The size of space

This is a pretty cool web site. If you are on a computer, use the arrow keys to navigate, else swipe left to move along.

This reminds me of the Eames Lounge Chair. Why? The iconic chair was but one of the amazing projects created by Charles and Ray Eames. They also created the film Powers of Ten, which is remarkably similar to the headline-linked web site.

You can watch the movie here. I saw this film when I was a kid, and it changed my way of thinking about things, gave me a sense of perspective, of scale.

Apple Watch changed the life of his son with autism: “We had tried everything”

People Magazine:

Sam, 21, is on the autism spectrum, and though he’s the epitome of a social butterfly — “People just fall in love with him,” Scott tells PEOPLE — he’s long struggled with an exceptionally loud speaking voice.

“He just never had the ability to modulate it,” says Scott, 59. “For years we’ve been struggling with this, since he started talking… and the voice level is really, really, really loud.”

Enter Apple Watch:

Scott says he was updating his apps one morning when he noticed the Noise app, which measures decibel levels of its users’ surroundings, and turns a corresponding color, flashing yellow when things are loud to the point of risking hearing damage.

And, sharing the app with his son:

“He immediately saw that and started using his own voice to make it work, and then immediately started talking really quietly,” he says. “I was like, you gotta be kidding me. My wife [Cristy] is not gonna believe this. I don’t believe what I’m seeing.”

Great story, yet another example of the life changing power of technology, and the value of Apple Watch.

Perhaps the wildest WILL IT WORK ever

[VIDEO] Every so often, I get one of these WILL IT WORK videos sent over (embedded in main Loop post), showing some contraption connected to an iPhone, accessing ancient files stored on some obsolete media.

This one is like a set of nested Russian dolls, with a thing, connected to a thing, connected to a thing. But all of it new to me. Fascinating that this stuff “just works” after all these years.

HomePod Siri, multiple voices, and remembered preferences

Reddit:

My Fiance is from Mexico and used to C°. Now that the HomePod can tell the difference between us, Siri will now respond to me in F° and to her in C°. Which is a nice but small touch.

This is a small thing, but indicative of a larger trend of HomePod Siri reacting to different voices with preferences stored for each user. Much in the same way as knowing who said, “I love this song” and adjusting the right user’s Apple Music preferences.

That said, I’m still hearing from people who can’t get multiple voices working on their HomePods. And, anecdotally, my wife suddenly disappeared from our setup over the weekend, no idea why.

Apple iPhone 11 scores early China success

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. shipped 10 million iPhones in China during September and October, based on Bloomberg’s calculations from government data on overall and Android device shipments… it shows iPhone shipments up 6% from a year earlier, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, which is run by the country’s technology ministry.

And:

Apple took major strides to increase battery life in its iPhone 11 and 11 Pro devices while lowering the starting price by $50. After years of stagnation in cameras, the company overhauled the iPhone’s image quality this year, catching up to category leaders Google and Huawei. This approach drew an overwhelmingly positive critical reception.

And:

Beyond new device sales, Apple’s other major challenge there will be to make available more of its lucrative subscription services. As the company transitions to a business model more reliant on recurring fees — such as via iTunes Music, Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade — their unavailability in China becomes increasingly a hurdle to growth.

Interesting to watch Apple’s slow, thoughtful chess moves in one of their most important potential markets.

I used Live Listen to have a conversation with someone rows away on a plane 30,000 feet in the air

Reddit:

My friend and I both were on a flight but not seated together. Instead of just sending a note through AirDrop back and forth, I had this weird idea… we both have AirPods, so we traded just one each, both turned on Live Listen, and had a little chat! We only tried it to see if it worked. Wasn’t trying to be those guys who talked the whole flight.

This is a pretty interesting idea. Not practical, perhaps, but a fascinating proof-of-concept.

For folks unfamiliar with Live Listen, here’s Apple’s official support document that explains how it works.

Steve Jobs was right: Smartphones and tablets killed the PC

Farhad Manjoo, New York Times:

I got an iPad Pro recently, and I’ve fallen madly in love with it.

And:

Apple unveiled a new 16-inch MacBook with a revamped keyboard on Wednesday, good news for the many Apple lovers who’ve been grumbling about the company’s lackluster slate of recent Macs. But I think the iPad is already beginning to eclipse the traditional personal computer. In the four months I’ve had this latest model, the iPad Pro has eaten into the time I spend on my phone and my old-school laptop and desktop. Among other things, I now research and write just about every column using an iPad.

