Apple’s product strategy is changing

Neil Cybart, laying out Apple’s pre-2018 “pull” strategy:

One way of conceptualizing this product strategy is to think of every major Apple product category being attached to a rope. The order in which these products were attached to the rope was determined by the degree to which technology was made more personal via new workflows and processes for getting work done. Accordingly, Apple Watch and iPhone were located on the end of the rope held by Apple management. Meanwhile, Mac desktops were located at the other end of the rope while iPads and Mac portables were somewhere in the middle.

As Apple management pulled on the rope, the Apple Watch and iPhone received much of the attention while the Mac increasingly resembled dead weight.


The quicker Apple pulled on the rope, the more chaotic the end of the rope moved.

But that seems to be changing:

Over the past two years, we received clues that a major change was beginning to take hold in Apple’s product strategy. This change was on display during this year’s WWDC.


Apple no longer appears to be relying so much on a pull system when it comes to advancing its product line. Instead, a push system is being utilized, and every major product category is being pushed forward simultaneously. The change was designed to reduce the amount of chaos found at the end of the “rope” that Apple was pulling. Accordingly, the primary benefactors arising from this new strategy are the iPad and Mac. This explains why this year’s WWDC announcements felt more overwhelming than those of previous years. Apple was able to move its entire product category forward at the same time.

Not sure I agree with the “push vs pull” label, but I do agree with the basic point. There does appear to be an overall change in Apple’s strategy, much more of a focus on the health of the overall ecosystem, rather than a focus on the new hotness, with older products gathering dust.

To me (as I’ve found myself saying again and again lately), Apple is firing on all cylinders. Great detailed read.

Apple is fourth largest gaming company globally, thanks to the iPhone

Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider:

In its Global Games Market Report, Newzoo outlined the top 35 public companies connected with gaming, with Apple firmly seated in the top five firms, beaten only by Tencent, Sony, and Microsoft and just ahead of Activision Blizzard.

That puts Apple ahead of Nintendo. And Apple Arcade is coming, with entry level iPod touch devices priced to fuel game growth.

A common conversational gambit is to suggest that Apple will become a major force in gaming. If that day is not already here, it certainly seems to be coming.

Apple partners with Best Buy for expanded repair service


Apple today announced the completion of a major expansion of its Apple authorized service network. With nearly 1,000 Best Buy stores across the US now providing expert service and repairs for Apple products, customers have even easier and more convenient access to safe and reliable repairs.


By expanding to every Best Buy store across the US, customers in cities including Yuma, Arizona; Sioux City, Iowa; Twin Falls, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming and Bismarck, North Dakota will have more convenient access to Apple repairs. Plus, Best Buy’s Geek Squad has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products.

It just got a lot easier to find a place to get your gear serviced, in warranty, in an Apple blessed way.

Interesting that Apple specifically called out those cities. If you look up Yuma, Arizona on your map, for example, you’ll see how incredibly far you have to go to get to an Apple Store (All the way to San Diego to the west, or to Mesa to the northeast). This is a terrific move, extending Apple’s reach, a win for many of Apple’s remoter customers.

Apple Watch beta lets you delete Apple’s built-in apps, apply over the air updates without iPhone

Sarah Perez, Tech Crunch:

Good news for Apple Watch owners who don’t want to clutter up their Watch with unused apps. With the release of the new watchOS 6 operating system later this year, Apple will allow Apple Watch device owners to remove many more of the built-in, first-party apps from their smartwatch — including previously unremovable apps like Alarm, Timer, Stopwatch, Remote, Camera Remote, Radio and others, as well as health apps like ECG, Breathe, Noise and Cycle Tracking.

Excellent news. As is the news that you can update your Apple Watch running the watchOS 6 beta over the air, without the need to work through your iPhone. Props to Maks Motyka for this discovery:

You’ll still have to accept the EULA, apply the first beta via your iPhone but, once that’s done, it’s untethered updates. Huzzah.

Sharing data between iPhone and external devices in iOS 13

[VIDEO] Loop reader Niles Mitchell was playing around with an iPhone running an iOS 13 beta and showed off (video embedded in main Loop post) sharing books from an iPhone to an attached Kindle.

While you may never have this particular need, seems to me this solution applies to a more general set of problems. Take a look. Found this very interesting.

iOS 13 uses your iPhone microphone to fix Apple TV audio sync issues

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

If you have an Apple TV, particularly when connected to a secondary speaker system, then you can be afflicted by a common AV issue: unsynchronized audio.

