Why slowing iPad sales didn’t surprise Apple and shouldn’t surprise you

GigaOm:

Yes, the quarterly sales are down from the prior three months and the year-ago period. Apple sold 16.3 million iPads in the first three months of this year and 14.6 million in the fiscal third quarter of 2013. Look at the iPad sales data since Apple’s tablet debuted and you can see a broader view of the same thing: The iPad sales growth rate overall has slowed of late.

I don’t think this is cause for alarm. Expecting iPad sales growth to mirror that of the iPhone, which is still on a relatively stronger upward direction, is unreasonable for a number of reasons.

People are slowly coming to the realization that maybe, just maybe, the sky isn’t falling.

Walk this way: 6 pedometer apps for iPhone

TechHive:

Apple’s M7 processor, currently in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad mini with Retina display, collects data from the device’s sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass) and then provides that data to the apps.

But how accurate is an M7 processor at counting steps? To find out, I downloaded six popular step-counting apps on both an iPhone 5s and an iPhone 4s, and then carried both phones to track my steps over a few weeks. Then I took (a lot) of walks, including a few where I literally counted each step in order to compare results.

Here’s the breakdown of each app’s features and flaws.

I’ve used some of these and quickly found out something crucial – I don’t walk nearly enough.

I searched for all 71 of the stickers in Apple’s new ad so you don’t have to

.

TUAW:

Apple just ran a TV ad showing just how amazing your MacBook can look with a little bit of vinyl applied.

If you saw something you liked on that fast-moving ad, you’re in luck because I did the legwork of searching for every funky sticker that made an appearance. Well, ok, not every sticker — I ignored the section of the ad with the generic music stickers — but every sticker you probably care about. All 71 of them.

I’m glad somebody did this. How about you? Do you put stickers or the like on your laptops?

The ghost in the machine

.

Kottke:

In racing video games, a ghost is a car representing your best score that races with you around the track. This story of a son discovering and racing against his deceased father’s ghost car in an Xbox racing game will hit you right in the feels.

What a lovely but sad story.

The gratuitous injustice of American tipping culture

.

Jezebel:

Less than 100 years ago, people genuinely believed that there was no such thing as “menial service” to an American, that waiters could be gentlemen, and that service didn’t mean servitude. They believed the idea of tipping was a fundamentally demeaning and classist notion of which they wanted no part. Since then, we appear to have come a long way down a road paved with good intentions.

What the hell went wrong?

I’m always of two minds when it comes to tipping and appreciate those places I’ve travelled where it is not allowed or culturally frowned upon.

No skin thick enough: The daily harassment of women in the game industry

.

Polygon:

I blinked at my phone, fighting simultaneous urges to hurl my phone across the room in anger and cry. Later that day, someone texted me my address — telling me they’d “See me when I least expected it.”

I haven’t been out to my car at night by myself since January 2nd.

My name is Brianna Wu. I lead a development studio that makes games. Sometimes, I write about issues in the games industry that relate to the equality of women. My reward is that I regularly have men threatening to rape and commit acts of violence against me.

An awful story about a serious and ongoing problem in general but specific in this regard to the gaming industry.

Massive Mayfly emergence in Wisconsin

Wired:

This week Wisconsin-ites were treated to a mayfly emergence. Just how many mayflies are there? Enough that they show up on weather radar.

The slippery goo created by millions of mayflies is blamed in a three-car pileup in Hager City, WI yesterday night.

Mother Nature is amazing and sometimes, disgusting.

Apple’s Q3 2014 earnings call, July 22nd at 5pm ET

Apple:

Apple will be announcing its Q3 2014 financial results on Tuesday, July 22 at 5pm Eastern time (2pm Pacific) followed by questions from analysts.

You can listen to the streaming audio via iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch® running iOS 4.2 or above, or any Mac® running OS X 10.6.8 or above or any PC running QuickTime 7 or later.

As usual, many sites will be liveblogging the call. The fun comes in seeing which of the analysts on the call (the press and general public can listen in but not ask questions) will ask the dumbest question of the day.

Apollo 11 turns 45: a lunar landing anniversary retrospective

Ars Technica:

On July 20 1969, at about four minutes before 10:00 pm Central Daylight Time, former naval aviator and test pilot Neil Armstrong became the first human being to stand on the surface of the Moon.

About 20 minutes later, he was followed by Buzz Aldrin, an Air Force colonel with a PhD in astronautics from MIT (Aldrin had, quite literally, written the book on orbital rendezvous techniques). Armstrong and Aldrin’s landing was the culmination of almost a decade of scientific and engineering work by hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. Even though the lunar program’s goals were ultimately political, the Apollo project ranks as one of the greatest engineering achievements in human history.