And:

In one of his last interviews before his death in 2011, Jobs declared the iPad to be the future of computing. “PCs are going to be like trucks,” he told the journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg — meaning the traditional Mac and Windows machines would still be around, but like big rigs, they’d be used by a small set of power users for a dwindling set of specific, high-power tasks. The “cars” of the tech industry, as Jobs saw it, would be phones and tablets.

That opening line really caught me by surprise. Not used to such Apple praise from The New York Times. Interesting read, fair take on the iPad’s impact on the PC market.

Rollup of takes on 16″ MacBook Pro

Michael Tsai pulled together a terrific collection of various comments and feedback on the new MacBook Pro. Some great takes here, all edited down to their essentials.

Apple Watch should be on every wrist after $129 Black Friday special

Trevor Daugherty, 9to5Mac:

Various retailers, most notably Walmart, are set to offer Apple Watch Series 3 priced from $129 while bringing prices down to new all-time lows in the process.

And:

Apple continued to be undercut on price by competitors like Fitbit and others, which is critical during the holiday shopping season. However, that all changes this year as Apple Watch prepares to hit the mainstream in a whole new way.

Great point. The Apple Watch product line has matured and split, with the current Series 5 at the top and the discount Series 3 at the entry level.

Just as a rumored Apple services bundle would likely increase subscriber numbers, this Black Friday pricing is sure to bring lots more users to the Apple Watch fold.

Phil Schiller, one-on-one for the new 16″ MacBook Pro

[VIDEO] It’s not quite the same as Phil on stage, heard live around the world but, for me, this is the next best thing.

Jonathan Morrison, one-on-one with Phil Schiller, talking about the newest shiny. Video embedded in main Loop post.

Rene Ritchie: 16″ MacBook Pro video review

[VIDEO] As you’d expect, there’s been a huge wave of reviews of the new 16″ MacBook Pro, including these write-ups from John Gruber and Marco Arment (I do prefer Marco’s tweet headline), both worth reading.

But don’t miss Rene Ritchie’s video take on the new MacBook Pro (video embedded in main Loop post). As you’d expect from Rene, it’s chock full of detail and, best of all (at least to me), lots of side-by-side shots of the old and the new, so you can really see the difference, at least the surface difference, between the two machines.

And one detail that struck me was the 100W battery being the largest battery you are allowed to take on a plane, at least without special permission. Sounds like we’re at peak battery.

Apple is considering bundling digital subscriptions as soon as 2020

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is considering bundling its paid internet services, including News+, Apple TV+ and Apple Music, as soon as 2020, in a bid to gain more subscribers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The latest sign of this strategy is a provision that Apple included in deals with publishers that lets the iPhone maker bundle the News+ subscription service with other paid digital offerings, the people said.

And:

If Apple sold Apple News+ as part of a bundle with Apple TV+ and Apple Music, publishers would get less money because the cost of the news service would likely be reduced, the people said.

As I’ve said before, the bundle seems like a great idea. A money saving win for consumers, especially for those who would subscribe to all of Apple’s offerings anyway. And a win for Apple, as a bundle would help boost subscriber numbers for, say, Apple News+, a service that people might use if it was part of a bundle, but not if they had to pay for it as a standalone product.

100% of Fortune 500 companies are using Apple products

This headline hooked me. An amazing achievement for Apple, for sure, but even more so for those of us who remember how difficult it was to get a Mac into a big company. At all.

Windows and Word became the standards, and the Mac was always the poor stepchild, smuggled in by the passionate, and usually via the art departments, thanks to applications like Aldus/Adobe PageMaker and accompanied by a LaserWriter printer.

The iPhone changed everything.

Apple connects Siri to Walmart’s shopping cart

Walmart:

Earlier this year we announced a new way to make Online Grocery shopping even easier for customers – Walmart Voice Order – a service that gives customers the option to add items to their Walmart Online Grocery Cart by simply saying the words.

Today, we’re proud to announce that partnering with Apple, we’ve made Walmart Voice Order available on Siri.

What I find fascinating about this is the mechanics of this deep integration. It’s done using a custom Shortcut:

We are introducing a new Siri Shortcut for Online Grocery. Customers simply ask Siri to start adding items directly to their Walmart Online Grocery cart after they’ve paired their accounts. It feels a little like magic on an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, HomePod or in the car with CarPlay.

There’s a video that shows how all this works. It seems really well done, seamless. And it makes me wonder if this corporate integration was what Apple had in mind when they acquired Workflow (the app that became Shortcuts) in the first place.

Disney+, Apple TV, and the glory that is The Mandalorian

Disney+ had a rough day yesterday. Lots of technical glitches, completely broken and inconsistent search, made a terrible first impression.

But things did get better. By nightfall, Disney did tame their gremlins and the overall experience was smooth as glass. Solid recovery. This morning, every technical complaint I had was addressed.