The video signal is processed by the TV at a slightly different time than the audio is transmitted from the speaker system. This leads to a delay where the audio is out-of-sync to the video frames, often noticeable by looking at an actor’s lips move … but hearing the words a beat later.

What can you do? Physics, right? But:

With iOS 13 and tvOS 13, Apple aims to combat this problem. You can enter a new configuration step called Wireless Audio Sync. This is initiated by pressing a button in the Apple TV settings.


As part of the process, the Apple TV will play a series of tones. The iPhone then measures how long it takes to hear the sounds. This calculation is then saved on the Apple TV.

The tvOS operating system can then send audio earlier or later using the time offset it calculated from the Wireless Audio Sync data, thereby synchronizing audio and visual outputs.

Cleverness abounds. Yet another example of Apple firing on all cylinders.

tvOS 13 beta 2 brings Picture-in-Picture video multitasking to Apple TV

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

You can now watch shows from the Apple TV app whilst multitasking around the rest of the operating system. Just like the iPad, Apple TV users can leave the video playing in a thumbnail window whilst they navigate the rest of the operating system.

If this is true Picture-in-Picture (PiP), I would be thrilled. A game changing feature, at least for me. I’d be able to keep tabs on a ball game or news story, in a PiP overlay, while watching content on the main screen.

From everything I’ve seen, including this tweet that started this whole discussion, it looks like there’s only one live video feed.

Traditional PiP required two video sources to make that double-live-video feature happen, so this is no surprise, but it’d be very cool if there was a way Apple could bring real PiP to life in tvOS.

UPDATE: Been told that this feature will, indeed, support two separate sources, meaning you can watch live content in both the main screen and the inset screen. If true, this is a big deal. Will reach out to Apple for confirmation.

13 subtle iOS 13 features worth knowing about

[VIDEO] Interested in learning more about what’s coming with iOS 13? Some solid hidden features in this video (embedded in the main Loop post), worth watching.

You care more about your privacy than you think

Charlie Warzel, New York Times, writing about this experiment by Harvard researcher Dan Svirsky:

Svirsky ran a series of tests where he had participants fill out online surveys for money and made them decide whether to share their Facebook profile data with a survey taker in exchange for a bonus (in some cases, 50 cents). In a direct trade-off scenario, Svirsky found that 64 percent of participants refused to share their Facebook profile in exchange for 50 cents and a majority were “unwilling to share their Facebook data for $2.50.” In sum: Respondents generally sacrificed a small bonus to keep from turning over personal information.


But things changed when Svirsky introduced the smallest bit of friction. When participants were faced with what he calls “a veiled trade-off,” where survey takers had to click to learn whether taking the survey without connecting to Facebook would be free or cost them 50 cents, only 40 percent ended up refusing to share their data. And 58 percent of participants did not click to reveal which payment option was associated with privacy, even though doing so cost them nothing more than a second of their time.

I came across this article in this Daring Fireball post. From the post:

The lack of friction in the Sign In With Apple experience — especially using a device with Face ID or Touch ID — is a key part of why I expect it to be successful. It’s not just more private than signing in with Google or Facebook, it’s as good or better in terms of how few steps it takes.

The genius of the Google button is reducing friction for the user, easing them into sharing data from an already existing account. Even if your browser or app makes it easy to enter your email and password, using Touch ID or Face ID, there’s still friction in that sequence. The Google button is one simple step. With a privacy cost.

Sign in with Apple (SiwA) has the same lack of friction as the Google button. But without the privacy sacrifice. To me, this takes a good thing and makes it a great thing. I look forward to seeing SiwA in the wild.

A look at plugging in an iOS device into a Mac running macOS Catalina

This is the new look and feel of the post-iTunes way of showing an iOS device plugged into your Mac. Just as you’d expect if you plugged an external drive into your Mac, your plugged in device will appear in the Finder’s sidebar.

Excellent job by Stephen Hackett laying all this out. This looks like a very clean implementation by Apple, a nice step forward.

Checking out what’s new with iOS 13 Beta 2

Follow the headline link to the release notes, then search for “New Features”. Rinse and repeat. So much to see.

One particular nugget I can’t wait to take for a spin:

Audio sharing is compatible with AirPods (1st generation or later) and PowerBeats Pro. iPhone 8 or later, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation or later), iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad mini (5th generation), or iPod touch (7th generation or later) is required. (51331268)

One definite benefit to keeping those first gen AirPods around if you upgrade to gen2 or the PowerBeats Pro.