The story of the program is an incredible one and I’d encourage you to watch the amazing “From the Earth to the Moon” series if you haven’t seen it.

The rise and fall of the Fireman’s Pole

Priceonomics:

Once heralded as the time-saving successor to stairs, the fire pole is, after 150 years, sliding toward extinction. In its heyday, the pole revolutionized the way firefighters responded to alarms, accessed their trucks, and, ultimately, saved lives. But fire poles came — and still come — with a caveat: they have the potential to be lethal for those who descend them.

As a kid, I always thought it would be cool to have a house with a Fireman’s Pole in it to get downstairs. After reading this article, not so much. I had no idea they were so dangerous.

Why do we have blood types?

Mosaic:

Why do 40 per cent of Caucasians have type A blood, while only 27 per cent of Asians do? Where do different blood types come from, and what do they do?

In 1900 the Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner first discovered blood types, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in 1930. Since then scientists have developed ever more powerful tools for probing the biology of blood types. And yet I found that in many ways blood types remain strangely mysterious. Scientists have yet to come up with a good explanation for their very existence.

Interesting article about a subject crucial to all of us and yet something few of us know anything about. I’m embarrassed to say I have no clue what my blood type is.

‘The Terminator’ at 30: An oral history

Entertainment Weekly:

Thirty years ago, a killing machine from 2029—assuming the form of an Austrian bodybuilder—arrived with a lethal directive to alter the future. That he certainly did. The Terminator, made for $6.4 million by a couple of young disciples of B-movie king Roger Corman, became one of the defining sci-fi touchstones of all time.

It’s still a great movie even though it feels pretty dated now.

Buying guide: Find the best iPad keyboard

Macworld:

For serious typing sessions — or if you just can’t get the hang of the iPad’s onscreen keyboard — an external keyboard offers the tactile advantages of real keys without sacrificing the iPad’s portability and touchscreen features.

The iPad supports almost any Bluetooth keyboard, but there are many, many keyboards on the market that are specifically made for use with the iPad.

Macworld has updated their exhaustive iPad keyboard guide. Do you use one? Which is your favourite?

My life in Canadian Netflix hell

Gizmodo:

Netflix, as experienced by our neighbors to the north, is an anemic imitation that besmirches the brand. It shouldn’t even be called Netflix. Netflix Lite, maybe. Netflix Canada Trashcan, probably, although that might negatively impact subscription sales. It’s the same price as the U.S. version, too, which makes it even more insulting.

This is one of the reasons why I tried and quickly canceled Netflix here in Canada. The selection is bad enough in the US. It’s much worse in Canada.

Silicon Valley ‘Coach’ Bill Campbell steps down from Apple board

CNET:

After 17 years on Apple’s board, Bill Campbell is saying goodbye.

Apple on Thursday said the executive, who also serves as chairman of business software developer Intuit, is retiring from his role on the board. Campbell was one of the board members appointed by Steve Jobs in 1997 after he returned to run the company.

Susan Wagner, founding partner and director of asset-management company BlackRock, will join Apple’s board in Campbell’s place.

Great to see Apple taking this opportunity to put another woman on the board of directors.

Buzz Aldrin once punched a moon hoaxer in the face

.

Factually:

Amazingly, there are still some people who don’t think we landed on the moon. These people are complete idiots, to put it kindly. Back in 2002, Buzz Aldrin punched one of those idiots after being followed and harassed at a hotel in Beverly Hills.

I post this in honour of yesterday’s 45th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. And because Buzz Aldrin is a bad ass.

The state of the American dog

.

Esquire:

Reviled, pit bulls have become representative. There is no other dog that figures as often in the national narrative—no other dog as vilified on the evening news, no other dog as defended on television programs, no other dog as mythologized by both its enemies and its advocates, no other dog as discriminated against, no other dog as wantonly bred, no other dog as frequently abused, no other dog as promiscuously abandoned, no other dog as likely to end up in an animal shelter, no other dog as likely to be rescued, no other dog as likely to be killed.

In a way, the pit bull has become the only American dog, because it is the only American dog that has become an American metaphor—and the only American dog that people bother to name.

I love all dogs (except poodles) and hate seeing them treated poorly. And no dog has been treated as poorly, both in real life and in the media as the pit bull. I’ve met some wonderful pit bulls in my life with wonderful owners. Sadly, I’ve also met some really bad owners which predictably reflects in their dogs.

Apple brings iTunes Pass to the United States

.