As to the integration with Apple’s TV app, depends on where you view it.

On my iOS device or on Apple TV, I did have to jump through a small hoop of connecting Disney+ to Apple TV and logging in to Disney+. On Apple TV, the login allowed me to launch the Disney+ app on my iPhone, tap Allow, and I was in. Easy peasy.

And once I started watching shows, they immediately appeared on the TV app’s Up Next list. Not quite as good as Disney+ or Netflix being native to the TV app, but definitely the next best thing.

As to the Mac experience, the chasm between the TV app and the browser Disney+ experience is pretty wide. Want to watch Frozen in the Mac’s TV app? You’ll need to rent it. Oddly, the TV app seems to pick up on the trending of all the Disney+ movies and shows, but click on them and you get the normal rent option. If I’m missing some way to connect Disney+ to TV on the Mac, please ping me so I can update this info.

As to Disney+ content, there certainly is a lot to love if you are into either Disney, Marvel, Pixar, or Star Wars. Those are the major tentpoles. As is, Apple TV+ definitely comes up short, with its relatively small catalog. That said, Apple TV+ already feels fresher to me, less dependent on nostalgia.

With one notable exception: The glory that is The Mandalorian. Wow do I love that show.

To me, The Mandalorian is like seeing Star Wars through fresh eyes. Beautifully shot, stunning really. Terrific writing, with the comic moments that really warmed me to the original Star Wars trilogy. As I’ve said before, if you have the slightest Star Wars bone in your body, you’ll love The Mandalorian.

Goldman Sachs: We hear you Apple Card

Goldman Sachs, responding to the wave of accusation that their credit assessment algorithms are sexist, posted this official follow-up:

https://twitter.com/gsbanksupport/status/1194022629419704320

The key line in all this:

We have not and never will make decisions based on factors like gender. In fact, we do not know your gender or marital status during the Apple Card application process.

If true, that’s a pretty strong defense against arguments of sexism. Regardless, this has turned south for both Goldman Sachs and Apple. Will this pass as quickly as it ramped up? I suspect it depends on if New York’s Department of Financial Services decides there’s more to this.

Disney+ first thoughts

Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, went live this morning. I’ve been waiting for this since it was first announced, been looking forward to Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and a ton of other content.

Things hit a few bumps right out of the gate. I signed up on my Mac and hit a “Sorry something went wrong. Please try again later.” alert (no comma after the word “sorry”, which gave it an odd tilt in my mind. Tried reloading, logging out and back in, no dice. So I switched over to the iOS app.

On the iOS app, things went a little better, though I did have to do a few retries before I finally got through to the streaming screen. And, just when I started to hear the opening sounds of the first episode of The Mandalorian, an Apple TV alert dropped in front of the app, asking me to connect to Apple TV. Odd that that bit of homework wasn’t taken care of before I started a show, but just a nit. I have to say, if you’ve got a Star Wars bone in your body, The Mandalorian looks great.

I did a search to get a sense of what’s available at launch. Though there’s a lot, there are some surprising omissions. Of course, Toy Story 4 is not there, to be expected, too early. But though Toy Store 2 and 3 are both available, the original Toy Story is not. But wait, did the search again, and there it is.

The Simpsons has 6 seasons available, an odd mix of old and new. That can’t be right. Supposed to be all 30 seasons. Search for Marvel, same thing, many of the movies, but not all. Did the search again and got slightly different results each time. What’s going on with search?

I suspect some missing content will appear over the coming weeks/months. And search is definitely inconsistent, so it’s possible some of the missing content will turn up in future searches. Wondering if the huge demand on opening day is contributing to the odd search results. What’s there is a huge catalog, even with the missing/not missing elements.

Got a Verizon account? Here’s how to get your free year of Disney+.

I’m definitely excited about Disney+. I think Apple and Netflix have their work cut out for them.

Apple’s head of Apple TV+ current programming & unscripted steps down

Deadline:

Following the November 1 launch of Apple TV+, the streamer is realigning its executive ranks under toppers Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, combining development and current into a single-executive structure.

Kim Rozenfeld is leaving as head of current scripted programming and docu/unscripted content. He will return to his producing roots with a first-look deal at Apple for his company Half Full Productions.

Rozenfeld was one of the first execs hired by Van Amburg and Erlicht, back in 2017. Not clear if he was ousted or left of his own accord.

Some rock with electric drill, guitar, and oven door

[VIDEO] This is from a few years ago, but it made its way around the internet over the weekend, thought you’d enjoy. The video is embedded in the main Loop post. I love the timing of all of this, especially that end cut. Well done.