Apple’s advice on storing your device to maximize battery life

From Apple’s Maximizing Battery Life and Lifespan page:

If you want to store your device long term, two key factors will affect the overall health of your battery: the environmental temperature and the percentage of charge on the battery when it’s powered down for storage. Therefore, we recommend the following:

  • Do not fully charge or fully discharge your device’s battery — charge it to around 50%. If you store a device when its battery is fully discharged, the battery could fall into a deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding a charge. Conversely, if you store it fully charged for an extended period of time, the battery may lose some capacity, leading to shorter battery life.

  • Power down the device to avoid additional battery use.

  • Place your device in a cool, moisture-free environment that’s less than 90° F (32° C).

  • If you plan to store your device for longer than six months, charge it to 50% every six months. Depending on how long you store your device, it may be in a low-battery state when you remove it from long-term storage. After it’s removed from storage, it may require 20 minutes of charging with the original adapter before you can use it.

This is one of those tips that applies widely, to all lithium ion devices. Best thing you can do is find an active home for your old devices. But if you can’t do that, and want to keep your battery alive, follow the advice above.

[Via Reddit]

Twitter for Mac is coming back!

From Twitter’s official blog:

Last week, Apple announced Project Catalyst for macOS 10.15 Catalina, which makes it easy for developers to bring their iPad projects to macOS as native Mac apps. We are excited that Project Catalyst will enable us to bring Twitter back to the Mac by leveraging our existing iOS codebase. We’ll also be able to add native Mac features on top of our existing iPad experience, while keeping our maintenance efficient as we continue to improve this shared codebase in the years to come.

As to why Twitter dropped their Mac client in the first place:

Historically, Twitter had a Mac app that shared the same roots as our iPhone app. Over the years, Twitter for Mac and Twitter for iOS diverged as Twitter increasingly focused on its mobile apps. Supporting the two separate codebases was no longer a sustainable option and ultimately we sunset the native Mac app.


The new Twitter for Mac app will use our existing iOS codebase, rather than being built from a separate codebase, following the same successful strategy we’ve used with Web to expand our supported clients. By supporting key Mac-specific behaviors on top of our iOS code, we will be able to maintain feature parity across our iOS and Mac apps with relatively low long term maintenance costs.

Can’t help but wonder if this is an unintended positive consequence of Catalyst, or if bringing apps like Twitter back to the Mac was part of the drive behind Catalyst in the first place.

No matter, glad to have Twitter making its way back to the Mac.

Apple wants to make Oscar-worthy movies to beef up streaming service

New York Post:

Since announcing plans to compete with Netflix in March, Apple has been busy with a new project: financing six small-budget movies a year with an eye toward stories that could win Academy Awards, sources have told The Post.


Apple is looking to spend $5 million to $30 million per project, sources said, adding that the company is being driven by Netflix’s recent spate of Oscar nominations and win for Best Foreign Film with “Roma” — legitimizing Netflix head Reed Hastings’ standing in Hollywood.

Hard to judge the motivations of others (how can anyone know if the company is being “driven” by Netflix envy?), but this certainly seems a logical move, balancing a variety of popular projects with prestige projects to add luster to the brand.

I’m eagerly following Apple’s foray into Hollywood, looking forward to the Apple TV+ rollout.

The ins and outs of non-destructive editing in Photos for Mac and iOS

This is an easy read with lots of interesting detail on Photos and non-destructive editing. Worth your time, and from an excellent source.

From the bio at the end of the article:

Nik Bhatt, formerly Senior Director of Engineering at Apple, led the Aperture and iPhoto engineering teams for several years. Afterward, he led imaging teams for Apple’s photo applications, including the teams responsible for Core Image and Apple’s RAW Camera library. He is now the developer of RAW Power, an advanced photo editing app for Mac and iOS.

Read the article.

Previewing CarPlay in iOS 13: Light mode, new and improved apps, more

Zac Hall, 9to5Mac:

Apple upgraded CarPlay in iOS 12 with support for third-party navigation apps including Google Maps and Waze, allowing drivers to use alternatives to Apple Maps for the first time. CarPlay has an even bigger update in iOS 13 with the introduction of Dashboard, new apps, and updates to existing apps.

