March 22, 2019

The Dalrymple Report: Apple’s new products and a sports room

This week Dave and I look at Apple’s new iMac, iPad and AirPod announcements, as well as a look at the company’s sports surveillance room.

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Nice long read, full of detail. One nugget in particular:

Here’s a really big pro in the iPad Mini’s column that I didn’t fully anticipate until diving in with it this week: it’s so much better for thumb-typing. Honestly, I hate typing on the on-screen keyboard on my iPad Pro. I hate it. I really do. If I have to do it I’ll put it in landscape and set it down on a table or counter and try to touch type with all my fingers. But holding the iPad Pro in portrait, I literally can’t type with my thumbs. When I try, everything comes out garbled. I can’t reach all the keys, and inexplicably, the iPad Pro keyboards no longer support splitting them into two smaller more reachable halves.

The iPad mini is a gem of a form factor. Perfect for so many people, especially those with small hands. But it’s also perfect for reading in bed. It’s big enough to see plenty of good-sized text but light enough to not be wearying on your arms.

As to the iPad Pro, the lack of a split for the onscreen keyboard is mystifying.

But that iPad mini? Delicious.

Rene Ritchie digs in to the new iPad mini (a bit of iPad Air too)

Lots to absorb here, but my favorite bit comes at about 1:40 in, when Rene compares the screen size and aspect ratio of the iPhone XS and the iPad mini. The advantage of the iPad mini is significant, and Rene does a nice job showing why.

I don’t have to do anything to make my app work in the US or Singapore or Kenya or anywhere else, and I didn’t make the Chinese government angry, so it should just work in China, right? Sadly, it’s not so simple. If your app/website servers aren’t hosted from within China, then, for all intents and purposes, it’s blocked. I mean, it will probably technically load, but will be excruciatingly, unusably slow. And sometimes it will just not load at all for hours at a time. This is true for all services hosted outside of the firewall, even in Hong Kong.

Interesting read, full of insight and useful details for folks who want exposure in China.

I love the new design. Launch the Music app, then tap the Browse tab. As Benjamin Mayo describes, it’s now much easier to get to the actual content.

Wondering if the video content coming Monday will live in this interface. Or, perhaps, if this new interface will be repurposed in a new video app.


Fox employees knew this day was coming. For over a year, the men and women who work at the Century City lot have talked of little else but severance packages and job searches. They knew that when Disney wrapped up its $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, thousands of jobs would be eliminated.

But until recently, they just didn’t know the specifics. The ax officially fell yesterday.

Studio veterans such as domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, president of product strategy and consumer business development Mike Dunn, worldwide theatrical marketing president Pam Levine, and chief content officer Tony Sella, who have decades of experience, were gone in short order, taking with them pieces of the institutional memory of a studio that has made everything from Shirley Temple musicals to “Avatar.”

Tough times for the people at Fox.

March 21, 2019

Harry McCracken, writing for FastCompany (back in 2015), came across this Apple promotional video that was likely created back in 1984, a look back on the very beginnings of Apple.

Part of the video’s charm is the way it treats the origins of the Apple I and Apple II as ancient history, even though even the Apple I had been introduced only eight years earlier. Woz explains that he designed the Apple I because he wanted a computer himself. “Steve went a little further,” he adds. “Steve saw it as a product which you can actually deliver, sell, and someone else can use.”

A quote from Steve in the video:

Every few days, Woz would say, ‘God, I’ve made an incredible breakthrough. I’ve saved a few chips here and there.’ I remember this iterative process of watching him get to this incredible stage, and then figure out a way to take another few parts out, and add three more features. And it kept getting better and better and better.

So much to love about this video. One particular comment:

If you watch the video as obsessively as I did, you’ll spot amazing little tidbits–almost like Easter eggs that its producers unwittingly hid away for us 21st-century tech aficionados to discover. Here, for instance, are images of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak wearing watches that you might mistake for Apple Watches, if you didn’t know the photos were a few decades old.

