G OLED panel line to develop related technology and products in Taiwan, according to a Korea-based ET News report.

“Apple is eagerly developing its own OLED technology in order to reduce its reliance on Samsung Electronics for the supply of OLED panels, while enabling it for product differentiation”, said the report.

Apple’s move will break the dominant position held by Japan-based Canon Kokki in the evaporator market, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report. Canon Tokki is currently the primary supplier of evaporators and ships the bulk of its output to Samsung.

This is a big move by Apple. Not only does this help reduce their reliance on an arch-competitor, it allows them to more finely control their supply chain. At the rarified levels at which the iPhone sells, it can be difficult to source high quantities of the more state-of-the-art parts.

Bringing manufacturing in house is a bet that the up front cost will be more than amortized by the number of iPhones sold. Given Tim Cook’s supply chain expertise, my bet is that this is no gamble on Apple’s part.

UPDATE: As several readers have pointed out, it’s more likely that Apple will provide this equipment to a selected partner, let them run the factory. Makes sense.

July 24, 2017

The most improved Apple app in iOS 11

I’ve been using iOS 11 betas for a while now and one of the apps that I’m really impressed with is Maps. I don’t know why, but I use mapping apps a lot to test them out—it’s a strange habit that I developed years ago and I still do it today.

I mentioned before that Apple Maps was good, but not great. When I went to a city or place that I wasn’t familiar with—the time when you need solid directions the most—I couldn’t use Maps because it didn’t have lane guidance.

In case you don’t know, lane guidance is a feature that tells you which traffic lane you need to be in to make your next turn. For instance, if you are taking an exit ramp, Maps will tell you to be in the right two lanes.

Lane guidance may not sound like a huge feature, but when you’re cruising down a 5-lane highway in Los Angeles and you need to cross over four lanes to the right for your exit, you appreciate it. Any time I travelled, I would use Google Maps because of its detailed instructions, not just about where I was going, but exactly how I was going to get there.

Apple Maps now has lane guidance in iOS 11 and it works perfectly. I haven’t taken a trip to LA since I’ve been using it, but I have gone to a couple of places I hadn’t been before and it worked just as I expected.

Maps now also shows you what turn is coming up next. For example, on the top of the mapping screen it will show that you need to make a left hand turn—directly under that, it will show you that your next turn is a right. This helps you determine which lane you should be in.

Maps is also getting better at finding alternate routes to your destination. It doesn’t just do it when you ask for directions, it continues to do it throughout your trip. Every once in a while I’ll see a “Similar ETA” label flash up as I’m coming close to a road. Maps is telling me that I can turn there and it’s already determined that it will take about the same amount of time as the route I’m currently on.

These are all great features that makes using Maps a better experience. There is certainly a lot to like about iOS 11, but Maps is by far the most improved Apple app for me.

Earlier this month, the band tweeted an on-set photo with Bennington pictured alongside Linkin Park band members Joe Hahn and Mike Shinoda, and Ken Jeong, best known for his role as Ben Chang on the NBC sitcom Community.

I really hope Apple airs this episode.

The Rock’s crazy, long form Siri commercial

Not quite sure what to make of this. At almost 4 minutes long, it’s too long for a commercial, though it could easily be cut into reusable snippets. Could this be the beginning of a long-term deal between Apple and Dwayne Johnson (formerly known as The Rock)?

And what about the voice of Siri itself? In the commercial, it’s the voice we all know and love, that of Susan Bennett. But in iOS 11, Apple is shifting to a synthesized voice, a voice that, to me, bears no resemblance to the Siri we’ve all grown to know and love.

Is this new investment in Susan’s Siri voicing a sign that Susan Bennett will have a home in iOS 11?

No matter, take a few minutes and watch The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, take Siri through his day. Boring, this is not.

UPDATE: Just installed iOS 11 beta 4 and the old Siri voice is back, no settings changes on my part. So could the synthesized Siri voice be an experiment, one that was rolled back? Or is this new version a better synthesis of Susan Bennett’s Siri? Either way, it’s good to have you back, Siri.