This is a pretty solid rethinking of the CarPlay interface. Yet another example of Apple firing on all cylinders.

A love letter to an old-school Macintosh

Ian Bogost, The Atlantic:

Everything about this computer is loud: The groan of the power supply is loud. The hum of the cooling fan is loud. The whir of the hard disk is loud. The clack of the mechanical keyboard is loud. It’s so loud I can barely think, the kind of noise I usually associate with an airline cabin: whoom, whoom, whoom, whoom.

This is the experience a computer user would have had every time she booted up her Macintosh SE, a popular all-in-one computer sold by Apple from 1987 to 1990. By today’s standards the machine is a dinosaur. It boasts a nine-inch black-and-white display. Mine came with a hard disk that offers 20 megabytes of storage, but some lacked even that luxury. And the computer still would have cost a fortune: The version I have retailed for $3,900, or about $8,400 in 2019 dollars.


The original Macintosh was an adorable dwarf of a computer. About the size of a full-grown pug, its small footprint, built-in handle, and light weight made it easy to transport and stow. Perched on a single, wide paw, the machine looks perky and attentive, as if it’s there to serve you, rather than you it.

Though the Macintosh SE was a speed-demon compared to the original 128K Macintosh, compared to any modern computing device, the performance was relatively the same.

This article was written on a Macintosh SE and, if old school is your thing, it’s kind of glorious.

How to use the new iOS 13 gestures for cut, copy, paste, and undo

Whether you’re running the iOS 13 beta now, or will wait for the official version to ship, you will eventually use these gestures.

These six gestures represent a core change to the iOS experience. Love this move, especially the feedback you get when you make one of these gestures successfully.

Logic Pro X update taps the tremendous power of the new Mac Pro

Apple, announcing the new Logic Pro X update, designed with the new Mac Pro in mind:

Making full use of the Mac Pro hardware, Logic Pro X 10.4.5 will now support up to 56 processing threads, allowing pro music producers and film composers to work through incredibly demanding music projects with unprecedented ease.


With the new Mac Pro, Logic can now run up to five times the number of real-time plug-ins compared to the previous generation Mac Pro. Logic Pro X 10.4.5 increases the available track and channel count for all users, now supporting up to 1,000 audio tracks and 1,000 software instrument tracks, providing four times the number of available tracks for the most complex productions. Additionally, Logic Pro X now supports 1,000 auxiliary channel strips, 1,000 external MIDI tracks and 12 sends per channel strip. Users can also expect improved responsiveness of the Mixer and Event List when working with large sessions, and projects with numerous Flex Time edits and tempo changes perform more efficiently than ever.

Check the Jonathan Morrison video, which Shawn posted a few days ago. In it, you hear from a high level audio engineer, extolling the virtues of the new Mac Pro. Wondering if this new version of Logic Pro, combined with the new Mac Pro (when it ships), will replace competing apps in high end studios.

If you own Logic Pro, check for the update. It dropped this morning.

Digiday: Airpods are changing office life


Headphones are a fact of life inside open plan offices, but Airpods have quickly become a staple of life at ad agency life, with staffers walking around all day with the signature little pods in their ears.


“I know they’re not listening to music, or anything, but it’s still disconcerting to see them with something in their ears while we’re all discussing something,” said one agency CEO, who said he once had a meeting with someone wearing Airpods. “It’s like, ‘what?’”

Fascinating piece. I’ve had plenty of conversations with people with AirPods in my own ears, and/or with AirPods in theirs. One key difference between AirPods and Beats Powerbeats Pro is the ability to hear background noise. The Powerbeats Pro are designed to wedge tightly into the ear canal, making conversation more difficult, at least to me, than with AirPods in my ears.

And the almost viral spread of AirPods means more people keeping them in their ears on a regular basis.

“Airpods are a totally different phenomenon,” said Michelle Edelman, Petermayer evp and chief strategy officer. “The product is honestly good, but wearing them 24/7 is going to mess with the notion of when you can and can’t disturb someone. So it’ll change social norms if people just start to leave them in during meetings.”


“Just yesterday, I was walking on the street listening to a partner review some important data with me and a woman stopped me to ask for directions as she didn’t see my Airpods,” she said. “I had to do that thing where I listened to two people talk to me at once for about a minute before telling both of them I didn’t hear what either of them said.”

Or it could be the woman didn’t see AirPods as a sign that you were necessarily unavailable for listening.

Very interesting article.