I remember noticing SteveJ’s watch when the Apple Watch first became a thing. Posted this time travel reference.

Anyway, enjoy the video, embedded below.

I very rarely do product mentions, but this one just captivated me.

The Casper Glow light is designed to sit on a charging pad on your nightstand next to you in bed. Here’s what it does:

  • Flip it over to turn it on and start a timer that slowly warms the color temperature and dims slowly as you fall asleep.

  • Spinning it on a flat surface adjusts the brightness. And, if you have two, you can sync them so you spin one to adjust the brightness for both.

  • If you pick it up and carry it (say, for a late night trip to the loo or to check on the baby), give it a shake and it will slightly raise the light level.

There’s more to it, but you get the idea. This is a clever product. Clever enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if it came from Apple.

But it actually comes from Casper, the company known for selling mattresses directly to consumers.

If this captures your interest at all, check the linked article. There are a ton of images and animated GIFs that show off all these features and more, plus there’s an iFixit worthy teardown of the innards.

Here’s a link to the Casper Glow Light product page.

Send me one, Casper, and I’ll take it for a spin.


I just got an extended-warranty claim approved for my airpods. After 1.5 years the battery has really gone downhill and I have started experiencing a lot of disconnects.

I started a chat with apple and since it was out of warranty they said I would have to pay for the replacement. I asked them to confirm that if I was still in warranty this replacement would be free of charge.

I then took this chat history to my citi credit card and two weeks later my claim was approved.

This is a very interesting strategy. Many credit cards include this sort of free replacement coverage. The key is getting Apple to acknowledge that sinking battery life would be covered if the AirPods were still under warranty.

New York Times:

The Wall Street Journal plans to join a new paid subscription news service run by Apple, according to two people familiar with the plans, as other publishers chafe at the terms that the Silicon Valley company is demanding of its partners.

Other major publishers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, have opted out of joining the subscription service, said the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans.


The most recent terms that Apple is offering to publishers ask for a cut of roughly half of the subscription revenue involved in the service, the people said. Apple has also asked publishers to give unlimited access to all their content, which has caused concern among potential partners, they said. A subscription is expected to cost $10 a month.

The deal’s terms have caused some publishers to recoil, as a 50 percent cut is higher than the 30 percent that Apple usually takes from apps and subscriptions sold through its App Store. Publishers are also concerned that they won’t have access to important data about the consumers — credit cards, email addresses and other subscriber information — as part of the deal.

This is interesting on two counts. Both that two of the biggest news gatherers in the world have opted out, and to hear a first hand account from one of them as to why.

The event is Monday.

March 20, 2019


We are mesmerized by these unnecessarily fancy and extremely beautiful shoe-lacing techniques.

My friend Sly posted this on Twitter and now I want a slow-motion version so I can really see what’s going on and try it myself.


Apple today announced new AirPods, the second generation of the world’s most popular wireless headphones.


  • Standard case, $159
  • Wireless case, $199
  • Standalone wireless case, $79

The new case will work with both old and new AirPods.

The new Apple-designed H1 chip features custom audio architecture to create a revolutionary audio experience and improved synchronization. H1 allows AirPods to deliver up to 50 percent more talk time compared to first generation AirPods.


For the first time, AirPods now feature the convenience of “Hey Siri” making it easier to change songs, make a call, adjust the volume or get directions simply by saying, “Hey Siri.”

Add to the mix free engraving, and this was an instabuy for me. Mine are ordered, with the engraving “Dark Mode Dave”, and should be in hand in time for next week’s Dalrymple Report.

I want to believe. Especially if and when Apple decides to release new AirPods with a charging case.

Wait. What’s that you say?

Sports Illustrated:

On the second floor of a Silicon Valley office complex, in a conference room crowded with a dozen workers and three times as many devices, Apple is watching sports for you.