Apple:

Now you can add money directly to your iTunes or App Store account with iTunes Pass. To get iTunes Pass, go to the iTunes Store on your iOS device, scroll down, and tap the Redeem button. Then go in to any Apple Retail Store and let a Specialist know you want to add credit to your account. Open iTunes Pass in Passbook, and have the Specialist scan it and accept your payment. Your balance will be updated and can be used immediately.

This might be slightly more convenient than buying physical gift cards for yourself but is it a service you’ll actually use?

We need this: A maps app that algorithmically finds you the scenic route

.

Wired:

We have the phrase “scenic route” for a reason, and as Google’s driving directions increasingly become the only directions any of us ever think about checking, we risk losing sight of these alternate paths. That’s a shame.

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been dreaming and talking about this kind of functionality for years. As a motorcycle rider, we often don’t want to take the direct route. Show us the fun, twisty, windy, pretty roads instead.

Weird Al releasing a new video every day for eight days

.

The Verge:

Weird Al has a new album of parodies coming out, but you’ll probably want to look for them on the web rather than over the radio: eight songs off of the album are getting music videos, and they’ll be premiering over eight days. The first video came out and has Al singing “Tacky,” a parody of Pharrell’s unbearably catchy hit “Happy.”

Nirvana for all you Weird Al fans.

Why soccer will never come home to the USA

.

Salon:

Among the countless points discussed about this year’s World Cup…perhaps the most important looming question is whether this particular quadrennial tournament finally converted America into a nation of soccer fans.

Every four years, the World Cup masterfully demonstrates the fundamental differences between how America and the world respectively treat their athletes.

I don’t like to say “never” but there’s a fundamental difference between the way the American fan sees sports in general and “football” in particular and the way the rest of the world does. We go through this discussion every four years and nothing really changes.

Kara Swisher is Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist. How does that work?

.

New York Magazine:

Swisher’s power derives from her reporting — driven, in turn, by her deep sourcing — and from the sense, unnerving to executives, that she has a red phone with a direct connection to the perma-class of venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road who fund their companies and fill their boards and decide their fates.

People like talking to Swisher.

Interesting profile. I’ve talked to Swisher on several occasions and she is, in the simplest terms, “intense”. In a good way.

Pathogens on a plane: How to stay healthy in flight

.

NPR:

If you’re going to pick up a pathogen on an intercontinental flight, it will probably be one hanging out on your seat or another surface, says Dr. Mark Gendreau, who specializes in aviation medicine at Lahey Medical Center in Peabody, Mass.

“When you look at most infectious diseases, the overwhelming majority are transmitted when you touch a contaminated surface,” he says. “You grab the door knob of the airplane bathroom, and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.”

“But we’re not all doomed to get sick after a plane flight,” Gendreau says. “You can change behaviors when you’re traveling and substantially reduce the risk of catching anything.”

Ugh. One more thing to make air travel suck.

The machine that could fix airport security

.

Wired:

Instead of having a human poke around in your bag, the machine scans it for a variety of threats in just a few seconds.

You hold your ticket up to the machine, and it assigns you a pod. Close the door and walk around to the other side. In the time it takes you to get over there, the machine scans the bag for a range of threats.

There are some obvious issues with the embedded company video but those are easily remedied. It would be great to see these kinds of systems in place rather than the awful TSA procedures many of us have to go through now.

Airbus wants to patent the most uncomfortable plane seats ever

.

Washington Post:

Airbus has filed a seat patent that appears to pack people in without all the clunky cushions and awkward folding tables…Its cushions are shaped liked bicycle saddles, and when the seats aren’t being used, they fold vertically to save space.

“Reduced comfort remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours,” Airbus sagely calculates.

How cheap would the flight have to be for you to pay to sit in those torture devices for two hours?

RE2PECT

No matter who you cheer for, The Captain deserves a hat tip in this, his last season as a New York Yankee.

Does anyone outside Silicon Valley even want a smartwatch?

.

New York Magazine:

I’m part of the latest tech trend, a bona fide phenomenon in Silicon Valley that is inspiring the kind of pants-wetting excitement usually reserved for new iPhones and Grand Theft Auto games. I’m talking about smartwatches—the tech world’s quixotic attempt to mount minicomputers on your wrist.

I’ve been wearing two smartwatches for several days apiece, and so far, it’s been an enlightening experience. Though not necessarily a hopeful one.

Obviously it depends on what the particular smartwatch does but in my talks with “average” people, the headline answer so far has been “No.” That being said, it brings to mind the classic (and probably apocryphal) Henry Ford line of, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”