Friday marked the 48th anniversary of humanity’s first step on the moon. Came across this article, where William Safire talks about the speech he was asked to write for then-President Richard Nixon to deliver if things went terribly wrong.

Shortly before the mission, Apollo 8 astronaut and White House liaison Frank Borman called President Nixon’s speechwriter, William Safire.

“You’ll want to consider an alternative posture for the President in the event of mishaps,” Borman told Safire, according to an NBC “Meet The Press” interview with Safire on July 18, 1999.

At first, Safire didn’t understand what Borman meant — he told NBC that it sounded like “gobbledygook” — but Borman quickly clarified.

“I can hear [Borman] now: ‘Like what to do for the widows,'” Safire said. In short, Borman wanted a backup speech ready in case the Apollo 11 crew died.

A morbid scenario, but a fascinating read.

ARKit app lets you redecorate, plop new furniture in place

Dave here. I love ARKit, love the endless possibilities it brings. In today’s episode, watch this ARKit user select some new furniture, plop it in place, angle it just so, and even resize it for the space.

I can see a future where this is how you try/buy your furniture, and how you order custom-sized pieces for an exact fit.

Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac:

Files replaces the iCloud Drive app in iOS 11 and brings a number of enhancements to working with your files on your iPhone and iPad. There is a Browse and Recents tab at the bottom of the Files app. In the Browse tab you can easily navigate between files stored on iCloud or on your device, a Recently Deleted location along with Favorites, and Tags. Let’s dive into some of the details.

Even if you are not running the iOS 11 beta, this is easy to follow and an important concept that comes with iOS 11.

Variety:

Juno Temple is set to co-star with “The Crown’s” Claire Foy in Steven Soderbergh’s next movie, sources tell Variety.

The official title of the pic, which Soderbergh will direct, is currently unknown, but sources says it has a working title of “Unsane.”

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but insiders say Soderbergh shot the entire film on an iPhone, similar to the indie hit “Tangerine.”

Big fan of Soderbergh. His movies include Erin Brockovich, Traffic, and the Oceans 11 series, just to name a few. He does love to experiment.

Peter Flanagan, Bloomberg:

The Irish government is setting up a fund to manage the estimated 13 billion euros ($15.2 billion) it will collect from Apple Inc. in back taxes, nearly a year after the European Commission ruled the country had provided a sweetheart deal on tax to the U.S. firm.

The government and Apple will jointly appoint a custodian to hold the money to be deposited by the iPhone maker, the finance ministry said in an emailed statement. The funds will be held in escrow pending appeals by Apple and Ireland, which could take years. One or more investment managers will also be hired to manage the money.

And from Apple:

“The European Commission’s case against Ireland has never been about how much Apple pays in taxes, it’s about which government gets the money,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “The United States government, the Irish government and Apple all agree we’ve paid our taxes according the law. Since virtually all of our research and development takes place in the United States, according to the law, we pay the majority of our taxes in the U.S.”

The appeals process is just beginning. It could be years until this is resolved.

July 22, 2017

iMore:

Apple has announced that it has named Deirdre O’Brien, a 29-year veteran of the company who currently serves as vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations, will be the company’s first vice president of People. In this role, O’Brien will lead all of Apple human resources, including recruitment, talent development, and more. She’ll also head up Apple University.

“vice president of People” sounds….odd.

The Dalrymple Report Podcast: With Guest Rene Ritchie

Rene joins me this week to talk about all of the iPhone 8 rumors that have been swirling around lately and what they mean for the consumer and Apple.

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July 21, 2017

CNNTech:

Hackers attempted to steal data from a North American casino through a fish tank connected to the internet, according to a report from security firm Darktrace.

Despite extra security precautions set up on the fish tank, hackers still managed to compromise the tank to send data to a device in Finland before the threat was discovered and stopped.