They’ve been at it for almost a year now, keeping an eye on minor tennis tournaments, spring training baseball, college lacrosse, even curling. The team manages the sports subsection in Apple’s TV app and its Apple TV interface, highlighting what’s available around the clock.


It’s been 18 years since Apple disrupted music by extracting the song from the album. Now, it’s joined other companies separating moments from their games. The goal is to offer the curated convenience of highlights without sacrificing the thrill of live. Don’t miss another moment, the pitch goes, but don’t wait for one either.


Sports rights are deeply fragmented, with different owners split by platform and region. “You really can’t own all the rights, so therefore at some point you need to solve some other problems,” Cue said. “You can’t design for owning the rights because if that’s the only thing you’re doing you’re always going to be tiny.” And these days, Apple rarely does tiny.


In a world of infinite supply, [Eddy] Cue wants to be the middleman, letting fans know what’s worth watching and offering one-click access to action rather than worsening the fragmentation. For Apple, there are financial benefits there. The company takes a cut of sports subscription services purchased on iOS and, on a high-level, can leverage its exclusive software into hardware profits.

This is a fantastic read and, seems to me, a giant hint at what’s coming in next week’s Apple event.


In a keynote at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today Google announced a new service, Stadia, that will allow gamers to play the biggest games on any Android or Chrome-based device (including any device with a Chrome browser).


Google’s Stadia service works on any device that supports the Chromecast protocol, which means iOS, Android, Chrome OS, macOS, Windows, and even the Chromecast dongle. They all speak to one of Google’s 7,500 data center nodes (which span the globe) and recognize your specific account, allowing you to move from one device to the other without a bunch of messy handoffs between systems, because the actual game is running at the data center.

This is no small thing. First we had cartridges and disks, physical media, that meant you had to wait for a game to ship to you, then connect and install. Then we had downloadable content, which made things faster, catered to the impulse buyer who wanted their games right now.

But Stadia is a whole different spin on this model. Your games run on Google’s servers. Startup is pretty much instantaneous, with Google controlling everything.

A few obvious concerns: You’ll be running games under Google’s auspices, using a Google account. And then there’s latency and bandwidth.

But there have been two big problems with this: Latency, which might make games needing finesse, like shooter and fighting games, unplayable, and internet throughput. Streaming a game eats up a lot of data and even the Google Stream beta required about 25Mbps in order to stream anything remotely playable and attractive. Google has not yet disclosed the speed requirements for Stadia.

One solution it’s presented for handling latency is a new controller that connects directly to Google’s servers instead of to the device you’re playing on. That should, theoretically, reduce the amount of input lag.

All this is still a big bag of unknowns, an announcement and not a shipping product. But that controller looks real enough and Stadia does seem like it will see the light of day.

One thing I loved, was that old school gamer Easter egg on the underside of the controller.

Malcolm Owen, Apple Insider:

Announced in July 2018 following a bidding war with Comcast, the acquisition of 21st Century Fox completed early on Wednesday morning.


Alongside ESPN+ and Disney+, Disney also increases its holdings in existing streaming service Hulu, combining Fox’s ownership stake with its own to give it a sizable level of control over the firm.


While Apple has invested significantly into original content production, acquiring more content may be problematic if Disney extends its exclusivity policy to other content producers it operates.

The sheer size of both the firm and its content library will also give Disney more leverage when in negotiations with Apple concerning its online stores, which could allow it to gain more favorable terms for movies and TV shows offered to consumers.

This Disney Fox deal will have repercussions far down the road. Note that Disney CEO Bob Iger is on Apple’s board. At one point, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was on the Apple board (from 2006-2009). A number of conflicts pushed him off the board.

March 19, 2019

The Verge:

Apple had developed the iPhone in secret over those two and a half years, and for many inside the company, the device had only been known by the codenames “M68” and “Purple 2.” Apple was focused on surprising everyone with the iPhone, and that meant that many of the engineers working on the original handset didn’t even know what it would eventually look like.