[H/T Storm Garelli]

A tweet about Apple Card leads to a probe of Goldman Sachs

The internet is a fast acting place. This tweet appeared on Thursday:

https://twitter.com/dhh/status/1192540900393705474

It was a tweet. But it got the attention of the internet and, eventually, of New York’s Department of Financial Services.

From Reuters:

Hansson, who is the creator of web-application framework Ruby on Rails, didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for himself or his wife but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife had a better credit score, the report said.

And:

New York’s Department of Financial Services confirmed that an investigation was being conducted.

Next up, this tweeted reply from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak Woz:

The same thing happened to us. I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019.

And, finally, this public response from Goldman Sachs:

We wanted to address some recent questions regarding Apple Card credit decision process.

With Apple Card, your account is individual to you; your credit line is yours and you establish your own direct credit history. Customers do not share a credit line under the account of a family member or another person by getting a supplemental card.

As with any other individual credit card, your application is evaluated independently. We look at an individual’s income and an individual’s creditworthiness, which includes factors like personal credit scores, how much debt you have, and how that debt has been managed. Based on these factors, it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions.

In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender.

Finally, we hear frequently from our customers that they would like to share their Apple Card with other members of their family. We are looking to enable this in the future.

  • Andrew Williams, Goldman Sachs Spokesperson

Thinking about this, it could be that there’s truth to these accusations, but it could also be the case that there’s logic to these assessments that we can’t see.

But even if the latter is the case, it does seem to me that Goldman Sachs could do a much better job communicating the logic of their assessments. I suspect, given the public scrutiny, they will reevaluate their process.

Apple AirPods craze spreads to China

This is an article more about supply chain than end users, but it does paint a picture of phenomenal potential for AirPods Pro.

A few tidbits, Yujing Liu from South China Morning Post:

“True wireless stereo will become the next big thing in consumer electronics,” Zhongtai Securities analysts wrote in a new report. It will become the next product that could “create a growth miracle” after the smartphones

And:

Investors believe they are witnessing the emergence of a massive market for AirPods – which sells for as much as US$249 for the high-end version – and other brands of earbuds, with consumer demand worth billions of dollars barely tapped yet.

And:

“There are about 900 million to 1 billion iPhone users worldwide, so the saturation ratio of AirPods among the existing users is not even 10 per cent.”

There’s lots more detail in the linked article, but you get the idea. As big as AirPods have been for Apple, a much bigger wave seems to be coming.

DXOMARK releases iPhone 11 Pro Max camera review

Here’s the upshot:

The camera performed very well in our tests in pretty much all areas, but some challenges remain. Still images generally show very good exposure. Dynamic range is very wide in bright light and under indoor conditions, but some highlight clipping is still visible in very difficult scenes. Overall, the iPhone is among the very best for exposure; it’s only in very low light when can’t keep up with devices with larger image sensors, such as the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Like previous iPhone generations, the 11 Pro Max also scores very well for color and is among the best in this category in all light conditions. A slightly greenish cast is visible in some indoor scenes and in our lab tests, but overall color tends to be very pleasant: a slight yellow cast gives some scenes a warm feel and works very well for skin tones in portraits.

Overall, an excellent review. The iPhone 11 Pro Max got a 124 as a photo score, compared to the second best iPhone, the XS Max, which got a 110.

DXOMARK has the iPhone 11 Pro Max third, behind both the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro Premium Edition.

Read the review. There’s a lot of detail here, lots of images to bring home specific points.

Apple: What the heck is 4K HDR?

Interesting article from Apple, with details on how to watch 4K HDR content, presented in a clear, easy to understand format.

Pass this along to the folks in your life who might be interested, but would be intimidated by a more technical explanation.

The virtuous circle of product placement in Apple’s TV+ shows

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors, does a nice job breaking down this paywalled Wall Street Journal article.

Apple products are visible in an average of 32 camera shots in each episode of “The Morning Show,” and an Apple logo is visible in roughly one-third of those shots.

And:

In one four-second scene in episode one of the flagship Apple TV+ series, nine Apple products are shown as two characters walk and talk through a newsroom.

Fascinating. The definition of synergy. Apple TV+’s worlds (with the exception, at least to this point, of SEE) serve as ads for Apple products, paint a world where Apple products are part of every person’s day to do. Until I read the WSJ article, I hadn’t even noticed. Subliminal.

Bob Iger takes the gloves off for Disney’s streaming debut

Fantastic article on Disney+, on Bob Iger, and on the technology Disney has created to get their media to market.

As I’ve said numerous times, I see three obvious leaders in the coming media wars: Apple (deep war chest, deep commitment), Netflix (huge existing lead, deep brand), and Disney (incredible back catalog, shrewd technology investments).