“Someone used the fish tank to get into the network, and once they were in the fish tank, they scanned and found other vulnerabilities and moved laterally to other places in the network,” Justin Feir, director for cyber intelligence and analysis at Darktrace, explained to CNN Tech.

Why connect a fish tank to the internet? So you can monitor/feed your fish from anywhere in the world.

With great convenience comes great hackability.

Nice little collection of tips.

Fred Lambert, 9to5Mac:

Today, China’s Yicai Global reported that CATL, China’s largest automotive battery maker, is working with Apple on a confidential project:

“The Cupertino-based tech titan is working with Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL), a battery manufacturer in China’s Fujian province, on a scheme based on a confidentiality agreement. The parties are working together in the field of batteries, sources involved with the cooperation said.”

Neither Apple or CATL commented on the report.

If true, that’s a line in the sand between Apple’s car project being hardware-based, as opposed to a software-only car OS.

Interesting wrinkle.

Benedict Evans:

There’s a pretty common argument in tech that though of course there are billions more smartphones than PCs, and will be many more still, smartphones are not really the next computing platform, just a computing platform, because smartphones (and the tablets that derive from them) are only used for consumption where PCs are used for creation. You might look at your smartphone a lot, but once you need to create, you’ll go back to a PC.

And:

100m or so people are doing things on PCs now that can’t be done on tablets or smartphones. Some portion of those tasks will change and become possible on mobile, and some portion of them will remain restricted to PCs for a long time. But there are another 3bn people who were using PCs (but mostly sharing them) but who weren’t doing any of those things with them, and are now doing on mobile almost all of the stuff that they actually did do on PCs, plus a lot more. And, there’s another 2bn or so people whose first computer of any kind is or will be a smartphone. ‘Creation on PC, consumption on mobile’ seems like a singularly bad way to describe this: vastly more is being created on mobile now by vastly more people than was ever created on PCs.

In a nutshell, Ben argues that there are, and probably always will be, tasks that are best done on a personal computer.

But the newest generation of users are growing up on their phones and tablets, without the experience of using a PC, developing methods and habits that work in the phone/tablet environment. And there are a relatively small number of PC-first folks, and a huge number of PC-never folk coming.

Great argument.

From the official Twitter blog:

Our commitment to move faster to make Twitter safer started in January. First, we conducted research to understand the issues at a deeper level, then we made a range of product updates. We then convened our Trust and Safety Council to gather feedback and help guide us as we move forward.

While there is still much work to be done, people are experiencing significantly less abuse on Twitter today than they were six months ago. What follows is some new data on the progress we’ve made, what we’ve learned, and our plans to continue improving.

Read the blog post for some of the details Twitter offers to back up this claim. Anecdotally, I have noticed a lot less discussion about abuse in my timeline lately. Could just be my particular feed, though. Hopefully, Twitter is on the road to solving this problem.

July 20, 2017

Brian Elias, the chief of operations for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, confirmed the death and said it was being investigated as a possible suicide. Mr. Elias said that law enforcement authorities responded to a call shortly after 9 a.m. Pacific Time and were investigating a death in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles County.

So sad.

Users can now add classic Disney and Pixar characters to their videos. Clips 1.1 features animated overlays of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck. The app also includes characters from Pixar’s Toy Story and Inside Out, so users can choose to star with Woody or Jessie, or show their emotions with Joy, Fear and others. To complement the collection of characters, new Disney-designed posters can be added to videos as playful title cards to help tell a story.

Clips is a great Apple video creation app. This is a very cool update.

Editor’s note: Starting today, you can now explore the International Space Station in Street View in Google Maps. Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. He returned to Earth in June 2017, and in this post he tells us about what it’s like to live on the ISS and his experience capturing Street View imagery in zero gravity.

Damn, that’s cool.

Apple has sent its top privacy executives to Australia twice in the past month to lobby government officials over proposed new laws that would require companies to provide access to encrypted messages.

I’m glad to see that Apple is being proactive on this proposed legislation. I hope the government understands exactly what they’re asking tech companies to do and the consequences.