To achieve that level of secrecy, Apple created special prototype development boards that contained nearly all of the iPhone’s parts, spread out across a large circuit board.

I knew this was one of the ways Apple showed the protoype iPhones but it’s the first image I’ve seen of it.

Video of Coney Island rides from the 1930s and 1940s that would never fly today


Michael Hearst, composer of the classic “Songs for Ice Cream Trucks” and author of the excellent Unusual Creatures, shares this delightful video of seemingly quite dangerous rides at Coney Island in the 1930s and 1940s.

These are great but I can’t imagine many of them would be allowed today.

This is just so much fun to play with. Before you jump to the page, note that as soon as you tap/click it will instantly make noise, so throw on some headphones if you are not alone.

Tap and drag just about anywhere on the interface. Imagine that you are moving your tongue, mouth, and lips to make these same sounds.

Fun and interesting.


Apple today updated its iMac line with up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors for the first time and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance.

The details:

  • The 21.5-inch iMac now features 8th-generation quad-core, and for the first time 6-core processors, delivering up to 60 percent faster performance.

  • The 27-inch iMac now for the first time features up to 9th-generation 6-core and 8-core processors, delivering up to 2.4 times faster performance.

The 21.5-inch ranges in price from $1099 to $1499. The 27-inch ranges in price from $1799 to $2299.

All of these prices are with the default of 8GB of RAM. Before you buy, be sure to dig into the specs. Not all the RAM is the same speed.

John Gruber’s list of reasons the new iPads only support the original Apple Pencil:

  • The Pencil 2 requires an iPad with flat sides for the magnetic charging and pairing.

  • The flat sides of the newest iPad Pros go hand-in-hand, design-wise, with the edge-to-edge (or “edge-to-edge” if you prefer) round-corned displays, and Face ID instead of Touch ID. Those things all add to the price of iPad Pros.

  • In theory Apple could have given these new iPads flat sides just to support the new Pencil, sticking with the square-cornered display, larger chin and forehead, and Touch ID — but that’s not how Apple rolls. Such design elements are integrated with the whole.


If Apple had wanted the new Pencil 2 to work on all new iPads, they would’ve had to put a Lightning plug on the new Pencil in addition to supporting conductive charging and pairing. But that’s really not how Apple rolls — that would have ruined one of the things that makes the new Pencil so much nicer than the old Pencil. Better to have a messy product lineup where some new iPads only support the new Pencil and others only support the old Pencil than to have a messy new Pencil.

All fair points. To get a sense of how Apple is handling this, take a look at the Apple Pencil buy page. If you are buying an Apple Pencil, Apple steers you here to make sure you don’t buy the wrong product.

My only quibble is with the product name. The original Apple Pencil is clearly very different from Apple Pencil 2. Both belong to the same product line, but Apple has a traditional of calling out the differences. Consider Apple Watch Series 4, or MacBook Pro 2018. Not sure why they didn’t do that here, but c’est la vie.

I love this appreciation piece for GarageBand. It’s full of interesting details, both past and present, and worth a feet up, sprawled on the couch read.

One nit. The original headline calls it Garageband. It’s GarageBand.


The iPad mini and iPad Air Apple quietly announced ahead of its big March event will come with eSIM support. Cupertino’s latest iPad Pros have eSIM support, as well, but these new entries are the first non-Pro models with the feature. While the Apple SIM works similarly — and present in older non-Pro iPads — it’s only compatible with the tech giant’s partner carriers. By giving these devices eSIM support, they’ll be able to work even on the networks of non-partner carriers.

A small thing, but really important for folks who travel.

Peter Kafka, Recode:

Apple is planning a big announcement to unveil its new video strategy next week, and there is a long list of unknowns about Apple’s plans. Now we know one thing: Netflix won’t be a part of them.


Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed Monday that the company won’t be selling subscriptions to its video service through a hub that Apple plans on launching, similar to one that Amazon already uses to sell video subscription services like HBO and Showtime.


In 2016, for instance, when Apple launched a new “TV” app, designed to be a digital TV guide, Netflix never signed on. And late last year, Apple stopped selling subscriptions to its service via Apple’s store.

Will Apple lose because they won’t have Netflix on their hub? Will Netflix lose because they isolate themselves from the core of clustered services that consumers see most? Or is this much ado about nothing?

Six days until the event.

Fast Company:

A decade ago–long before the current controversies over what big companies are doing with our data–a lot of people were already irate about ad networks that followed their activity across sites in order ever more precisely to target marketing messages. A feature called Do Not Track arose as a simple, comprehensible way for browser users to take back their privacy. To opt out of being tracked, you’d check a box in your browser’s settings.

Notably, this didn’t opt out of advertising–just the technology used to target ads. With Do Not Track checked, no web server or embedded code would associate your behavior at a given site with actions elsewhere on the web. It was a great idea.

And now it’s dead.

The death of Do Not Track is the reason why I don’t give a damn about ad publishers and their moaning about adblockers and other efforts to thwart them. We tried being nice to you and you were jerks about it. No sympathy.

March 18, 2019

Inside Game of Thrones: a story in stunts

“We burn more people than anyone else!” he said gleefully.

Krebs on Security:

Phone numbers stink for security and authentication. They stink because most of us have so much invested in these digits that they’ve become de facto identities. At the same time, when you lose control over a phone number — maybe it’s hijacked by fraudsters, you got separated or divorced, or you were way late on your phone bill payments — whoever inherits that number can then be you in a lot of places online.

How exactly did we get to the point where a single, semi-public and occasionally transient data point like a phone number can unlock access to such a large part of our online experience? KrebsOnSecurity spoke about this at length with Allison Nixon, director of security research at New York City-based cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint.

I avoid like the plague giving anyone my phone number or Social Security/Social Insurance number. If a company demands I include one, I’ll give them a fake number whenever possible. It doesn’t work in all situations but I try to limit it as much as I can.


The ARPANET, as it was called back then, was designed by government, industry and academia so scientists and academics could access each other’s computing resources and trade large research files, saving time, money and travel costs.

The network grew exponentially from its earliest days, with the number of connected host computers reaching 100 by 1977, 100,000 by 1989, a million by the early 1990’s, and a billion by 2012; it now serves more than half the planet’s population.

It sounds utopian, but in those early days, we enjoyed a wonderful culture of openness, collaboration, sharing, trust and ethics. That’s how the Internet was conceived and nurtured. I knew everyone on the ARPANET in those early days, and we were all well-behaved. In fact, that adherence to “netiquette” persisted for the first two decades of the Internet.

Today, almost no one would say that the internet was unequivocally wonderful, open, collaborative, trustworthy or ethical.

The growth of the internet was unimaginable by these guys 50 years ago just like we can’t imagine what it will be like 50 years from now but it sure as hell isn’t likely to be “unequivocally wonderful, open, collaborative, trustworthy or ethical.”


Don’t get me wrong: Adobe’s software is great, if a bit expensive. But I do think that its business model highlights just how consolidated its power actually is—and it’s not talked about nearly enough in the creative space.

Let’s discuss how Adobe’s became the center of the creative ecosystem, and why that should be of concern.

I don’t think CC is “too powerful” but it is a conversation worth having. A lot of people aren’t happy with where the Creative Cloud is going and how locked in many of us are to it.

Bare Bones, makers of BBEdit, is one of my favorite software companies—in fact, I’ve been using their software for more than 20 years. Now, with the opening of their new online store, you can also own some Bare Bones clothing. T-shirts, hoodies, pins, fleece jackets, sweat pants and combinations of all of the products in a bundle are available from the store.

Visit the store to get your Bare Bones Official Merchandise!