Federico Viticci’s first look at iPadOS

Federico Viticci:

For now though, after using the iPadOS beta on my 12.9″ iPad Pro for a few days, I’d like to share some initial considerations on iPadOS and what it means for the future of the platform.


What truly matters, however, is that the message Apple is sending with iPadOS is the kind of trajectory I wanted to see for the future of iPad. There are functionalities such as multiwindow and file management that the Mac figured out decades ago; in bringing them to iPadOS, however, Apple isn’t simply copying and pasting the same features from one platform to another: instead, they’ve taken those features’ underlying concepts and fundamentally rethought them for the iPad’s touch nature and iOS foundation.

Federico is passionate about iPad, has written more cogent detail about iPad than just about anyone else I follow. If you are an iPad user, take the time to dig in, get a sense of the iPad’s future.

Steve Jobs talks Apple’s DNA

This is from Apple’s iPad 2 rollout, on March 2, 2011. Steve Jobs was on medical leave, came back for this event. Steve’s talk was interesting in and of itself, but as I watched to the end, I couldn’t help but feel an emotional appreciation in his voice.

Miss him.

If your iPhone stopped charging at 80%

This morning, this post, with the title TIL Your iPhone may stop charging at 80% when it gets too warm, made it to the front page of Reddit’s Apple subreddit.

The post references the headline linked Apple support post, specifically this:

If your device stopped charging at 80 percent

Your iPhone might get slightly warmer while it charges. To extend the lifespan of your battery, if the battery gets too warm, software might limit charging above 80 percent. Your iPhone will charge again when the temperature drops. Try moving your iPhone and charger to a cooler location.

Summer is fast approaching in the northern hemisphere, temperatures are rising. Thought it worth passing this tidbit along.

Google reacts to “Sign in with Apple”

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to read Sarah Perez’s excellent Answers to your burning questions about “Sign in with Apple”.

Once you’ve got your head wrapped around that, follow the headline link for The Verge’s interview with Google product management director Mark Risher. A few highlights:

Apple shook up the world of logins last week, offering a new single sign-on (or SSO) tool aimed at collecting and sharing as little data as possible. It was a deliberate shot at Facebook and Google, which currently operate the two major SSO services.

Not so sure it was a shot at anyone, but more of a safer, privacy respecting solutions for Apple users.

Once you start federating accounts, it means that maybe you still have a few passwords, but some new service you’re just trying out doesn’t need a 750-person engineering team dedicated to security. It doesn’t need to build its own password database, and then deal with all the liability and all the risk that comes with that.

This comment gets to the heart of the value of “Sign in with Apple” (SiwA). One of the benefits of SiwA is that it lets app developers ride on Apple’s safer, more secure coattails. And saves them from having to reinvent the wheel.

I will take the blame that we have not really articulated what happens when you press that “sign in with Google” button. A lot of people don’t understand, and some competitors have dragged it in the wrong direction. Maybe you click that button that it notifies all your friends that you’ve just signed into some embarrassing site.

With SiwA, you can bank on Apple respecting your privacy. Same thing with Apple Pay. Apple breaks the direct link between your identity-tied information and the validation process. And that’s a good thing.

I honestly do think this technology will be better for the internet and will make people much, much safer. Even if they’re clicking our competitors button when they’re logging into sites, that’s still way better than typing in a bespoke username and password, or more commonly, a recycled username and password.

Yup. Good read.

Shazam can now identify songs playing through your headphones on Android. How about iOS?

James Vincent, The Verge:

Shazam can be an incredibly useful app, able to identify songs and find lyrics for them just by listening to the audio. But one big annoyance has been the software’s inability to ‘hear’ music playing through a device’s headphones. Instead, users have to play the song through internal speakers or find a way to direct the sound to their phone or tablet’s microphone.

Not any more. A new feature called Pop-up Shazam in the latest Android version of the app works with audio played through headphones with Shazam working in the background.

As soon as I read this I thought, cool, been waiting for this. But try as I might, could not get this to work in iOS.

If you are listening to the Music app via headphones in iOS, you can fire up Shazam or ask Siri what’s playing. Works perfectly. But if you are watching YouTube via headphones, or perhaps Netflix, Hulu, etc., there does not appear to be a way for Siri or Shazam to hear what you’re hearing.

Not a big deal, but I thought it was interesting that this feature came to Android, given that Apple owns Shazam.

If you do know of a way to Shazam music played through headphones, please reply to this tweet.