Rumors about an Apple media event in March got serious this week with a story from Japanese site Mac Otakara. According to the story, Apple will hold a media event in March—in keeping with last year—where the company will introduce a new iPhone SE and new iPad models.
Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]
Apple’s iBooks Store added the Enhanced Edition of George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons over the weekend. It will ship on March 30th, and includes new artwork, an expanded glossary, more information about the houses, maps, and more.
So it turns out you can run Doom on your Porsche 911. What’s that? You don’t have a Porsche 911? No worries, it will supposedly work on some other cars, too. No, really. YouTuber Vexal posted a how-to and demonstration of doing this terrible idea. I mean…you play by turning your steering wheel, accelerating, changing gears, and honking your horn. What could go wrong, right? By which I mean, don’t do this at home. Or anywhere. But do, absolutely, watch Vexal play the game. And if you’re wondering about that toaster in the passenger seat, be sure to watch Vexal’s video on modding a toaster to be a Doom controller…
Apple launched four new iPad commercials that respond to real tweets from real folks. The first (included below) is in response to a tweet about iPad not being a real computer. The second spot addresses a tweet about poor Wi-Fi. The third answers whether Microsoft Word is on the iPad (it is), and the fourth notes that iPads aren’t subject to PC viruses. The Twitter accounts are real (Tweet 1 account, Tweet 2, Tweet 3 account, Tweet 4), and The Verge reported that Apple contacted at least one of the tweeters before using their tweets. There’s almost zero chance Apple didn’t do so with all of them. But, Apple used actors to represent the Twitter account owners. It’s an interesting campaign. Some have already noted it’s reminiscent of Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign. More interesting, though, is that this is the first time I can remember Apple addressing questions like these, especially in an ad. The company is also leveraging social media, an area that hasn’t typically been a strong suit for Apple. They’re not my favorite spots from Apple, but they’re solid. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a major campaign.
We had a good discussion about Apple moving WWDC back to San Jose on Thursday’s Daily Observations. In that discussion, we talked about how much easier it would be for Apple engineers to attend an event in San Jose because it wouldn’t necessarily suck up a whole day and hours of travel. We also talked about proximity to Apple Campus 2.0, and the reality San Jose is less expensive. Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber discussed the move with Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller, who confirmed most of what we thought. Mr. Gruber also pointed out that Apple’s WWDC is a much bigger deal to San Jose than it ever was to San Francisco. He said Apple was working with San Jose’s mayor and others to stage events throughout the week, something San Francisco never did to my knowledge. Check out his piece—it’s a good read.
We’ve upgraded our Bitcoin Faucet Guide with 10 (updated to 11) faucets that still pay out. Bryan Chaffin explains how they work and shows you which faucets you can trust to pay when they say they will.
Chuck Joiner asked me on to MacVoices to talk about Apple, the tech world, and politics. In this video podcast, I make the case that Apple is just plain too big to avoid politics. From regulations, to taxation policy, to international posturing, to the fact that Apple is worth almost US$700 billion, Apple can’t avoid politics. More importantly, the broader tech world itself that it increasingly intersects with tech. I think I spewed off about getting older and struggling to understand Millennials, too. It’s all kind of hazy, but that didn’t stop Chuck from making that part of his title…oh, and check out that key frame he picked. Why did I agree to do this show again? … Oh, right, because I luuuuurve me some Chucky J!
With state-sponsored hackers from Russia developing malware for the Mac, Bryan Chaffin and Jeff Gamet fear Mac users can expect more malware in the future. They also discuss the negativity that greeted Planet of the Apps, and argue that TV shows are good for Apple Music. Plus, they visit listener comments on Net Neutrality.
A Russian group that hacked the Democratic National Committee during last year’s presidential election are now targeting Macs, according to security firm Bitedefender Labs. APT28—also known as Sofacy, Sednit APT, and other names—has been developing malware that targets Macs and gives the Russians remote access to those Macs. Bryan Chaffin has the details.
The Iconfactory has launched a Kickstarter for Twitterrific for Mac. The company wants to rebuild the Mac version of this venerable Twitter client for the Mac, and the company is looking to raise US$75,000 to do it.
You may known of my penchant for tower defense games, but I also have a not-so-secret love for arcade scrollers. The good news for your time-sucking pleasure is that I found a new one called Photon Strike. It’s a solid vertical scroller for iPhone an iPad (I played on iPad) with good graphics and fast action. In fact, it’s very fast. It’s similar to others in the genre. You have to steer your ship (with your fingers), firing as long as your finger is on the screen. Waves of enemies fly around the screen, and you have to shoot/avoid them. Powerups are available throughout each level, and you get credits for each enemy you destroy for buying upgrades. It’s free to download, but for real-world cash, you can get yourself a whole heap of credits. You can also watch videos for free credits. Every five waves there’s a boss at the end. It’s ad-supported, but the ads go away with any purchase (the ads are not obnoxious). That said, this is the kind of game where I’m happy to pay to unlock ads to directly support the developer.
Apple has two new commercials out promoting iPhone 7 Plus’s Portrait camera. That’s the two-lens camera unique to iPhone 7 Plus that allows photographs to have a shallow depth of field (meaning a blurry background and sharp foreground). The pieces explain in very simple terms what Portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus does for a photo.
Apple has pushed the first trailer for Carpool Karaoke, the spinoff series being produced for Apple Music by James Corden and CBS. It features, “James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more.” It’s super fun, and builds a song with short samples from many episodes of the first season. Carpool Karaoke has been a huge hit for James Corden and The Late Late Show, and news broke late in 2016 that it would be spun off as a standalone show for Apple Music. My guess—especially after seeing this trailer—is that it’s going to be a huge hit for Apple Music, too.
Check out this recording of Steve Jobs’ NeXT keynote from 1992 (via Cult of Mac), where he introduced NeXTSTEP 3.0 (which eventually became OS X). Interesting tidbits from the spot include the 51 minute and 32 second mark, where he shows a feature that ended up being cut when Apple bought NeXT, distributed object inter-application and inter network communication. At 59 minutes and 53 seconds, Mr. Jobs shows off fast elliptical encryption built right into NeXT’s email system. That was also cut for the Mac. Then there was the bit about operating system-level the Renderman rending engine (nixed), and NeXTSTEP for Intel processors, which did eventually make it to the Mac. All these observations come courtesy of John Kheit, who used to work at NeXT. He called this one of Steve Jobs’s best keynotes and a must-watch for fans. I agree, though your mileage may vary. One way or another, it’s definitely good.
Tim Cook spoke to the students of the University of Glasgow this week. The hour long event included questions from faculty and students alike. Topics included President Trump’s travel bans on seven muslim-majority countries, the reach of the App Store, the environment, wealth inequality, education, balancing work and life, technology interacting with our bodies, Apple Watch, idealism, Steve Jobs’s influence over Apple today, styluses, and more. The video was posted by a student. The audio quality is poor, but the rules for the event precluded “dedicated recording equipment.” To that end, this video was recorded entirely on an iPhone 7 in the hands of a student 50-70 feet from Mr. Cook, and is stunningly good considering. In addition, note how quiet and respectful this audience of 800-plus students is.
Apple doesn’t love iBooks, and it shows in the way the company has largely let its ebook store languish. Bryan Chaffin argues that what we’ve seen (not) happen to iBooks is what we’ve seen every time an Apple product stopped being the focus of top executives. That needs to change.